The end of World War 2 created a baby boom, which in turn created a need for more homes – fast. The new homes built in record time in the Metro St. Louis suburbs were known as “ranch homes,” a uniquely American architectural style of rectangular, one-story houses with low-pitched roofs, attached garages and large windows for an indoor-outdoor connection.
These new homes perfectly matched the new informal lifestyle, with central air conditioning, a floorplan centered around the family room and kitchen, and were adaptable for growing families because basements could be converted into more living space as needed.
Many of these ranch homes are now over – or rapidly approaching – 50 years of age, which qualifies some individual homes or entire subdivisions for historic designation, and there is a grassroots movement underway to educate people on the merits of maintaining these homes that still serve families so well to this day.
Any home over 50-years of age is usually ready for some remodeling (and has probably seen a good deal of it over its lifetime), and the ranch house remains a highly adaptable structure for 21st century living.
The 21st Century Ranch Home
Ranch homes marked the beginning of modern construction materials and methods, most of which are still recognized or used by today’s remodelers. This makes it relatively easy to update these homes to today’s levels of energy efficiency, and implement new floorplans that better match the way we live today. And re-using these homes just makes sense for our pocketbooks and our communities, because the greenest home is the one already standing.
Accessible Design The one-level floor plan of the typical ranch is perfect for accessible living. Going up and down the stairs can become problematic over time, so having all daily needs on one level becomes a necessity for living comfortably and productively in your home.
There is a growing trend of older adults seeking one-level living for their retirement years, and this often finds them returning to the ranch style homes in which they originally raised their families. Quite often, they are still in the very same home and simply need the place remodeled for increased functionality and comfort.
Loft-Style Living Originally, the informal floorplan of the ranch is what differentiated it from more traditional, pre-WW2 house styles, and Americans now crave even more open space. Luckily, the ranch is highly adaptable, allowing you to remove interior walls and reconfigure spaces for more flow and usable square footage. This type of open floorplan is commonly known as “loft style,” where function is defined by furniture grouping rather than walls, creating spaces that can be quickly rearranged to meet ever-changing needs.
To achieve loft living in your ranch, it is possible to leave plumbing and HVAC fixtures in their original space (which helps with the remodeling budget) and create a whole new floorplan that takes advantage of existing views while maximizing living space. And this ultra modern layout coordinates beautifully with the mid-century modern style of a ranch, creating a unique synergy of form and function.
Energy Efficiency As Americans deal with rapidly-increasing energy costs, the budgetary benefits of a smaller home become apparent, and this is where existing ranch homes have the advantage. It is no longer about the quantity of square footage, but the quality of how it is used, and when energy costs are measured by cubic feet, having less square footage helps with the energy bills.
There are both state and federal tax credits available for energy efficiency improvements, and working with trained and certified energy efficiency professionals will help you pin-point the improvements that will deliver the most comfort and long-term savings for the dependable ranch home.
Additional Space The ranches in suburban Metro St. Louis built from 1950 – 1970 were typically 800 – 1,500 square feet and even back in the day, families were building room additions to gain more space. So if you need more square footage, a ranch has the flexibility to embrace more space.
Because of lot size and placement on it, most room additions happen on the rear of the home, or built vertically as a 2nd story addition, and refinishing the basement is always a smart investment. The rectangular nature of the ranch home and its modern construction makes it extremely accommodating for room additions.
Home Makeover The accommodating nature of the ranch home makes it ripe for a total makeover, inside and out. Updating the exterior design with new siding and roofing, or a new front entry makes a middle-age home look brand new. Pair that with a complete makeover of floorplan, systems and fixtures inside and you can essentially create a new home over an existing shell.
Older ranch homes exist in thriving, established communities with all the amenities and infrastructure already in place, so it makes sense on so many levels to remodel a strong home in a good neighborhood.
Mosby Building Arts specializes in remodeling ranch homes with personalized architecture and skilled craftsmanship for a quality home that will easily last for another 50 years. From design to energy efficiency improvements, Mosby has been contributing to sustainability and lifestyle improvements by renewing these homes to meet the needs of both the original owners of the home as well as new generations who love all the benefits of remodeling the most American of architectural styles – the ranch home.
Here’s an example of a son remodeling his parent’s ranch to match his lifestyle, and you can learn more about Mosby design & remodeling services here. If you’d like to explore options for your ranch home, call Mosby at 314.909.1800 or contact them here.