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Dressing Up the Exterior of a Ranch Style Home

The American Ranch is one of the most popular home styles in the country. Whether you choose the single floor living of the traditional Ranch, or you like the idea of a two-story raised Ranch, the open floor plans and clean lines of this style lend themselves well to contemporary living and styles.

Many original Ranches featured exterior details such as brick or flagstone accents, varying rooflines, and extensive landscaping. As time passed, the homes got more contemporary and interesting both inside and out, with cathedral ceilings, sunken living rooms, open floor plans, and more varied siding materials and styles.

Part of the appeal of a Ranch is the way that it can take on so many different looks and details. This means that it’s possible to take a plain Ranch and transform it into something unique and interesting. One way to do that is through the use of the siding you choose to cover the exterior.

Traditional Ranch Siding

Traditionally, most Ranch style homes featured horizontal lap siding. This is the siding that’s seen on a lot of housing styles and is one of the most popular types of siding seen today. The style complements the Ranch style well; the long lines of the siding emphasize the length and long lines of the Ranch.

When it comes to the Raised Ranch, there are two rules of thumb for the traditional styles, because there are two types of Raised Ranches. The first type is a traditional, one-story Ranch that has been picked up, elevated, and had a finished slab basement built beneath it. The second is a built as a two-story Ranch, with a set of stairs necessary to reach the upper, main living level.

For the first style, there is usually a break in the siding between the upper and lower levels. This break is the supporting beam built beneath the original floor. It’s seen as a way to break the two halves of the home visually, so the siding usually changes at this point. It may be brick on the lower half and horizontal lap above, or it may be shingles below and horizontal lap above. It’s also common to have two colors of siding above and below this line to further emphasize it.

For the second style, the upper story bumps out just slightly further than the lower story in the front of the home, but there’s no serious definition between the two. Therefore, it’s more common to use the same siding over the entirety, with the exception of some accents around the skirt or lower section. Here, you’ll often see brick, flagstone, or some other type of decorative siding.

Dressing Up Your Ranch

One of the best things about a Ranch, however, is that it’s meant to be a contemporary home that can pull off several styles and accents. Therefore, while there are some traditional styles that will always work well, it’s also possible to break from tradition and have your home look fantastic at the same time.

For example, because a one-story ranch has such long, horizontal lines, some people like to contrast this by using a board and batten siding. Others like to neither play it up or down, using an irregular shingle over the entirety. It’s even possible to really play up the contemporary element of the home, and install architectural panels over the entirety to give it a smooth, clean look that works well with the single story.

The real key to getting a more contemporary look for your Ranch is to play up its details. For example, if your home has a varied roofline, you’ll want to show that off. You can do this by using a boldly contrasting trim, by changing the shape and color of the siding just below the roofline, or by using a siding that draws the eye upward, such as a board and batten style.

It’s also becoming increasingly popular for Raised Ranches to have a center “tower” added down the front, a lot like Colonials have. If you opt to have this added, be sure to show it off by switching your siding in this area, and outlining it in a contrasting trim. The idea is to take the details that make your Ranch unique, and to show them off by using decorative siding.

Be sure not to overlook your soffit when designing your Ranch’s exterior. Most Ranches have a very deep soffit, with a pronounced overhang. This means that the soffit can be dressed up to either match or contrast the rest of the home. Consider opting for a bold color in this area to further emphasize it and draw a little extra attention to the details.

Show Off Your Ranch

Ranch style house siding doesn’t have to mean one thing. It can be shingles or horizontal lap siding, board and batten, or architectural panels. Just make sure you’re showing off your Ranch’s details to their best effect to get the most out of your exterior design.

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