Ranch Style Design is Back

aging in place ranch style home

“Meanwhile, back at the ranch…”

A humorous phrase indicating a simultaneous happening: Derived from old Western TV shows or movies. Something exciting would be happening out on the range somewhere (or in town, etc), but at the same time something else would be happening at the home base, i.e. the ranch.
The bank is being robbed by Smoky Joe and the Goatnose Gang! Will Whitehat Willy be able to foil the desperadoes in time?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, little Betsy has discovered a gold nugget in the family’s stream.
-The Urbandictionary.com

Looking Towards a Bright Future
The Ranch-style home was first built in the 1930s in southern California; the design was fashioned after Mexican ranches. Builders of the postwar ear of the 1950s and 1960s embraced the Ranch house style and were eager to mass produce this affordable home to parents of the baby boom generation; giving them a new and exciting glimpse into the future.

Developers featured the sleek-low-modern design with large open floor plans, generous windows that allowed sunlight to deluge its inhabitants, and large lots. This provided an open-feeling of freedom, the invigoration of light, the affordable luxury of high style, and area to expand; themes of an emerging and aspiring middle-class America.

The Ranch Style (also known as Rambler Style) in the 1950s comprised up to 90% of residential construction projects. The style was popular because the homes were simple to construct—simple to add onto for changing needs, and complimentary for the desires of the time.
However, Americans began to change their desire for modernly designed homes during the1970s as the price of land increased they looked toward more traditional/formal style homes with less land and more stories (build up). So the Ranch style home fell predominately out of favor.

Aging in Place: Meanwhile Back at the Ranch
Meanwhile, back at the ranch… is a phrase that was employed often by narrators of American cowboy movies and TV shows to depict a segue from one scene to another. The origins as a common subtitle in the silent movies dates back to the early 1900s and is still used today; and is perfect here for many boomers next act.

Rethinking the Ranch

age in place

Boomers are coming full circle and many desire a simpler time; the nest is empty (for some), things have less meaning, aging in place is a priority, simplicity is desired, keeping up with the Jones is not important, and more time to experience life is the #1 objective. Boomers are seeking to down-size with more accessible living spaces—the kind afforded by an old friend; the Ranch-style home.
The ol’ Rambler is starting to look good; what’s old is new again (boomer theme) with house plans that support aging in place.
Components of a Ranch:
~Single story
~Low pitched gable roof
~Deep-set eaves
~Horizontal, rambling layout: Long, narrow, and low to the ground
~Rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped design
~Large windows: double-hung, sliding, and picture

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~Simple floor plans
~Attached garage
~Emphasis on openness (few interior walls) and efficient use of space
~Built from natural materials: Oak floors, wood or brick exterior
~Lack decorative detailing, aside from decorative shutters
~Land to garden, and not feel closed in

ranch style home for aging in place

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Summary
Built with simplicity and style in mind, the Ranch style home is often one story thus eliminated stairs, has sliding doors to covered outdoor spaces; bringing nature and the outdoors “into” the living space. Also the open floor plans are easier to clean, can accommodate wheel chairs/walkers, and the spread out L-shaped floor plans of many means less yard maintain—and essential to most retired people, they are still affordable…for now. In addition, these homes are often in urban areas near commerce and bus stops; they will be harder to come by as the demographic transition continues and 10,000 baby boomers retire daily for the next 15 years.

See
Mid-Century Marvels AtomicRanch.com

(image #1 eichlersocal.com #3 Atlanta magazine)

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