Ranch Style House Plans from the 1950s

Image of a family of four holding hands while standing in a line with their backs to the camera, facing a ranch-style house in a suburban development. A sale sign is posted in the front yard of the house.
The American Dream of Home Ownership. Photo by Camerique Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images (cropped)

Ranch style architecture can be found everywhere in the United States, from California to New England. By the 1950s building boom, ranch homes symbolized America's frontier spirit and new growth as a modern country.

The ranch was developed for mid-twentieth century America. This style was one of the most popular housing types built in the US.

During the 1950s, real estate developers were eager to sell dreams of family and home ownership to GI soldiers returning from WWII. As you look through these plans, consider the ways ranch-style housing remains a popular and practical choice. With no stairs to a second floor, a ranch home—new or old—can be an ideal choice for homeowners who want to age in place.

The "Ranchero" - A Rambling Ranch Design

1950s floor plan and rendering of Ranch-style house aptly named Ranchero
The Style of the Aptly Named Ranchero Would Never Be Mistaken. Photo by Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images (cropped)

The name of this design, "Ranchero," describes the intent of the architect. The house plan's living area, or floor space, is 1,342 square feet, but add to that 379 square feet of porch area—not to mention the 225 square foot garage.

Why is this a Ranch style?

  • One story
  • Low pitched, gable roof
  • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
  • Asymmetric facade (off-center front door)
  • Horizontal, rambling layout - visually low to the ground
  • Contrasting siding ("Ranch House in Frame, Brick, and Stone")
  • Large, irregular types of windows
  • Brick or stone fireplace
  • Integrated garage, similar to the "Glory" design
  • Patios and porches with sliding glass doors
  • Openness and airiness of design

Marketing this House Plan:

The importance of the garage is pronounced by placing it at the front of the home, with the dining room and kitchen behind. A small porch off the eating area, in addition to two larger porches, makes the "Ranchero" seem like an upscale camp. Integrated garages were very common to mid-century ranch houses.

The "Starlight" - Architecture for Sweeping Views

1950s floor plan and rendering of Ranch-style house called Starlight with attached garage
The Starlight Will Pour in Through the Curved Front Wall of Glass of This Ranch House. Photo by Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images (cropped)

The curved window wall on the facade of this 902 square feet Western ranch house is clearly visible by looking at the floor plan. This modern detail creates an "outside and in" sense of space. Note, too, the size of the garage, 264 square feet, is nearly a third the size of the house.

Why is this a Ranch style?

  • One story
  • Low pitched, gable roof
  • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
  • Asymmetric facade
  • Horizontal, rambling layout - visually "low" to the ground
  • Contrasting siding
  • Large, irregular types of windows
  • Brick or stone working fireplace and a built-in wood box
  • Attached garage, as opposed to the integrated garage of the "Ranchero" plan
  • Openness and airiness of design

Marketing this House Plan:

The name "Starlight" conjures images of open air wagon trains, campfires, and shooting stars. For a population moving to live near urban work areas, marketing big sky country life was a real "Bonanza."

"Tranquility" - A Home With a Wall of Windows

1950s floor plan and rendering of Ranch-style house called Tranquility
Tranquility Is Designed With a Wall of Windows for the Living / Dining Areas. Photo by Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images (cropped)

At 1,112 square feet of living space, "Tranquility" is a bit larger than other ranch plans in this series of small houses. The floor plan allows you to visualize the outdoor porch and terraces for plenty of "casual indoor-ourdoor living."

Why is this a Ranch style?

  • One story
  • Low pitched hipped roof with one small front cross gable (compare with the "Gable" design plan)
  • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang over front porch
  • Asymmetric facade
  • Large window wall facade, similar to the Starlight plan
  • Prominent chimney and fireplace at the rear of the house
  • Porch and terraces
  • Openness and airiness of design

Marketing this House Plan:

During the faced-paced 1950s, designers marketed homes that could provide tranquility to their owners. As a rural population became urbanized, developers packaged their homes "for casual indoor-outdoor living." The goal of mass-production—including architecture—is to appeal to everyone.

"Gables" - A Hip and Gable Modernity

Hip and gable roof modifications to a traditional ranch-style house plan.
Gable and hip roof construction make this 1950s ranch-style house live up to its name: Gables. Photo © Buyenlarge/Getty Images. Select the image to view full size in a new window.

At 863 square feet, this very small, two-bedroom home appears to be mainly roof when the 234 square foot garage is added. The garage roof creates one side gable, and the "dining alcove" creates another gable.

Why is this a Ranch style?

