The ranch was the most popular architectural design style post-World War II, and with the abundance of land available then, subdivisions full of ranch style houses popped up everywhere, in all price points. Some were, as my dad would call them; ” stick and chewing gum” houses, others were beautifully designed, solid brick built with a beauty and quality that is still evident and admired today.
I have a soft spot for a ranch style home from the 1960s and 70s. I grew up in one. The sprawling, one story, low roofed design, with their open floor plans of dens, living rooms and dining rooms, separated by large doorways, or a two-sided brick fireplace lend themselves to a casual lifestyle. Entertainment areas are on one side of the house and the bedroom areas on the other.
The kitchens, out of site and neatly tucked away, usually had an area called the dinette big enough for a table and chairs. There was a service porch, sometimes a maid’s room, a garage and most had big backyards with a patio accessed by sliding glass doors. Vaulted ceilings in the living room, an artistically interesting fireplace, and a pony wall dividing one space from another completed the design.
I have remodeled four ranch style houses in the last two years. My initial niche was historic 1800s homes, but when I had the opportunity to purchase a 1960s ranch, I couldn’t resist. And, it occurred to me that this ranch was itself, historic. With its galley kitchen complete with Harvest Gold Formica counter tops and matching backsplash, it had withstood the test of time long enough.
My most recent fix-and-flip was a 1970s ranch that had the same issues as most ranch-style homes: a tiny master bath and a small, dark kitchen. The walls were removed from the living room and dining room, creating a custom kitchen and space for an 11’ island. The space became the center of the home and light filled from the back door to the front. Butcher block counter tops and clean contemporary pendant lights completed the space.
Ranch style homes are made for entertaining and provide excellent remodel material. With the current land costs and limitations driving more two-story homes, not only is finding a ranch style home and remodeling it a pleasure, but it is also an honor to reinvent for today’s modern family.
Marla Roberds founded her real estate career and business, Kissing Tree Properties, in 2017, as an investor doing restoration and remodeling. She advises homeowners on their remodels and has flipped many projects of her own.