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The Roots of Earth Construction: Why Adobe and Rammed Earth Architecture is Seeing a Resurgence 

Posted by on Aug 16, 2021 in Las Cruces NM, Rammed Earth | 0 comments

The Southwestern United States is unlike any other part of the country. It has unique characteristics that create the well-known southwestern flavor. Aside from its desert landscapes, breath-taking sunsets, succulent cactus, and plant life, the Southwest also offers a flourishing earth construction movement inspired by the traditions of the Pueblo Indians, Spanish settlers, and others. So what is earth construction and how does it implement various building and architectural traditions?

Here, at Villa Custom Homes, we have written a lot about what we do and what sets us apart from other home builders in the area. Not only do we specialize in earth construction with rammed earth homes but we implement both traditional, modern, and smart home technologies to create living quarters that are sustainable while never compromising style and beauty. 

Let’s take a deep dive into the idea of earth construction and how it has changed over the last few decades. 

Using the Earth’s Natural Materials to Build Homes

Human dwellings have seen considerable advancements since the days of our ancestors and their hunting and gathering way of life. When humans were killing buffalo with spears and wearing loincloths, building shelters was not practical as people had to follow herds and animals. As civilizations advanced, shelters became of utmost concern. The Romans, for example, were one of the first advanced civilizations to use rammed earth techniques. The style traveled to France and Spain. So when Spanish settlers came to the modern-day southwestern United States, they brought these ideas, although earth construction was already a tradition here. 

Pueblo Indians used the soil and dry clay mixtures as building materials as well.  The Spanish settlers, however, brought Moorish influences that further changed how the architecture of the area would be developed. 

The Alhambra castle in Granada, Spain, for example, was built in the 10th century by the Moors and described by poets as “a pearl set in emeralds.” The castle/fortress complex still stands today. 

Using Adobe Bricks to Characterize the Southwestern Style 

The use of adobe bricks would become a significant advancement in the construction of the Southwest United States. In the 1930s and 40s, adobe bricks were used in the construction of southwestern buildings, but this method of construction slowed down right before World War II.

Common load-bearing masonry used in this country includes adobe and rammed earth. As concern over sustainable building and resources rises, materials like adobe and rammed earth are being further analyzed as worthy materials to consider for the building of homes and smaller structures. The building of these homes uses far less if any fossil fuels and no industrial processing. 

What is Rammed Earth Construction? 

What happens when you compress and dry a natural sandy mixture? You get an incredibly formidable material known as rammed earth! Think of rammed earth as a permanent, re-constituted rock that is often reinforced with beams, concrete, or other materials. Rammed earth, unlike a lot of adobe construction, is resilient even in rainy parts of the world, as it could withstand both dry and humid environments.

Characteristics of Rammed Earth Structures and Walls 

This building material has several unique characteristics that set it apart:

  • This type of building is inherently environmentally suited. The walls are resistant against outside temperature and will resist the heat during the day and the cold at night. They have what is known as a 12-hour temperature cycle or the flywheel effect, which takes in heat in the day and releasing it at night when it gets cooler.
  • Rammed earth walls are thick and might vary from 18 inches to 24 inches
  • The thick walls of rammed earth homes add to the coziness and warmth of the structure 
  • The walls of rammed earth have a great thermal mass
  • Walls are extremely fire resistant since there are no flammable components
  • The walls of rammed earth homes do not invite rodents, bugs, termites, or any unwanted critters

Rammed Earth in the Modern World and the 21st Century 

Rammed earth homes continue to be relatively rare, although they’ve garnered more and more attention as people seek alternative materials. So, despite the fact that using clay, soil, and dirt as building materials has been used for thousands of years, there is nothing old-fashioned about it. The versatility available with using this material is seen in more and more nuanced architectural forms. 

The Southwest is ahead of the rest of the country in implementing these building techniques in modern ways, without compromising luxury, beauty, or style. 

Bringing the Truth About Earth Construction Home

Earth construction is inherently more robust and sustainable than other materials. Earth construction proved time and time again in history that it could withstand the demands of harsh conditions, but it has to be done correctly. 

At Villa Custom Homes, we are the leading experts in rammed earth and adobe building in the Southwest. View some of the homes that we have built across New Mexico. 

Want to find out more? Call us today and learn how getting a custom-built rammed earth home can be the decision that changes your life!

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The Most Lucrative Home Improvement Ventures and Why 2021 is the Year for Home Remodeling 

Posted by on Jun 8, 2021 in Kitchen Remodeling, Las Cruces NM | 0 comments

There’s been a lot of talk about the changing real estate market since COVID-19 hit. You’ve likely heard of these trends and, as a homeowner, have been paying close attention. People in the industry went from fearing a steep decline in home sales to being overwhelmed with demand and a shortage of inventory. Homebuilders saw increased interest in demand for new homes as interest rates dropped and things seemed quite uncertain. 