  • One story
  • Low pitched combination hip and gable roof
  • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
  • Asymmetric facade
  • Contrasting siding
  • Irregular types of large and small windows
  • Brick or stone fireplace with bookshelves built in
  • Attached garage, similar to the "Starlight" plan
  • Horizontal layout with wide attached garage)
  • Small front porch
  • Openness and airiness of design using corner windows

Marketing this House Plan:

This plan is one of the few in this architectural series of postwar houses having a kitchen and dining alcove in the front of the house. Along with the unusual roof, this house may have appealed to people who wanted something a little different—but still the same as everyone else in the development.

"Glory" - A Ranch Home for a Narrow Lot

1950s floor plan and rendering of Ranch-style house called Glory
The Glory of This Ranch Style Is That It Doesn't Need a Wide Lot. Photo by Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images (cropped)

The option of no basement allows the designers of this house plan to add a utility room between the kitchen and garage. In the northeast, this may be called a "mud room," a welcome space for children to strip off dirty clothes and put them directly into the washing machine. The "Modette" design also has a plan with a utility room.

Why is this a Ranch style?

  • One story
  • Low pitched, gable roof
  • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
  • Asymmetric facade
  • Horizontal L-shaped layout - visually low to the ground
  • Contrasting siding
  • Picture windows and irregular types of windows
  • Fireplace
  • Integrated garage, similar to the "Ranchero" design
  • Patios and porches

Marketing this House Plan:

Integrated garages were popular architectural features on mid-century ranch houses.

"Level III" - Midcentury Split-Level Living

1950s floor plan and rendering of Ranch-style house with two levels and a basement -- wide front chimney in stone, stone front siding surrounds a bright red front door
Level III Seems to Be Designed With Only Two Levels and a Basement. Photo by Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images (cropped)

The 1,011 square feet of living space seems to be on two levels, with the basement making up what they call this "Three Level Contemporary." Never mind. It's a beautiful example of mid-century modern split-level design.

Why is this a Ranch style?

  • Low pitched, hipped roof
  • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
  • Asymmetric facade
  • Contrasting siding
  • Large windows, modernized with glass block corners
  • Prominent chimney, similar to the "Modette" design
  • Patios with sliding glass doors
  • Corner windows and split levels create a sense of openness

Marketing this House Plan:

The architecture of this hip-roofed split-level ranch is attractive inside and outside. The few steps up to the bedroom removes the children's bedroom from the large, comfortable living areas. The huge chimney demands attention from passersby. What's not to like?

"Modette" - The Modern Ranch House

Even without a horizontal floor plan, the prominent chimney makes this house seem like a ranch-style
The Prominent Chimney of the Modette Design Is Characteristic of Ranch Styles. Photo by Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images (cropped)

The wide front gable of this design gives the illusion of great horizontal width that cannot be interrupted by the massive chimney. The option of no basement allows designers to include a utility room in the floor plan. The "Glory" design has a similar option.

Why is this a Ranch style?

  • One story
  • Low pitched, gable roof
  • Deep-set eaves with roof overhang
  • Asymmetric facade
  • Visually low to the ground
  • Contrasting siding
  • Large, irregularly-shaped windows
  • Prominent chimney, similar to the "Level III" design
  • Corner windows and a sense of airiness

Marketing this House Plan:

This home design is not only a modern ranch, but it is also a flexibly designed ranch. Alternate plans let the homeowner select the placement of the bathroom and utility room. The dining room could easily be converted into another bedroom, den, or home office. Dreams and possibilities are always marketable.

"Grandette" - A Minimal Traditional Bungalow Ranch

1950s floor plan and rendering of Ranch-style house described as a western bungalow
Grandette Is Described as a Western Bungalow, Perhaps Because of the Central Roof Overhang. Photo by Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images (cropped)

The central hall of this small 901 square foot house makes this design similar to midcentury Cape Cod architecture. The roof overhang in the front of the house makes the design more like an American bungalow. But it also looks a bit like the 1940s minimal traditional plans. Perhaps it is this mix of styles that makes this house design "Grandette."

Characteristics That Describe This Ranch Style:

  • Single story
  • Low pitched, gable roof
  • Deep-set eaves with wide overhang
  • Asymmetric facade
  • Visually low to the ground
  • Picture windows and a variety of window shapes
  • Prominent chimney
  • Open, airy design

Marketing this House Plan:

Although designers call "Grandette" a "typical Western bungalow," this design is also being marketed with "Sunlight and Ventilation in Abundance." Developers often appeal to a broad range of tastes and styles within one design—perhaps only to confuse future real estate agents!

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Craven, Jackie. "Ranch Style House Plans from the 1950s." ThoughtCo, Nov. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/ranch-house-plans-for-america-177540. Craven, Jackie. (2017, November 2). Ranch Style House Plans from the 1950s. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ranch-house-plans-for-america-177540 Craven, Jackie. "Ranch Style House Plans from the 1950s." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ranch-house-plans-for-america-177540 (accessed November 19, 2017).