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What Makes a Ranch Style Home?


on March 24, 2023


Whether you currently live in a ranch home, are hoping to someday, or simply want to know more about what makes this popular architectural style so definitive, we’ve got you covered. Read on to learn more about the history of ranch houses, how to identify them, and answer the question: what is a ranch style home? 

The History of Ranch Style Homes

Ranch homes have been around since the first half of the 20th century and are thought to have originated in California. From there, they quickly spread across the country, attracting trend-seeking homeowners with their contrast to the Craftsman style. In fact, by the 1950s, it’s believed that 9 out of every 10 houses built was a ranch home. Though the rise of this style was fast and the popularity burned bright, by the 1970s, homeowners were drawn once again to two-story homes, and the single-story, suburban vibe of the ranch style home lost some of its momentum. 

Still, ranch houses remain a popular choice for homeowners to this day. But, how can you tell you’re looking at or living in a ranch style home? Let’s take a closer look. 

Hallmark Features of a Ranch House

As with any major architectural style that swept the nation in popularity, there are a few things that set ranch style homes apart from the rest. Some hallmark features of ranch homes include: 

  • Single-Story Living. Perhaps the most iconic feature of a ranch home is its single-story design. Though it only features a main level, many ranch houses also have attached garages or basements for additional space. 
  • Low-Pitched Roofline. To match the single-story, lower profile of ranch style design, most ranch houses feature low-pitched roofs. 
  • Overhanging Eaves. Many ranch homes, especially in the storybook sub-style, feature overhanging eaves that extend beyond the exterior wall of the home. 
  • Mixed Exterior Materials. Ranch style brick homes aren’t uncommon, but those brick accents are often paired with paneling, siding, or other materials as well. 
  • Sliding Doors. Because of their single-story design, ranch homes often emphasize a sharing of the indoor and outdoor spaces, featuring sliding doors that lead to a patio or outdoor space. 
  • Open Floor Plans. Often, more modern ranch houses are designed with the family area or living room as the central space, with easy access to the other areas of the home. The open floor plans help these smaller-footprint homes feel more spacious. 

Windows and Doors to Complement Modern Ranch Style Homes

Due to the unique low profile of ranch style homes, it’s important to consider what window and door styles will complement their design without overwhelming it. Here are a few ideas that work well with the low-and-long design of most ranch style houses: 

  • Double-Hung Windows. Thanks to their more narrow design and two-way operability, double-hung windows are a great choice for the low profile of ranch homes, allowing homeowners to have better control of airflow throughout. Similarly, single-hung windows offer the same style with just one sliding sash. 
  • Awning Windows. For ranch homes in climates that see more rain and inclement weather, awning windows are a great choice. Because they swing outward on a hinge, they provide great airflow while protecting from the elements as well. Additionally, they mirror the overhang of ranch style eaves and provide an element of privacy in bedrooms and bathrooms. 
  • Sliding Windows. Sliding windows are often designed to be longer horizontally, making them a perfect match for the horizontally-oriented design of ranch houses. Add in the ability to let beautiful fresh air in with a simple sideways slide and you’ve got a perfect fit. 
  • Sliding Patio Doors. Because of their smaller footprint, ranch style homes emphasize including the outdoor space as an important part of the living experience. For that reason, sliding patio doors are a must-have for connecting the inside to the outside living spaces. 
  • Storm Doors. For Texas ranch style homeowners and ranch style homeowners in other areas of the country that see extreme and sometimes dangerous weather, storm doors can be an important addition to keep your entry door protected while providing another ventilation system throughout the home.

Add Style to Your Ranch Home With Pella 

Whatever you decide makes your ranch style house shine best, the experts at Pella are here to help make it happen. Request a consultation today to choose the windows and doors that best suit your ranch style home.

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.