Embracing Your Rambler

If there is a home that defines suburbia in America – it would be the Ranch home. Also known Western Ranch or California Rambler, these homes can be found in almost every part of the United States.


Ranch homes are known for several features:

  • Single story
  • Low pitched gable roof
  • Deep-set eaves
  • Horizontal, rambling layout: Long, narrow, and low to the ground
  • Rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped design
  • Large windows: double-hung, sliding, and picture
  • Sliding glass doors leading out to patio
  • Simple floor plans
  • Built from natural materials: Oak floors, wood or brick exterior

The style is credited to architect Cliff May – who build the first ranch-style home in San Diego, California in 1932.

Cliff May Homes

After World War II, the homes’ simple and economical features were the perfect solution for soldiers returning home and their families.

The style got a bad rap for some time, thanks to the sheer number of ranches that were built. Developers started modernizing the ranch in the 50s and 60s with Eichler Homes and Alexander Homes in California.

Eichler Home from ApartmentTherapy

If you’re looking for a home that is ideal for space indoors and out, and has a great sense of openness, ranches or ramblers may be for you. The style features an efficient use of space and few interior walls. The L- or U-shaped floor plans and typical sliding glass doors enable you to have great flow from your home to a patio or deck.


When decorating a rambler, look for items that bring a more natural feel indoors. Natural fabrics and light colors complement wood and stone in the home. Furniture made from wood is often a better choice than a sleek, modern design.

1 Response
  1. Amy from China Shepherdess

    Great post. I love reading about the history of homes like these. Wish my modest little house had a bit of the flair that these do.

Leave a Reply