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:
I have been looking to install a viga ceiling in my living room with real wood beams and so far have not found anyone in Orange County California that can install them.
Hi Thomas, sorry that you can’t find a company to install your viga beams. With California’s Spanish history, you’d think there would be some company out there. The only thing we could think of is to contact someone in Arizona or New Mexico and maybe they might have a lead for you. Good luck!
The coved ceiling between the beams is exactly what I’ve been looking for. A feast for the eyes and inspiration.
DecorDiva, we’re so happy this was helpful for you. Stay tuned, we’re working on collections of unique SW lighting and fixtures, as well as adobe benches.
They are all so beautiful it is impossible to choose a favorite.
ChileSage, we couldn’t agree more. Viga ceilings are as iconic to the Southwest as the saguaro cactus … and what we’re positive you’re a fan of – chiles! 🙂
I am always on the lookout for collections like these for southwest interior design ideas. The beams with coved plaster between are a unique shape and gorgeous in their simplicity. Looking forward to your next decor post.
Barbara, we’re working on SW lighting and sconces, and also a collection of adobe benches. If you have any suggestions of decor you’d like to see, pls feel free to let us know. Thanks!
Loved the decor collections of southwestern doors and adobe buildings. These ceilings are fascinating and I had not realized so many were painted. I would love to see your collection of southwestern lighting fixtures and gardening ideas. Thank you!
Grace, it’s amazing what you see when you start to look UP! The variety of ceilings and vigas are amazing. We’re in love with Southwestern design and are working on a collection of lighting & sconces, and adobe benches So stay tuned!
These decor collections are marvelous and also helpful. We are forwarding them to friends who are building an adobe, they are always looking for ideas and options they might not have thought of. Painting the viga ceiling in the kitchen white or cream would really lighten up the room for them. Can’t wait to see what you focus on next. Thanks!
Carmen, we’re so glad these are helpful, and please keep us posted on the progress of their adobe. How exciting!