Ranches and Mid Century Modern



cliff may western ranch

For those who like copy, here are some great books and websites on ranch style houses and MCM design.  If you live in the Madison area you’re in luck.  All these books are available in our library system!

Houses for a New World: Builders and Buyers in American Suburbs 1945-1965, by Barbara Miller Lane

A thorough study of  tract housing in mid 20th century.  Lane estimate that in the two decades after World War II, “more than thirteen million of these predominantly ranch and split-level houses” went up, all over the country and, by 1970, more than 20 percent of the US populations lived in them.

Full of contemporary advertising, floor plans and interviews with first homeowners, this really gave me some insight into the first families to own the homes in the Midvale Heights neighborhood and how they viewed the world.

Atomic Ranch: MidCentury Interiors by Michelle Gringeri-Brown, photos by Jim Brown

Some truly stunning examples of updating and preserving architectural gems of the Atomic Age.   These houses are all much more dramatic and flamboyant variants of the ranch form than my humble 1952 tract house but they still provide some valuable insight into the style of the time  … and are just plain stunning eye candy.

Also check out their website: atomic-ranch.com and magazine!

Ranches: Design Ideas for Renovating Remodeling, and Building New by M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman

Originally published in 2003, the “updates” in this book are now getting a touch dated in style – a lot of sculptural drywall and art glass – but there are some good layout improvements and some GREAT analysis of the original ranch form and style.