The more things change, the more they stay the same. At least that might be true when it comes to the housing of choice. Baby boomers are turning to ranch homes for the convenience and compactness. It’s a manageable size for retirement and that means they can keep their freedom and independence.
That’s just a bit ironic since the ranch home traces its roots to the old west, when early homesteads were made of adobe and then later inspired by the Spanish-style homes popularized in California circa 1920. Easterners grew fond of the unpretentious look and the affordability was very appealing. Around 1950, nine out of every ten homes in the United States were ranch homes.
So early settlers to the frontier and beyond were looking for freedom and simplicity and more than 100 years later, baby boomers are attracted to ranch homes for the same reasons. Living on one level often required larger lots back in the day but that’s not necessarily true now. The sprawling ranch homes of the 50s have become more compact and efficient, but the outdoor lifestyle in still key. Most new ranch homes have multiple egress to the outside for outdoor kitchens, dining and recreation. Swimming pools and hot tubs are also popular with baby boomers. The U- and L-shape configurations are still desirable because they offer more privacy for the outdoor space, especially important now that ranch homes are cropping up on smaller lots.
For further irony, even millennials are attracted to this home style and are competing with boomers in the real estate market. For a millennial, the moderate cost is a big factor but so is the nostalgia, as many of them grew up in this type of home.
Maybe it’s time for you to saddle up. Put some horseshoes on the wall. Get one of those cowboy silouettes…you know, the kind where the cowpoke has his boot up leaning against the wall and his hat pulled down low in front. A longhorn steer skull hanging on the wall could also work. Sure won’t look like assisted living.
Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. His mystery novel, Head Above Water, is available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also visit his author page here.