In our last post about Southwestern Decor, we talked about the wonderful adobe homes and structures that are found throughout the Southwestern United States. As iconic as Adobe is, the inside of those homes are even more impressive when adorned with Viga beams. Viga beams (sometimes known as Vega, with an ‘e’), are commonly associated with Adobe structures – large, cracked logs spanning the width of the home and poking their ends out at either side. Viga beams, though beautiful in their natural wood state, can also make quite the statement when paired with a white-washed tongue and groove ceiling, painted an accent color (you’ll notice that we’ve seen some green ones on our travels!), or even stained a much darker hue to really highlight their show-stopper qualities.
A little bit of fact finding will have you learning that Engleman Spruce and Pine are the two most commonly used types of wood for Viga beams. Engleman spruce is used in the construction and serves two purposes: one, those types of evergreen usually grow very straight and tall and are known to be very structurally supportive and two, they are also known to get those beautiful deep, but not damaging, cracks that can give a home some character. Pine is more commonly used as it is a very accessible wood. Sadly, newer building codes mean that the Viga beams you see in new construction homes are most likely ornamental. We’ve come to love the look and feel of the antique Viga beams in some of our favorite places, like the Mable Dodge House in Taos or The Oldest House in Santa Fe.
Below we’ve collected some more of our favorite antique Viga beams that have withstood the test of time and still manage to make an impression: