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california ranch house

California Ranch 1932–1970

by Patricia Poore on June 4, 2009

in House Styles

Also called the Western Ranch or the early Ranch, these modern houses architect-designed, built for casual family living and an outdoors lifestyle.

We’re talking here about a deliberate new style of residential architecture—not the tract houses of a generation later. California architect Cliff May (1909–1989) is credited with the first modern Ranch, built in an Diego in 1932. Consciously interpreting the ranchos of the mid-19th century, May was one of many notable post-Arts and Crafts architects. A prolific designer and promoter, May sold the style that he himself called “the early California ranch house” throughout the West. He spoke not only about the architectural form, but also about the casual, family-oriented culture of the early (Mexican) Californians, whose gallant hospitality was legendary. Working in tandem with landscape architects, May designed low houses that followed the contours of the land, enclosing a courtyard or patio with carefully planned views of nature. Floor plans were open, always with a family room. By the mid-‘30s, his ranch houses had been published by Sunset magazine and nationally.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary Adkins August 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm

I hope you can help direct me to some examples of Ranch style home that have or have been given a Arts and Craft make over. We are looking at a Ranch style 70s home that I hate hate hate but love the property. Could you direct me to some help. I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED ARTS & CRAFTS HOMES.

2 S. I. Howe August 31, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I have the same issue as the previous comment of Mary Adkins. Moved into a 70s ranch, love the property but want to update the style to a Arts and Craft because it already has some of the stone and siding that are indicative of A&C homes. Maybe a pergola or columns of some sort. Help!

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