A year into the pandemic—although thankfully now at its tail end—the housing market continues to portray some very interesting behavior. Despite high costs of materials and suffered job losses, homes continue to fly off the lots and folks continue to search for the home that tugs at their heartstrings. This has led many homeowners to consider selling their home, while increased time spent indoors, has led homeowners to search for better ways to improve their home and increase its value. 

So What are the Popular Home Remodels in 2021?

As homeowners lingered at home, working from their kitchen tables, teaching their kids from the living room couch, having movie nights at home, they began to wonder about how to make the home more functional for a changed way of life. And while people’s lives will return to some semblance of normalcy, home designers have seen some changing trends reflect these realities. For example, according to Marketwatch, some of the changing trends include:

A shift away from solely open floor plans

Open floor plans are still popular and the desire for shared spaces continues to some degree, but there is a demand now for dedicated spaces, such as home offices, wall additions that add privacy to a room, etc. This is to accommodate the rising trend of working from home and distanced learning. 

A little more outdoor livin’

Being cooped up led homeowners to wonder how they could make better use of their outdoor space. Interest in home gardens, flower beds, landscaping, patios, fire pits, and other outside accommodations increased during the past year. Installing decks, patios, and outside spaces was a way for homeowners to open up their homes to the outdoors and improve comfort. 

Kitchen or bathroom upgrade

These are the renovations that never go out of style, as kitchens and bathrooms are always the most popular renovation projects for homeowners. Whether it is minor renovations or full-scale remodeling, adding cabinet space, kitchen islands, or reworking the kitchen layout is always a good way to invest back into your home. 

Southwestern-Style Remodels — Make the Most out of Your Living Space 

Here, at Villa Custom Home, we specialize in Southwestern-style homes, particularly rammed earth homes. We are accustomed to and specialize in using more earthy materials and energy-efficient designs that allow for maximizing the Southern New Mexico climate, using natural lighting, rammed earth building material, and drawing from traditional Pueblo-style architectural design to enhance the property. 

Building techniques in this part of the country are different and utilize different principles than many traditional home builders. A Southwestern-style home will often have asymmetrical floor plans, for example, as it accommodates and curves with the land. Many Pueblo-revival-style homes also have a slight preference for modular spaces and high ceilings. 

Popular remodels and home additions for Southwest design include:

  • Adding tile and brick floors
  • Covered and semi-covered outdoor spaces
  • Building outdoor living spaces including fire pits, porches, and more

Does Remodeling My Home Make Financial Sense?

This all depends on the purpose of the remodel and the kind of remodel. In most cases, a remodeling project always has some financial benefit (although a homeowner might not see it until a few years down the road when they sell the home.) According to a National Association of Realtors report from 2019, homeowners say the most important reason for remodeling is functionality and livability. 

So it very much depends on a few questions:

  • Are the remodels with the intent of selling the home?
  • Are the remodels aimed to better accommodate your lifestyle?
  • Does the remodel have the intention to beautify the house for a future sale?

As we’ve discussed, materials for home building such as lumber are rising. This makes people question whether it is time to remodel. Home renovations, however, can be an option to increase your resale value and prepare for getting the most bang for your buck. 

Considering the Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment on home renovations can vary and will depend on various factors. With the active market and hot seller’s market that seems to be the case in a lot of parts of the country, it’s quite possible you’ll get more ROI than is usual.

As Realtor.com estimates, home prices will remain relatively high, at about 5.7% above 2020 levels, and accelerating at the end of the year. According to the U.S. census information, there were 863,000 new houses sold in April of 2021 with 316,000 new homes for sale. The demand for homes is there and homebuyers seem to be willing to go into bidding wars over some of the inventory. 

Thinking about Renovations or Remodeling? Make the Right Move with Villa Custom Homes

As a custom home builder, we know all about remodeling to people’s likes and tastes. Whether you are going for something uniquely Southwestern or a renovation that blends in perfectly with your home. Villa Custom Homes knows how to build it right. 

Interested in a home remodel or home renovation? Call Villa Custom Homes today and learn about the kind of work we can do for your home!

 

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Home Addition Ideas To Improve Your Home

Posted by on Oct 30, 2019 in Home Builder, Las Cruces NM | 0 comments

Couple Facing Custom Kitchen Drawing Gradating To Photo.

Sometimes, the home you buy just isn’t enough. Life changes, families grow, and suddenly the space in your home doesn’t quite cut it anymore. At Villa Custom Homes, we specialize in creating custom homes, but we also love to build the best home additions in New Mexico. If you’re in the market for a home addition but aren’t sure how to proceed, check out our handy home addition guide. 

