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BellaOnline's Southwest USA Editor

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Spanish Style Decorating With Wood Beams

Guest Author - Debra Conrad

Using Beams In Southwest Style Homes

In a recent article:Southwest Style Decorating Even If You Don't Live In The Southwest the use of wood beams and corbels was discussed. Several questions have been raised about the use of beams and corbels in Spanish Style Homes. And... Just what is a Corbel?

First... let's define Corbel. Wikipedia.org suggests that corbels are internal structural supports or brackets. These can be made of stone or wood and are either decorative or rather plain.

In Spanish Designed homes the beams and corbels are usually hand hewn and rustic in nature. Homes of the rich may have had beams and corbels that were decoratively carved, but still with a hand made character about them.

Picture credit: http://www.davidcpeterson.com

The addition of wooden beams and corbels in existing homes is an expense that can be budgeted by using fake or faux wood non-supporting architectural accents. These products are available online by searching for faux wood beams.

Southwest Latillas Adobe Building Supplies

Southwest designed homes will often have an exposed beam like structure that resembles logs. These logs are called Vigas and they are derived from Native American architecture.

You may see these Vigas with a twig like facing on the ceiling. These twigs or branches covering the ceiling are called Latillas.

The Latillas and Vigas are hand peeled with a knife for an effect that can not be duplicated by machine.

Many times in new construction you will see the latillas laid out in a chevron design... which adds more interest to the ceiling.... as if it weren't already interesting enough!

Picture Credit: http://www.abslumber.com/index.htmlP

Many old hacienda style homes featured a traditional header or lintel beam over an opening... such as a door, window or pass-through.

Spanish Style BeamsMany old hacienda style homes featured a traditional header or lintel beam over an opening... such as a door, window or pass-through.

This beam spans the opening over a door or window and is supported by structural posts, not the window or door. It is often exposed in Spanish or Southwest architecture.

These beams are sometimes wider than the upright support structure or opening... and are more than just a decorative element. They actually are used to support the wall structure above the opening.

Depending on other architectural elements in the structure... these can be either rustic or decoratively carved. Always stain to match the existing wood accents in the rest of the home.

The use of wide wood window sills is a popular addition. Weather a sill is tiled or made of wood... it is a beautiful addition to the architecture and is designed for ease of cleaning. As homes of this style are often constructed with porous wall coverings... window sills can become embedded with dust and dirt easily... unless you make use of easy to clean sills.

Picture credit: http://www.davidcpeterson.com

Hacienda Style Beams

Exterior use of posts and corbels is always a popular choice in Spanish Designed Homes.

Along with an exterior covering of aged plaster effects... a rustic post and corbel patio structure is an added bonus.

As you can see... a corbel (or bracket) is needed to not only add support for heavy beams... but also creates an esthetically pleasing continuation from post too beam.

Picture Credit: http://www.abslumber.com/index.htmlP

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Content copyright © 2014 by Debra Conrad. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debra Conrad. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Karm Holladay for details.

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