When you’re home in one of these, it can feel almost like relaxing at the ranch, even in the middle of the suburbs. Mass produced to accommodate new families following World War II, Ranch style homes embody a unique blend of modernity and the American West. There’s charm and personality to be found in these homes, despite their plain exteriors and overall unpretentious style.
First built in the 1920s, the home was originally called the California Ranch, featuring qualities such as a courtyard and a combination of indoor and outdoor living, both influences of Spanish eclectic architecture. Later called a Ranch, Rancher, or Rambler, the style became so popular that 75 percent of the homes built in the U.S. between 1948 and 1968 comprised it.
While their sheer numbers can be a turn-off to many homeowners, Ranch style homes have made numerous comebacks for several reasons. First-time homeowners appreciate their affordability and utilitarian qualities. These include the following:
- Casual living style, emphasizing one storey
- Simple, open floor plans
- Separate family rooms, dens, and dining rooms to accommodate family activity
- Large, shuttered windows that increase indoor light
- Attached garages
- Stucco, brick, or wood exteriors
- Patios as extensions of indoor living
- Lots of yard space
- A modern infrastructure with heating and cooling, wiring, plumbing, windows, and doors, that can all be upgraded with ease
Ranch style homes are frequently marketed in a historical context – the way in which they reflect changing American lifestyles and social changes. They emerged in the time of the automobile, when the convenience of attached garages was a departure from the detached variety found in bungalows. Critics say Ranch style homes encourage isolation and alienation inherent to the American way of life. At the same time, the homes accommodate individual lifestyles, and homeowners across the country show that even suburban fixtures can have character, individuality, and vivacity.
Look out for tomorrow’s posting, which will include some of the simple upgrades that bring out the best in your Ranch style home.