Characteristics of the Ranch-Style House

January 19, 2019

Ranch-style houses are one-story, low profile, asymmetrical, and low-pitched roof houses that originated in the American suburbs where space constraints was not an issue immediately following the conclusion of World War II. They enable occupants to experience very casual and informal living.

Characteristics of a ranch-style house:

  • Profile: They have long profiles that are very close to the ground.
  • Décor: They are adorned with minimal internal and external decorations.
  • Styles: Their construction fuses together modernist and traditional styles.
  • Roofing: They mostly have low-pitched gable or hipped roof.
  • Floors: They feature simple floors that are generally made of natural materials such as Oak.
  • Floor plans: The typical ranch style house features a simple, open, asymmetrical, U-shaped or L-shaped floor plan that surrounds a patio.
  • Windows: They have large windows that are of double-hung, picture, and sliding varieties.
  • Walls: Its construction emphasizes openness. It is therefore characterized by the existence of very few interior walls as well as efficient use of space.
  • Exterior: Their exterior is generally made of bricks and other natural materials.
  • Rooms and facilities: The houses comprise combined dining and living areas, separate kitchens, hallway, and bedrooms.
  • Levels: They are mostly single story though a number of them may have two stores.
  • Layout: They are laid out in rambling, horizontal layout. They are for a large part narrow, long, and low to the ground.
  • Attachments: They have garages, children play area, and carports attached to them.

History of the ranch-style house

The construction of this type of houses is credited to architect Cliff May who built the first batch in San Diego, California in 1932. They are inspired by the earth-hugging Prairie style of houses that were pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright as well as the informal Bungalow-styles of the early 20th century. The need to house the returning soldiers and their families after the Second World War (1939-1945) also played a significant role in their construction. Real estate developers like Abraham Levitt, Joseph Eichler, and Alexander Construction Company later adopted this housing style as the standard for developing certain neighborhoods throughout the USA.


For those who reside in the countryside where the availability of land is limitless, the ranch-style house is that type of house they cannot afford to overlook. That’s because this type of house is very cheap, spacious, and enables occupants to completely enjoy fresh air and the relaxed ambience of the typical countryside setting.


Wedgeworth, Cicely. “How Ranch Style Houses are Defining the Suburbs.” Real Estate News and Advice | Realtor.Com®,, 23 Sept. 2014,