Since the inception of its design in the early 60s, never has the style of a house spawned more opposing opinions than that of the raised ranch. Some prospective home buyers are drawn to it, perhaps they grew up in one, while others say, “show me anything but!”
“I don’t know who exactly invented the design of the raised ranch, but whoever it was should be shot!” my architect friend Michael Piccirillo recently told me. Actually some architectural historians say that the design was created by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright.
The history of the raised ranch and its place in the American housing scene, rising from a clever idea to ubiquitous popularity, then to disfavor as a style, is a very interesting, strictly American phenomenon. Actually, while you see many ranch style homes here in the New York area, they originated on the West Coast in the 1920s. But once their influence reached the East Coast, the foundation had risen half a story and the one-level ranch was “raised” to create two levels.
The main complaints Piccirillo has about the elevated ranch are the same that we hear most frequently from the style’s other detractors, basically that the entrance platform between the main and lower levels of the house is normally foreshortened to the extent that it’s difficult to close the door behind you without stepping up a step or down a step.
Also, there is no provision for an entry hall closet and, as Piccirillo pointed out, the lower level is cut off from the main flow of the house. “When modernizing a raised ranch, it’s not easy to modify the space. It can become a more sizable project that’s more complicated than re-doing a ranch, cape or colonial,” he said.
Yet, it’s this very cut-off feeling that some people find desirable for converting a raised ranch into a mother/daughter layout or for an accessory apartment.
Basically the raised ranch is a one-story ranch propped atop a high foundation, creating a lower living space without really raising the construction cost appreciably. Normally that lower space is divided into one or two rooms, along with a half or full bath and a laundry room. The rest of the level is for the utility room and a two-car garage.
Another factor in the raised ranch debate is that its design has fallen into disfavor more quickly than any other style of house. Certainly the colonial design has been around literally since the founding of our country, and people still prefer it among all the styles.
Supporters of the raised ranch, particularly contractors who build them, have said that you get more bang for the buck by raising the house on a high basement and creating a whole new level at a fraction of the cost that the main level requires. Detractors would say that, while the inside may offer more space at less money, the exteriors are devoid of any distinguishing kind of features, so that large tracts of the design have tended to look alike.
Homeowners today are more sophisticated at all price levels and they want to distinguish themselves from their neighbors. On the longest block in my town with the most raised ranches, the transformation from alikeness started to take place in the late 1980s, first with the selection of new siding and windows, then with additions which many times included revamping the two car garage into living space and extending a wing with a new garage and a “bonus” room overhead.
A while back, I met a couple. Annette and Lars Lindbergh, who first made me aware of clever ways to disguise the top-heavy look of the raised ranch with a front bump-out.…
By Constance Mitchell Ford
Several months ago, I purchased a beautiful 85-year-old Tudor revival-style house in Westchester County, a northern suburb of New York City.
In some ways, it’s the type of house I always dreamed of owning, with intricate designs, gables, diamond-shaped leaded-pane windows, timber boards that shoot up to the roof and a large chimney. My house is in Fleetwood, a section of Mount Vernon, N.Y., known for its pre-World War II vintage homes and huge Norway maple trees that shade the streets.
The house reminds me of the homes owned by nice middle-class families in old novels and black-and-white movies from the 1950s. The refined couples with the clever and well-mannered children seemed to live in Tudor homes. Oddballs and Alfred Hitchcock villains, in contrast, seemed to live in scary Victorian homes. (All of these decades later, I still associate Victorians with the movie “Psycho.”) Although both architectural styles were exported to the U.S. from Great Britain, the Tudor was far more popular and enduring.
Gary Williams, a former trustee of the Westchester County Historical Society, said most Tudors in suburban New York were built between 1890 and 1930 and were called “stock broker homes” because the original owners were often bankers and the homes indicated that the owners were affluent and conservative. “The homes were a status symbol, a symbol of being well off,” said Mr. Williams.
Tudors can be grand like the ones built by the late William Van Duzer Lawrence, who founded Sarah Lawrence Collegeand contributed to the development of Bronxville, the very wealthy town next door to Fleetwood filled with magnificent Tudors. But Tudors can also be modest and many of these are found in older suburbs all across the Northeast and Midwest.
Prior to World War II, real-estate developers began moving away from Tudors, which were considered complicated to build and closely associated with Europe. As demand for Tudors declined, Colonial revival styles became more popular. Not only were these styles easier to build, but the owners were viewed as more patriotic. “People started to look back at the founding of the republic” and wanted to “go back to our original architecture,” says Steve Tilly, an architect in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. who specializes in historic preservation.
Even today builders shy away from building Tudors, although the style remains popular with historic-home enthusiasts.
Restoring a Tudor home, however, isn’t for the faint of heart. They can be more complicated than other types of old homes to update. The same intricacies that make Tudor homes appealing, can also make them costly nuisances to repair. The roofs, which are often slate or tile, can be extraordinarily expensive to replace. The leaded-glass casement windows are beautiful, but aren’t very energy efficient and require delicate expert handling to repair and update. The exterior wooden timbers, which give Tudors their distinctive look, require expert carpentry to maintain. The interior plaster walls require the skill of more experienced contractor than your typical drywall installer. And if you need to upgrade the malfunctioning locks and hardware, forget about finding replacements at big-box home centers. More than likely, you’ll have to have them custom-made or order them online from a historic-home locksmith.
The bottom line is that turning my old Tudor house into a comfortable home will take a lot of time and money. My goal is to make the house bright, cozy and esthetically appealing, while preserving as many of the historical aspects of the house as possible. There are a few exceptions: the old bathrooms and kitchen will receive makeovers.
