Why were ranch-style houses popular?

Well, I know why I hate them so much. They seem dated and very much scream of 1960s suburbia. More importantly, they are visually quite boring.

Why were they so popular in America for so long? :confused:

Stairs are the worst.

I’m a Craftsman home guy myself.

Perhaps ranch houses make folks feel like they own a big ranch, lots of land.

Not everyone shares your taste, perhaps.

Also, in the '60s (and even, to some extent, the '70s) '60s styles seemed very modern, cool and stylish. Funny how that works.

They’re quick and easy to throw up, especially the roof framing.

Maybe it was an appeal to modernism, with sparse styling and economical use of architecture? [Ridiculous explanation ahead] Or, alternately, that they feel cozy? I know that the ones I’ve been in had comparatively lowered ceilings, so it definitely gave off a more homey vibe. Or a combination thereof?

This. I live in a sixties ranch and every detail is clearly designed to be cheap and easy to construct. But hey, it let middle middle class people afford a home then and it lets us afford a home now, so cool.

A slab foundation is cheap to make compared to digging and pouring a basement.

the no stairs or split level made navigating easy. house might seem more open because of closer elevation.

a partial basement, if there, was easier than a full basement.

Thanks for insulting my house. :stuck_out_tongue:

All of the ranch style homes around here have a full basement. I’ve never seen one on a slab.

Back in the post-war subdivision days, land was cheap, so it made economic sense to make a bigger lot and build a one-story house. Less time on ladders, less hauling stuff up and down interior stairs, less complex plumbing, heating and electrical work.

And you can thankFrank Lloyd Wright and a California architect named Cliff May for developing the ranch style.

Slab or basement depends on where you live. In the North, a basement is better.

Ranches tend to be found where land is inexpensive, because you can build more square footage of house more cheaply. They’re a bit more expensive to heat and cool, though (due to increased area per unit volume.) In areas where property is expensive, two-story homes are able to put more square footage on a smaller lot.

Those dated ranches look dated probably because they ARE: they were designed and built in a specific period with a look that was popular during the period. There are plenty of modern ranches that look nothing like them (mine, for example). There is no shortage of ugly or dated houses in either ranch or two-story style, nor is there a shortage of lovely homes in either style.


I’m living in a patio home right now. No stairs, no basement.

In Central Arkansas, my place out in the woods at any rate, you hit the water table at three feet.

lots of people would like an indoor pool for low money.

Thanks isn’t exactly the word I would use. Then again, I got criticized for my semi-annual Frank Lloyd Wright hate screeds here. I am not a fan of any of the man or any of his architectural styles to put it mildly.

You have it Wright though. Ranch houses at one time were seen as trendy and modern but, more importantly, they were easy and cheap to build. The Baby Boom families in the post-WWII era had steady jobs, cars and lots of free land to build on. The easiest and most lucrative thing for a developer to do was just zone a large piece of land and build a sea of ranch houses on that land. Buyers were waiting for them. It was seen as futuristic and almost utopic back then.

Remember that most of them were built in an era where newer equaled better and most people were trying to forge forward into a new dynamic. The same people’s parents may have been farmers who used a Model T to get to town. Their grandparents used horses and either lived on isolated farms or lived in dense city centers with questionable quality of life. The suburbs where a new idea at the time created by the ubiquitous automobile and one that stuck with us. Unfortunately, the ranch house does too as a legacy of that era.

I just don’t get why on earth you’d want to lose all your space to hallways. I’ve never understood why that element of ranch houses was popular. We’ve got a Craftsman-style house that doesn’t have stairs and the only non-living space is the little square hallway that was necessary at the time for a great big floor heating return. I HATE the hallways in ranch houses.

Yes, no window at Falling Water, furniture screwed to the floor. :rolleyes:
Selling houses after WWII was like selling cars; just call the next guy on the waiting list.

Shagnasty, you nailed it . . .

Everyone else, Google the old post-WW-II song, “No Vacancy” and you’ll understand the
mind-set that drove the market . . .

So, is a ranch house the same as a bungalow?