The Ranch Style home took inspiration from 1920s Spanish Colonial architecture to create a home designed to beat the Southwestern heat. These minimalistic, single story Ramblers were noted for their low-pitched rooflines, wide overhanging eaves, and long, close-to-the-ground profile. The popularity of the Suburban Ranch home exploded in the 1940s with the post-World War II boom. Often built on concrete slabs, the middle class found these homes easy to construct and adapt to accommodate their growing families. By the 1950s, the ranch home with the open concept floorplan accounted for 90% of new homes in America and became a favourite across nations.

Ranch Architectural home building style

Home builders and designers have since brought a multitude of custom features to the style, including cathedral ceilings and sunken living rooms. Dramatic design elements like varied cross-gabled, side-gabled or hip roof lines and extensive grounds & landscaping have elevated the simple ranch home far above its modest beginnings. Adding architectural interest has also improved function – sloped rooflines allow for better drainage of rainfall and prevent leaks. A mixture of materials and design styles can be used for exterior walls; stucco, stone or brick, adobe brick covered with plaster, or board and batten wood siding. These finishings are full of character, yet robust and easy to maintain.

Low-slung ranch homes, whether U-shaped or straight across, are designed to blend into the landscape and unify the indoors with the outdoor setting. The California Ranch is a sprawling example influenced from the Arts & Crafts movement which often features a centrally placed courtyard. The Storybook Ranch is all about embellishments. It’s a charming subtype with exposed rafters, diamond-shaped window panes, and ornamental trims. While preservationist movements seek to maintain traditional ranch style homes, home buyers of all ages have created a demand for new ranch style homes.

Today’s custom-built ranch style homes feature the open concept floorplan that created the traditional casual living style. Single story ranchers offer all living spaces on an expansive floor with a wide open feeling and no room divides. Common living spaces enjoy unrestricted views that flow from the front to the back of the home and great rooms often combine the living room, family room, and dining room into one multi-functional space. Kitchens also echo the open feel, encouraging interaction between household members and guests during meal preparation and entertaining. This diverse architectural style also offers the Split-Level Ranch featuring three levels of living: The main entry leads to the main living areas with half-staircases leading up to the bedrooms or down to additional living space. In the Raised Ranch, the front entry allows access to main living areas and bedrooms upstairs or downstairs to rec rooms, utilitarian spaces, and garages. No matter what the style, ranch homes are synonymous with laid-back living. The family-friendly backyard and flat patio is perfect for grilled meals el fresco while connecting to the kitchen or dining area via a sliding glass door.

Contemporary ranch homes blend indoor and outdoor living spaces.

The ranch house can be considered a subtype of modern-style architecture with open spaces embracing the connection between indoor and outdoor living. Contemporary ranch house plans maximize the sense of space with unique rooflines and asymmetrical designs that make rooms feel grand. Modern ranch homes epitomize the laid back living of the traditional styles, with kitchens or dining rooms opening to the outdoors in elegant style. Patios are beautifully designed with a series of french doors, folding doors, or retractable glass sliding doors.

Modern ranch floorplans borrow the traditional single room deep concept, opening the rooms to sunshine and warm breezes. But there is something extra glamorous about a modern ranch home with its clean lines and wall to wall windows flowing into the gorgeous garden spaces and outdoor pool. The architecture embraces guest houses, main living areas, and attached garages seamlessly under a gently arched roofline. The contemporary floor plan is a truly practical form of art that allows an uninterrupted view throughout the home, all whilst maintaining a sense of privacy where it matters most.

Historical ranch styles have been criticized for being less than eco-friendly with their sprawling floor plans gobbling up land, without thought for conservation of space or resources. However, the ranch style has evolved with societal needs and these drawbacks are far less prevalent. Ranchers today can be designed to be economical and eco-friendly – with all your rooms on a single floor it becomes more efficient to heat and cool your home. Contemporary ranch styles are built to suit the property they are chosen for. Spreading a single level of living space over the majority of the lot makes better use of the land and resources.

Traditional ranch homes are the perfect solution for those who need level entry wheelchair access.

Ranch style homes are an excellent choice for homeowners with concerns for their age or troubles with mobility. The ranch home is wheelchair and walker friendly, providing ease of access with no stairs to navigate from the outside or within the home. For those using any assistive device or experiencing bad knees due to aging or injury, the ranch home eliminates the need to go up and down stairs to access upper or lower living spaces. It is this popular style that makes all the difference between independence and needing regular care. Ranch architectural styles allow many to retire or age in place.

You may resonate with the ranch style of home simply for its beautiful wide open floorplan and ability to blend with your outdoor spaces. You may also see the ranch style as the perfect functional solution for you or your family. With so many style variations and custom features it can be a little daunting to choose the perfect ranch style for your new home. Your home builder can guide you along the path and help you sort through the options until you land your ultimate ranch home plan to get started!

See more photos in our Home Building Portfolio.

Back to:
Architectural Styles | Back to Blog

Share This!