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As Lumber Prices Rise, Consider a Rammed Earth Home 

Posted by on Apr 27, 2021 in Las Cruces, Rammed Earth | 0 comments

A rammed earth home in the middle of construction

The skyrocketing cost of lumber has many custom home builders struggling to keep prices down or even holding back construction. Inventory is low across the country. Homes are snatched up as soon as they hit the market, leaving many prospective and hungry home buyers unsure of how to proceed. So what options do you have if you’re looking for a home in this unprecedented climate? 

You can look for alternative materials — like rammed earth— that provide you with more bang for your buck!

Let’s take a closer look. 

The Rising Cost of Lumber and Other Home Building Materials in 2021 

In more ways than one, the housing market tends to mirror movements and trends in the supply chains, culture, and overall economy. A home reflects the lifestyle, values, and priorities of modern homeowners. And there has been a lot of hustle and bustle lately in real estate — especially since the start of the pandemic when interest rates dropped to record lows and demand for homes shot sky-high. So as homes flew off the market, buyers searched for ways to take advantage of the low-interest rates, but low inventory and disrupted supply chains have impacted people’s ability to do so.

Lumber Prices Rise to Unprecedented Highs

One hot topic making the rounds in real estate and homebuilder circles — as well as among consumers and homebuyers — is the lumber shortage and its exorbitant prices. According to various sources, the cost of building a home in 2021 has risen by an average of $24,o00 and this trend is largely a result of rising lumber prices. 

Business Insider reported the following:

  • Lumber costs rose up to 200% in the past year
  • Homebuilders have had to adjust their prices, passing them on to the consumer

What Caused the Lumber Cost Spike? 

The rise in lumber costs did not occur overnight. It has been a slow working trend for at least a decade. The National Association of Home Builders reported a 30% rise in lumber after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. That year, the price of the material was already at an all-time high. In April of 2020, some reports said lumber prices went up by 130%, which has consequently caused the price of single-family homes to rise as well. 

Factors that have had an impact on the rising prices include:

  • Tariffs imposed in previous administrations
  • Renegotiating of NAFTA in 2017
  • Higher U.S. import duties on Canadian lumber
  • Chaos in the market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • A drove of DIYers and Weekend Warriors stuck at home searching for lumber for home projects and remodels
  • Disruptions to production during the height of the pandemic 
  • And foresting restrictions over the years

When the country was in full panic mode, many industries had to shut down due to safety concerns. Lumber mills were no exception, and they did close their doors temporarily, which worsened the situation as demand increased.

How Much Lumber Does a Typical Home Need?

Homes today are built with interior wood framing. They are often referred to as “stick-built” because the pieces of wood are thin and relatively narrow. 

Home-building wood comes in four basic types that include framing studs, sheathing, plates, and headers. An average single-family dwelling of about 2,000 square feet — depending on the style — could typically expect lumber to compose about ⅓ of the costs of all materials. 

A home this size will use about: 

  • 16,000 board feet of lumber
  • 6,000 square feet of structural panels

History indicates that as traditional options run out, people will search out other options or alternatives. Using different and innovative materials can help offset this increased cost. 

The Law of Supply and Demand — The Quest for Wood

The concept of supply and demand is nothing new. It’s the universal law of economics that drives economic growth and innovation in all industries. Because interest rates remain low for now, there is still enough interest in home buying, which is keeping demand high. The question is, what will happen when things stabilize and prices adjust but people have forked over thousands more on homes that may not recuperate that value? 

What is the Future Forecast for Custom Home Prices and Home-Building Materials?

Experts are watching the trends closely. The pandemic has now begun to turn a corner and industries are returning to some normalcy. Yet, it is still uncertain when lumber prices might finally take a break from their relentless climb. People are finding themselves paying a mark-up price for a material that will not hold the same value in a few years. 

Rammed Earth: The Alternative Material That Offers Timeless Benefits 

One of the benefits of living in the Southwestern United States is that the climate is such that it allows for different types of building materials. And yet rammed earth is not a new invention. It has been around for thousands of years, thereby proving its longevity and resilience. It can be seen in such structures as the famous Alhambra castle in Spain, which still stands today. 

Rammed earth has inherent value because it is:

  • Energy efficient
  • Environmentally friendly 
  • Low maintenance

While a rammed earth home might still use some lumber and other various wooden materials, it offers an entirely different panorama of benefits that have captured the attention of home buyers looking for an alternative and a new form of custom home building.

For Your Custom Home, Find a Material That Never Stops Giving 

Villa Custom Homes has been the leading rammed earth custom home builder in the region for decades. We build homes all across New Mexico and the Las Cruces area. Not only has the rammed earth material gained popularity because it offers a gorgeous and earthy feel, but it also provides natural energy efficiency, reliability, and beauty.

