We’re big fans of all things mid-twentieth century, especially modern architecture, furniture and decoration. Lately, we’ve been thinking about one of the mid-century’s most ubiquitous houses, the much-maligned ranch. Though viewed by some as emblematic of the sterile, energy-inefficient suburban sprawl of the 1950s and 60s, ranch houses actually have a lot going for them. We believe the ranch is poised for a roaring comeback. Here’s why.
Three words: one level living. By definition ranches are one-level houses. Many built in hilly areas had basements, and there are split-level variations, but to qualify as a ranch, the main living areas, including the bedrooms, are all on one level. As Boomers age into their 60s and 70s, there’s a growing need and demand for one-level living. One of the few places you can find it is in a ranch.
There’s a ranch house near you. Head out from Nashville’s urban core in whatever direction you choose, and you’ll run into a ranch house neighborhood. Though ranches were usually built on the outer edges of town, Nashville, like most cities, has grown substantially. What used to be way out in the sticks is now relatively close to downtown. As our national focus has shifted toward in-town living, many ranch house neighborhoods suddenly look surprisingly convenient. And many are still quite affordable.
While not all ranch houses were created equal, and 50 or 60 years of use means maintenance and upgrades are sometimes called for, most ranches were well-built. If they’ve been maintained, they usually remain solid. And they are relatively easy to retrofit for energy efficiency and handicap access.
Ranch houses were built by the millions all over the country in every city and town. To meet the varied needs of the market, they were built in all sizes – from 1,000 square feet to over 4,000. They were also varied in style. You can find a ranch trimmed out in all sorts of ways, from Modernist to Greek Revival. Regardless of your space needs, your tastes, or your budget, there’s a ranch that will likely work for you.
So, if you’re thinking about downsizing, resizing, or rearranging your life on a single level, don’t rule out the ranch. There’s an amazing selection out there, and we know where they are.