LOVING THE RANCH-STYLE HOME

All housing reflects the culture and the economics of their day, and the ranch-style home of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s is a symbol of post-World War II prosperity and an icon of the space age.

The mid-century saw the first real sprawl in communities away from town centers, made accessible by the increasingly affordable family car aided by President Eisenhower’s new highways. Land was plentiful, so most of these single story or split-level homes are situated on comparatively large lots, with kid-friendly front and back yards.

These homes are machines for living, easy and quick to build, and a snap to remodel, with most load-bearing walls located on the outside perimeter. Kitchens always adjoined the garage, convenient for unloading groceries out of the rain.

Mid-century ranch-style homes are ideal for today’s two-income, time-starved families. The only thing they need is a little 21st century flair. Just replace those linoleum floors and Jetson-era Formica countertops with contemporary stone. Install elegant French doors in place of sliding glass patio doors. Raise the eight-foot ceilings to nine or 10 feet.  Hang your flat-screen TV in place of the starburst clock, and buy some stylish retro furnishings and you’re cool, man.

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