The Nostalgia of Ranch Style Homes

ranch house

There are several neighborhoods in Lake Oswego and Portland that are made up of ranch style homes.  As the population ages, the demand for these one level homes will  be on the rise.  These simple and hassle free style homes are also great investment properties.  Call us if you are interested in learning more!  503-806-2972

What is there to say about ranch style home plans? For everyone over forty they represent a nostalgic, bygone era in which hoards of kids trawled through the streets and sitcom families lived in homes exactly like theirs. Although the earliest ranch homes date to California in the 1930’s and reflect that relaxed, Western lifestyle homes didn’t become popular until after the Second World War. Developers led by architect builders such as Joe Eichler adopted the ranch style to produce huge housing developments for World War II veterans taking advantage of the postwar GI Bill. Some homes echo the low profile of Craftsman bungalows and the wide, overhanging eaves and hip roofs characteristic of the Prairie style. Other ranches extend the Minimal Traditional, with the Modern style’s wrapped corner windows. As in all 20th century American architecture, ranch style homes are eclectic, and an individual house may incorporate many stylistic elements of architectural antecedents.

Typical ranch style floor plans are single-story, rambling designs with hipped or gabled roofs. Where earlier styles tended to be cubic, ranch style homes tend to be horizontal and long, with asymmetrical facades. The shape can range from an unadorned rectangular box to various U-shaped and L-shaped configurations. Designed for families on wheels, homes usually had attached garages and the laid-back California lifestyle was reflected in huge picture windows and sliding doors which open onto back patios or decks for summer entertaining, barbecues, and recreation. The flow in a home is from the garage to the kitchen to the dining area to the living area – open designs in which living, dining, and family rooms all blend into one another. Kitchens were often placed adjacent to the family room, so moms, dads, and kids could eat TV dinners while watching Bonanza or Ozzie and Harriet on the tube. Clearly, this style home is adapted to a certain lifestyle and period of history; hence the nostalgia.

Ranch house floor plans were oriented horizontally parallel to the street, usually two rooms deep and four wide unlike earlier architectural styles, which were but two rooms wide, and presented smaller facades. As mentioned previously, the style owes much to the ascendancy of the automobile in American life, which pushed urban sprawl into the burgeoning suburbs, and which became a central feature of architectural design in its own right (garages taking the place of front doors and porches). Rational design also influenced the clustering of working and living spaces into one section of the house, and living spaces in another section. These homes continue to be popular because of their ability to combine universal design with single-story accessibility, which is a factor with baby boomers and other seniors who want to age at home. On the other hand, generation Xer’s like the retro look, and the relaxed, laid-back family lifestyle which ranch homes facilitate.

America’s love affair with ranch style floor plans has never ebbed because they symbolize the easy, laid-back California lifestyle. Although ranch style home plans have been criticized for taking up vast amounts of land; and the low profile of ranch house floor plans can make for higher heating and cooling costs than vertical homes; both nostalgia and practicality ensure the continuing popularity of the ranch style.

Article by Alice Lane

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