Storybook Ranch

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.

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Our first week on the terraces

For the first time since about 1993, I spent a week in my childhood home. I began cleaning it out and renovating it after my mother passed away in 2008. It’s now almost all refurbished (just the yard left to do!) and refurnished.

It’s lovely to see the sunrise over Mt. San Bernardino and, at the end of the day, watch the sun slip away to the west past Loma Linda.

We rode our two horses–one of whom is almost vintage herself: Syri, a chestnut Arabian mare with four white stockings and a blaze, born here on the hill in 1987. The other horse is my daughter’s buckskin POA (Pony of the Americas). She’s quite a looker, if a bit bratty.

We also continued outfitting the kitchen, and I enjoy seeing the old sets of Bauer and Lu-Ray Pastel dishes arranged in the simple ash cabinets of which my dad was so proud. As children of the Great Depression, my parents saved everything from rubber bands to mayonnaise jars. After two estate sales, 80+ bags of trash, and three Dumpster loads, I kept a random selection of dishes, utensils, and linens from the 1920s through 1980s. I’m most drawn to the 60s pieces, especially those in mod orange and yellow which were my mother’s favorites.