Ranch Style Houses — a true Western heritage — are built out, not up. Constructed at ground level, ranch houses originated in California to take advantage of the balmy weather and outdoor living. The ranch-house layout rose to distinction just after World War II during the baby boom. Though the first ranch house design is attributed to Cliff May and was built in 1932 in San Diego, California, the design soon flourished throughout the United States. Tract home and subdivisions that sprang up to accommodate the growth boom that the country underwent during the late 1940s used May’s ranch style house design ideas because of its appeal and construction ease.
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Shapes of Ranch Style Houses
Though the shape of the ranch house has evolved since its first design, most ranch houses follow a U-, a V- or L-configuration, with the hallway usually facing the rear exterior of the home. The design was simple, with a large open space for the living, dining and kitchen area typically converging in the middle of the house, separating the master suite from the second and third bedrooms. Some homes had the garages attached, while others have a detached garage. In the U- and V-shaped designs, the house looked out onto a courtyard in the backyard.
Average Square Footage
Early ranch homes ranged from 1,108 to just over 1,500 square feet, usually with three bedrooms, sometimes four, with 1 1/2 to two bathrooms. In ranch houses following a straight configuration, the kitchen, dining and living area was at one end of the house, with the bedrooms at the other, running roughly 22 feet wide by 48 feet long, with a carport or garage at the end near the open living area, which equals 1,056 square feet.
As father of the California Ranch Style Houses, May married the elements from his Hispanic heritage — the Hacienda — and a typical Western ranch house with influence from modernism architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright, which led to lots of glass to bring the outdoors in. In an average ranch-style home, expect at minimum a 16-foot-long master bedroom, his-and-her closets and a dressing table in the master suite’s bathroom. Bedrooms were smaller by comparison, averaging 10-by-10 feet. Kitchens featured built-in breakfast bars next to the living and dining area outfitted with exposed beam ceilings. Exteriors included redwood siding and 2-foot, 6-inch overhanging eaves.
A scaled-down version of the 1,056-square-foot Cliff May ranch house had a 16-by-10 foot, 8-inch master bedroom and two 10-foot, 10-inch-by-10-foot, 8-inch bedrooms that hold two twin beds and a smaller bedroom or den at 10 feet, 6 inches by 8 feet, 4 inches. A 17-foot, 8-inch-by-7-feet, 8-inch kitchen buffeted a 10-foot, 8-inch-by-10-foot, 6-inch dining room. A 15-foot, 8-inch-by-13 foot, 8-inch living room adjoined the dining room and part of the kitchen.