The architectural style of the United States is unique in many ways. Those who travel the country can see many architectural currents, ranging from the simplest to the most extreme. But perhaps most striking is what we can see in large areas of land.
A hiker’s house (a name by which it is commonly known) is an example of the urban standards that were set in 1900, but have recently won the heart of more than one resident. Let’s get to know this style a little.
Define a hiker’s house
Image source: Bill Fry Bau – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co.
The first thing to keep in mind is that Rambler is not referring to a car brand, but rather to an architectural style of the United States that dominated the market in 1920 and later between 1940 and 1970. This is also called ranch style.
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The concept is a mixture of modern design and the large livestock in the west of the country. It can be seen that it is a spacious house in the horizontal area in which multi-storey houses are to be disposed of.
Image source: Louise Lakier
Typically, this informal style is accompanied by some characteristic elements, such as “L”, “U” or simply rectangular plants, large windows on the front facade (or the facade facing the street) and low ceilings, but with elongated eaves extending all over Scope of the house. Sliding doors are also a standard when it comes to creating a lot of space.
It’s logical to ask how it happens that these houses, which look so luxurious, spacious and expensive, can be called ranches. The concept varies from country to country, but is synonymous with economic well-being in the United States.
How did you get there? Why are they so popular a century after their birth? Let’s check the history of the hiker’s houses.
Rambler style houses, a history of the whole country
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In the 1930s, numerous architectural movements converged in the US state of California, which combined new construction technologies with previous knowledge.
There was a clash of cultures at this location, such as the Spanish colonial renaissance, which was one-story houses with a central courtyard without a roof, or the artisan movement.
In the midst of this process, a variant of the Spanish colonial style emerged, which was called the Rambler style. In the southwestern United States, temperatures are very high, so a one-story house with wide roofs served to mitigate much of the heat of the seasons. At some point in the process, the architects decided to abandon the O style of the Spanish colony and decided that the plants were L or U shaped.
Image source: Lacy Keller Interiors
The country’s economic reconstruction allowed this style, which took up large areas of land between 1950 and 1960, to become very popular, but gradually lost popularity as these horizontal styles wasted a lot of space and additional heating costs were very high.
Gradually, the two-story houses and large buildings dominated the market, although we can still find some old hiking houses in good condition or not, tycoons that still appreciate the style. The open look of a hiker’s house is still a very eye-catching style, and the properly built one can be as efficient as a current house.
Characteristics of the hiker’s house style
Not everything is informal in this style. Although it turned out to be very original to create a relaxed atmosphere in the suburbs of the 20th century, they managed to incorporate some elements that differentiated them from country farms.
Spacious and continuous plants
Image source: Tara Bussema
If they adopted something of the Spanish colonial style, these were the spacious floors with a central corridor that revolved around a central area. This type of distribution made it possible to arrange the rooms on the sides and to allow a continuous flow of air between them.
In addition, the rooms are large, ventilated and equipped with a good natural light source. The social areas had no significant separations, so the private areas of the house were practically connected.
A lot of horizontal space, little vertical
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Another trait they assumed directly from the Spanish colony was that a hiker’s house came from a single plant. With so much horizontal space, there was no need to build a second floor, although they were added at some point. This design is particularly useful for those who don’t want to or can’t climb stairs, as everything you need is on one floor.
A huge facade parallel to the street
Image source: Valerie McCaskill Dickman
Before this style, the vast majority of the facades of the houses were thin and high, with the rooms facing downwards. Rambler-style houses changed this because the dimensions of the facade that faced the street were twice as deep as the house. That is, when the house was 10 meters deep, the facade measured 20 meters.
Converge with nature
Image source: Vision Homes & Remodeling
In order not to escape the rural origins, the houses of the hikers tried to establish a connection to nature and were therefore characterized by large windows or sliding glass doors. People never felt choked in them.
This was also the reason why the backyard became so important. The houses until then separated the back yard with walls from the rest of the house, but that disappeared with the arrival of this cooler style.
What is the attraction of the Rambler houses?
All owners of a hiking house agree that they have certain properties that make living more pleasant, such as:
- Houses of this style are usually located in established neighborhoods, so there are green spaces and paths in every corner. They are places that are rich in history.
- Maintenance is easier because you only have to spend time and effort on a single floor.
- The internal distribution is simple and can be expanded almost without any problems, since it is sufficient to add a new rectangular space at one end.
- The open roads between the green areas and the house allow us to enjoy nature from any position of the house. Thanks to its construction in O, L or U, the central courtyard will enable us to communicate with every area.
- These one-story houses are perfect for the elderly or people with walking difficulties.
With some of the known advantages, we can finally see examples of people’s ingenuity to create the best hiker’s houses.
Popular types of hiking homes
In the United States, it is common to see a mix of old and new styles. The hiking style also has its variants, although all remain recognizable in the architecture of the 20th century. These are just a few of the most distinctive styles that have their personality.
Split-Level Ranch – Those looking for privacy
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It has three levels if we include the ground floor. This is a way to share the rooms, the kitchen and the living room with a few stairs.
California Ranch – Born for California
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This was born as the home of architect Cliff May, but later became a trend across California. A mixture of arts & crafts trend and Spanish colonial style, but adapted to the California landscape.
Raised Ranch – A great variant
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This type of hiker’s house is connected to an additional level, and the name is attributed to the fact that the ground floor is slightly raised off the floor, so the entrance has a small staircase.
Suburban Ranch – One version for all target groups
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After the Second World War, these types of houses became extremely popular for mass construction. They were reduced versions of the California versions, this time built with concrete slabs.
Storybook Ranch Homes – refined taste
Image source: Housekaboodle
Some even call them Cinderella ranches because the number of details is so fine that they adorn the different facades. The structure protrudes from the walls and is an essential part of the decoration. The glass panes have more complex shapes than the typical squares, and the additional ornaments are the standard of this style.
Looking for a quiet life
Image source: Western Design International
The rambler style can be compared to jazz music. It’s something quiet that not everyone likes, but with good appreciation you’ll know how to get its charm. A quiet life in the middle of nature is what the owner of this type of house is looking for.
The contact with nature is fundamental in this house. You may not be able to live without a barbecue every weekend, and there’s nothing better than breathing fresh air from a huge garden. We therefore invite you to give these houses outside of the big cities a chance and to start a quiet retreat.
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