11 Modern Ranch-Style Homes

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
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As one of America's most important contributions to residential architecture, ranch homes embody both modernist ideas and the casual spirit of West Coast living.

After making a wide-spread appearance in the American suburbs from the 1940s to the 1970s, ranch homes have sometimes been termed, "boring boxes." However, the contemporary style that's synonymous with ranch homes—which embraces single-story living and open layouts—is now regularly sought after. The following homes shared by our community are a mix of renovations and new constructions that show why ranch homes continue to be viewed as midcentury gems. 

Selected homes were submitted by members of the Dwell community through our new feature, Add a Home. Add your home to Dwell.com/homes today. 


Sunset Knoll House

Architect and Interior Design: Richard Brown Architect, Location: Yamhill, Oregon

The sloping site of this two-bedroom ranch home provides views through an oak savanna and the coastal mountain range. A bar-shaped plan maximizes daylight and natural ventilation, giving the homeowner efficient "modern ranch" living in the heart of Yamhill County wine country. 

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Caterpillar House

Architect: Feldman Architecture, Landscape Design: Joni Janecki + Associates, Location: California

From the Architect: "The Caterpillar House implements sustainable elements while exploring a contemporary version of the ranch ideals—massing that's low and horizontal, an open plan with a strong connection between indoor and outdoor spaces, and main living areas that center informally on the kitchen."

The Caterpillar House was also the first LEED Platinum Custom Home on California’s Central Coast.

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McDonald Residence

Architect: Lundberg Design, Location: Angwin, California

The remodel of this simple ranch home transformed an incredibly plain structure into an open and airy light-filled space. The original single-level structure had low ceilings and a dark box-like feel, so the architects gutted it, added cathedral ceilings, dropped the floor level in the living area, and added a completely glazed-end facade—connecting the now-bright home to the surrounding landscape.

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Wurster Ranch

Interior Design: The Office of Charles de Lisle, Location: Portola Valley, California

This renovation of a William Wurster Ranch house began with a study of the home’s history. Inspired by original photos of the 1950s home, the renovation refreshed its significant architectural past without detracting from its Wurster essence. 

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Frischkorn Ranch

Architect: Habilis DesignBuild, Location: Boulder, Colorado

Inspired by white-washed buildings perched along Mediterranean hillsides, this bright and airy, 2,100-square-foot modern home is actually a renovation of a single-story 1950s ranch. 

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The Ranch House

Architect: Francisco Garcia, Location: San Diego, California

Originally a single-story home with great midcentury bones, this ranch renovation added a second story and windows to increase natural light intake. It also expanded the north- and east-facing decks, fulfilling the homeowner's request for additional outdoor space.

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The California Ranch

Architect: MYD studio, inc., Location: Sierra Madre, California

From the Architect: "A responsive and contextual design transforms an existing ranch home in Southern California with clean architectural geometry, an expanded open-floor plan, and improved circulation and access. At the exterior, the revised garage orientation eliminates excessive driveway paving and reestablishes the front yard as usable space, with natural landscaping that allows for both privacy and views from the new living room location. Carefully-placed clerestory windows at the new massing highlight vistas of the nearby mountains, while cedar siding meets smooth troweled stucco to visually soften the entry and approach." 

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Quail Run

Architect: Edmir Dzuda, Interior and Landscape Design: Plaza Design Group, Location: Paradise Valley, Arizona

The black-and-white exterior and simple contemporary landscaping made for an elegant remake of this Arizona ranch home. 

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Oyster Bay

Architect: Little Boxes Studio Architects, Location: Oyster Bay, New York

This modern renovation of a traditional ranch-style home maintained the midcentury spirit of the home—and turned it into a showcase for the homeowner's collection of iconic furnishings.

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Los Altos Residence

Architect and Interior Designer: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, Location: Los Altos, California

From the Architect: "This single-family residence is a modernist reinterpretation of the Northern California ranch-style home that the clients desired. It's designed around an existing Japanese maple tree, a vestige of the previous landscape and the relationship shared between residence and site. The house takes full advantage of Silicon Valley’s mild climate. While windows and doors fill interiors with air and light, they also frame views of the diverse flora surrounding the home. In the living room, a wall of sliding glass doors blurs the line between indoors and out, opening to the back patio that overlooks a meadow of tall grasses. The simple layout and detailing of this single-story residence, with its numerous connections to the surrounding landscape, create a home that's both calm and restful for the family to enjoy for many years to come."

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1950s Ranch

Architect: Terry & Terry Architecture, Location: Menlo Park, California

The use of warm ipe wood ties together the renovation with an addition on this midcentury California ranch home. The architects were able to increase the living area while keeping everything on one level for the retired homeowners. while adding much-needed structural improvements. 

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Add a Home 

 We're excited to announce our new, free Add a Home feature that enables anyone to easily create a beautiful page that showcases a home or home project in front of the amazing and highly engaged Dwell community. For architects, designers, and proud homeowners, adding a home is the best and easiest way to submit your home for Dwell editorial consideration, both online and in the magazine. Now architects, interior designers, realtors, builders, and homeowners can easily showcase their homes and projects on Dwell. See Featured Homes.