My goal in writing this column is to teach readers a little about historic preservation and a little about the history of design and construction in older suburban homes.…
Mike Love, a member of the Beach Boys, has cut the price of his 8,995-square-foot Pebble Beach estate near Monterey, Calif., by 12% to $ 6 million. The property was first listed in 2009 for $ 7.9 million.
Built around 2003, the Tuscan-style house has seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms and sits on an acre in Pebble Beach, the coastal community known for its golf courses. An elevator services all four levels of the home. A lower basement level has a wine cellar and tasting room, a game room, a gym and a screening room. A guest apartment attached to the home has a separate kitchen.
Mr. Love says he and his wife, Jacqueline, are selling because their children are grown and aren’t going to school in Pebble Beach anymore. “It is a lifestyle change,” says Mr. Love’s wife. The couple’s primary residence is in Incline Village, near Lake Tahoe, and in recent years they used this house as a vacation home.
Steve Beutel and Noel Beutel of Sotheby’s International Realty have the listing.
A Montana Ranch Goes on the Market for $ 10 Million
Richard Childress, a former Nascar driver and current Nascar team owner, has put his 626-acre ranch near Emigrant, Mont., on the market for $ 10 million.
Called Grizzly Meadows Lodge, the 11,028-square-foot home has six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. It is being sold furnished, including 14 televisions, 11 all-terrain vehicles and custom wood furniture. The ranch sits in Paradise Valley, by the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, and borders public land. Mr. Childress bought the property in 1993, renovating and adding to it over the years, spending roughly $ 9 million total.
Mr. Childress, who was a Nascar driver for about 20 years, used the ranch as a vacation home and a corporate retreat but now he is selling because he spends more time at home in North Carolina, managing his nine Nascar racing teams and helping his grandsons launch their own racing careers. “I only went a few times this last year, so I think it’s time to buy something closer to home,” he says.
Sally Uhlmann of PureWest Properties, a Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate, has the listing.
A Private Island in Maine Asks $ 4.9 Million
A 24-acre island in Portland Harbor, less than two miles off the coast of Portland, Maine, is asking $ 4.9 million.
Called House Island, the property has five private beaches and views of Portland and Casco Bay. There are three cottages as well as Fort Scammel, an 1808 fort that was used in the War of 1812. The cottages are small, each between 1,200 and 2,000 square feet.
Owner Harold Cushing inherited the island from his mother, Hilda Cushing-Dudley, who purchased the property more than 50 years ago in an effort to preserve the fort. For decades, Mr. Cushing has run a private tour company that hosts private events on the island, but now he’s ready for a change and a new adventure, says listing agent John Scribner of LandVest in Portland.…
By Zillow staff
In celebrity real estate circles a few homes returned to the housing market. Actor Ryan Phillippe’s house is for sale again, this time at a reduced price and Beach Boys’ Mike Love relisted his estate in Pebble Beach.
Ryan Phillippe’s home back on the market for $ 6.995 million
This vine-covered estate has been owned by Ryan Phillippe since his divorce to Reese Witherspoon.
Real estate can be restorative, or perhaps that’s what actor Ryan Phillippe was hoping when he bought a new home coined “Rising Zen” after his divorce from actress Reese Witherspoon.
After two years at the peaceful estate, Phillippe was ready to move on and put the property on the Hollywood Hills real estate market for $ 7.45 million in late 2010. However it wasn’t the best timing for selling. With the steady downtick of home prices and strong recession hitting much of the U.S., Phillippe’s home didn’t sell, and the listing was removed in 2011.
Seven months later, with a 6.1 percent price cut and new real estate agent, Phillippe is trying the market again. The home is listed for $ 6.995 million with Billy Rose of The Agency.
Built in 1998, the home was coined “Rising Zen” due to its combination of Asian and modern architecture. While the 5-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom count of this home is impressive in itself, the amenities that are even better. The home features a state-of-the-art, two-story gym directly off the master suite, a media room, art studio, koi pond, step-down bar with an aquarium backdrop, cook’s kitchen with breakfast area, and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer fantastic city views.
According to Zillow’s mortgage calculator, a monthly payment on Phillippe’s home would be $ 25,157, assuming a 20 percent down payment on a 30-year mortgage.
The galley kitchen has high-end finishes and stainless steel appliances.
The pool area has views of the Los Angeles skyline.
See more photos of Ryan Phillippe’s home on Zillow.
Beach Boy would love to sell Tuscan-style Pebble Beach style
Mike Love’s home includes several patio and deck spaces.
Mike Love has not changed his mind. The Beach Boys’ baritone still wants to sell his Pebble Beach, California, home that has been re-listed for $ 5.995 million.
The Tuscan-style home has been on and off the market since 2008, when it was first listed for sale at $ 7.875 million.
The frontman’s crash pad is up the coast from where he and his cousins Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, along with Al Jardine, created the lush sounds that changed pop music.
With seven bedrooms and six bathrooms, the nearly 9,000-square-foot house is a haven for good times, complete with formal and informal dining spaces, generous patios, wine cellar, elevator, exercise, entertainment and game rooms plus views of the Pacific Ocean.
Love and his wife, Jacqueline, told The Wall Street Journal that the reason for selling is a lifestyle change, now that their children are out of school. However, Love and his family have long made Lake Tahoe their primary residence. The family lives in an 18,000-square-foot home in Incline Village on the Nevada side of the lake.
Love also owns a co-op apartment on the Upper East Side of New York City that he and his wife teamed to remodel. The 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom condo at 300 E. 93rd Street had been listed for sale in late 2009.
Love, Brian Wilson and Jardine have reunited and are currently touring worldwide again as The Beach Boys, winning rave reviews for concerts across the U.S. and their new album, “That’s Why God Made Radio.”
Marble floors and columns dominate the interior of the home.