Learn why the one-story, open layout has made a comeback

The common saying, “as American as baseball and apple pie” could easily add “ranch homes.” Although, the new phrase wouldn’t have quite the same ring to it.

The one-story, low to the ground ranch-style house with its simple, wide-open layout originated in sunny California in the early 1930s. But it wasn’t until the post-World War II economic boom that ranch homes began popping up all over the United States, especially during the 1950s.

“With bedroom wings stretching into yards, and courtyards and patios mingling with interior spaces, the ranch house proved a comfortable, likable, adaptable and enormously popular family house, one that also offered a lifestyle.”¹

Then in the 1970s, as land prices soared and consumers demanded more rooms and bigger living spaces, the trend shifted to multi-story homes. And so, the sprawling ranch fell out of favor for decades.

Fast forward to the present, and you’ll find ranch homes are the “it” thing again.


Who wants a one-story home?

A study released by the National Association of Home Builders shows two-thirds of home buyers (64%) would like a single-story home. And preference rises with age: Millennials (35%), Gen X’ers (49%), Boomers (75%), and Seniors (88%).


What prompted the resurgence of interest in ranch homes?

Ranch homes appeal to Baby Boomers, first-time homebuyers, and many in between who want safety, simplicity, and accessibility. To better understand the demand, here are some reasons the single-story structure is popular again:


Advantages of Ranch Homes

Single-Level Living Space

With the main living areas – primary suite, kitchen, and laundry room – all on the first floor, there are no stairs to climb. Home buyers of all ages find this is a good choice if they want to bring an older family member to live with them.

Families with young children love the idea of one-level living because they don’t have to worry about blocking stairways with cumbersome child safety gates. Also, single-story homes are easier to evacuate in case of fire.


Aging-in-Place Friendly 

Builders can easily integrate Universal Design features into the ranch’s one-story floor plan. Homeowners who want to age in place – remain in the home of their choice for as long as possible – appreciate this aspect.


Open Floor Plans

Ranch-style floor plans tend to be more open and free-flowing providing both comfort and convenience. As an illustration, extra floor space makes moving furniture in and out of the home easier, and everyone feels less cramped.

Additionally, contemporary-loving homeowners who prefer a modern, open floor plan know ranch homes are a way to get the look they desire.


Easier to Maintain

A one-story ranch home is simpler to take care of. No more dragging a vacuum up and down the stairs or climbing a huge ladder to clean windows or dust the foyer chandelier. Likewise, single-story homes make it much easier to access and clean exterior walls, gutters, and roofing.


Save Money 

Some homeowners believe ranch homes are a more affordable option compared to similarly-sized two-story homes. This may or may not be true depending on a number of factors. For instance, whether single-story homes are less expensive to heat and cool depends on the construction, square footage, and layout.


Indoor-Outdoor Flow

Ranch homes are usually L- or U-shaped, single-story properties with ample windows making them especially appealing to nature lovers. Ranch-style houses can be adapted with large doors leading out to a deck or patio to fashion a good flow between outdoors and indoors.

In conclusion, custom home builders have redesigned the classic single-story ranch for today’s lifestyles and needs. Ranch homes are perfect for people just starting out or for downsizers looking for their ideal forever home.

At Fine Line Homes, we feature 16 ranch-style custom home floor plans, and five of these are over 2,000 square feet.

Shown above is our 3-bedroom, 2-bath, 3-car garage Winslow ranch plan.

Browse all of our single story plans.