Ranch (Single Story) Homes
Ranch homes, sometimes referred to as ramblers, are a
uniquely American design. The design has its roots in
The popularity of ranch homes as a building style really got
going in the 1950s, and in the
Photo 1 illustrates one that includes many of the design
details of the California Ranch. One key design element of a
Photo 2 illustrates a home that could have been a
This photo is of a house built on the same floorplan as in Photo 2, but the build date was 1973 not 1977 as in photo 2. Notice that the design is much more Califoria, with a lighter colored brick, and tho the roof is also a hip, it has a much less steep slope. These California ranch elements were introduced to the rest of the US in the 60s but by the 70s they declined in favor as the decade progressed.
Another approach being used by builders was to introduce some additional interest in hip and gable roofs by adding sections that extended out short distances from the main roof. Photo 3 illustrates an example. The variation in the roofline is primarily there to add architectural interest rather that as a major feature necessary to accommodate the floorplan. In this example, the center section of the house extends forward a few feet, creating a secondary hip.
One of the most popular plans in Shadeland East was the “Two gable” plan. The key feature of this plan was two street-facing gables flanking the main living area of the house. The gable at one end contains the garage whereas the other end is the bedroom wing. These were commonly built as four-bedroom homes, with about 2,500 square feet, although some were smaller. This was a popular design by the builder Gallager-Roberts. Some versions of this design lack a front porch, while others have a very elaborate front porch that becomes front yard outdoor living space. Photos 4, 5 and 6 illustrate variations on this plan. Yet another version exchanges a front patio flanked by a low brick “fence” for the front porch. In Photo 6, the front porch is almost like indoor living space.
A variation on this idea brings two narrower gables forward, as illustrated in Photo 7. Note the design elements on this home, in particular the heavy Greek influence in the gables with dentil molding extending right up the front gables. Each window has an elaborate wood fan above it, and the elaborate columned front porch mimics the front-facing gables at either end of the house.
Photo 8 illustrates another variation, a colonial hip-roofed ranch with contemporary design details. This is a U-shaped plan, with the formal areas occupying one of the front wings and the bedrooms the other. The garage is pushed to the rear and entered from the side of the house. The space between the wings forms an entry court.
The 1970s was also a period of time when Spanish influenced
ranch designs were very popular. In the desert Southwest,
these would have been finished in stucco, but, of Course,
We see many similar design features in the Spanish ranch illustrated in Photo 10, including the timber ends used like corbels under the gable eaves. Note here the arched entry with wrought iron gate, and the arched brickwork above double-hung windows.
Photo 12 illustrates a ranch home employing a mixture of
styles. The reddish-brown shingle color was very popular in the 1970s, but is seldom
seen now. The gable here has a touch of English tudor design, with half-timbers over a stucco. Originally
the half-timbers were painted or stained a dark brown, for a stronger tudor effect, but have since been
painted to match the stucco color. The window treatment here is not consistent