Find the right alternative without sacrificing your vision of a dream home. Contact Villa Custom Homes today and learn what’s possible with rammed earth.

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The Changing Tide of Custom Home Builders: A Look at Trends for 2021 

Posted by on Feb 8, 2021 in Home Builder, Las Cruces | 0 comments

History has a way of changing the course of things. As economies and consumer habits change, so do industries, markets, and culture. Every generation has a moment of no return.  These historic moments often happen quickly—prompted by unforeseen circumstances—while others occur gradually, as a result of cultural or political change. 

Since the early 20th century, major events have shaped the way we operate and do business.  The year 2020 was a pivotal moment for the country and—like every industry—the real estate and housing industries have seen their fair share of changes. All while proving just how robust these industries are. One thing that remains the same, people need a place to live. Even with uncertainty abound, people seek comfort in the investment of a home that will serve their family for a long time to come. So what is the future of custom building and how has home design changed since the start of the pandemic?

The pandemic changed where and how we live. There is a migration happening in the country right now that is shifting populations and changing some of the previously hot markets. In 2020, people were not only bunkered down in their homes, but they were also—in many instances—forced to turn their homes into offices, schools, daycares, studios, conference rooms, etc. 

People living in cramped apartments with no space are making the move to the suburbs or smaller towns, establishing their home. Larger metropolitan areas might see their populations spread out, given the work-from-home-model. It is the normalization of work-from-home that might have a tremendous impact on the future of home building and custom homes. 

Rammed earth in construction for a custom home

Trends Hitting the Markets for New Builds and Custom Homes 

Before the year 2020 rolled around, trends in custom home building were already heading in a different direction. The luxuryand the up-scale trend were slowly shifting to a more space-conscious, energy-efficient, and minimalist approach to the much-sought-after entry-level home. And yet, there have been some changes in the way people think about their homes from the beginning of 2020 to the start of 2021, including:

  • Exploring new neighborhoods. The advantage of working from home means that people no longer have to settle for a home in an area that doesn’t represent their lifestyle. Some data seems to suggest that people are moving from jam-packed cities and choosing a more suburban approach, although the overarching pattern of this is still to be seen. 
  • Evolving home designs. The changing trends are nuanced and not black and white. Many continue to seek the economical single-family home with modest spaces but want the shared spaces or home offices. Others are seeking bigger homes that will accommodate the needs of the work-at-home generation with added-on amenities and backyard space. 

The Changes in Custom Design 

The custom home industry has always had a slower pace of change. Over the last few decades, some of the biggest changes include the integration of green building techniques, better insulation, and quality materials like foam insulation, passive solar design, radiant heat, and efficient HVAC systems. Homebuilders across the country have suggested that the changes in 2020 can spearhead various changes in the custom home industry

In a recent post, we discussed the reasons why the custom home building was the way to go during a period of change. 2020 has led people to seek their residential dreams and see the home they live in as an investment towards the future where everything else seems uncertain. 

As a predominantly Southwestern home builder, we have seen people in the region invest in their homes as a way to secure something that will provide them with comfort and the amenities they need for today’s lifestyle. As a builder in the Las Cruces area, Villa Custom Homes knows that many interested homeowners are searching for more space, land, and a home that will stand the test of time. 

A Southwestern Style Home for the New Decade 

The Southwestern style has a lot to offer people looking for a simple kind of life or a more extravagant custom build. Villa Custom Homes builds homes of all sizes. We’ve built homes ranging from 900 square feet to homes that include a home gym, saunas, steam rooms, offices, and home theaters as well as fabulous casitas! We build rammed earth homes that not only display the earthy and rustic look that people love, but it provides the energy efficiency and solid feel of longevity needed in an uncertain world

Mix the traditional with the modern in a home that is built with characteristic Pueblo Revival and Southwestern-style home features—like natural materials, vigas, latillas, wood, brick, or flagstone floors, natural colors, round-edged walls, and Cantera stone—and modern amenities like efficient HVAC systems, smart lighting, open layouts, and more. 

Ready for the Home of a Lifetime? Live with Style & Comfort in a Custom Built Home

Life is short. It seems that the real estate market reflects that people have learned that and are hoping to fulfill their residential dreams. Here at Villa Custom Homes, we build the home that is right for you. Connect with us today and see why we stand out from other home builders.

