Santa Fe Style – Kiva Fireplaces

Darlene Streit

Next to the adobe structure, one of the most recognizable elements of the Santa Fe style is both indoor and outdoor Kiva fireplaces. Sometimes referred to as “adobe fireplaces,” “beehive fireplaces,” or “pueblo fireplaces,” the Kiva fireplace generally has a curved beehive look and is smooth in appearance.

What is Kiva?

The term Kiva fireplace is believed to come from the historic and spiritual term “kiva” which was a large and generally circular underground room used by Pueblo people, mostly for spiritual ceremonies.
Kivas are considered sacred and private by the Pueblo people and hold an important part of the Pueblo heritage.

Kiva Fireplace

At some point, the term “Kiva fireplace” is believed to have been inspired by Pueblo kivas and Pueblo architecture. This is controversial for some Native Pueblo people who feel the sacred, private, and honored term has been commercialized.
Kiva fireplaces have become a staple of adobe homes in Santa Fe. They can be found in multiple rooms and even outdoors.
While Kiva fireplaces do a great job of heating small rooms, they generally don’t perform well as a sole heat source. That’s why you can find Kiva fireplaces in multiple rooms of Santa Fe homes.

Kiva Fireplace Design

Generally, Kiva fireplaces are found in indoor or outdoor corners of adobe homes. They are tall with a rounded contour that many find similar to a “beehive” or “inverted cone.” The earthly look and smooth contour give Kiva fireplaces a “romantic” look and feel.
Because Santa Fe is an artistic and creative community, many Kiva fireplaces will contain a nichos (art nook) for displaying sculptures or art. Others have recessed shelves. Some Kivas include a connected “bench” or seating area known as a banco.
While many Kiva fireplaces are still made of adobe, some newer ones are covered with stucco or plaster on a wire frame.
In general, Kiva fireplaces are much easier to build than traditional fireplaces. Kiva fireplaces are usually made up of a firebox, a metal face frame, an air intake, a “chimney,” and a thin stucco/plaster/adobe finish.

Kiva Fireplace Videos

The following videos will give you a deeper look into the design, build, and history of Kiva fireplaces.

Inspecting an Old Adobe Fireplace in a Santa Fe Home


— Pictures of Kiva Fireplace Designs


— How to Start a Kiva Fireplace


— Kiva Mural (a beautiful mural painted onto a Kiva fireplace)


— Installation Overview for an Adobelite Kiva Fireplace Kit


— Kiva Fireplace Build

If you’re looking for a beautiful Santa Fe home with a cozy and stunning Kiva fireplace, then call or text Darlene today at 505.920.8001 or email her directly at [email protected].
You can also view her listings on the My Listings page.
Note: The images in this post were from some of Darlene Streit’s listings of homes for sale in Santa Fe.


Enjoy a buying or selling process filled with ease, efficiency, and the depth of experience that only Darlene can provide. Call, text or email today.

Contact Darlene