Basic Knowledge You Should to Know about Split Level Ranch
A Split Level Ranch offers more square footage in a smaller footprint than a classic ranch house.
The Split Level Ranch style house was the 1950s response to the exodus to the suburbs, the ballooning number of cars and commuters, and escalating real estate costs in new developments. One-story ranch houses with attached garages, pitched roofs and overhanging eaves added two additional levels — a few steps up to the bedrooms, a few steps down to the family and utility rooms, and garage. Split ranches offer more privacy for family members, in a compact floor plan on a smaller lot.
Split Level Ranch Style
A ranch home is not a Tudor cottage or gingerbread Victorian — the design presents sturdier fare and that is a hint to heed when planning interior decor. The levels might be split but they are not really separate so plan decor with a sense of unity and flow, from room to room and level to level. Arts and Crafts style, with its warm woods, earthy colors and simple lines, adapts well to a ranch, as do modern, Western and Southwestern decor. Wood paneling, clay tile, rough spun upholstery fabrics and metal embellishments, such as wrought iron sconces and chandeliers, underscore the practical, casual architecture of the home. Connect levels with materials and color palette. Oak floors, including the steps between levels, and a medium-intensity triadic paint scheme on the main floor, matched by pastel shades of those colors in the upper floor bedrooms, create visual harmony.
Raise the Roof
Ceilings are seldom very high in Split Level Ranch homes but you do not have to feel as though the sky is falling. Solid color drapes in the living room that stretch from ceiling to floor create the illusion of height, even if the tops of the drapes are higher than the windows. Soffits, to disguise pipes and electrical work, are common in split ranches so paint a kitchen or dining room soffit to match the ceiling above cabinets or a breakfront. An all-white kitchen with a whisper-gray ceiling and soffits erases the boundary between wall and ceiling. Blush walls in the dining room that fade into a cream soffit and ceiling, are an expansive backdrop for a spare pecan wood dining table, chairs and breakfront and a contemporary artichoke pendant lamp.
Invite More Light
One feature a split level ranch may offer is extra light, from expanses of horizontally oriented windows. Capitalize on the light by opening up adjoining rooms wherever you can remove a non-load-bearing wall. Between the kitchen and dining room, angle a cube of wall that houses the fridge and a pantry cabinet on the kitchen side, and a shallow bookshelf and glass-front cupboard on the dining room side. Paint the partial wall around the refrigerator and cabinet the same accent color as the dining room wall opposite the kitchen — a muddied chartreuse, dusky pewter or faded tangerine. Keep the rest of the walls in both rooms the same neutral color — antique white, pale toast or bleached turquoise. Air, light and people circulate more freely in the open spaces.
If you long to live at the beach — or if you do live at the beach in a split level ranch house — work to merge indoors and out, and take advantage of some features of your home’s style. Whitewashed wood paneling adds a casual, coastal vibe to any room. Shabby white floor-to-ceiling panels in a bedroom with a faux sky ceiling make a magical space for a child. Whitewashed wainscoting in the dining room, topped by color-washed putty walls and a white ceiling, shows off one or two large paintings of beach scenes, produced by your favorite local artist. Connect the living room to the back patio with a wall of French doors — replace drapes with shoji screens in summer for privacy. In winter, lined and faded velvet drapes make the room warm and welcoming.