Uniquely American, ranch-style homes started to emerge during the early part of the 20th century. Originally based on real western ranches, the style that we are familiar with today—the California ranch—included modern updates that are commonly attributed to architect Clifford May, who created the design in 1932.
Popular with the booming, post-war middle class and the subsequent demand for increased housing options, ranch-style homes made a widespread appearance from the 1940s to the ’70s as they dotted the American landscape with their long, low-slung profile. Defined by their flexible floor plans and livability, ranch-style homes became immensely popular, only falling out of favor as styles shifted during the 1980s and ’90s. However, ranch-style homes are back—and ripe for exciting, contemporary renovations.
Although ranch-style homes tend to be synonymous with one-level living, and are usually built on concrete slab—especially in California and the Southwest—models that feature full or daylight basements are not uncommon. Most classic ranch-style floorplans have an L-shaped or U-shaped layout with sliding glass doors that lead to the backyard. The access provides a clear connection to the outdoors, whereas previously, American homes had focused on the importance of the front porch only. It is also important to note that culturally, the popularity of ranch-style homes coincided with the American expansion towards the suburbs, and with a growing dependency on cars—thus ranch-styles commonly feature an attached garage.
Here, we have rounded up some of our favorite ranch-style homes that showcase why the style is so coveted and definitely here to stay.
Get the Renovations Newsletter
From warehouse conversions to rehabbed midcentury gems, to expert advice and budget breakdowns, the renovation newsletter serves up the inspiration you need to tackle your next project.