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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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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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The Modern Earthy Elements For Your 21st Century Custom Home

Posted by on Feb 17, 2020 in Home Builder, Las Cruces | 0 comments

a beautiful Villa Custom Home made from rammed earthHomebuilding and decor will always carry elements of past and present. Designers and architects look at the trends of the past and use them to create new patterns and trends while evoking fashions of times past. Villa Custom Homes specializes in custom design and building unique visions. Yet, there are often beloved features that homeowners seek during a specific period of time. The 21st century home trends seem to be defined by a tribute to past, open spaces, natural elements, earthy and minimalist styles. We thought we’d take a look at some of these more closely. 

The Pre-War Home and Changing Trends 

If you look at homes that were built before the 1950s, you’ll likely recognize certain features that have since then been somewhat abandoned, or at least modified. Homes built between 1890 and 1940 are referred to as pre-war homes and many displayed elements of colonial New England style. While charming in their own way, these homes now possess some characteristics that the modern family might deem a little antiquated. Common features of the pre-war home include:

  • Closed floor plans: Pre-war homes were known to have cozy kitchens that often had a doorway that led into the living room or the dining room. 
  • Hardwood floors: These floors were especially popular during the pre-war era and continue to be a favorite today.
  • Fireplaces: Another feature often found in prewar homes included the fireplace, as this was largely before central heating. Families had fireplaces as a necessity. 
  • Compact two-story layouts. Many pre-war homes were a two-story home that had a very compact design with long hallways and individual rooms, not many open spaces. 

The Road to Minimalism and Modern Earthy Styles

The homes of the Southwest have always had their defining features. Most people would recognize them if they saw them, even if they are not from the area. In Las Cruces, New Mexico, we see a great allegiance to the traditional adobe and stucco homes. Here at Villa Custom Homes, we specialize in building rammed earth homes, as they are actually far more long-lasting than traditional adobe. From afar, the style is often confused and used interchangeably. 

The 21st century has seen a recurrence of certain design patterns in homebuilding. These include:

  • Open floor layout: Since the post-war home building, people have preferred a more open floor layout. This means that there are far more shared spaces in the home and rooms “spill into” each other, creating a far more welcoming and inviting open space. 
  • Big elegant windows: One design request we see a lot includes larger windows that allow for natural lighting and plenty of sunshine. 
  • Neutral and earthy: A modern aesthetic in any home will most likely include far more neutral colors and effects. The 2000s have so far been dominated by the idea of keeping things neutral and evoking the earth element in the home. 
  • Energy efficiency: It wouldn’t be the 21st century if it didn’t have the phrase “energy efficient” in there somewhere. Today’s homes are concerned with energy efficiency and conserving energy as much as possible. 
  • Rustic features with a contemporary touch. Many homeowners have fallen in love with the concept of evoking rustic or vintage features in a way that is new and refreshing. 

The Prominence of Simplicity and Functionality 

There is a movement in 21st-century homes to make things simple and yet increase functionality. It is a delicate balance, however, because simple does not mean sterile and empty. In many ways, a good modern design incorporates elements from the past, uses them sparingly and has minimal decoration to highlight spaces, lighting fixtures, and subtle shine through. A good designer finds this balance between beauty and functionality. 

How We Create Modern 21st Century Classics 

A modern classic might seem like an oxymoron, but a Villa Custom Home so often has a fusion of what is known as the classic Southwestern Style with the spark and sleek design of modern features. The Villa Custom Homes motto is to build the client’s vision. Yet, our approach to home building is very much one of the 21st century as we adopt the design and architectural elements of the traditional Southwest style and modify it to be simple and functional for the modern family. 

Pueblo-style homes built out of rammed earth or adobe are a great way to combat the region’s climate. Prominent features that make our homes stand out include:

Rammed earth. Villa Custom Homes is the only experienced and specialized rammed earth builder in town. A home constructed out of rammed earth will always offer the utmost performance in terms of longevity, energy efficiency, and comfort. 

Wooden Features. The beautiful wood material can be used as decorative or structural elements. These might include such desired features such as posts, corbels, and vigas. Using a combination of modern light fixtures and wooden beams in the ceilings—also known as vigas— is a sought after design in our homes. 

Other common features of the Southwest style include:

  • Thick, round-edged walls
  • Earthy materials 
  • Natural colors for the interior and exterior
  • Wooden roof beams 
  • Flat or gently sloping roofs
  • Brick, flagstone, or wood floors
  • Cantera stone features

Build Into the Future With Villa Custom Homes

Your home is a statement of past and present. Villa Custom Homes works closely with our clients to ensure that we are fulfilling their vision and constructing a home that will become a modern classic. Our homes are inspired by a beauty from past and present, as well as earthy materials, all to create a home of optimal comfort and performance. 

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