With its archetypal open plan and reverence of indoor-outdoor living, the Ranch house is at the very heart of the California dream. When we picture California Ranch houses--the low-slung, informal dwellings that engulfed suburbs after World War II--we are thinking of just one part of a phenomenon that has its roots in early-nineteenth-century ranchos, and which continues today in houses that are startling and up-to-the-minute. Examples of the type have been called ranchos, ranchers, and California ramblers. They have been styled Spanish, Japanese, and French; Monterey and International; Vernacular, Minimalist, and Modernist. From the 1797 Rancho Los Alamitos of Long Beach to such contemporary homes as the Miller Residence of Corte Madera, Ranch Houses unveils the great variety and the very finest examples of this multifaceted form. Including the work of such architectural luminaries as Cliff May, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, and Charles Moore, Ranch Houses is an essential resource for architects, home owners, and all those who aspire to the indoor/outdoor lifestyle that is the California Dream.
Lucia Howard and David Weingarten are principals at Ace Architects in Oakland. Weingarten has authored several design books, including Bay Area Style. Joe Fletcher is an architectural photographer who regularly contributes to Dwell, the San Francisco Chronicle, and California Home + Design. He is the photographer for Rizzoli's Cliff May and the Modern Ranch House.