REAL ESTATE

For Sale: Ranch House History (With a Side of Glamour)

  • The exterior of Cliff May's ranch house

    The exterior of Cliff May's ranch house

  • Views of the pool

    Views of the pool

  • Vaulted ceilings in an original Cliff May ranch house

    Vaulted ceilings in an original Cliff May ranch house

Rarely does anyone think about where the ranch house came from. These low-slung, low-ceilinged rectangles were mass producible, flowering over millions of acres of undeveloped land in the middle of the past century and becoming the iconic American architectural style. It was "the most vernacular of vernacular architecture," as one author wrote.

So here are the facts: The ranch was the invention of California designer Cliff May, who, inspired by Spanish and Mexican ranchos, created the first one in 1932. His homes, celebrating informal living, blurred the lines between inside and out with tall windows and sliding glass doors. They stretched out sideways, as if yawning across the land.

These ranch houses were anything but pedestrian, which is why we were pleased to find one of May's original ranch houses in our listings. Curiously, the exterior of this Long Beach, CA, ranch is unassuming. But the inside? A knockout.

Address: 7014 E. Mezzanine Way, Long Beach, CA

Price: $830,000

Features: Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,567 square feet

Ranch house illustration (in Ranch House Week logo) by Pop Chart Lab