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A Natural Dwelling Place: History of Pueblo Revival Architecture in the Southwest 

Posted by on Aug 10, 2020 in Home Builder, Las Cruces | 0 comments

If you talk to any architecture aficionado—particularly in the Southwest—you are likely to hear about the beloved Pueblo Revival style that is prominent in the area. Many of the homes across the region—in Las Cruces or Albuquerque, all the way out to Arizona, and even some of West Texas—are inspired by elements from this charming style. Architecture nerds (we mean that in the nicest way possible ) might also point out that Pueblo-style architecture is one of the few major styles actually born in America. 

We all know it when we see it. We recognize it as we drive by, but how did this style emerge and what is its history? How come it continues to be a popular inspiration for modern homes? Well, read along to find out more! 

Here at Villa Custom Homes, we are a versatile builder that is known to implement a variety of architectural styles and designs. Because of our geographical location, however, we see a lot of Southwest-inspired homes that utilize the materials and layouts of the Pueblo Revival. 

Who Were the Pueblo People? — A Quick Overview of the American Indian Tribes

As one of the oldest cultures in the nation, the Pueblo Indians occupied what is now the Southwestern United States. They are said to be derived from three major cultures including Mogollon, Hohokam, and Ancient Puebloans, with some of their histories tracing back almost 7,000 years.  The name is Spanish translates to “village.” They were named as such because of their style of dwelling. The ancient Puebloans were hunter-gatherers and nomads who slowly settled into a more stationary life in the regions of modern-day Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.

As these peoples settled down in what is now known as the Four Corners region, they developed advanced agricultural skills, maximizing the arid landscape to grow maize, corn, squash, and beans. They also raised turkeys and were quite apt at developing complex irrigation systems. They had great basket weaving and pottery making abilities as well. They were great builders of quaint little dwellings that composed the villages in which they lived. They usually built on top of high mesas or in hollowed-out caves and were designed with stone or adobe masonry were the first iterations of the later Pueblo people. 

After the early Puebloan peoples’ way of life declined in the 1300s, their descendants continued to flourish in the area. They hunted, farmed, and built the apartment-like structures that they were known for. These multi-dwelling complexes typically housed several families, as each one typically lived in one room. These large structures would often have a wide-open space in the center, a type of shared patio that is quite popular for bigger adobe-inspired homes today.

In the 1500s, Europeans—particularly Spanish colonists—began to explore the area. These Spanish explorers first encountered the Zuni tribe of the Pueblos and slowly made their way across the region. There were, of course, feuds and hostilities between the natives and the incoming European settlers. Even after several clashes, the Spanish kept coming, setting up churches, settling, and spreading Christianity. Many Pueblo Indians were converted, though their lifestyle changed little. There were several insurrections and continued tensions all the way up to the 1800s. In 1821, New Mexico gained independence from Spain but the last revolt of the people happened in 1847. It was a bloody revolt and resulted in the deaths of several Americans and several Indians that were said to have taken part in the revolt. 

The Pueblo people today reside mostly in New Mexico and Arizona. Many continue to practice the Catholic religion spread by the early Spaniards, as well as their ancient religious rites and customs. 

Common Features of the Beloved Pueblo Revival Style

The Pueblo people were known for building their beautiful multi-story, often-conjoined complexes where entire communities would settle. In the early 20th century, the Pueblo Revival style became quite prominent in the Southwestern United States. Some of the quintessential features include vigas, wooden structural features and beams, latillas, rounded corners, and smooth stucco surfaces or rammed earth materials.  

The early dwelling had to be built to withstand hot and dry climates. As such, the natives always used local materials including dried-clay mixtures. Adobe walls also tend to be quite thick, in order to maintain temperature control. Smaller windows were usually seen to keep out excessive sunlight. Today’s modern pueblo-revival homes, of course, have a fusion of modernity and traditional pueblo features that makes the homes apt for the modern family. 

Today’s Pueblo Revival is known as a fusion of Pueblo-style dwelling with some Spanish influence. As the Spanish settled in the area, they brought some of their architectural styles with them. The style is typically defined with some of the following features:

  • Flat roofs
  • Earth-tone stucco-covered exterior
  • Natural materials like adobe or rammed earth
  • Stepped massing
  • Irregular finishes 
  • Wood/Clay details
  • Simple or smaller windows
  • Narrow covered porches 
  • Rounded corners and edges

Adapt Your Pueblo Revival Home to the 21st Century With a Custom Home Builder

Whether you are looking to build a full-fledged Pueblo-style home or simply want to implement some Southwestern flair, Villa Custom Homes is here to design your beautiful home. Have questions? Call us today. 

