As an investor, you may be wondering whether one architectural style is better to invest in than another. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, it doesn't hurt to be able to recognize different architectural styles and take a guess at how they may perform in your portfolio. With that in mind, below is a guide to the rambler house. Keep reading to learn about its history, its defining features, and a few current trends.
What is a rambler house?
Also known as a "ranch-style home" or simply as a "ranch house," the rambler home is a particular architectural style that has been around since the 1920s. At the time, its elongated shape, low-to-the-ground profile, and open layout were meant to allude to an informal, laid-back style of living that was embodied by ranchers in the American Southwest.
Then, in the post-WWII era, this style of home experienced a resurgence in popularity. In particular, as thousands of soldiers returned from war and were looking to cash in on the benefits promised to them in the G.I. Bill, local builders needed a house style that they could construct quickly. As a result, a smaller, more streamlined version of the original ranch homes started to spring up across the country.
By the 1970s, the rambler-style home had once again fallen out of favor as homebuyers began to prefer two-story living. However, in recent years, the ranch-style home has started to undergo a comeback, along with the bungalow and arts-and-crafts-style home.
Common design features of a ranch-style house
Now that you know a little bit more about the history behind this architectural style, the next step is to learn about the defining features of ranch homes. In case you're unfamiliar with this type of real estate, we've laid them out for you below. Here's how to recognize a ranch house:
- Low-pitched roof: Like a craftsman home, a rambler will typically have a low-pitched roof in comparison to other architectural styles. However, what sets this style apart is that the roof also usually has wide eaves.
- Horizontal profile: Rambler homes typically have a wide, horizontal profile. They are usually built in either an L-shape or a U-shape, and the front of the home will most likely feature a large picture window that looks out onto the street.
- One level: Although these days it's not uncommon to see a ranch home with a basement, traditionally these homes are built to be one level. The original ranchers were built on a concrete slab.
- Vaulted ceiling: Since the home's entire profile is so low to the ground, it's common for the interior space to feature a vaulted ceiling in order to make it feel more open. This feature is especially common in the main living area.
- Open floor plan: The main living area is especially important because a ranch house plan is almost always an open floor plan. Especially in more modern ranchers, it's common to see an open living room, dining room, and kitchen.
- Connection to the outdoors: Lastly, a defining feature of ranch homes is that they try to establish a connection to the outdoors. As such, a rambler house often has glass doors in the kitchen that lead out to a back porch.
Current ranch-style home trends
Given those defining features, it's not hard to see why American homebuyers have fallen in love with the rambler home again and again. That said, if you're thinking of buying one of these homes, there's no reason to keep the original wood paneling in place. Below is a look at some modern trends that will help you bring this architectural style into the 21st century:
- Mid-century modern: Because of its rise to popularity in the 1950s, rambler homes will almost always go well with a mid-century modern aesthetic. Don't be afraid to embrace this design in your furniture as well as in your overall color scheme.
- Emphasis on indoor/outdoor living: The glass doors leading out to the back porch are one thing, but there's nothing preventing you from putting even greater emphasis on a mix of indoor and outdoor living. Think about using lots of natural materials in your design or embracing a modern trend and incorporating lots of greenery.
- Light, bright space: If there's one thing that the large windows and vaulted ceilings of a rambler home will give you, it's plenty of natural light. Embrace that by keeping the space as bright and airy as possible.
The bottom line on rambler-style homes
The rambler-style home is an American classic. Investors should consider adding this style of home to their real estate portfolio because it never truly falls out of favor. In addition, because of their age, many ranch homes are located in established neighborhoods, which means you often have the opportunity to command more in rent.