Ranch Style Homes in Texas
Ranch homes were popular in central Texas in the post-war era of the 1950s and 1960s. Thousands were built in Austin, Texas and the surrounding communities.
Many of them are in neighborhoods where the ownership doesn’t change hands very frequently, and many are a re-modelers dream when they come on the market.
These neighborhoods usually have something that is in high demand – big trees. In particular, as you look though the images in the galleries in this article, look at the glorious tree cover.
Characteristics of Ranch Style Homes in Texas
Some ranch style homes in central Texas have siding, but many have Texas limestone or brick (red, white, fewer grey) on the exterior. Most have composition roofs (like the one in the photo to the right), but some have seamed-metal roofs (usually silver, but the occasional green one pops up). Some, but not many, have concrete barrel-tile roofs.
Many still have the original aluminum-framed windows which are poor insulators against the blazing Texas sun.
Most are single-story ranch homes – the quintessential ranch – but the 1970s brought some two-level ranches in the split-level style to the area. These are uncommon, but more likely to be found in hilly neighborhoods (Northwest Hills, Westover Hills, University Hills for example). Two-level ranches are often built on sloped lots and it isn’t always obvious from the street that a house has more than one level.
Many ranch style homes in Austin have vaulted ceilings with exposed beams. Many also have Texas limestone fireplaces.
One interesting trend we’ve noticed over the last few years is that when homes in Austin are remodeled, they often get a brightly-colored front door (which will soon be another article!), and new numbers. The numbers are of a few particular styles – see if you can pick them out in some of the images of ranch-style homes on this page.
Remodeled Texas Ranch Style Homes
When these old ranch homes are remodeled, anything goes. The typical finishes are often particular to a neighborhood. Many homes are updated with decidedly modern finishes and/or with soothing tones and textures – think spa – and natural materials like slate, travertine and wood.
Occasionally, a ranch style home that has been remodeled perhaps in the 1970s or 1980s might look a bit like this one in Allandale. I pulled over, got out and waited for the traffic to clear just to take this one photo. It takes a lot to make me get out of the car when photographing houses, but the deep turquoise/teal of this one is uncommon for the area – and interesting. The vintage car sealed the deal.
Examples of Ranch Style Homes in Austin
I spend a lot of time telling people how much I like their home’s ranch style when I stop to take a photo. Most people are a little confused when they see the big camera pointed at their home, but most break out in a grin when I tell them it’s because their house is “really cool”. Because, these are. Seriously. Every single one.
Where to Find Ranch Style Homes in Austin
Allandale is a perennial favorite for folks who like to live in NW Austin and favor older homes. For the 12 months ending August 19th, 2014, homes in Allandale sold for a median of $455,000. And that price doesn’t necessarily get you a remodeled ranch style home.
Another area with many 1960’s era ranch-style homes is over off of 51st and Springdale, particularly in the southeast corner of that neighborhood (centered on Gladstone Dr.):
While much of the area north of 51st, and south of 290 has ranch style homes, one particular pocket (centered on Sunny Brook Dr, north of Bartholomew District Park) has quite a few larger ones (larger for this area):
More Photos of Ranch Style Homes in Austin
I dug through over 23,000 photos from my archives to pull out a few more examples of ranch-style homes. I get a kick out of remembering where a photo was taken as many were collected before GPS tagging (geotagging) was as common as is it today.
Oh, and a longhorn. This is Texas, after all.
Tom Horn says
Alison, I enjoy looking at old home architecture. You have an awesome collection. I did some work recently in a neighborhood with funky style homes like you might see on the Brady Bunch show. It seems the homes of the past had a lot more character.