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The Exterior Evolution of Ranch-style House Plans

Originally, the ranch home was simple, elegant, and economical. In the 1950s and ‘60s, Designers like Joe Eichler and Robert Rummer created airy, stunning ranch homes by incorporating huge structural beams that could support entire walls of windows. Unfortunately, cheap cookie-cutter ranch developments in the '70s gave many homeowners the impression that ranch homes are boring and shoddily built, when the truth is that ranch styling can be strong, contemporary, and flexible enough for the modern family. The trick is to choose ranch style house plans with customizable exteriors and top-notch construction. Indeed, this is how the humble ranch evolved into the popular mid-century modern home.

5 Ways to Add Personal Flair to Ranch House Plans

1. Gables. If the footprint of your ranch is a bland box, adding gables will create variance in your home’s roofline and façade.

2. Clerestory Windows or Central Atriums. Robert Rummer’s Modern West ranch homes often feature a central atrium, which floods the shared living area with natural light. Modern designers work the same feel into contemporary ranch homes by adding a row of clerestory windows near the roofline’s peak.

3. Exterior Styling. Mad for Mediterranean design? Or are you more of a Spanish Colonial aficionado? Whatever your personal style, you can update any ranch accordingly. Exterior materials can go a long way in expressing a home’s style. For instance, natural rock retaining walls can give a home a fairytale feel. Or, for a more Georgian accent, add columns and overhead arches.
4. Outdoor Living Areas. Add a porch, covered patio, or deck to your ranch. This will create more livable space for your family while adding visual interest to your ranch home’s exterior. Don’t forget to express the outdoor additions with your personal style. So, if you like the Arts and Crafts style of the early 20th century, you might add tiered columns and a gable to your front porch design.
5. Contemporary Windows. Brighten up an older ranch by replacing aging windows with contemporary, energy-conserving windows. This alone can drastically shift the visual effect of a ranch home.
With the tips listed above and a good dollop of imagination, your ranch style house plans can be transformed from “meh” to marvelous.

Note: The home shown above is The Jalena House Plan 1405.