The Ranch style is one of the most ubiquitous icons of American life. The origins of the ranch style include influences of the Spanish Colonial working ranches and the California bungalow. The goal was an open floor plan that provided an easy living, unpretentious home to accommodate the modern American lifestyle.
Design elements of the earlier Prairie style with its long, low profile and innate elegance are easily seen in the broad eaves and low-pitched, hipped roofs of many ranches.
Early ranch-style homes were custom affairs, designed by noted architects including such luminaries as Cliff May, who popularized the form through his book, Western Ranch Houses.
During the 1950s, with a booming economy and exploding population, the ranch was adapted to tract home production in the burgeoning suburbs. Initially a classic, clean style built of natural, local materials, it inevitably declined in quality after 1970 as more unsustainable building practices and materials were adopted.
Though typically quite simple, traditional embellishments were used sometimes used to "dress them up." Scalloped trim and dovecotes, for example, are seen on ranches during the late 40s and 1950s, when "Early American" styling was also common.
Today, the ranch style is enjoying a resurgence in popularity and restoration. It's easy to see why ... it shares many of the same easy living features as the enormously popular bungalow style.
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