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November 26, 2006 Ranch

D.C.’s ‘Disappearing’ Ranches

The Washington Post Real Estate section ran a piece yesterday detailing the increasing trend of people in the D.C. area turning modest mid-century single-story ranches into anyhting other than modest mid-century single-story ranches. Described as “an American architectural problem child,” the Post article says “ranches fell into disfavor, and now it seems we can’t get rid of them fast enough.” As you can see, the story takes a derisive view of the mid-century ranch, although it does quote Jim Brown, the founder of Atomic Ranch magazine, calling for ranches to be left essentially as they are. I agree with Brown. I’ve been working on restoring with period details my own 1956 split-level, but people can do whatever they want. If people want to take a 2,000 square foot ranch and turn it into a 11,000 square foot New England-style home, they can do it. But do they need all 11,000 square feet to be happy?

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  1. Anonymous — November 28, 2006 @ 3:23 pm         Reply

    I read that and thought the same thing. Unfortunately, it’s an economic decision for some in this area. Our large 1958 Rambler here in Annandale sits on 3/4 of an acre, original bathrooms are decent but need some work, as does the kitchen which I hope to redo with mid century touches (new formica counters and stainless trim). I could do a lot better for resale if I redid the kitchen and baths and slapped a second story on. I’ll resist, but a lot of other people wouldn’t.

  2. Mid-Century Mike — November 29, 2006 @ 7:05 pm         Reply

    From the conservation side, I guess it is better to use an existing structure and land rather than build a new house on untouched land, but it is still kind of jarring to turn what were modest mid-century homes into modern-day McMansions.

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