5 Ideas For Expanding Ranch Style Homes

Need 5 ideas for expanding ranch style homes? The ranch style home design was a product of architects working after World War II. Architect Cliff May holds the title of "The Father of the Ranch House" and his designs set the standard for other architects. Ranch-style homes incorporate the outdoors with plenty of windows and present a long, low profile from the street. Many vintage ranches, unfortunately, are too small for modern families. Five ideas for expanding ranch-style homes include building up and building out to please modern owners, while at the same time keeping the integrity of the original home. 

  1. Build out a back bedroom. The fronts of ranch style homes have long, straight lines interrupted only by a window or the front door. Trim is usually added as an accent to fascia boards or around windows, such as putting up shutters or wood decorations. Keeping this long architectural line is important and building that extends out the back of the house offers a host of alternatives. If a bedroom is located on the backside of the house, this offers a great place to punch out a wall and extend the roof line. The addition won't be visible from the street, so the ranch styling is kept clean.
  2. Expand the kitchen. Ranch kitchens located on the back of the house present another opportunity for expanding ranch style homes. The idea for this house expansion also keeps the smooth, even line of the ranch. The flow in the traditional ranch long kitchen with a breakfast bar eating area is also retained in the expansion.
  3. Build out a back bathroom. If the only room that aligns with the back wall of the house is the bathroom, an idea for expanding a ranch style home includes the option of enlarging the bathroom with a side hall and building a bedroom behind the current bathroom. This construction option creates an "L" design pattern that can include bedroom doors that open to a back lawn or private sitting patio. 
  4. Expand the patio area. Cliff May's original ranch house designs included doors that opened to the outside from each of the rear rooms. The style borrowed elements from the early Spanish housing in colonial California. Expanding a ranch style home to include a three-season room fits the weather in the eastern US and allows a family room that can be used the entire year in places such as southern California. Patio areas on any of the rooms on the back of the house are suitable for this type of expansion.
  5. Build up in the rear of the house. May's own home in northern California incorporated a two-story section with a balcony that overlooked the patio area. This is another idea for expanding a traditional ranch style home. Building out from one room of the current ranch house, creating an "L," and building a second floor adds more square footage and adds separate rooms. Use May's original design to incorporate a balcony and the outside space has even more space flexibility. 
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