History of the ranch home
As its name implies, the ranch home traces its roots back to the old west in the United States.
The design is similar to many of the rugged adobe and wooden homes found throughout the west from the 17th to 19th century. Ranch homes inspired by the Spanish-style homes of the 19th century began appearing in California in the 1920’s.
The final version that we recognize today is usually attributed to San Diego architect Cliff May. His version of the ranch home was the perfect fit for the housing boom that followed World War II.
By 1950, nine out of every ten houses in the United States were ranch homes. The affordability of ranch homes, along with their unpretentious, homey feel, attracted homebuyers.
What makes a ranch home?
The sprawling layout specific to ranch homes are their most prominent feature. These homes typically have generous open living spaces and large bedrooms secluded on one wing of the house.
The home’s popularity in warm climates is also a product of its one-story design; when you live in a warm climate you don’t want bedrooms upstairs where all the heat collects.
Since ranch homes rarely have a second story, all these rooms equal a lot of land.
Many ranch homes have several doors leading to the backyard space, making it a more usable space for gatherings. The U- or L-shape of a ranch home creates an effective barrier from the neighborhood, providing people with a very private backyard. This backyard space adds to the popularity of ranch homes in nice climates since you can use the backyard most of the year. Ranch homes often feature upgrades like swimming pools, outdoor dining areas, and outdoor kitchens.
The ranch homes design is also easy to customize. The layout of the ranch home—combined with its stucco walls and wide eaves—is easily customized. Today, it’s not uncommon to find ranch homes with a variety of styles and looks from the rustic charm of wood or brick to ultra-modern concrete and steel. Though the homes can take on a variety of different styles, they maintain the basic ranch elements.
Resurgence of ranch homes
The ranch home has recently experienced a surge in popularity. They are relatively affordable in today’s markets and their long-term practicality appeals to both Millennials and Baby Boomers. Millennials are drawn to the nostalgic look and feel of these now historic homes and they like the layout for its family appeal. At the other end of the spectrum, Baby Boomers want single story homes to give them a manageable house for retirement while at the same time maintaining their freedom and independence.