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For Love of Building: The Custom Home Building Process

Posted by on Jun 5, 2020 in Home Builder, Las Cruces | 0 comments

Famous architects and builders might have some name recognition but it’s not nearly at the level of famous artists or musicians. Somehow, these visionary minds are not always household names. There’s a few, perhaps, that have reached that level. And yet, the work of many of these architects affects our lives in a much more real way than, say, Picasso. That’s because, over time, the ideas and visions of architects have been adopted into common design or modified and molded to inhabit the very living spaces that provide us shelter every day. Here at Villa Custom Homes, we are inspired by the building process and the way that visions come to life. It’s why we love doing what we do. 

When it comes to Southwest style homes, the design features are relatively well-known and common across the board. You have your pueblo-style features, vigas, wood features, wood floors, concrete floors. From rammed earth construction to Venetian plaster to faux finish, Vigas, and Latillas. Most people would recognize a Southwest style home as such if they drove by it. 

And with the many homes we work on every year, we find that the process itself is fulfilling and a great part of our job. As the old saying goes, it is the journey, not the destination.

It All Begins With a Conversation

Custom home building is a journey for both the builder and soon-to-be homeowner of a brand-spanking-new home. And it all begins with a conversation. Because just like so many brilliant ideas in human history—like penicillin, corn flakes, and the slinky (all accidental inventions)—the beauty and brilliance of your home begin as a kernel of an idea. So we discuss both the technical stuff and the fun stuff. That is, we go over design themes, major features you’re looking for, style, material, as well as budget, timeframe, and price. Another plus is Villa Custom Homes is a cost-plus and fixed fee builder. 

Then, the fun begins. This is when we get to create, build, and bring what was once a possibility, a maybe, a “one day” dream, into the real world. 

Phase 1: Preparation, Construction Site, and Foundation

Depending on the materials you have chosen for your home and whether you are building rammed earth home or not, we need to make sure that the land is ready to be built on. This also depends on the condition of your lot. Using a skid steer, loader, or heavier equipment, the ground crew will clear the site of rocks, debris, and trees. The crew will also clear everything for the septic system if need be. The site is then leveled and wooden forms are also put up for the foundation. The first phase is all about getting started on the right foot and setting the right path to follow. So we have the floor systems, walls, and roof systems set up. Then, plumbing infrastructure and the concrete is poured and cured. 

Some of this may not apply if your home is rammed earth, as this type of construction is a little different. There is still the use of some wooden form, but once the soil is poured and packed, that can be removed. What you are left with is an incredible and form-lasing structure that will stand the test of time, weather, and more. After all, the Great Wall of China was built using rammed earth, so your house will be incredibly sturdy. 

Phase 2: Complete Plumbing, Electrical HVAC

Once the shell or skeleton of the house is up, then it’s time for the second layer of fun stuff that is your pipes, electrical work, and the heating and cooling system. This phase includes the pipes and wires, sewer lines and vents, water supply lines, ductwork, HVAC vent pipes, and more. 

Phase 3: Siding and Roofing

At this point, it begins to really take shape but still seems pretty unrecognizable to the final plans. 

Phase 4: Installing Insulation

Again, this depends on what kind of material your home is, but you will more than likely be getting some insulation. We might use fiberglass, cellulose 0r foam. Insulation, of course, will play a major part in creating a comfortable and consistent indoor climate. Also, it will save you money on energy.

Phase 5: Complete Drywall

Any needed drywall is hung and taped and the texturing is completed. You’ll have the primer coat of paint also applied here.

Phase 6: Interior Fixtures

Now we’re getting to the fun stuff, as the final product is almost done. You’ll have interior doors, window sills, door casings, and decorative trim installed along with your choice of cabinets, vanities, and fireplace. Then, you’ll have any hard surface flooring, countertops, and more. 

Phase 7: Final Details

This includes mirrors, shower doors, flooring, and any outside landscape. We’re almost getting to the end here. 

Walk Through Your Vision Brought to Life

The final walkthrough is always an exciting time for most homeowners. This is when you get to see the final product in its final stage almost ready to be lived in. 

Get the Right Build With Villa Custom Homes

From the ground up, we love to watch as our houses grow from an idea and a conversation to reality. Villa Custom Homes are focused on quality and longevity. Our rammed earth homes or wood frame homes are one of a kind and built using a precision process. Every detail matters. Ready to see your home come to life? Give us a call today. 

