What Is an Adobe Style House?

Dori Wittrig May 11, 2023


You’ve probably heard the term adobe before, especially if you live in the Southwest or Arizona or are a fan of design and architecture. But do you understand what it actually means? We’ll break it out below.
Home with Pueblo-Style inspired accents
At its most basic, the term “adobe” refers to the method of constructing Pueblo-style homes rather than the architectural style itself. Adobe is a type of dried mud brick that is usually formed from compacted sand, clay, and straw (or grass) that has been combined with water and baked in the sun. This building material has deep roots in desert environments in the Southwest and the Middle East. While the original method of making adobe bricks required months of sun drying, modern building materials designed to mimic the look and appeal are frequently kiln-dried and reinforced with asphalt, lime, or cement to make them stronger and more water-resistant.

History of Adobe Homes

Modern adobe-style homes, often known as Pueblo-style dwellings, are designed to resemble traditional architecture popularized by indigenous peoples in the American Southwest. The style’s origins can be traced back to 800 AD, when the indigenous Pueblo people used the technology to construct long-lasting dwellings. They made use of local resources and protected them from dramatic temperature variations. The materials used to construct these dwellings were capable of absorbing heat during the day and slowly releasing it into the interior of the home at night, keeping people comfortable.
Beehive shape fireplace tucked into the corner.

Features of an Adobe-Style Home

Adobe-style homes began with a distinctive circular shape but quickly evolved to include the rectangular boxed façade we’re more familiar with today. Many of the same aesthetic features are still present today, though construction has been slightly updated to accommodate modern conveniences and building codes.
Homes built in the Adobe or Pueblo architectural styles typically have a flat roof, rounded corners, and an earthy exterior color (commonly variations of cream, tan, yellow, or pink). A lot of these homes also frequently emphasize the outdoors by including a posh living area or an internal courtyard where residents may connect with nature.
Wood beams and natural finishes
Inside, Adobe-style homes focus on a blend of form and function. Foregoing pricier finishes like molding and trim in favor of simplicity and natural elements that will patina beautifully with time. Wood, tile, brick, and other natural finishes are common, with square windows set deep into clay or plaster-covered walls, forming a ledge. Perhaps unexpectedly given the desert region. Fireplaces are also commonly seen, often with a beehive shape tucked into the corner, creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Exposed wooden beams overhead (also known as vigas) offer an architectural aspect to the area and are sometimes one of the first features copied in reproduction Adobe- or Pueblo-style homes.

Work With Us

You want a personal real estate advisor with a commitment to excellence and innovative strategies.