Don't hate me because I live in a ranch home.

Home improvement Q&A, pictures and news fro Mid Century Modern Homes and Houses(NOT for Real Estate)

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ValleyModern
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Don't hate me because I live in a ranch home.

Postby ValleyModern » Tue Sep 17, 2002 10:16 am

I've seen people refer to ranch homes as the antithesis of modern, most recently Wally Fields in a post about Eichler homes: "and will doubtless sell them and buy Ranch Homes when modernism stops being the flavor of the day." On the contrary, is it not the surge in popularity of modernism that has fueled an interest in post-war ranch homes? After all, the ranch home grew out of California post-war modernism with the work of architects like Cliff May. It may be said, however, that over the years the ranch home "genre" has evolved into something that does its best to disguise its roots in modernism. But surrounded by walls of glass and a smartly designed open floor-plan, I'll bet I could sit Wally on a spare, yet comfortable danish chair and after one or two martinis, have him singing the praises of post-war ranch homes.

otis

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Postby Futura Girl » Tue Sep 17, 2002 12:49 pm

I live in an Eichler and think that Ranch homes are the coolest - especially when they retain their original flavor with formica kitchen counters and Modern style brick pass-thru planters from the entry way to the living room.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Wed Sep 18, 2002 7:53 am

By definition, most Eichlers and other modern homes could (and were) considered "ranch" homes. Most any home that has covered walkways, indoor/outdoor living, single story, built low to the ground with natural materials – fall into Cliff May's definition of a ranch home.

Plus, several magazines from the 50s like Sunset, House & Home, House Beautiful, and others have referred to Eichlers and other modern style homes and modern ranch homes.

Unfortunately, the definition changed in the later 60s and 70s when residential tract home building went down the tubes with quality. The whole story book-ginger bread, birdhouse ornamentation thing didn't help either.

Metropolis Magazine (Apr. 2002) has a good story about ranch homes.

As for Wally Fields, I have not seen this article, but I could show him a few Eichlers by Anshen & Allen and Jones & Emmons that are very close to Cliff May's tract homes in terms of looks, materials, and layout.

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Postby bluecherub » Wed Oct 02, 2002 9:24 am

:roll: I think he did make a minor foopah there! As for "ranch homes" he was probably trying to mean the generic, common and uninspired track homes that were churned out by the thousands after the war! Eichlers are indeed "Post and Beam Mid Century Modern Ranch track homes"! This is most probably the proper specific architectural definition. They are considered Ranch because of their low profile and layout however they are in no way common and uninspired! Now as far as Wally Fields is concerned, I don't think you could ever stop Wally from loving Eichlers. I know the man and he has his esthetic and personal reasons that are set in stone, but he is also an intelligent and flexible person who certainly appreciates all forms of architecture that have "integrity" from Frank Lloyd Wright to Claud Oakland and including Cliff May. I'm sure poor Wally would love a Martini while sitting in a Hans Wegner chair, in fact I have personal experience and know for a fact that he does! I also know that if you get him really drunk that he will still love Eichlers above all and there is not enough Booze in the world that could ever convert him to a Post Modern or Victorian esthetic! What I think he was trying to say was he has fears that the Post Modern philosophy may be overwhelming the ignorant populace, who are doutless fuled by faddisim!

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Wally's reply!

Postby bluecherub » Thu Oct 03, 2002 7:12 am

I was instructed by Wally to quote him by inserting the following:

"Oops! I must say "Open Mouth, Insert Foot...I should have suspected the universe wasn't that simple. I should qualify by saying that every Ranch home I've seen has been generic. This despite the fact that they, too, were inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian homes. These must be the ones you speak of that hide their modernist roots. I didn't know there were any other kind! I should THEN qualify by saying that, of all the 'non-moderist' homes I've seen, Ranch homes are the least 'non'. Perhaps I've been predjuced by the word 'Ranch', conjuring up dreadfull images of Wagon Wheel Fences, etc. The picture is further muddied by my awareness that some have called Eichlers 'Ranch homes'.. I don't get this... but maybe I need a lesson in what truly defines a Ranch Home as Ranch. I've never pretended to be an expert, but perhaps I know even less than I thought! As to your offer to have me sit in a Danish chair in one of the cooler Ranch Homes? well, I'd be honored to do so and be proven wrong!! Sincerely, Wally Fields, Eichlerholic"


8)

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Postby bluecherub » Thu Oct 03, 2002 7:48 am

Lets use the "Wayback Manchine" and look into the history of the Ranch home. It has roots in the old west and prairie style home, the sod homes and Spanish Hacienda with it's low profile and L shaped floor plan. In fact, if you go back far into the past, a Roman villa with it's Atrium and rambling low one story floor plan looks a lot like contemporary ranch homes too. Hell, today the builders are using those stupid Spanish tile roofs all over the place, they are really Roman tile roofs. The Spanish copied them from the Romans who invaded Spain in the 1st century. Why do we even build square rooms? They go back to the dawn of man. The first rude shelter built by Cromagman in Europe about 9 thousand years ago had a square room layout. We have the technology to build any shape room or house we want. We could use Space age Polymers to line our roofs with and make our walls from solid fiberglass! You would never need to paint it and it's would be very light, strong as concrete. Building codes for earthquake or fire would easily be met and if they were produced by assembly line techniques like boats, it would be cheaper than wood. Our forests would be safer from over logging, houses would be free from pests like termites and ants. Home Depot would be put out of business! Building and Safety inspectors and Contractors would have fewer jobs. That's why! :wink:

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Joe
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Ranch Defined

Postby Joe » Fri Oct 04, 2002 8:48 am

Walley: Read the first few pages of Western Ranch Homes by Cliff May and you will understand why an Eichler was called a "ranch" home back in the day.


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