February 22nd, 2009 § Leave a Comment

A great new resource for design inspiration. Houzz is your online source for finding a design style for your kitchen, patio, living spaces, baths, bedrooms, exterior architecture and more.

Pretty cool source.

The New Ranch House Part 2

January 27th, 2008 § Leave a Comment

The L.A.Times Real Estate Section had a feature on The Ranch, Refined.
Have we come a long way in building a better ranch? Oh yes we have. This Somis residence designed by architect Zoltan Pali, says the structure fundamentally is a country house responding to its setting. “Rural has always been associated with simplicity, sparseness and function,” Pali says. “That is this house. I see it as a simple architectural expression with elements boiled down to their essence.”

The countryside is ever-present in Pali’s free-flowing plan.
Here, the living area naturally leads to the open kitchen.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

14 ft ceilings, clerestory windows, wide open passage ways from one room to the next are my favorite features.

Remodeling the Ranch Style Home

January 20th, 2008 § 3 Comments

The challenge of a Ranch Style kitchen.

The challenge for many who are ready to update the ranch: keep budgetary costs down with minimal structural and mechanical changes while improving the layout of the kitchen. Here are some ideas from my own collection of jobs and from around the net that show small space Ranch Kitchens with maximum impact.
Newspaper ad from 1962.
A new ranch style home for sale

In California, ranch home subdivisions exploded like wild poppies all over the state in the 1960′s and 70′s. Some better than others. Big lots, huge backyards, massive windows and sliding glass doors welcomed indoor/outdoor living, vaulted ceilings, 2 car attached garages, walk-in closets, spacious formal dining room, living room and den to boot.

The Klawitter Home in Long Beach, CA. An example of the best part of California Ranch House style: The indoor/outdoor living.

Ironically, the kitchens in these big, beautiful ranch homes usually shared the same impossible U-shaped footprint or narrow galley kitchens. Peninsulas with blind storage corners, massive sink base cabinets centered over a pass-thru kitchen window intended for ease of entertaining and serving to the patio. Before: Clerestory windows. Vaulted Ceilings. Views of the backyard make for a good beginning.
Goal for the new kitchen: Improve the layout, add counter space.

After: continue the clerestory windows into the kitchen allows the light to flood the kitchen.

Before: Three entries into the kitchen makes for an awkward layout with small counter space, small pantry and limited space for appliances and storage.

After: Third doorway closed off allows for bigger range and powerful vent hood, microwave and warming drawer allows the cook more flexibility for cooking large meals and entertaining. More counter space, open airy space with new half wall into dining room.

Before: Soffit over the sink area and wall cabinets close off the
kitchen and make it look smaller.

After: Soffits gone, glass front and sides of wall cabinets allow light
to bounce off reflective surfaces.

Before: Awkward and incomplete.

After: Additional counter space and an easy place for guests to relax with you in the kitchen.

Customized storage makes cooking easy.

The storage in this kitchen was doubled with customized features.

Accessible and Durable Storage: Lighted corner cabinets. Heavy duty hinges.

An 1965 newspaper ad. The Valley News, San Fernando Valley, CA .

A 1970′s Raised Ranch with it’s original kitchen layout.

Cabinets with impossible storage corners.
The peninsula and large spans of windows prevents needed wall cabinet storage.

During the remodel: the peninsula with the blind corner banished allows for the sink wall to be outfitted with a giant lazy susan corner and a trash base to the left of the sink. The new position of the dishwasher is given a proper home to the right of the sink, followed with drawers to the right for cutlery.

The cook top location remains at the same location but gets a boost of cooking power with an under cabinet oven. The old kitchens with the typical 70′s dropped fluorescent oak trimmed light fixture.

The new hood becomes the focal point.

No space for a double oven?
If it’s been a while since you shopped for a range,
the new double oven range offers unequaled versatility in one convenient package.
Introducing GE’s hottest new innovation in cooking convenience! This new GE Profile™ double oven range allows you to cook two different dishes at two different temperatures at the same time.

The stunning kitchens below are from www.bauerdesign.com.
Here, a U shape Kitchen with functional storage in every usable inch!

This mahogony stained kitchen is fabulous.

Small u shaped kitchens are no place for tall oven cabinets. This under cabinet oven makes way for spacious counter tops. Lou Ann Bauer and her staff at Bauer Interior Design was recognized by Interior Design Magazine as one of the nation’s top Kitchen & Bath design firms. For more inspiring views visit http://www.bauerdesign.com/news.html

The Best of Ranch Style

Rancho Style: Modernism Meets the Ranch House.
I am a huge fan of the Cliff May homes. They were certainly inspired by the Western ranch house, but they are unique in their modern interpretation of this California design. The Long Beach Cliff May’s were built in the early 1950s and reflect the modernist influences of the time with open floor plans, exposed post-and-beam ceilings, clerestory windows and floor to ceiling glass.

Floorplan Design and Placement
Many Cliff May designs are L- or U-shaped and are positioned to the back of their lots, a design layout which he envisioned would provide for more open outdoor space and an enhanced relationship between the homes’ interior and yard.

Appreciation for Design
As more people become interested in design—whether it‘s a toaster or an automobile—more are wanting their homes to reflect what they value. These individuals tend to share a common aesthetic and appreciation for form and function. They are, in large part, the new breed of owners who are shaping the future of neighborhoods such as the Ranchos. And somewhere in the great beyond, Cliff May is undoubtedly cheering them on.

For more information, please visit: http://www.ranchostyle.com/lbranchos.html

The Eichler Home: Distinctively different from the Ranch Home, the Eichler shares the same beauty of indoor/outdoor living with Atrium courtyards. A midcentury modern home built by developer Joseph Eichler and his Eichler Homes, Inc. built nearly 11,000 single-family homes in California, beginning in the late 1940s. In Northern California, they can be found in areas in and around Marin county, the East Bay, San Mateo county, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento. Three small communities of Eichlers in Southern California stand in Orange, Thousand Oaks, and Granada Hills. In addition, there are three Eichler-built residences in New York state. Together these thousands of “Eichlers” reflect the beauty and uniqueness of the Eichler design and the integrity and daring of the builder behind it. Fifty years later, the house that Joe built endures as a marvelous legacy.

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