What’s your preference: one-story or two-story living?
After World War II, ranch style homes gained in popularity. People liked living on one level and designed their new homes in “L” and “U” shapes to create open floor concepts. People preferred to be where the action was and a ranch style home gave them the opportunity to spend time with family and friends.
That fell out of style during the go-go years of the 1980s. Suddenly, small was no longer in. Families wanted a space for everything, including themselves. Two-story and multi-level living gave people the chance to build large homes catering to their every want and need.
Now, one-story living is returning, and it’s as appealing as ever.
Empty nesters want them; why have so much space?
Young families want them: why not simplify life?
Is one-story living for you?
Of course, there are plenty of pros and cons of ranch style homes just as there is with any floor plan. Here are a few to help you decide if it’s the lifestyle for you.
Pros of Ranch Style Homes
Simpler to design
One-story homes are some of the most attractive homes on the market for a variety of reasons. Because everything is on one level, efficiency increases. When engineering the heating and cooling system, for example, it’s easier to control temperatures on one level. Heat rises. That often makes two-story homes have varying degrees of warmth as you climb the stairs from the first floor to the second.
One story homes are also a top choice for ease of movement, which is perfect for empty nesters who want to create a home to age in place. With one level, flow is everything. There are no stairs to break up the open spaces, nor are there worries about difficult transitions from the living and sleeping spaces.
Larger, more open living space
Two-story homes are often more compact, with stairs leading up and down to add in more space. Did you know it can take several hundred square feet or more to add in a staircase to your final design? And in a lot of cases, the area around the staircase is nothing but wasted space.
With a ranch style home, nothing is wasted. You can easily transition from one room to the next simply by adding a doorway. Or leave it open as the choice is yours.
Easier to clean and maintain
Stairs make everything a little more complicated. Have you ever lugged a vacuum cleaner up a flight of stairs? With ranch style homes, you’ll never have to pull heavy equipment up and down ever again.
And it’s not just your cleaning routine that will change. Inside and out, your home maintenance projects will be easier than ever before. Have you ever tried to wash windows on the second story? Or paint your home as a do-it-yourself project? It can get tricky maneuvering on a ladder or scaffolding. But with a ranch home, none of that is needed, making your honey-do list that much easier to complete.
Safer to navigate
Let’s talk safety. It’s a big issue, especially if you have toddlers or elderly living in the home. If you’ve ever seen someone trip and fall down the stairs, you know how dangerous they can be. With a single-story, you never have to worry about stair runners becoming tripping hazards, wooden steps becoming slippery, or stair railings being too high or uncomfortable to use.
Easier to evacuate
Depending on where you place your home, it’s always wise to think about safety and evacuation too. In case of fire, it’s easy to open up a ground-floor window and climb to safety. You won’t have to worry about portable stairs or hanging ladders stowed away in each bedroom.
What about earthquakes or severe storms? Ranch style homes are also the leader in safety there too. One-story designs are the safest structures to be in when the earth starts moving in an earthquake. And because they don’t take up the same height as a two-story, they also are less of a target in high winds and electrical storms, making them less susceptible for damage due to tornadoes or hurricanes.
Cons of Ranch Style Homes
Think one-story living is for you? There are a lot of positives to settling into a ranch home. But there are a few downsides you should consider too. Let’s get into both sides of the pros and cons of ranch style homes before you make your final choice.
Requires more property
With a ranch style home, you’ll need more square footage to place the final layout of your home design onto the property. All of your rooms – bedrooms, bathrooms, living space, office – it all must be configured and fit to the size of your property.
Two-story designs have the convenience of going up as well as out. That means you can double up on your square footage just by adding a second story. This often makes it a perfect choice on a smaller property where you’re closer to your neighbors.
Because a one-story home requires more space to build, it means you’ll have less outdoor space once your home is complete. While that may be perfectly acceptable if you have several acres in the country, it can be a problem if you are trying to fit your home on a smaller footprint. If play areas and outdoor living space are in your dreams, ranch style living might not be the most suitable for you.
There’s less privacy
If you’ve always lived in a two-story before, you might be used to leaving curtains and blinds open without a problem. You have to think twice about privacy with a one-story home.
What if a postal worker drops off a package? What about a neighbor walking by? They can easily see into your bedroom, especially when it’s dark outside and your home is lit up on the inside.
More expensive to build and add on
One-story living requires a larger blueprint and more land. It also requires more materials to build out the final design, including foundation, roofing, siding, windows, and more.
Two-story designs often require less ductwork and pipes for the HVAC and plumbing systems because they can tap into existing lines above and below. You’ll need more materials to stretch out and reach every room in a one-story home. You might also need more powerful appliances, such as a furnace or water heater, to ensure every room is comfortable and energy efficient.
Which is Right For You?
One-story designs have something for everyone. And if they’ve been a part of your dreams for years, a one-story design might be the way to go.
With these pros and cons for ranch style homes in mind, take a look at our floor plans and start dreaming about your new home today.