What are Latillas?

Latillas in a ramada

Latillas are the crosspieces placed between vigas. Southwestern homes many times make use of rustic vigas to support the ceiling. Vigas may be structural or simply decorative. Across the vigas, they are laid in a straight or sometimes a herringbone pattern.

Latillas can be made of small branches from a tree, usually one to four inches in diameter. The branches must be straight and sturdy, and are hand selected to be similar in size and characteristics. After the branches are hand chosen, they are hand peeled and bundled together for delivery.

Latillas are hand selected
Sahuaro ribs, the skeletal structure of a dead sahuaro, are also used. The pieces are bundled together after being selected and cut for relative uniformity.

These same structural details are useful in the creation of rustic ramadas and patios. The unique characteristics displayed by the natural wood create interest and variety. Try accomplishing that kind of individuality from metal poles and sheet aluminum!

In the Southwest, you can find companies that create these unique rustic structural details in many towns and cities. Lumber companies often create these unusual items, or many times they are able to order them for a homeowner.

Sahuaro ribs
We found one such supplier in Tucson: The Old Pueblo Adobe Company. According to our builder, these are the most affordable latillas you can find in town.

There are similar suppliers in Albuquerque, Deming and Santa Fe, so if you’re in the market, simply search for a local company that can help you out.

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