You Thought Ranch Houses Were Boring? Then You Haven't Seen These

Ranch houses have gotten a bad rap. Though they were all the rage from the 1940s through the '70s, during the feverish growth of suburbia into what seemed like endless expanses of untouched land, the classic low-slung homes fell out of favor late last century. Maybe it was the rise of the McMansion in the '80s that did them in, or the higher land costs that required more return on investment for developers. That one-story home, with its emphasis on indoor-outdoor living, its informality and humility -- that just wasn't late 20th-century America's bag.

But the ranch can feel good about itself again. In this post-"Mad Men" era, people are rediscovering the easy living of these iconic dwellings, marking them as Mid-Century instead of tract housing, and renovating them to be fully Don Draper -- worthy. Some are even building new, upscale one-story homes that hark back to the ranch's history.

Below are a few of our favorites from our listings.

Address: 2780 Thorndike Rd, Pasadena, CA
Price: $1,349,000
This is an architect-designed ranch, courtesy of Harold Bissner Jr., and it's properly outfitted with that Design Within Reach pendant light to bridge its 1961 birthdate with the modern furnishings of today. It has the hallmarks of ranch, with the vaulted ceilings and the walls of glass. Notice the touch of Frank Lloyd Wright red and the period touches of tulip chairs and shag rug.

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Address: 2665 SW West Point Ave, Portland, OR
Price: $575,000
Though the listing advises the buyer to "update & make this home a showcase again," it's pretty darn impressive in its current state, especially considering its unassuming exterior. Also: It's big. The living room of this five-bedroom, three-bathroom, 3,556-square-foot home is "grand piano size." Notice that it has two built-in bars, one in the main living area and one in the finished basement.

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Address: 4N003 Wild Rose Rd, Saint Charles, IL
Price: $529,500

Built in 1961 by architect Jack Marshall, this has all the ranch house glory of glass, built-ins, and the original light fixtures and tile. The four-bedroom home measures 3,407 square feet and sits on 1.4 acres. Note also the colored glass panels in the living room and the fireplace built into the stone wall.