Ranch homes are unique to America and are typically single story. They're fairly low slung and somewhat sprawling with a delicate balance of indoor and outdoor living.
What defines a ranch style house?
From an exterior perspective, ranch houses will have a low pitched roof line, large windows and a covered patio space. They'll usually be broad and wide across a property. Many will have an attached garage and today's ranch homes will likely have a finished basement.
Are there different types of ranch style?
Interestingly, yes. There are several types of ranch style homes with very subtle differences between each.
- California Ranch: Designed to blend with nature, this sprawling, low to the ground design has a patio and front lawn. Usually an 'L' or 'U' shaped structure. Also known as a rambler style ranch.
- Suburban Ranch: Very similar to the California Ranch, but a little more compact and asymmetrical. Other characteristics include a backyard and adjoining garage.
- Split-Level Ranch: This is usually a 3-storied split living space. Bedrooms on one half-set of stairs, kitchen, dining and main living areas from the front door level and additional living on another half-set of stairs.
- Raised Ranch: Another split level style house where the front door opens to a staircase leading both up and down.
- Storybook Ranch: This has the same unique structure, yet with detailed ornamentals like diamond-shaped windows and a steep, gabled roof.
Where did ranch style houses originate?
The ranch style house has its roots in North America and has a Spanish colonial heritage. Historically it adopted an adobe brick and plaster exterior and broad eaves over a patio to combat the grueling Southwestern American heat.
Its popularity grew during the 20th century and by the 1950s many suburban neighbourhoods in America featured ranch style homes. There was a lull in popularity as newer design styles emerged, although the newer designs continued to adopt many characteristics of ranch houses. These included eat-in kitchens, open plan living spaces and low maintenance exteriors. There has since been a revival of interest within America in younger generations who like the casual nature of a ranch house.
What does ranch style architecture look like?
Typically a ranch house will feature wide eaves over an outdoor area, a low pitch roofline, sprawling and wide with an open and airy inside.
Features usually include materials such as wood, brick, gabled roof-top, sliding glass doors to a covered patio with an attached garage.
Does ranch style have a specific interior-design look and feel?
A traditional ranch home will have large windows and a casual open concept floor plan. A covered courtyard area will offer shade from heat and provide a wonderful indoor-outdoor flow.
This means that all design styles can be applied to the interiors of ranch homes. Because of the open floor plan that's typical within a ranch style home, modern and contemporary interiors go well. Incorporate a single colour scheme and bring in linen, sheepskin, wood and other nature inspired pieces to evoke a serene, calm and sophisticated feel.
Define room functions with floor rugs and carefully selected furniture. Bring natural accents into the spaces and add a touch of luxury to soften the aesthetic. A lush sheepskin Shaggy Bag layered on an area rug with a sofa and textured throw blankets (think, sheepskin and wool) will transform any space.
How do you modernise a ranch house?
Ranch homes have wonderful open floor plans, which lends them well to a modern look and feel. The light, airy and spacious interiors with clear lines of sight and an abundance of light create a modern vibe. With any open concept interior, it's a fine line to create the perfect balance of warm, welcoming comfort and a starkly, too-spacious aesthetic.
Designate certain room areas so you have a defined living space, dining room and kitchen. Hard wood flooring or polished concrete with light, neutral wall colour and sleek furniture will offer a wonderful modern feel. Pops of colour through artwork and a lush sheepskin floor rug will add interest and texture. Avoid clutter and be selective about the decorative accessories you decide to bring in.
What are the advantages of a ranch house?
Because most ranch style houses are single story, there is no need to run up and downstairs multiple times per day. This makes them ideal for older residents or people who find living without stairs easier.
The open floor plan lends itself well for entertaining bringing the living, kitchen and dining rooms together as a shared space. The large windows and natural light that flows in positively lifts the feel of these homes. Another wonderful benefit of a ranch style house is the low maintenance aspect.
Where are ranch style homes popular?
For starters, ranch style homes are easy to maintain. With their single level architecture, access to gutters and the roof is easy and most are made from low maintenance stucco, brick and siding.
Due to the open plan interior and deep eaves over a patio, they also offer a fairly cool environment inside, which adds to the appeal for those living in the Southwestern grueling heat within America. They're also the perfect canvas for renovation and updates with the open and airy spaces that we like today.
What is a typical layout for a ranch style house?
A ranch style house will be wide and spread out with deep covered patios or courtyards and a low pitched roofline. With bricked exteriors or sometimes adobe stucco and siding, with an attached garage and low slung look, it's an easily identifiable design.
They're often an 'L' or 'U' shaped layout, which incorporates the outdoor area to provide a calm and seamless indoor/outdoor flow.
How do I make my ranch style living room cosy?
Because of the connection to nature with the wonderful access to the outside, a ranch house will invariably evoke an element of cosiness regardless of the living area decor. That said, if your home has a polished concrete or hardwood floor and white walls to further reflect and utilise the light, it might well need some assistance with texture and some plush luxury.
This is where you can bring in sheepskin rugs, cosy wool throw blankets to casually toss on furniture and pops of brightness through art and cushions.
Have fun with this versatile and easy-to-live-in style of home.