My family’s storybook ranch was designed by Ed Caballero, who designed and built a number of these houses in Redlands after seeing this design in neighborhoods around Los Angeles. My father built houses with Ed before my dad became famous for his jokes and penchant for dressing up on holidays as a teacher at Colton High School (1963 – 1984).
The “storybook” ranch house is a variation of the California Ranch house first built by Clifford May in the 1930s. The storybook ranch has overhanging eaves with decorative dovecotes underneath, exposed rafter tails, diamond mullion windows, a brick apron halfway up the sides of the house, a wood shake roof, batten board siding, and other decorative touches.
In 2008, by the time both of my parents passed away, I started refurbishing the house. I’ve kept as many of the original features as possible. My parents, as children of the Great Depression, had the typical habit of saving everything, down to glass jars and rubberbands. Refurbishing the house meant going through almost fifty years’ worth of trash and treasure–including family photographs I’d never seen, dishes and kitchen utensils from the 1920s through 1980s, and everything from 1960s reproduction Louis XIV chairs to a knock-off Barcalounger.