Ranch Architecture


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“The ranch architectural style is like jazz and great cheeseburgers,” writes Karin Beuerlein on HGTV.com. “It’s an art form unique to America.” Ranch style is rooted in North American Spanish Colonial architecture of the 17th through 19th centuries: single-story floor plans, native materials and interior courtyards surrounded by a U-shaped floor plan. Low-slung ranch homes were first built in the 1930s — and by the 1950s, nine out of every 10 new houses was a Ranch-style house. Ranches embrace open spaces and the connection between indoor and outdoor living: The back yard is usually just steps from the kitchen or living room via sliding glass doors. Said The New York Times in 1986: “With bedroom wings stretching into yards, and courtyards and patios mingling with interior spaces, the ranch house proved a comfortable, likable, adaptable and enormously popular family house, one that also offered a life style.”


A long, low horizontal orientation; single-floor living; asymmetry; floor plans that are U-shaped, L-shaped or rectangular; hipped or gabled roofs; flowing interior spaces; large picture windows; an emphasis on the back yard; an attached carport or garage.


The ranch house in The Parent Trap, 1961; Rancho del Cielo, Ronald Reagan’s “Western White House” near Santa Barbara, California; homes by California architects Cliff May — considered the pioneer of the modern-day ranch house — and Joseph Eichler.


Ranch-style homes tend to be easy to maintain because they are often made of brick, which requires little fuss. The roofs’ wide eaves help shade the large windows from the Texas sun. Today, Ranch-style homes can be found all over North Texas. Your Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty agent can find the perfect one for you.