Ranch Style House Plans
Ranch house plans - one story, long, low, patio- or courtyard-oriented designs - developed in the late 1920s and early 1930s and were inspired by historic early California haciendas and ranchos in places like San Diego and Monterey with their open "corredors" or exterior hallways connecting major rooms. The ranch house style of architecture was popularized by designers like Cliff May in Southern California (see my Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House, by Daniel P. Gregory, published by Rizzoli, 2008) and architects like William Wurster in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1930s and 1940s whose ranch houses were widely published in magazines like Sunset and House Beautiful. The modern ranch house became the dominant American home style during the 1950s and 1960s as suburban developments proliferated across the country. Ranch houses combine rustic elements like board and batten or stucco siding, wood overhangs, and simple gable roofs with modern features like open plans and expansive window walls -- often with sliding doors opening to patios. Ranch house plans usually rest on slab foundations, which eliminates the need for steps down to the garden and adds to the sense that house and lot are extensions of each other. Famous high style examples of the mid-century modern ranch house include Eichler homes, Frank Lloyd Wright's "Usonian" houses, and many examples in the Case Study House Program sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine.
Full disclosure: my new book Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House (Rizzoli) - this is Dan Gregory writing -- uses new and archival photography to showcase May's work. Realtors Doug and Rochelle Kramer share their expertise about Cliff May's tract ranch houses on their website www.ranchostyle.com. A major exhibition titled "Carefree California: Cliff May and the Romance of the Ranch" runs February 26 through June 17, 2012, at the University Art Museum at the university of california at Santa Barbara, (805)893-7564, uam.ucsb.edu. Other ranch house resources are www.cliffmayregistry.com; and www.lottaliving.com/. A related one-story mid-century modern courtyard-oriented house type is the Eichler, prevalent in Northern and Southern California (www.eichlernetwork.com). Architects across the country adapted the suburban ranch house idea during the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.