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Pouring on the Ranch

Slate magazine takes a peek at how California became the birthplace of the ranch house, a style said to have been invented in 1932 by San Diego architect Cliff May. As it turns out, we love us some ranch for two very good reasons: the homes solved the dilemma of where to put the television (in the rec room) and the car (the lower floor of a split level was cheaper than an attached carport). But the ranch didn't last. By the 1980s, California's Proposition 13, "which required developers to pay for their own infrastructure, had made land much more expensive," caused builders to return to building two-story houses. "No one builds ranch houses or split-levels anymore," concludes the author. "Picture windows and carports are gone, and so are breezeways. Home buyers' affair with modernistic design is over."
· The Ranch House Anomaly [Slate]