Ranch Stye Home

Ranch Stye Home

The Ranch House (1932-1980)

Identifying features:

  • Asymmetrical one-story design
  • Low-pitched roof, with the hipped version the most common
  • Moderate or wide eave overhang
  • Partially enclosed courtyards or patios
  • Large picture windows
  • Built of local materials (wood, stucco, brick, or stone)
  • Shaped like an L or U and surrounds a patio
  • Large expanses of glass

The Ranch Style, also known as the California Ranch, Texas Ranch or Western Ranch Style, was the ultimate symbol of the postwar American dream: a safe, affordable home promising efficiency and casual living. The style is loosely based on early Spanish Colonial precedents of the American southwest, modified by influences borrowed from Craftsman and Prairie modernism of the early 20th century.

The Ranch Style became become the dominant style throughout the country during the decades of the '50s and '60s. In the 1950s almost any one-story, close-to-the-ground, rambling house was called a California ranch house. With its open kitchen/living area, the ranch was specifically geared to casual entertaining. Having the ability to move freely about the house, without steps, into large private porches and patios from almost every room was living the "good life".  The garage also became an integral part of this house design.

A variation of the Ranch style, the Split Level rose to popularity during the 1950s. This multi-story modification retained the horizontal lines and low-pitched roof of the Ranch house, but added another story in such a way as to create three floor levels of interior space. This addition served to create "quiet" and "noisy" areas that many families in the newly emerged TV area were seeking

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