Adobe ~ Interiors



Native vs. Spanish Style


What Color is that Clay?

Walls & Gates

Paint It Blue!


Adobe homes generally have white plaster walls inside. Some people who build their own homes use the same adobe mud to plaster the inside as the outside, leaving the brown color. In a lot of very modern homes, the walls are finished with natural (buff, tan, etc.) colored plaster to reproduce this effect.

Now that's the "traditional" look - but New Mexico seems to inspire people to be creative and colorful, so you'll see many vivid blue-walled kitchens, bright yellow or deep terra cotta living rooms, and colorful trims.

I have heard that floors were traditionally made by putting down a layer of adobe clay which was then "set" with ox blood, giving a beautiful deep red-brown finish to the floor. To my mind, this must be a Spanish/Mexican import, because I never heard of any ox-herding tribes of Pueblo Indians prior to the arrival of the Spanish. In any case, for that nice red floor, most people these days go for brick or Mexican saltillo tiles, which make a beautiful warm contrast to white walls and gives a very Mexican feel to a home. Wood flooring is also popular, and when combined with wood ceiling beams and door and window lintels, it gives a home a very natural, cozy feeling.

The nature of adobe building allows for imagination, so in many homes you will find niches built into the walls where statuary or pottery can be displayed, as well as built-in benches or interesting stepped dividing walls between rooms and other unique touches. Archways are the rule, rather than doors, and rooms tend to be open to each other.

Kitchens and bathrooms often have painted Mexican tiles as borders on counters and backsplashes, and you will find tiles set into other places around the house as well - sometimes just an individual tile in a wall for an accent. Fireplaces are another popular area for tile.

Navajo rugs and Pueblo pottery are often displayed. Striped Mexican blankets (known to those of us in the low-income bracket as "slipcovers, curtains, rugs, and bed covers") will always be found around. And of course no kitchen is complete without a chile ristra! (Side note: the only people who put cattle skulls on their walls are cowboys and people not from New Mexico). Sun-face plaques and garden statuary are common outdoor decorations (and a chile ristra at the door!). People who put howling coyotes anywhere in their decor are immediately escorted to the Arizona border.

Warm wood floors and doors with a stone fireplace warm up this adobe home

 Niches in the wall are used for displaying items

Red saltillo tile floors contrast beautifully with white walls
Wood & tile fireplace

Wood beams, red tile floor, wood bench, rug displayed on the wall... all typical New Mexico
kitchen tile
Kitchen counter tile
Talavera bathroom sink and tiles
High ceiling with beautiful exposed beams

Archway and saltillo tile floor

No New Mexican in their right mind would decorate a room this way! But apparently this is what magazine editors in NY think New Mexico looks like.

© TreeFeathers 2004