Until recently, the ranch house was the most popular style of house in America. However, have you ever wondered what made this style conquer our hearts for decades? It’s time to take a closer look at what exactly happens in a ranch house. Read on to learn more about its history, its distinct types, and some distinctive features. Chances are good that by the end of this article you will fall in love with ranch houses again.
The history of ranch homes
The inspiration for ranch-style homes as we know them today dates back to North American Spanish colonial architecture. Like ranches, these houses often featured single-story options that were best for action in the heat of the Southwest. The rooflines were low with wide eaves. These houses were often U-shaped rather than straight, but it is easy to see the similarities. By in the 1920s, real ranchers — although they were then known as “hikers” – emerged. The style had its real boom in popularity after the Second World War, where its ease of construction and customization made it a favorite among the many returning soldiers who were looking to settle down with their families. By in the 1950s, ranch mania was in full swing. This style of the house represented nine out of 10 new homes in America, and each region had brought its own touch to the look. It was only in the 1970s, when tastes again turned to two-story living, that production really slowed down.
Types of ranch houses
Hotels near California ranch
Originally designed by architect Cliff May for his personal use, this style of home was intended to be sprawling and blend in with the California landscape. It borrows the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, as well as Spanish colonial architecture. These houses are distinguished by their L-shaped or U-shaped with a courtyard in the middle.
The suburban ranch
This is the version of the ranch that was made popular in the post-World War II boom. These houses are essentially smaller, simplified versions of the California originals. They are often built on concrete slabs and have a special material. However, they still share the open-concept floor plan and connection with the outside with their predecessors.
Although these houses look like a traditional suburban ranch from the street, they actually have three levels of living. In these houses, the front door leads to the main living room, dining room and kitchen. Then, on one side of the house, there is a half staircase leading to the bedrooms and another half staircase leading to an additional living space.
Sometimes called houses with separate entrances, these houses get their name from the fact that, when you walk through the door, you have the choice between going up or down. In these houses, utility areas such as garages and playrooms are often directly below the kitchen, bedrooms, and the main living room.
Also known as Cinderella Ranches, these houses stand out: Unlike the simple exteriors common in ranch houses, they are full of charm. Exposed rafters, diamond-shaped windows, and ornamental trim are common features.
Defining characteristics of a ranch house
- Long, low-sloping roofline
- A mixture of materials on the outside (most often stucco, wood, brick or stone)
- Cross-gable, side-gable or hipped roof
- Deep and overhanging eaves
- Large windows
- Sliding glass doors
- Attached garages
- The back patio
- Open concept living room, dining room and kitchen
- Separate rooms (usually three)
- Complete basement
Simple ornaments and architectural details
With simple appearances and plenty of customization possibilities, it’s no surprise that ranch houses are so popular today. Does this style also attract you?