Ranch Home Plans

Ranch house plans are evocative of the ideals of simplicity and spaciousness that characterized the early American west. Wide open spaces, both internal and external, lent itself to the aesthetic of these single-story, open floor plan homes with long, low slung roof lines.

Rooted in the Spanish colonial style architecture popular in the previous century, the ranch house plan developed in response to the simple designs needed for a functional home. Elaborate decoration had no place in these house plans, and the ease with which the ranch house fits into its surrounding environment is one of its hallmarks.

By the 1950’s the ranch house plan was the most popular home design in new home construction, largely due to population and housing booms in California and the surrounding western states. Typically “L” or “U” shaped, sometimes with an interior courtyard, and often with deep eaves to help shelter from the heat of a hot sun, these ranch house plans were constructed on large flat lots with expansive views of the surrounding scenery.

In the later 1960’s smaller lots encouraged home styles to lean more towards two story houses and, while some evolved towards the more ornate and historically influenced styles that would reign in popularity in coming years, the ranch house plan also adapted to this trend in the form of the “raised ranch”. This distinction refers to a home in which one must climb stairs in order to reach the main living levels; without this design characteristic, this home is simply known as a split-level. But raising costs of living also encouraged smaller homes to dominate the market, and the ranch house plan declined.

In recent decades, however, the ranch house plan has become popular once again, both as a starter home for new home builders and for older adults and empty nesters who wish to age in place. The simplicity of design translates with ease to a modern aesthetic, and the clean, horizontal lines, low roofs, and open floor plans appeal to many families who seek function over elaborate design.