Ranch House Addition Tips
Do you have a ranch home in the Washington, DC metropolitan area you want to expand? Whether you need to accommodate a growing family or just want more space to improve comfort and daily living, an addition may be the right option.
Larger ranch homes, in fact, are often referred to as a “ramblers” because of the way the single-story, multi-winged structure opens expansively, uses space, and rambles across its site. The rambling effect may also be one of the reasons why ranch homes are comparatively easy to enlarge—it usually takes homeowners either up or out.
It should be noted here that architecture classified as “modern” is almost unstylistic when compared to the earlier, more differentiated design elements. In this way, a ranch is like a stripped-down, blank slate that can be redefined and accentuated into an authentic architectural statement. We’ve seen beautiful, well-integrated homes in styles ranging from Tudor to contemporary that started life as a modest ranch. Still, before making major changes, the house should be analyzed—this is where remodelers come in.
If your goal is to significantly increase square footage and the lot is small, your best option may be what is referred to as a “pop-top” addition. This involves removing the existing roof and building a new second floor above the single story. Pop-tops can accommodate drastic changes to the home’s original architecture, mainly because a full-scale remodeling of this magnitude will impact all aspects of the existing house. A popped up ranch, for instance, can be redefined as a Colonial, although craftsman, Tudor, and even contemporary are suitable stylistic alternatives. Among other factors, the plan requires:
- Altering the first floor to accommodate a new stair well
- Reconfiguring existing living space
- Developing a new façade
Generally, the second floor addition stays within the existing footprint. As little of the existing house is untouched, pop-top remodeling requires more vision, commitment, and money.
If you have a large lot that accommodates a rear or side addition (and there are no setback restrictions), you can minimize costs with a same-level addition. Building a wing that forms a courtyard within an “L” plan configuration also has the benefit of creating space for a patio—a change that can improves the home’s indoor/outdoor continuum. For a cost-effective architectural solution, ranch houses are most easily elaborated in a contemporary style. A variation on contemporary that we frequently use when remodeling ranch homes is prairie style, a subtype of modern architecture popular in the 1920s. Common prairie style characteristics include hip roofs, overhanging eaves, and horizontal bands of windows with cladding treatments that adapt to the specifications of traditional ranch houses.
If you wish to enlarge your ranch home some of the most important considerations are:
- Maintain the horizontal
- Repeat roof lines
- Be consistent with exterior materials
Adhering to these principals will help you achieve a sympathetic, seamless addition and enhance your home’s aesthetic and market value.
Washington, DC Area Home Addition Builders & Remodelers
The Wentworth design-build team has years of experience remodeling and adding onto ranch houses in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia. We can work with your zoning restrictions, small lot sizes, budget, and aesthetic preferences to provide the best home addition for your family and needs.
View our portfolio to see ranch style and other homes we have remodeled—and contact our award-winning team today!