Cliff May, a young Californian, is the designer who is responsible for the Ranch house explosion in the late 1940s/early 1950s. He published a book, Western Ranch Houses that caught on like wildfire. Ranch housing. It sounds so fifties, doesn’t it? So quaint and, well, obsolete. They are everywhere, to the point of anonymity. Not much springs to mind when hearing the phrase—pointing out how invisible this style of housing is. It’s a style that was most commonly bought right after World War II. Numerous vets dreamed the American dream, and that dream included a Ranch house. To the children growing up in the houses, however, the Ranch symbolized the darker side of the American dream—conformity and social mores.
Nowadays, however, the lure of the Ranch house is evident. More to the point, the lure of the Ranch house communities. Trees, convenient location, easy access to the city—these things can’t be built overnight. In addition, as Americans spend more time at the office and less time at home, it makes sense to buy a house that doesn’t require much upkeep. A Ranch is perfect for those who don’t have the time, money or desire to tackles a fixer-upper.
A Ranch is not flashy as, say, a Spanish Mission. It is easy to look at a Ranch and dismiss it outright. The quality cannot always be seen by the casual observer, but it’s there, nonetheless. They are solidly constructed with exemplary craftsmanship, making it easy to renovate or reconstruct. In addition, it has a free-flowing feel to it as it spreads out as far as it desires. The original Ranches were built for the technophile in mind, which fits perfectly with the latter generation of Ranch owners. They find they can adapt the house to their needs with little effort. Another selling point of the Ranch—flexibility. The owner has the luxury of adding his or her personal stamp to the house. Ah, satisfaction.