Updating America’s Traditional Home: The Mid-Century Ranch

You don’t have to drive far around Nashville to find neighborhoods full of mid-century ranch houses. Areas such as Madison, Donelson, Crieve Hall and Green Hills are teeming with ranch homes. Most commonly, this house style has one level, with living areas on one end of the house and bedrooms on the other. With a relatively small footprint, the size generally runs between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet. Many have three bedrooms and one to two baths.

Following World War II, the housing demand grew nationwide, and developers met the need with small and affordable ranch houses built primarily from the late 1940s through the 1960s. Since that time, ranches have come in and out of popularity, but at the moment, they are particularly popular for first-time home buyers who are looking for an affordable home, as well as empty-nesters looking to downsize to one-level living.

Thanks to the large number of home improvement shows and do-it-yourself resources online and otherwise, ranch homes across the nation are being updated to fit the needs of today’s families.

Interior Space

In recent years, families tend to prefer an open floor plan, as opposed to the separate formal and informal living areas popular in traditional ranch homes, which is made possible when walls are removed and replaced with load-bearing beams. Further, this home style’s simple construction method and roofline make it fairly easy to raise low ceilings or even add a second story if funds, codes and other factors permit.

Exterior Design

Due to the simple design of the ranch, a covered front porch or back patio is a popular addition, offering families more outdoor living space. Another trend today is painted brick exteriors.

Cosmetic Updates

Many ranch homes feature wood paneling and knotty pine cabinets, which can be painted or replaced. Although these homes often have hardwood floors, carpet was the trend at the time of construction, as opposed to the more desirable wood floors of today. Fortunately, it is not all that uncommon to pull back the carpet and find the hardwood still in pretty good shape. The addition of recessed lighting, granite or quartz countertops, and current paint colors go a long way in modernizing these mid-century homes.

If you are interested in finding a ranch house, whether a fixer-upper or move-in ready home, in or around Nashville, please call or email me. I would love to help!

P.S. Be sure to check out Pre to Post Modern, specializing in mid-century furnishings, at 2110 8thAvenue South in Nashville.

About the Author

My wife and I live in Donelson, where we both were raised and graduated from high school (DCA Classes of 1983 and 1984).  Our current home is on the Cumberland River, very close to my childhood home and the former homes of both my McDonald and Rice grandparents.

Our daughter and son are grown now, and our daughter, Stephanie Miller, is my real estate partner.  She lives in Lebanon with her husband and their two children.  While Stephanie and I specialize in the areas of Downtown Nashville, Donelson, Hermitage, Old Hickory, Mt. Juliet and Lebanon, we have and do serve clients all over Middle Tennessee.

As a Nashville native, I’ve spent a lifetime watching our city evolve, and I am enthusiastic about showcasing it to others and serving their real estate needs.


1997 — 2000   Fleetwood HOA Board Officer

2013 — 2016   Rhythm at Music Row HOA Board Officer

2017   Greater Nashville Realtors: Housing Opportunities & Affordability Committee

2017 — 2018   St. Martin Square HOA Board Officer

2017 — 2019   Brentwood Photography Group Board

2018 — 2019   Senior Ride Nashville


National Association of REALTORS®

Tennessee Association of REALTORS®

Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®