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The Ranch home style is a long, low brick house rambling and sprawling over a large grassy yard. These houses are the architectural expression of the American love affair with the automobile. A one, two or three-car garage is normally attached to the home, facing the street. A large driveway replaces the pedestrian sidewalk. The backyard patio becomes the preferred open-air living space, instead of a front or side porch. Exterior detail is de-emphasized, though cast iron columns, decorative shutters, and picture windows are popular. Inside, ceilings are low and woodwork minimal.

This style originated in California in the 30's and was loosely based on the low, long Spanich Colonial ranches of the West. The Ranch house style is one of the most common Contemporary, American house styles. It was still peaking in the 70's.

Sheltered parking for the family car no longer required a separate out-building. A carport, open on three sides, was attached to the side of the house. It has been said that the two most important things to American men are their cars and their home. The Ranch house perfectly justifies this maxim. The main home entrance is through the garage door, into the kitchen.

One distinctive feature of the Ranch style is the picture windows with its charactéristic horizontal, three part composition. The central section consists of one large, fixed pane of glass which provides an espansive "picture" of the scenery. This central window is flanked on each side by narrow sidelights, which often open and shut to allow for ventilation. The picture window, typically located in the living room, is often ornamented with decorative shutters.

Lacy wrought iron and cast iron columns are popular supports for garages and entrances. Designs including grapes, flowers, ivy vines and geometric shapes are incorporated into the mass-produced metal work. The use of iron columns is a subtle allusion to the Spanish home style origins of the Ranch home style.

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