A Rambler By Any Other Name

As published in Deephaven Magazine January 2019

“The early Californians had the right idea. They built for the seclusion and comfort of their families, for the enjoyment of relaxation in their homes.” – Cliff May

In the 1930s, architect Cliff May built hundreds of California ranch homes across his state. His pioneering designs were sprawling, one-level homes that maximized livability while seamlessly integrating indoor and outdoor spaces.

Fast forward a decade or two and May’s ranch designs were reincarnated as the Midwest rambler. A staple of suburban construction in the 1950s and 60s, ramblers were quick to build, just the ticket to house the baby-boom families of newly returned WWII veterans.

Drive through any of the Twin Cities’ first ring suburbs and you’ll see how May’s indoor-outdoor, light-filled California ranch homes were reinterpreted — and it isn’t all that pretty. A few, high windows replaced sweeping window-walls and closed-off rooms replaced interconnected living spaces. But, they were cheap to heat and suited the sensibilities of the time.

That was then, this is now, and ramblers are making a huge comeback. Even better, today’s designs are much more akin to those California ranches than to their little sisters scattered across town. Baby Boomers have been driving some of the resurgence as they choose homes to age in place. They want the convenience of everything on one level with Universal Design features that ensure comfort for all, no matter their physical abilities.

“Given our age as baby boomers, we chose a rambler because of the ease of moving around our home without having to go up and down stairs,” explained Tom, a recent rambler home buyer. “It also has a bigger floor space than a two story would have for entertaining guests.”

But seniors aren’t the only ones buying up ramblers right and left. One-level living is a convenience any homeowner can love, and our Midwest penchant for basements assures plenty of space for kids or grandkids. Add in a dash of comfortable outdoor spaces, from patios to firepits, kitchens and pools, and the modern rambler is perfect for today’s active families.

The Modern Rambler
• Main living spaces all on one level
• Easy adaptation for Universal Design
• Low profile façade, often dressed up with gables, stone or decorative cladding
• Porches and decks integrate indoor-outdoor enjoyment
• Open kitchens for entertaining and family togetherness
• Relaxing owners’ retreats with private spa baths

For more information about Williston Heights, our new modern rambler neighborhood on Williston Road in Minnetonka, contact us at 612-801-7244. Four new rambler home sites available.

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