Ranch Style Home: Is it Right for Your Lake Anna Home

The traditional ranch is one of the most recognizable and popular styles of homes built by Republic Home Builders in Spotsylvania and Orange County, VA. Ranch style homes often represent the familiar suburban neighborhood in which many grew up as they rapidly gained popularity after WWII and were used to develop large housing tracts across the United States. Ranch style homes offer open floor plans, single floor living, and an emphasis on outdoor living that can be perfectly suited to life in Louisa or along Lake Anna. Here’s what you should know about ranch style homes.

Key Features of a Ranch Home

Ranch homes go by many names, including ramblers or California ranches. This style of home is easily recognizable because it’s almost always single-story with a design that sprawls horizontally instead of vertically.
While these features aren’t found in all ranch style homes, common characteristics include:

  • Single story home with a rambling design
  • Simple and open floor plan
  • Low pitch, long roofline
  • Asymmetrical design that may be rectangular, U-shaped, or L-shaped
  • Attached garage
  • Sliding glass doors that open to a patio
  • Exterior may be stucco and stone, wood, or brick
  • Large windows, particularly a large picture window that faces the street

History of Ranch Style Homes

The ranch house style has roots in the Spanish colonial architecture of the 17th-19th century with single-story floor plans, a simple design, and low roofs. The modern ranch home is attributed to West Coast architects like Cliff May who created the first ranch in the 1930s based on these early Mexican adobe haciendas and southwest ranches. When the ranch style home was first created, it was a radical design with a plain home exterior free of dormers, tall gables, porches, and porticoes common at the time. It was during this time that the car culture began to rise in the U.S. instead of cattle ranching as families could finally buy large plots of land further from population centers.

Ranch homes began to spread quickly across the country following World War II as they were used to build sprawling suburbs and subdivisions. The homes were easy to build with a fairly low cost that made them ideal for veterans returning from war and growing families escaping the city.

In the 1950s and 1960s, ranch homes were stereotypical tract housing in the suburbs and the iconic home of the sitcoms that came with the era. By the 1950s, California ranch houses accounted for 90% of all new houses on the market and they were popular as they could accommodate the unique needs of the owner with a simple yet modern design. As ranch homes spread across the country, they received a regional makeover. In the Northeast and Midwest, for example, ranch homes often had American Colonial features.

Ranch homes went out of fashion briefly in the late 1960s and the 1970s as land costs increased and sprawling single-family homes became more costly. This trend was also pushed by cheaper construction of ranch homes and eventually reducing the style to a bland, boring house without the charm of earlier ranches.

In the late 1990s, ranch homes experienced a revival as an affordable starter home for younger buyers while older buyers appreciated that they could age in place without worrying about staircases. The ranch home has also come to represent American culture and heritage with a unique and easily adaptable floor plan. Today, most ranch homes built in Spotsylvania and Orange County are custom homes, not tract homes.

Ranch Style Living

With a spacious and comfortable single-story floor plan and an emphasis on outdoor living, a custom ranch home can be the perfect choice for your new Louisa or Lake Anna home. The ranch style home was one of the first popular home styles to include the outdoors as part of the home design. Ranch style homes are always associated with a laid-back lifestyle with a sliding glass door and flat patio that emphasizes the family-friendly backyard that’s easily connected to the living room or kitchen. Few home styles are better suited to outdoor barbecues and relaxing in the sun. The large picture windows in a ranch home also make the indoor-outdoor transition nearly seamless.

With large rooms that flow into each other, a ranch home is free of barriers between family and entertaining areas. This makes a ranch home perfect for living and entertaining guests on Lake Anna.

If you aren’t sure if a traditional ranch is the right choice for you, there are also many variations in this home style that may be better suited to your lifestyle. A split-level ranch has the horizontal feel of a traditional ranch with a second story. This style usually raises the bedroom over the garage to separate bedrooms from the living areas for quiet and privacy. A raised or high ranch is still low but it creates a 2-story ranch with the garage and finished family room below the bedrooms and living areas.

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