Your Ranch Style House

The love-child of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style designs and the Craftsman Bungalow, the Ranch Style home was very popular, particularly in the American West in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Economical to build while evoking the frontier spirit of California, the Ranch Style house is a single story, horizontal, low to the ground layout with little ornamentation.  Compared to a Victorian with its columns, turrets and fancy gables, the ranch is plain and functional.

Inside the ranch feels open, with few walls between living spaces and often a cathedral ceiling open to the roof rafters.  Windows are large to bring the outdoors inside, and materials are natural – oak, stone, brick. Sliding glass doors between the kitchen or family room and the patio further the sense of indoor / outdoor living.

The floor plan includes an attached garage, often in an L-shaped or U-shaped design.

Of course, from an energy saving point of view, the single story design means that there is one square foot of roof for each square foot of foundation, so insulating and air sealing the top of the house is critical to keep expensively heated air from migrating into space.

The heating equipment in a ranch is often in the garage or in a utility closet outside the main house.  That means that heating ducts or pipes must be well insulated to avoid losing heat before it gets to the living spaces.

So even if your “ranch” sits on only ¼ acre and has no cattle roaming the range, it will support your casual lifestyle with mid-century modern grace.