The brainchild of designer/developer Jean Vandruff, these fairy-tale-inspired ranch houses were an instant hit in Southern California when first introduced by him and his brother Shannon in 1955. Sometimes referred to as “storybook ranches”, these houses differed from other tract homes of the period in that they sported fanciful trim and rooflines which recalled the cottages often depicted in fairy-tales. Other common stylistic features include diamond-paned windows, gable-end dove-cotes and decorative “shutters”.
Vandruff’s creations became so popular that they were franchised to be built all along the west coast and into the center section of the country. Many imitations popped up as well in these and other areas. Sadly, the design integrity of these distinctive houses is increasingly under assault through misguided and indifferent renovations and temporarily faddish “updates”. More about Mr. Vandruff and his houses can be found at thecinderellahome.com where a book on the subject is also available. Let’s take a look at some survivors!