Most regional architectural styles in the United States have their roots both in history and in the environment: They grew out of the types of building materials, such as stone, wood, or clay (for bricks), that were readily available during the early period of development, and the climates that these homes were constructed to withstand. They were also often reminiscent of popular styles in the regions where the builders and buyers hailed from—including European influences for Spanish, French, and Tuscan-style homes.
And yet there is one style that has managed to conquer most of the nation. The most popular home style in 29 of the 50 states is the ranch home. To housing experts, this is no surprise. Ranch houses can be built quickly and inexpensively and can be customized easily to suit the whims of buyers. Although the low-slung style is inspired by the Old West, it spread across the country with the rise of automobile culture in the 1960s. Able to accommodate one or two cars, the sprawling homes quickly populated the new suburbs.