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Know Your Home

Hour 2:       Throughout American history, the design of our homes has evolved to fit the ever-changing ways we live. We’ll find out this hour why certain houses look the way they do from Virginia Savage McAlester. The Dallas resident is the author of A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America’s Domestic Architecture (Knopf).

  • Martin Dahl

    I am director of historic preservation for the Fairmount Historic District neighborhood association. We have mainly pre-WWI Queen Annes, Prairie style 4-squares and Arts & Craft bungalows. This book is practically a primer for anyone serving on our committee.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a little surprised your guest didn’t know the origin of the term “ranch house” because it’s from Spanish colonial homes on the haciendas. A quick look at Wikipedia would have told her that. “The 20th century ranch house style has its roots in North American Spanish colonial architecture of the 17th to 19th century. These buildings used single story floor plans and native materials in a simple style to meet the needs of their inhabitants. Walls were often built of adobe brick and covered with plaster, or more simply used board and batten wood siding. Roofs were low and simple, and usually had wide eaves to help shade the windows from the Southwestern heat. Buildings often had interior courtyards which were surrounded by a U shaped floor plan. Large front porches were also common.[3] These low slung, thick walled, rustic working ranches were common in the Southwestern states.”

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