Last month, we covered the features that define the Chalet and Farmhouse styles, and last year we discussed what makes a home a Lodge. While these are all popular log home styles, the Ranch-style is perhaps the most iconic log home style of all. Although the term has been used to describe many different types of housing, we feel that a REAL™ Log Home is the right way to do a ranch.
The ranch originated in the American Southwest in the 17th century, and thus was influenced by the conditions found there. The houses were constructed of natural materials, most often adobe but wood logs or siding were used if locally available. Since it was easier to build out than up, the buildings were only one story tall. Roof pitch was low, since rain was scarce and snow rare, while the eaves were wide to provide shade to the windows and walls. The thick adobe or wood walls provided the thermal mass necessary to buffer the hot days and cool winter nights.
Later, in the post-World War 2 building boom, a new style of ranch emerged. Initially called a “rambler” or California ranch, this house was not a style so much as a catch-all description for single-story houses. Buyers and homebuilders liked the style, since it could be adapted to the floorplan desired by the owner. In the 1960s this type of ranch went out of style, but is starting to make a comeback.
While any one-story house may be called a ranch today, we’re partial to the traditional definition. The side-gable design is great for a traditional ranch, while a large central cross-gable is a popular modern touch that nicely complements the style. The cross-gable usually accommodates large windows that are a hallmark of a ranch. Vaulted ceilings are traditional, and of course log roof rafters are both great to look at and an authentic ranch detail.
Open floor plans are another customary detail, and one easily accommodated by the design of a REAL Log Home. Since the style evolved from working ranch homes centuries ago, the ranch should also have modest decoration. Log walls are great in this role as well, providing an appealing appearance while maintaining a rustic charm. And in these days of higher energy bills and environmental awareness, today’s homeowner will appreciate the thermal mass of log walls as much as the vaqueros of centuries ago.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this discussion of the Ranch Log Home. If you’re looking to build your own Real Log Home ranch, please contact us.