Santa Fe Style Homes originated from the Pueblo Style homes of the Native Americans

Santa Fe Style homes originated from the Spanish and the Pueblo Style homes, and originally used native materialsin the construction. The best way to build in the Southwest is to make your home appear to be "at one" with the surrounding landscape.

The natural materials used in the construction of the Pueblo Style homes as well as the Santa Fe Style home design create this desired feeling of harmony with ones surroundings.

Using adobe, or earth-colored stucco along with natural wood, brick, tile, flagstone and river rock help give an earthy but sophisticated feel to Santa Fe Style Architecture. When coupled with pottery, rugs and other Native American handcrafts, the Southwestern home creates a feeling of hominess as well as a certain sophistication.

The style is characterized by:

  • Flat Roofs
  • Vigas and Latillas
  • Rounded Corners on Walls and Window Ledges
  • Earth-colored stucco or Adobe-brick walls
  • Portals
  • Interior Courtyards
  • Kivas
  • Bancos and Nichos
  • Tile or Brick Floors
Santa Fe Style Homes
Common Santa Fe features may include:

Flat Roofs

Adobe homes are distinguished by their flat roofs and soft, rounded contours.

Vigas and Latillas

The roofs are supported by a network of vigas, long beams whose ends protrude through the outer facades, and latillas, small stripped branches layered between the vigas.

Rounded corners on Walls and Window Ledges

Exterior Walls Extend above Roof Line. Arched and curved entryways, doorways and walls are common in Santa Fe style homes. This contributes to the total curviness of these homes.

Earth-colored stucco or Adobe-brick walls

Traditionally, Southwestern homes are built of adobe -- sun dried clay bricks mixed with grasses for strength, mortared with simple mud, and then covered with additional protective layers of mud. The majority are imitation adobe made of stuccoed concrete.

In the days when adobe homes were prevalent, it was a cheaper form to build with, but now the craftsmanship and tradition are harder to find and as a result more costly.


Portals are patios that allow the home owners to extend their home out into the yard facing a beautiful vista of some sort. May thru October is portal weather. Dining and relaxing occur out of doors during this time of year.

These portals are usually framed by large local wood corbels (decorated part of columns) and the same heavy wood beams inside the house (vigas)

Interior Courtyards

Later on in the Spanish era in Santa Fe, homes incorporated the plaza of the Anasazi community into a courtyard in individual homes.

The courtyard can be found in the front of a house as a space you walk thru before entering the home, or in the backyard as a place to relax or both. It is usually a sensual experience of flowering plants and fountains.


Today’s Santa Fe Style Homes must have a fireplace or more than one. The style of the curved corner fireplace is called a Kiva fireplace.

Bancos and Nichos

The details of Santa Fe Style homes include nichos which are small carved out spaces in hallways and on walls to display Santos (Carvings of Saints) or pieces of art. Bancos are the curved shelf like area around the fireplace or inthe wall in an adobe homes to display items of value or importance.

Tile or Brick Floors

Most floors in the Santa Fe style homes are of tile or brick. Carpets can be found, but that is not the true Santa Fe style.

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There are several variations on traditional Pueblo architecture:

Pueblo Deco Combining Pueblo Revival with Art Deco architecture, these homes are decorated with geometric patterns and Native American designs.

Santa Fe Style This type of Pueblo became the standard in New Mexico after it was defined by the Santa Fe Historic Zoning Ordinance of 1957.

Contemporary Pueblo These are stripped down, unornamented Pueblos without posts, beams, or vigas. Territorial Pueblo. Corners are square instead of rounded. Windows are framed with straight wooden moldings.

Planning a move? Looking for a New Home? Are you creating your Southwestern Dream Home? This is the place to look for ideas and information to help you build your ideal home. When looking for a Realtor to help you in your search for property, or for that perfect home, we can help.

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