A Guide to Richmond, VA Homes: The Ranch

RanchFirst built in the 1930s, ranch homes were originally modeled after rural Western ranches. Ranch architecture bears a slight resemblance to the modern style with open floor plans and easy connections to the outdoors. Single-floor and split-level floor plans live under the ranch style. The houses fuse modernist ideas and styles with notions of the American Western period working ranches to create a very informal and casual living style.

The ranch style was extremely popular with the booming post-war middle class of the 1940s to 1970s. The style is often associated with tract housing built at this time, particularly in the western United States, which experienced a population explosion during this period, with a corresponding demand for housing. The style was exported to other nations and so is found in other countries. Their popularity waned in the late 20th century as neo-eclectic house styles, a return to using historical and traditional decoration, became popular.

Preservationist movements have begun in some ranch house neighborhoods, as well as renewed interest in the style from a younger generation who did not grow up in ranch-style houses. This renewed interest in the ranch house style has been compared to that which other house styles such as the bungalow and Queen Anne experienced in the 20th century, initial dominance of the market, replacement as the desired housing style, decay and disinterest coupled with many teardowns, then renewed interest and gentrification of the surviving homes.

The following features are considered key elements of the original ranch home style, although not all ranch houses content them:

  • Single story
  • Long, low roofline
  • Asymmetrical rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped design
  • Simple, open floor plans
  • Living areas separate from the bedroom(s) area
  • Attached garage
  • Sliding glass doors opening onto a patio
  • Large windows, often decorated with shutters
  • Vaulted ceilings with exposed beams
  • Exteriors of stucco, brick and wood and glass
  • Large overhanging eaves
  • Cross-gabled, side-gabled or hip roof
  • Simple and/or rustic interior and exterior trim
  • Aluminum windows (usually replaced), popular in the 1950s and 1960s

Want your own ranch home in Richmond? Contact Jenni Jennings for more information at 804-247-2568 or jenni.jennings@kw.com.

Information from DIY Network and Wikipedia.

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