Ranch Style House Architecture
The notoriously American architecture style, the ranch style house, has been popular in the country for over a century. It is both utilitarian and fashionable and loved by many. What makes this style what it is, and where did it come from? Let’s explore the history behind the style and what defines it.
What is a Ranch Style House?
A Ranch-style house, also known as a rancher or a rambler, is a single-story home design that originated in the United States in the early 20th century. It is characterized by its long, low-profile layout and a simple, open floor plan. Ranch-style houses gained popularity during the post-World War II era and remained popular through the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Key features of a Ranch-style house include:
- Single-story design: Ranch-style houses typically have a single level, without any stairs or multiple floors. This makes them accessible and convenient for people of all ages.
- Long, low profile: These houses have a horizontal orientation, with a long and low-slung appearance. The roofline is typically low-pitched or sometimes even flat.
- Open floor plan: Ranch-style houses often have an open and flowing layout, with minimal interior walls and spacious rooms. The living, dining, and kitchen areas are usually connected, creating a sense of openness and easy movement between spaces.
- Attached garage: Many Ranch-style houses have an attached garage that blends seamlessly with the overall design. The garage is often located at the front or side of the house.
- Emphasis on outdoor living: Ranch-style houses often feature outdoor areas such as patios, porches, or decks that encourage outdoor living and connect the indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Simple and functional design: Ranch-style houses are known for their simplicity and functionality. They typically have a modest and unadorned exterior, with a focus on practicality rather than ornate architectural details.
Ranch-style houses were designed to cater to the suburban lifestyle, offering a comfortable and practical living space. While their popularity declined in the later part of the 20th century, they have experienced a resurgence in recent years, as their single-level layout appeals to individuals seeking accessible and age-friendly homes.
Why are Ranch-style houses, also known as a rancher or a rambler houses?
The terms “rancher” and “rambler” are common alternative names for Ranch-style houses. These names are derived from the characteristics and design elements of this architectural style.
The rancher house term
The term “rancher” simply refers to the fact that Ranch-style houses are typically single-story homes, similar to a ranch or a farmstead. The design of these houses, with their long and low profile, horizontal orientation, and sprawling layout, evokes the image of a traditional ranch or farmhouse. The name “rancher” highlights this association.
The rambler home term
The term “rambler” also describes the layout and design of Ranch-style houses. It reflects the open and flowing floor plan of these homes, which allows for easy movement and navigation between rooms. The layout is designed to facilitate a relaxed and casual lifestyle, where one can “ramble” or move freely through the house without encountering many interior barriers.
Both Terms – Rancher and Rambler Houses
Both terms, “rancher” and “rambler,” have become colloquial names for Ranch-style houses, used to describe their single-level layout and the sense of openness they offer. These alternative names have gained popularity over time and are often used interchangeably with the term “Ranch-style house.”
History of the Ranch Style House
Ranch style homes originated in the American west. Beginning in the 1920s and through the post-war era, many ranchers settled in this area. They would own, farm, and raise livestock on acres and acres of land. Using this vast space, the homes were only one story and laid out wide. As such, they were often also referred to as “rambler” houses, a nod to the wide open spaces they occupied. A lot of the inspiration for the architecture of these houses came from Spanish Colonial architecture that was incredibly popular in nearby areas at the same time.
The popularity of these homes skyrocketed in the mid-20th century after World War II, as soldiers were returning home to America. They moved their families to suburban housing developments, many of which were made up of ranch houses. This was because these home styles were affordable and quick to build. By 1950, nine out of every ten American homes built were ranch style homes. This style overlaps with mid-century modern design both in the interiors and the exteriors.
Characteristics of a Ranch Style House
A ranch style house is recognized by a few basic elements. The homes are one story, and stretch wide horizontally. They generally have a low pitched roof and use overhanging eaves. In terms of layout, many will be L- or U-shaped and surround a patio or deck in the backyard. Features like sliding glass doors and large windows are common, providing plenty of natural light. Finally, ranch style houses will typically have a garage attached.
Inside the house, there will typically be a casual, open plan layout. Basements are often finished to provide more living space, since the home is single story. Even though it is only one story, ceilings are often vaulted and can have exposed beams. The building was pretty simple, which meant that homeowners had lots of freedom to decorate and design the interior as they pleased.
Ranch Style House Interiors
Ranch style houses are casual and modest in their architecture, and the interiors usually aren’t much different. They represent a casual way of American life, and are utilitarian and make use of the somewhat limited space they have. They are cozy homes set up to raise a family, and tend to have modest wood furniture, plenty of woven textiles, and farmhouse style decor.
These homes are the embodiment of the casual lifestyle that the people who lived in them possessed. Classically American, they are casual, yet homey. Browse below our selection of rugs that would look beautiful in any ranch style house.