Ranch style encompasses many names – American, Western, or California Ranch. The style got its start in the 1900s and gained popularity in the western United States suburbs. You'll recognize it in older homes with the low pitched gable eaves, wood, brick or stone siding, shutters on the windows, sliding glass doors to the back patio, double front entry doors, and the attached garage that usually leads to the kitchen. All this describes the Southern California house I grew up in.
In recent years, the Ranch style house has been undergoing revitalization. With a trend towards buying existing homes and remodeling them, Ranch style homes are high on the list. As when the style was first introduced the 1930s, homeowners are responding to the style's comfort, flexibility and affordability.
If you are trying to define this style to a set of rules, there really aren't any. Ranch style is more of what you make it. Decorating styles changed often during the years of its popularity. You could say that Ranch style is a native to America as most other styles find their roots in other countries. So a retro approach is a common use of decor for one of these homes.
I remember our house being in a tract house neighborhood; Ranch Style homes were found in the beginning of such, but I can't say that everyone designed the interiors the same. Basically, if you want to stay true to the times, use elements found during those days: linoleum flooring in kitchens and bathrooms, shag or hooked carpeting in living rooms and bedrooms. Use pleated drapes for window coverings with hanging and table lamps for lighting. Furnishings where upholstered in textured materials, bright in colors of greens, browns and oranges, boxed and straight lined. Coffee tables and end tables were made of wood or metal. Everything was consoled; consoled TV, consoled stereo, consoled headboard on the bed.
So if you are buying or remodeling a Ranch style house, consider what is now called Mid-Century Style (retro),Transitional Style or even Country Style, which could easily fit the ranch. Really, I think almost anything that suits you will suit your Ranch Style house.
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