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Ranch Dressing (For Houses, Not Salads)

Written by Rebecca Christian

If you like midcentury modern, you'll like this new book from Gibbs Smith: Atomic Ranch, Midcentury Interiors, by Michelle Gringeri-Brown with photos by Jim Brown. The two are founders of the quarterly mag, Atomic Ranch, which has helped boost the esteem of the once-maligned tract houses of postwar America, those repositories of fallout shelters, parties during which Tupperware lids were burped, and of course, epic angst ("One word, Benjamin: Plastics.").

In their new book, the duo gives tips from homeowners on using color, flooring, window treatments, and furniture arrangements to get the  split-level, rambler, modern home, or traditional ranch stylishly ready for its closeup. Here's a sleek-looking remodeled kitchen in a 1969 Northwest hillside ranch in Portland.

The architect owner of the home, who has worked in restaurants, envisioned a kitchen that was not fancy but one where you could roll up your sleeves and get things done. He designed the central work island and organized his remodel based on sight lines in the original architecture.

Below is the living room of a flat-roof modern home in Dallas, built in 1954. Quiet on the outside, it's a head-turner within, winning awards from Preservation Dallas and the American Institute of Architects. Its highlights include floor-to-ceiling windows, a living room with brilliant blue walls, and oh, yeah, a wooden dinosaur skeleton. It's owned by Donna and Cliff Welch. Cliff Welch says, "We have a mix of pieces you buy when you're first married and figure you'll retire when they wear out—like the headboard in our beroom—or made from inespensive materials—2x4s and slab doors, like our bed—and things ttat cost what some people pay for a car, such as the B&B Italia couch."

The book is available from for $26.

Photographs by Jim Brown from Atomic Ranch Midcentury Interiors by Michelle Gringeri-Brown, reprinted with permission by Gibbs Smith.



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