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A Guide to Choosing the Right Custom Home Builder For You 

Posted by on Apr 14, 2020 in Home Builder, Las Cruces | 0 comments

If you’re reading this in April of 2020, your life is probably somewhat different than it was two months ago. The world is going through changes thanks to an unprecedented virus that has gripped the world. And yet, the world keeps turning and here at Villa Custom Homes, we’re doing our best to stay on course and continue building beautiful homes for our clients. So we thought we might put together a short guide on some things to keep in mind when looking for your custom home builder. 

Consider the Role of the Custom Home Builder 

First of all, you’ll likely be having quite a few conversations and meetings with your custom home builder, so it’s good to understand what our role is and how you can make the most of your experience. Building a home is a large investment and one that you should not exactly take lightly. You’ll likely be working with a custom home builder anywhere from 6 to 12 months, depending on several factors. For this reason, clear communication and trust are key elements. 

So what is our role?

  • A custom home builder will talk to the customer and figure out their vision, their doubts, their budget, and even some of the questions they may have regarding the building process itself, how we work, materials we use, etc. A big part of any builder’s role is to make sure that you understand the process and how things will progress. Transparency is key.  
  • A custom home builder will also handle any contracting and subcontracting. Most builders have contractors or workers they know and trust to do their work for them. As a customer, make sure to ask your builder about this. Find out who they work with and how they work with the subcontractors.  
  • Builders will also aid in the design and development of the home. Some builders have in-house designers that help clients improve on or alter any design changes they may need. Special requests—in terms of architectural designs, materials, etc—are also discussed.  
  • The custom home builder and/or designer will take care of obtaining the necessary permits for building. The builder also acts as a go-between for the inspectors, governing jurisdictions, and the design team if necessary.  
  • Most custom home builders will ensure that all materials are high quality, are checked, and are what the client requested if applied.  
  • The builder will oversee and manage all aspects of the home building, as well as monitor the cost of the project. This includes ensuring all permits are approved and current all while keeping you up to date with any changes.  
  • The builder and their designer will also take care of final inspections, ensuring there are no building deficiencies. 

What to Look For In a Builder

There are plenty of builders out there but it’s important for you to find the one that will best fit your needs. There are a couple of things to look for in a builder, including:

  • Their past work
    • Most builders will have a repertoire of work they have completed in the past. A simple internet search can help you in getting to know a builder and the style of homes or kind of building they do. Many times, builders will have specialties or signature characteristics that characterize their homes. Here at Villa Custom Homes, for example, we do a lot of rammed earth homes and Southwestern style architecture. 
    • Also, check past work of similar scope or style. If you want to get more specific, take a look at projects that might be of similar size and scope. If you’re looking for a bigger home build, you want to make sure you have hired a builder that can take on a large-scale project, has the right contractors and is able to design a beautiful large-scale home.  
  • Communication
    • As mentioned above, you will be working with your builder anywhere from 6 to 8 months, so it’s important for you to work with someone you can communicate with. Take some time to ensure your builder is able to communicate all the necessary information and process as well.  
  • Their building process
    • When it comes to engaging in a custom home building project, you want to make sure you understand the process and how the builder works. Ask about their particular process, their time frame, etc. Knowing how the builder works from the beginning and understanding their workflow will put you at ease throughout the process.  
  • Talk to past customers
    • In today’s world of interconnectedness, it is not difficult to find people that have used a business or reviewed a business. If possible, try to talk to people that have worked with a builder in the past. Get their insight. Ask them questions about their satisfaction level. This might provide you some good additional research. 

The Villa Custom Home Promise

Here at Villa Custom Homes, we not only specialize in Southwestern style homes but we also do a lot of home renovations and additions. Our unique skill sets allow us to build both conventionally with wood frame and also many alternative construction methods like Adobe, ICF, and of course, Rammed Earth. This has made us incredibly versatile over the years in our ability to adapt and accommodate the client and their needs and vision. 

When it comes to budgeting, we are one hundred percent transparent as to what you are paying for, the cost of materials, cost of subcontractors, and more. You don’t have to worry about surprise fees or hidden fees. 

Finally, our rammed earth homes are not only a specialty in the Southwest but they take a considerable amount of experience and understanding to build correctly. Part of our name and legacy lies in the fact that we understand how to build long-lasting homes made of Earth’s most naturally abundant material. We also utilize many authentic building materials and features such as wooden posts, vigas, latillas, corbels, cantera stone, and many more. Ready to take the first step towards building your dream home? Then give Judd, at Villa Custom Homes a call, today!

 

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