Magazine Subscribes to Cool-Ranch Theory
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 17, 2006
by Whitney Gould
Victorian houses have their own magazines. Ditto, modernist dwellings.
Now it’s the ranch’s turn. Enter Atomic Ranch ( www.atomic-ranch.com), a 3-year-old quarterly that sings the praises of “midcentury marvels,” as its subtitle suggests.
Publisher Jim Brown, 54, a photographer, and his wife, Michelle Gringeri-Brown, 53, a writer, started the magazine when they were living in Pasadena, Calif., and thinking about career changes.
“A light went off in our heads,” Jim Brown recalled in a phone interview from the magazine’s new offices in Portland, Ore. “There was nothing on the newsstand about ranches and we thought: We can fill a niche.”
The niche is now big enough to support a circulation of 75,000, with subscribers from all over the country and as far away as England, Australia and New Zealand. The Browns, who live in a 1952 ranch, hope to take the magazine bimonthly someday soon. And they have co-authored a book, “Atomic Ranch,” to be published this fall by Gibbs Smith.
Readers of the magazine will find articles about ranch history, preservation and sensitive makeovers; photos taken by proud ranch owners showing off their modernist babes; and ads for turquoise blue stoves, molded plastic chairs and other retro furnishings.
The goal, Brown says, is to nourish appreciation for the ranch and discourage teardowns. He detects modest headway on both fronts.
“It’s just the passage of time. For people who grew up in a ranch, there’s always an ambivalence surrounding their parents’ home. But after a while, you start to appreciate your parents more. And I think the same thing is happening with these houses.”