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Southwest Lingo and Style

Southwest Lingo and Style. Traditional southwest style houses feature vigas, latillas, kiva fireplaces and adobe bricks structurally or as an accent. Even the traditional southwest style homes have modern floorplans!

Nowhere in the United States is the blending of Native American and western cultures better exemplified than in the southwest. The basic structure of earthen walls supporting a flat roof is Native American, a tradition extending back for more than a thousand years.

The Spanish adopted this basic structure. Their technique of forming the mud into bricks made construction more rapid. The metal tools they brought facilitated the cutting and working of timber. Thus wooden doors, and portales supported by zapatas were added to the repertory of forms. This led to more spacious living areas as well as large enclosed public spaces.

The arrival of the railroad in the 1800’s brought new building materials, (including metal for roofs, glass for windows) and better tools. Also midway through that century the first sawmills were built which reformed the local building technology by processing posts, beams and board. The Pueblo and Spanish architecture were inspired by Pueblo and other Native American motifs to create a style known as Pueblo. The Spanish influence created what is known as the Santa Fe.

Today’s homebuilders combine many of the best elements of contemporary and traditional design features to create new exciting southwestern style homes.

Southwest Territorial -Those logs you see at the top of the southwest territorial are called vigas. Stucco is a popular siding in this style (and most southwest homes). It handles the desert heat well and can cover adobe brick although that is a more expensive, custom home. The charm and character reflect the influences of Native American and the original settlers from Spain. Styles adapted from this are the Santa Fe and Pueblo.

Commonly referred to as Santa Barbara, Spanish Colonial, Mediterranean, this style is a common and popular reflection of the various influences of our cultures.

The tile roof, originally made from clay and imported from Mexico, now is made of cement, a more durable and stronger material that can be molded into a flat, slate-like tile, or an s-curved tile.

 The fact that it is cement means it can be colored and is no longer just the popular brick-color clay. Its durability gives it a lifespan of approximately 50 years.

Our closeness to California and the migration of many Californians to the desert brought their builders as well! Therefore, there is a strong California influence in the southwest architecture in the Valley. This is the most popular style, and one that you will see in many subdivisions.

 The floorplan can be easily designed with as many bedrooms as desired, and all master bedrooms have their own bath. Outdoor patios are “de rigueur” because our gorgeous weather contributes to enjoyable outdoor entertainment and dining.

A Spanish charmer or hacienda that has a front porch for morning coffee or late afternoon tea. It generally carries the charm to the patio or patios in the back with courtyards that are almost retreats. Lush gardens add to the serenity that is felt throughout the home. You can almost know that it will have a kiva (or sometimes called “beehive”) fireplace.

A true southwest home that is a combination of styles. Because of its versatility, the floorplan can be anything you want it to be. However, you will find that what has become a popular plan is the great room. Instead of a formal living room and dining room, which many people are no longer gravitating to, those rooms are now one “great” room, open and airy. The kitchen will still have the breakfast area and family room combination. The patio may be extended for outdoor entertaining by the pool. A BBQ can be built as part of the patio.

This is a southwest con–temporary that often times is very large, and custom built.

Contemporary southwest style homes have many of the same features as the traditional southwest homes. Generally the materials are used in a more modern way, or in a contemporary style.

The contemporary style homes may still have adobe, vigas, latillas and stone; however the materials are not used in a rustic manner. They are typically stucco and may be accented with pueblo style features or red tile roofs.

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