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How much do adobe style houses cost per square foot (approximately)?

Imagine being able to build a 400-suare foot tiny house for $25,000. Or an 800-square foot bungalow for $50,000. Or a stately, two-floor, 3500-square foot home for under $300,000.

Adobe houses can be built very inexpensively. Owner-built adobe houses—this means, owners who do all the hard work of ramming clay into a frame themselves—can cost as little as $55 per square foot, with the incorporation of recycled materials. Contractors who build adobe houses are not easy to find outside of Arizona and New Mexico, but they would typically charge about $85 a square foot. The only sticking point for building an adobe style house is making sure your work meets all local building codes.

Are there adobe style floor plans with a detached garage?  Is it possible?

Anyone can build a detached garage if local building codes permit. There are adobe style floor plans that include a detached garage built in the same style as the house.

Does an adobe style house usually come with a garage?

Believe it or not, abode style homes don’t still come with stables for your horses (although stables certainly could be incorporated into your plans). But almost all modern adobe style house plans include a garage, either attached or detached.  

Is adobe style considered a grand or luxury style of home?  Is the style used for mansions or normally regular-sized homes?

Adobe construction has been a traditional building style in the American Southwest for hundreds of years. If you were to visit pueblos in northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona, you could find examples of humble homes built with amazing attention to detail that fit naturally into their environment.

But visit Santa Fe or Scottsdale and you can find luxury adobe homes. There are adobe homes with two and even three floors. Some adobe homes include cool, private courtyards behind adobe walls. There are adobe homes of up to 12,000 square feet (although you would have to get plans for homes of that size directly from the architect). And there’s nothing about building an adobe style home that keeps you from putting in a pool, a tennis court, or a guest house.

Is adobe style ever built as a “small” home?  Can it be built economically?

There is no such thing as a small adobe home, or an adobe home of any size, that can be put on a trailer bed and wheels. But there are certainly small adobe homes.

If you drive the back roads of New Mexico, you will encounter old adobe homes with walls two feet thick surrounding just 150 square feet of floor space in a single room. It’s not hard to find commercial plans for adobe homes of one story, one bedroom, one bathroom, and an attached garage with 300 square feet of living space.

Can adobe style floor plans be open concept?

Open concept living is compatible with the adobe style. It’s not hard to find plans for an adobe style home with a great room that opens to the kitchen and dining area. But the real openness in adobe style homes is usually the patio space. A patio is a natural addition to an adobe style home. Patios don’t count as heated space, of course, but they add tremendously to living space in the sunny, warm climates where adobe homes are especially popular.

What are some popular adobe style exterior colors?

Adobe style homes don’t have to be finished in off-white stucco anymore. Many adobe style homes are painted in earth tones. After all, adobe is earth. Golden brown tones often work for adobe style homes. But so do muted forest greens and sky blues with tile accents. And south of the border in Old Mexico you can find adobe style homes, entire towns of them, painted in bright orange, pink, red, and purple. Your neighbors might take exception to a vibrant color scheme if you build your adobe style home in the United States.

Can you build an adobe style house on a narrow lot?  

It takes a little extra effort, but you can find plans for adobe style homes that fit narrow or irregularly shaped lots. These designs may incorporate arches to give the illusion of breadth and use railings and other details to draw attention away from the narrow yard to the beautiful adobe style house.

Can this style be built on a wide lot?

A wide lot is a natural fit to an adobe style home. The rear of the home can have a covered portico or even a narrow courtyard with a lap pool. Using an open floor plan for the living, dining, entertainment, and kitchen areas avoids the need for long connecting corridors.

Can adobe style homes be built on a sloping lot?

There are two ways to build an adobe style home on a sloping lot. One is to invest a lot of money into excavation and retaining walls. The other is to use an ingenious adobe style home building plan that incorporates multiple levels of the home into the natural slope of the lot.

Steep lots give home builders the opportunity to include a walkout basement or a drive-under garage. They offer an excuse to include more windows than is normal for an adobe style home, allowing each level to have its own natural lighting. And most adobe style homes on sloping lots will have lots of patio space to take advantage of level building areas. You will have to look a little harder to find plans for your adobe style home on a sloping lot, but commercial plans are available.

How many floors/stories does adobe style usually have?

The traditional adobe style home has one floor, but modern adobe style home building plans are available in two- and three-story designs.

Do adobe style houses have a basement?

After Native Americans did all the hard work of digging clay to make adobe, they didn’t also want to spend time and effort digging out a cellar. Basements are a twenty-first century addition to adobe style home design, primarily to make maximum use of narrow, sloping lots. It is possible add a basement to an adobe style house. It just isn’t common.

Does this style of house ever come with a bonus room?

Are you looking for a hobby room, home office space, a children’s play area, a nursery, a mother-in-law (or father-in-law) suite, a media room, a home school or Zoom room, or maybe just some extra storage? A bonus room really is just an unfinished space, at least at the time you are planning your home. It isn’t something that is normally labeled as a “bonus room” in adobe style home building plans. But you can always look for plans with one more bedroom than you believe you will need and use the extra bedroom as your bonus room.

Do adobe style floor plans come with energy efficient options?

If you are looking for a style of building with a low carbon footprint and high energy efficiency, you can’t go wrong with an adobe home. Adobe homes are built from locally sourced clay, sand, and straw. There is no need to truck building materials from hundreds of thousands of miles away. And once the home is built, the thick walls make it wonderfully energy efficient all year round. Use double or triple paned windows for even greater energy efficiency.

Is a porch a common design feature with adobe style houses?

Adobe style homes typically have patios, not porches, although covered patios are popular.

What types of roof does adobe style house typically have?

With adobe style houses, the major choice in roofing is between flat and sloping. The decision is made on the basis of expected rainfall and snowfall and how easy (or hard) it will be to keep water from pooling on the roof. Since the roof of an adobe style home is not usually visible from the street, it is not unusual to use cheaper roofing materials, like tar. But consider installing a rooftop patio to increase your living space and to shelter your home from summer heat.

Does adobe style work well with a rustic interior decor?  Or is it more suited to a contemporary interior?

In Mexico, there is a chain of furniture stores catering to adobe homeowners called Rustica Decorativa. Rustic interior décor is a natural match for adobe homes. But intricate carvings, weavings, and carpets on tile floors can make even rustic decoration beautiful.