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What is a Territorial Style Home?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

A territorial style home is a type of house that is most common in the Southwestern United States, particularly New Mexico. The territorial style is similar to other Southwestern styles, such as the Pueblo style and Santa Fe style, and many homes are actually a blend of the various styles. A territorial style home typically is a one-story building with a flat roof; smooth stucco, plaster or adobe walls; trim that is made of brick on certain parts of the home and wood on other parts; sidelights on each side of the front door; and other distinctive features.

Features and Details

Territorial style homes may have plaster walls.
Territorial style homes may have plaster walls.

Territorial style homes have some traditional Southwestern style features, such as the use of adobe or similar materials. Adobe is a natural building material made of sun-dried clay and straw bricks. Stucco or plaster also can be used to mimic the look of adobe. The territorial style also uses the Pueblo style flat roof and vigas, which are wooden beams that support the ceiling. The vigas' ends usually are exposed on the exterior of a territorial style home.

A territorial style of home usually has more wood showing on the exterior than a traditional Pueblo style of home. Turned wood posts, called portales, add support to territorial porches. Unlike the characteristically unadorned, simple windows of Pueblo style adobe homes, territorial windows often have elaborate, dark wooden trim. The wood trim of the doors and windows might be painted in a territorial style home. The front door might be painted a beautiful, bold color, such as a vivid blue.

Differences in Comparison with Similar Styles

The biggest difference between territorial architecture and other Southwestern styles is the shape of the lines used in these designs. Pueblo style and Santa Fe style homes have rounded corners and edges, but territorial style homes have straight corners and edges. Southwestern home styles usually include parapets, or roof-top walls, but only territorial style homes typically have brick trim along the parapets.

The outer walls of a territorial style home are usually smooth stucco or adobe, rather than the rough textures of some similar styles. The front door usually is flanked by lights. Wrought-iron gates and courtyards are also popular in territorial design. Earthy colors that blend with the Southwestern landscape are often used in territorial interiors and exteriors. These colors include reddish browns, sandy yellows and turquoise blues.

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    • Territorial style homes may have plaster walls.
      By: robcartorres
      Territorial style homes may have plaster walls.