Ramblers, also known as ranch-style houses, originated in the U.S. in the 1920s as homeowners sought a more informal and casual style of living. Usually rectangular or L-shaped, these single-story residences have a flat, open layout, often with multiple entrances to the outdoors. The style peaked in the mid 20th century and fell out of popularity for a while, but now, it’s making a comeback in all sorts of new forms, including this one.
All-wooden homes are rarely designed in the rambler style, but architect Nicolas Dahan’s family home in southwestern France begs the question ‘why?’ Simple and minimalist without being the slightest bit boring, the house features identical dimensions for both the floor and ceiling to create a mirror effect. That encourages inhabitants to look out through the many glass doors and windows and feel connected to nature.
“To enter the pine forest is to enter the house,” says the architect. “The site itself is integral to the architecture. The pine and oak trees provide shelter from strong winds. The ocean, though not visible, is so close that the sound of the surf rhythms the day. Nature runs through the bedrooms and the living room. The house is built where the air flows.”
Another thing that makes the “Maison en Bois” unique is the fact that the builders gave the wood of the home the same care you’d usually see in furniture. The larch was sanded to achieve a glossy finish, and the hollow joints show no visible screws or nails. The home is more modern than you’d expect to see in a forest, but both the finishing and the layout makes it feel fresh and interesting.
Ramblers are gaining popularity for some excellent reasons, the most important of which is that they’re accessible. Not only are they safe for young children, lacking any stairs or split levels, they’re perfect for multi-generational households with older family members.