Expanding the Square Footage of a Ranch Style House

Remodeling a Ranch Style House For More Space

The Ranch style house is an American classic. As Greater Madison's population ages and more people are choosing to age in place, the Ranch style, with its single floor living arrangement is growing again in popularity. The style originated in post-WWII California and became one of the dominant “modern” architectural styles in the American suburban landscape. What the Ranch style house lacked in design, it more than made up for in spaciousness, larger lot sizes, attached garages and solid construction.

Larger Ranch homes are often referred to as “ramblers” because of the way these single story, “multi-winged” structures open expansively, utilize space and “rambles” across the building site. This “rambling” effect also makes the ranch style house one of the easiest to enlarge, thanks to two possible directions to grow, up or out!

If you feel like your current ranch home is limited in terms of space, with the right design-build-remodeler, there are some innovative ways to maximize your space to feel more comfortable in your home. Whether you're considering adding a second story, room additions or other renovations, with a little thought you can transform your Ranch style house into the dream home you've always wanted!

Build Up Your Ranch Style House!

Ranch Home Addition in Westport

This upside down house was transformed into a home that looks and feels completely different than the original raised ranch.

One of the best ways to increase the square footage of a one-story home is to build up! In fact, that's one of the most attractive elements about the ranch. If you need more space, considering a full or partial second story addition is a great option. You can build onto your existing footprint, so there's not a loss of yard space while getting the extra square footage you need.

This type of renovation is often referred to as a “pop-top” because it involves removing the existing roof and building the second story on top of the existing single story. “Pop-tops” can allow for drastic changes to your homes existing design, because a full-scale remodeling like this can impact all aspects of your home's design. A “popped-up” ranch can easily be redesigned as a colonial, craftsman, or even contemporary design all while staying within the home's existing footprint. The one disadvantage to building “up” is the additional cost. Adding a second story will cost about 25% or more over the price of a standard addition. So if your budget won't accommodate building up your ranch style house, and you have the space consider building out!

Adding an Addition to a Ranch Style House

Sunroom Addition for a Ranch Home

Sometimes, a sunroom addition can be exactly what is needed.

A room addition can be a great choice if you have the yard space. Your contractor can help you to determine if you have enough space to stay within zoning regulations and they can help you choose the right location for an addition. An addition can help you keep your living space on one floor if aging in place is a consideration. You contractor can design the addition to match and extend roof lines to keep the design emphasis on keeping a horizontal rhythm.

"Opening Up" Your Floor Plan

An open floor plan might not add a lot of usable space, but it can create a more user-friendly space. For instance, if the wall between the living room and kitchen isn't load bearing, you may be able to remove it to create a larger, more open space. You can use furniture and décor to help define the space without the room feeling too confined.

Transforming the Basement or Garage

Garage Conversion in Madison Wisconsin

Remodeled more than once, the dining area of this home was originally a breezeway while the living area was originally a garage. The picture window sits where the garage door once was placed. An open floor plan was created during the most recent remodel.

A third option to “up or out” is to transform existing space into more usable space. Many ranch style homes have a full basement or an attached garage that with a little planning and design can be transformed into stylish, usable space. The basement can be converted into many different rooms, for example, a play space for the kids, or additional bedrooms. If you're moving in aging parents, the garage is the perfect space to convert into an in-law apartment. Plus, with basement and garage conversions, much of the infrastructure like floor, walls, some wiring, and plumbing are already in place, which can save you even more on the construction costs.

Basement Finishing

Often, the easiest and least expensive way to create additional space in a ranch home is to build a finished basement. Whether you have a walk-out basement or a basement with no windows, the finished lower level can feel spacious, bright, and like it belongs with the rest of the home. The image at the top of the page shows a walk-out basement with large windows and a patio door, but in our portfolio you can also see basements which do not have any exposure.

Creating your dream home if you live in a ranch style house is easily possible. You have a number of options that are affordable, and with a creative approach, you can transform your ranch into a larger, more comfortable space with plenty of usable square footage to meet the needs of a growing family. Work closely with your design-build-remodeler. They can explain your options and the costs to create your dream home.

This article was updated by Abe Degnan on 7/27/2018.

About Degnan Design Build Remodel
Since 1981 Degnan Design Build Remodel has provided home improvement and construction services to customers throughout Greater Madison, Wisconsin. Our goal is to WOW you with a "Designed For Your Life" solution using a process that will transform your home into a beautiful living space, delivered on time, and on budget. We are known for our communication, respectfulness, and a commitment to our customers and our community. Contact us to speak with one of our designers about your home improvement project.