Book on Ranch Houses
This book describes the myriad possibilities for turning the low-lying brick fortress of old into a truly grand and contemporary space.
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By Jennifer Sergent
Updating Ranches: Design Ideas for Renovating, Remodeling and Building New, by M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman (Taunton Press, $29.95)
Ranch houses, or ramblers--as they are more derisively known--are everywhere. As a product of the post-World War II construction boom that was inspired more by assembly lines than craftsmanship, they are not generally honored as a design triumph.
But Updating Ranches makes many excellent points that are worth remembering when you're on a house hunt: they are generally located in close-in suburbs, giving them a desirable location; their bland style makes them a perfect blank slate for updating and improving; and their open plans fit today's casual, multifunctional living style.
The book--the latest in Taunton's "Updating Classic America" series--opens with a dubious contention that "the Ranch has not only survived; it's on its way to timelessness."
The statement becomes more believable, however, after 200 pages of photographs, blueprints and narrative describe the myriad possibilities for turning the low-lying brick fortress of old into a truly grand and contemporary space.
(Home Bookshelf is an occasional feature that excerpts advice from a new how-to book.)