Updating ranch home

• Create a welcoming entry by adding graceful curves to your driveway, walkway and landscape.• Provide an intimate sheltered entry in an inset porch.Q My husband and I have been living in our ranch home since the 1970s, and we are finally ready to do some upgrading to make it a little more current. The earth-hugging prairie-style houses pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright and the popular California bungalow styles paved the way for the ranch.

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• Consider flat lightweight concrete tile or Spanish clay tile roofing.

• Replace outdated windows with good quality wood or metal clad wood windows and doors.

Take the above renovation from Southern Living, which started out as a typical brick 1950s ranch in Birmingham, Alabama.

For the exterior, local architect Anna Evans added a front patio, changed the exterior color palette and expanded the entryway.

Because so many ranch-style houses were built quickly and with a cookie-cutter formula, the ranch is dismissed by some as simple, ordinary and without style.

But there is more than meets the eye to the classic suburban ranch.

These exterior renovations show you don't have to compromise your style, and that there are so many ways to customize and modernize an 'outdated' home's appearance.

When architect Eric Olsen updated his California ranch home, he used rustic materials to add warmth and interest.

• Replace the front door with a pair of glass doors (9-lite) or stain-grade wood stile and rail design; consider a carriage door design for the garage in stain-grade wood. • Transform your landscape with new patio trees in odd-numbered groupings and colorful, low maintenance plantings.

• Wrap porch support posts with decorative panels; use wood, stone or brick for base.

Architect Cliff May is credited with building the first ranch-style home in San Diego in 1932, followed by California real estate developer Joseph Eichler’s mass-produced version that become so popular in the 1950s.

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