How to Add Onto a Ranch: Make it a Split

A recent design project gave me the chance to explore several ways to add onto a ranch house with a walk out basement.  Read more about the whole project and other potential design in this post: How to Add onto a Ranch: Four Ways.

existing front view

The existing house had an awkward layout:

  • an overly prominent garage
  • a wide and shallow front room with little view
  • small bedrooms sharing a single (very odd) bathroom
  • no public spaces facing the gorgeous back yard.

I am foolishly fond of split level houses.  When done right, they can be full of interesting sight lines and a flow that promotes fun casual living spaces.  In this case, it also seemed one of the best ways to connect the main living areas of the house to the back yard and to keep both shared space and a private master suite at the back of the house.

The front face lift

Although I didn’t recommend changing up the exterior shape of the house at the front, it seemed vital to improve the relationship between the front door and street – currently overwhelmed by a prominent two car garage.  Here are several similar ideas:

front porch deck options

The Floor plans

split main floor

This floor plan keep the existing footprint of the house intact with the Den addition shifting a few steps down from the main floor.  Two kids baths with a nearly jack-and-jill shared bath get the front corner of the house, and a master suite takes over the rest of the south wall with a nice view out to the back park.  The kitchen area opens from the entry hall out over the den, with a small built in dining nook tucked into the transition wall between main floor and sunken living room.

A shorter stair lined with windows connects den with back yard and patio.


Here’s some imagery related to spiffy split level layouts and living areas set off from the rest of the house by a few steps:

split levels


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