I have a strong affinity for Florida ranches—I grew up in one, in fact.
It’s hard not to associate the architectural style with my family, since every time I see a ranch, I remember:
Our bare feet were cooled as we skimmed the Terrazzo floor; we slaked our thirst with the juice of fresh oranges and grapefruit off our trees; and for special treats, we broke open coconuts on the back patio and laughed together at the texture.
That’s why it makes me so happy to see that Florida ranches are now being restored instead of destroyed and replaced with energy-consuming "McMansions" (although even McMansions have the potential to be revamped McMansion article).
There were several post-WWII architects that designed some great ranch-style homes in south Florida. I can say from personal experience that these homes have tremendous potential. A dear friend of mine, and fellow design student at UF, lived in a home by a well-known architect in Sarasota, and it was a delight to stay in that house. I saw firsthand how the ranch style that brightens my childhood memories can translate to modern sensibilities.
To revive a ranch, though, you have to understand what still works—and what doesn’t.
Pros and Cons of a ‘70s Ranch
For years, as Barrett Barlowe has said, “the term ‘1970s ranch home’ and ‘fixer’ were practically synonymous.” This is because the main aspects of the ‘70s ranch are so starkly out-of-date for modern homeowners.
Here are the clues to a ‘70s ranch:
None of which has stood the test of time. At best, these aspects elicit a grimace from prospective home buyers. At worst, they elicit disgust.
Yet, the late surge in renovating ranch-style homes has come because they have distinct architectural advantages. Here are some:
They are easy to add on to.
They have the ideal layout for those with knee or health problems.
Their floor plans tend to be more open (a highly valued quality today).
They flow exceptionally well from indoor to outdoor space.
Florida ranches, in particular, have their own special draw: excellent foliage, fruit trees, and expansive yards.
Making Ranches Fresh Again
I’m part of a team—along with Jeremy Walters, AIA and Lance Erickson Builders—that updates decor, remodels, provides complete renovations, and designs new homes. Homeowners can hire our complete team (we use “interdisciplinary design,” as I was taught in school) to ensure a successful project.
This is the first phase of our current baby:
It’s a ranch-style, the second home for Minnesota clients who are looking for British Colonial “island-style” decor. Keep in mind, this is the pre-construction phase. My first goal is to work on the floor plan by bringing in natural light and expanding the spaces. I'll be posting images of the process. Here is the link to our renovated Hobe Sound Ranch.
Here’s the point: the ranch-style home is far from dead. If you still need proof, you’ll find all you need in these revitalized Florida ranches:
I’m so excited that the same memories I grew up knowing in Florida are going to translate into an entirely new generation.
Need a dream team to help give you a home like the ones you see above? Contact me. I’d love to help.
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