Looking at a Country style Ranch home is like staring into a piece of American history. Built to take advantage of wide-open spaces and provide a relaxed living environment, Country Ranch home plans remain one of the most popular home styles in the nation. Characterized by distinct features that symbolize the freedom and casual attitude of the American West – such as big windows and a long roofline – these house plans are experiencing a renewed surge in popularity among new families and seasoned homeowners alike.
Country style Ranch homes like this 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath Traditional home plan take full advantage of large lots and open spaces to provide a large and luxurious living space for owners (House Plan #142-1167)
Here, we examine the most prominent features of a Country style Ranch home. We take a close look what makes each element a true prize for homeowners looking for extra storage space, a connected living experience, or simply room to enjoy life and the surrounding environment from the comfort of their front porch.
Single Story, Lots of Space
Country ranch houses first appeared during the 1920s but didn’t truly begin to grow in popularity until the 1940s, when the post-war baby boom and rapid westward expansion led to a major demand for new housing. With so much open, undeveloped space in the area, and since there was already a strong tradition of Ranch-style house plans in use in the region, the growth of this distinctly American home style was a natural fit. These homes are designed to take full advantage of big lots, opting for a single-story home that doesn’t skimp on rooms or interior features.
Rather than build upward, Country Ranch houses build outward to provide more living space without requiring owners to constantly go up and down stairs, as evidenced by the floor plan above. This 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath home plan is 107 ft. wide and 73 ft. deep (House Plan #106-1283)
Another great feature of these single-level house plans is the generous amount of outdoor space that is typically included. Any time you’re looking at a Country style home, odds are you’re also going to see a front yard as well as a backyard – and there’s a good chance you’re going to find a patio or deck out back as well. Because these homes were first built – and are still popular – in areas with long, hot summers and more mild winters, they really allow owners to take advantage of that good weather for outdoor activities such as cookouts and family gatherings.
Open Layouts for a Relaxed Feel
Country Ranch home plans are truly designed to encourage a relaxed and casual environment for owners, which is immediately evident by their open floor plan layouts. These homes can be seen as the predecessors of sorts for today’s incredibly popular open-concept house plans, which are made to improve the overall flow between rooms by removing barriers such as walls and doors. As such, you’re not likely to find many hallways in the main living areas of the home (though some models may feature smaller hallways in the rear, connecting the bedrooms and bathrooms while also adding in a linen closet). This increased openness allows for more casual interactions between guests and hosts, or just between family members relaxing around the house.
Most Country style Ranch homes have open floor plan layouts, or a Great Room area, providing an uninterrupted line of site throughout the kitchen, dining area, and living or family room (House Plan #141-1259).
Another aspect of this relaxed lifestyle encouraged by Country style Ranch homes is the asymmetrical L- or U-shape layouts the homes somethimes feature. This nontraditional design, in which the garage is often set off at a right angle to the rest of the house, reduces the overall width and allows the home to be placed on a narrower lot than would otherwise be possible. When other sections of the house are set in this way, doing so may allow bedrooms to be tucked away from noisy streets as well as the main living areas, while also giving an added level of privacy within the home. No bedrooms opening up into the dining room or awkwardly reached through the kitchen – instead, the homes are segmented into areas based on function so that anyone watching television in the living room or eating lunch in the kitchen won’t bother those in the bedrooms.
The garage of this 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath Ranch home plan is offset to reduce the house's overall width, bringing the garage closer to the street and providing a convenient courtyard entry. The garage also provides extra space above for bonus rooms. A home with a similar layout but with the perpendicular leg pointing to the rear and containing private living space would ehlp seclude bedrooms and shield them from street traffic and noise (House Plan #109-1013).
The Roofline: Simple and Timeless
Prototypical Ranch style house plans include a low roofline, with some featuring a hip roof that has a very low pitch. Since the homes are built on such a wide tract of land, there’s rarely a need to build upwards, and and this style of Ranch design forgoes the formal attics that could result from a high roofline. Country Ranch home plans play off the traditional Country or Farmhouse architectural style by increasing the pitch of the roof, providing a taller look and an area for attic space and/or dramatic vaulted ceilings. While many styles can also feature gables and the occasional dormer, you’re most commonly going to see homes with long, straight rooflines. Beyond the simple utility of the design, these long and uninterrupted rooflines also help to give the homes a more expansive and breathtaking appearance. Rather than a roof broken up into several smaller sections, your curb appeal is just as distinguished as staring out into the Grand Canyon.
With its offset roofline and right-angle gable, the Country Ranch home plan roof is a bit more complex than most, though not nearly as intricate as other common styles of homes, such as Victorian, some Craftsman, and many Luxury designs (House Plan #109-1184)
You don’t much simpler than the roof on this 3-bedroom, 2-bath Country Ranch home plan. The only deviation from a straight, flat (boring) roof is the lowered plane on each side of the house (House Plan #176-1012)
These timeless rooflines also often include noticeable eaves, which are once again born out of utility but shaped to impart a distinct and classic aesthetic. The overhang on the roofline works to enhance the appearance of a sprawling ranch out in the country, adding to the rustic feel of the homes. Additionally, the extra covered space around the home helps to protect one of its other most common – and popular – features: the porch.
Patios and Porches: Outdoor Living, Country Ranch Style
Many people would argue that a Country Ranch home without a porch just isn’t a Country Ranch home at all. Even more modest-size single level house plans regularly include some form of porch, most frequently found in the front of the home. This wonderful and relaxing built-in amenity also stems from the temperate climate of the American west, where sitting outside and enjoying the visual splendor of your own land is possible virtually year round. The porches are almost always covered.
Porches are a veritable staple of the Country style Ranch home, providing a covered yet open area for relaxing outdoors at the end of a long day (House Plan #123-1039).
Country Ranch home plans typically include rear patios and/or porches to further enjoy outdoor living. This flagstone patio enhances the enjoyment of alfresco dining and swimming in the pool. (House Plan #117-1092)
It’s also quite common to find porches that wrap around the side of the house in Country style Ranch homes – sometimes even connecting to a back porch. Some homes may forgo the rear porch in favor of a back patio, which often is located on the other side of a sliding glass door. This falls in line with the easy-access mindset found within the interior of the home, allowing owners to transition from inside living to outdoor living with only a few steps.
The Luxury of an Attached Garage
Finally, one of the most frequent – and most appreciated – features of Country Ranch house plans is the attached garage. These garages are usually large enough to store at least two cars, with some even offering enough space for additional storage as well. The luxury of an attached garage is made possible once again thanks to the wide lot and ample space available to these types of homes, along with the fact that many of these homes were designed and built in the latter half of the 20th century – when it was much more common for the typical family to own at least one car.
Attached garages can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, offering owners a wide variety of options when it comes to utilizing the space (House Plan #141-1152)
The garages are almost always attached directly to the home, with access provided by a standard door usually connected to the kitchen. This allows homeowners to walk right into the garage without having to head outside and face the hassle of a garage door if they just want to locate that box of old photo albums or take some off-season clothing out of the house. In many cases, the garage can also be used as a workspace for hobbies such as woodworking or painting, though some owners even transform it into an entertainment area.
So if you’re looking for a home that makes great use of expansive spaces and encourages a casual, relaxed atmosphere for entertaining and family functions, look no further than a Country style Ranch home!
Note: The lead image of this article is of a 2,518-st.-ft. Country Ranch home plan with 3bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and 2 half baths. For more information, click here (House Plan #108-1794)