Ranch style architecture is distinctly American. Ranch style homes were popular between the 1940s and the 1970s, as suburbs blossomed. Ranch-style homes are characterized by long, ground-skimming profiles and minimal outdoor and indoor decoration. One element of a ranch style home that can add character is the windows, which can provide some elegance to a style that is often dull.
There are a few types of windows that work well with a ranch-style home. Large picture windows, bay windows, and windows extending from the floor to the ceiling all create an open feel to a style known for its low-to-the-ground profile. Picture windows are large square or rectangular windows that allow people on the outside to see a "picture" of the interior of the home. Picture windows also allow the interior of the home to have a "picture" of the area outside the home.
Ranch windows are standard in many ranch-style homes. They have fixed-pane windows with one or two horizontal sliding sashes. Ranch windows are typically five feet or more above the ground.
Conventional double-hung windows featuring metal shutters provide a simple yet elegant decorative feel to the outside of an otherwise simple ranch home.
Picture windows were used in ranch-style homes in the 1950s by Alfred Levitt. The first appearance of the picture window was made in Levittown, Pennsylvania. In a typical home design, Levitt placed an 8'-square picture window in the living room, facing the street. Christmas wreaths, bouquets of flowers, and various other seasonal decorations were commonly displayed in picture windows.
Furthermore, Levitt used floor-to-ceiling windows made of Thermopane glass to open up the home to the backyard. This created a feeling of an expanded home, and allowed suburbanites the pleasure of feeling connected with their backyards.
Consider what you want from your window. Picture windows are great for showing off seasonal decor. Bay windows provide opportunities for seating or for a breakfast nook. Ranch windows work best in places where privacy is a big concern, such as in a bedroom or bathroom. Double-hung windows with shutters are great for homeowners who want a little bit of decoration on the exterior of their homes.
Consider the appropriate window treatment options for a particular style of window before adding it to your home. Although a window may be quite beautiful, the failure to find the perfect window treatment for the house will make the window look out of place. Ranch windows look best with cellular or Roman shades, as draperies can look out of place on a window five feet or more above the ground.
Ranch-style homes benefit from large windows that allow light in and help create a spacious, open feel. Ceiling-to-floor windows featuring sliding glass doors opening up to a patio are also popular. Without large windows, a ranch-style home could potentially feel closed in, although using small windows in bathrooms or other places where privacy is a concern is appropriate.
Windows that are highly ornamental will not look right on a ranch-style home. A stained-glass window, for example, would not be appropriate.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Erich Ferdinand
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