Assessing Your Needs and Budget

Before you pull the trigger on a home addition, you should first assess your true needs. Are you actually in need of the extra space? Or could you get away with a little renovation or remodeling instead? A home addition project typically takes a long time and is a more expensive project than a renovation or remodel, so be sure to assess whether you actually need an entire addition. 

A home addition can range from $40,000 up to $200,000 or more, and there’s no guarantee the money will be recouped at the time of sale. Unlike other home projects, a home addition can’t be undone—explore all of your remodeling and renovation options before deciding on a home addition.

Considering Your Options 

If you’re set on a home addition, then it can be daunting considering all the options. The potential for creativity and personalization are endless, as you’re almost building another section of the house relatively free from constraints. There are several ways that additions can be made:

Single Room Addition

A single room addition is a common home renovation idea but typically isn’t thought of as a true home addition. Most home additions consist of multiple rooms, but a single room addition is still a great way to add space and value to your home. A mudroom, new entertainment space, or guest room are all common single-room additions. 

Basement/Attic Space

Adding to a basement or attic space is a great way to add space and style to your home without disrupting more central elements of your home. Create a new gym, workspace, or entertainment room with an expanded basement or attic. 

Sunroom 

While a sunroom can be a beautiful addition (especially in Las Cruces), it typically doesn’t recover as much value as other types of home additions. Nonetheless, a tasteful sunroom can add style and natural light to your home. 

Adding A Second Story

The most valuable and expansive home addition, on average, is adding a second story to a home. Adding a second story allows for the most creativity in design since the room layout and use can be determined based on exactly what you want. A second story addition is the most expensive and time-consuming addition project, though, so proper planning is crucial to a smooth experience. 

Of course, there are many more ways to complete a home addition, so plenty of research is needed before you settle on a design. Our experts can walk you through all the possible options for your home so you make the best decision. 

Trust Villa Custom Homes With Your Home Addition Project 

If you’re looking for expert designers and craftsmen for your home addition or simply have more questions, contact Villa Custom Homes today! Whether it’s a remodel, home addition, or brand new home, you can trust that we will get the job done right!

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The Secrets to Successfully Remodeling Your Kitchen

Posted by on Jun 30, 2019 in Kitchen Remodeling, Las Cruces NM | 0 comments

kitchen remodeling

As far as the rooms of the house go, the kitchen is by far the most important one. It’s where we cook dinner, where we store our food, and where we create lifelong memories. A kitchen is something to be proud of, it’s the heart of the home, after all! So if your kitchen doesn’t elicit any positive thoughts, then it may be time to consider remodeling it. Perhaps the terms “remodel” or “renovation” create a tinge of fear in the back of your mind. Maybe you’ve seen your fair share of kitchen remodeling disasters. 

Well, we’re here to let you know that there’s nothing to worry about. All you need to do is hire a reliable kitchen remodeling team that bring your dream kitchen to life. This is where Villa Custom Homes comes into play. In addition to designing and building rammed earth homes, we also specialize in kitchen remodeling services! Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to create pure kitchen perfection. 

Strive for a Functional Kitchen 

Remodeling any room of the home is incredibly fun, mostly because of the unbridled freedom such a task provides. But it’s necessary to not get carried away on flights of fancy. Your new kitchen should be as functional as possible. Let’s say, for example, that you want to expand your kitchen space. This may seem all well and good but imagine if you’re cooking something and the final ingredient is in the fridge, which is much further away than before. Sure, it may look more open being so spread out but you must remember to maintain a sense of functionality in your kitchen. We will draft an efficient layout for your new kitchen so you won’t have to waste time and energy whenever you use your kitchen.

Keep Storage, Cabinets, and Countertop Space in Mind 

It always seems as if there isn’t enough room or space in the kitchen, no matter how organized you are. Well, now’s your chance to add as many high-quality storage spaces and cabinets as you need. You can also choose to use the best hardware available so opening and closing cabinets will be a cinch. Similarly enough, when you prioritize countertop space, you won’t have to scavenge for the perfect place to slice the ingredients for tonight’s dinner. Now’s your chance to future-proof your kitchen.

Don’t Forget Lighting and Other Aesthetic Choices

Remember, this kitchen renovation is your chance to make your dream kitchen come to life. You can choose to have a beautiful backdrop installed behind your stove, for example. Or perhaps you’d like to have ample lighting so you’ll never have to work in darkness again. Take a look at interior design magazines, start a Pinterest board, or simply watch HGTV to gather inspiration for this project. The sky’s the limit when it comes to remodeling!

Villa Custom Homes is Ready to Bring Your Dream Kitchen to Life

If you’re ready to get started on your kitchen remodel, then give Villa Custom Homes a call. We strive to offer remodeling services of the highest quality to homeowners across the Southwest region.

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