WoodCentral's Book Reviews

by M. Caren Connally and Louis Wasserman

Taunton Press: 2003
Hardcover, 202 pp., $29.95
ISBN 1-56158-437-1

     Fourth in Taunton's new 'Updating Classic America' series (previous titles are: Capes, Bungalows and Colonials), this volume shows the characteristics and modern updates peculiar to the ubiquitous ranch home. The authors point out that in the splurging 1980s, American architecture featured monstrous homes standing alone on large lots, but many home buyers learned to prefer the tight-knit neighborhoods and cul-de-sac community living that ranch homes had given America in the past.
     The Ranch style has now been dusted off and renovated, with kitchen remodels, interior spaces opened up, and back yards becoming primary living areas. "Ranches were built with care," the authors say. "Their quality happens to be concealed within the walls and floor...making them easier to add on to and remodel."
     With mostly flat roofs, split level entries and large yards, classic Ranch homes are sitting ripe for further expansion. Several of these examples show ways the homes have been opened up for more light, interior walls removed to improve traffic flow, or kitchen islands added to improve function.
     Covering everything from entries to windows to rooflines, this volume shows exciting new ideas for an American classic home style. It includes before and after floor plans, a list of sources crediting featured designers and architects, and is fully indexed.

. . . Barb Siddiqui