Rambler Style Homes in Washington DC Metro Area

One of the most common, plentiful and affordable home styles in Washington Metro is the good old Rambler. These simple mid-century single-story structures zoomed to popularity following the end of World War II. This was a time of rapid population growth and an expansion into the suburbs. The Rambler was an ideal solution for a new generation of home owners. Decades later, it’s still a very popular type of architecture.

The Rambler style originated in the Midwest in the 1920’s as an offshoot of the Ranch (or Rancher) house. The low-slung homes owed their conception to several influences, including early American ranch houses and the modernist principles associated with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School during the early part of the 20th century. They soon gained favor in California and other points west. And by the late 1940’s they were making their impact in the outlying suburbs of the DC region, especially Alexandria and Arlington.

The commonality of the various influences and origins is a low-profile design and wide open interior layouts. In many cases, the Ranch style itself is/was a simple rectangle while the Rambler off-shoot featured an L-shape. The new name came from the folksy notion of “rambling around” the corner of the house from one wing to the next. Ramblers also sometimes have an uneven U-shape with one wing longer than the other.

The emergence of the baby boom generation led to a massive amount of residential development throughout Alexandria and Arlington. This had a lot to do with a federal workforce that continued to grow after WWII, alongside a corporate economy that was also expanding. Low taxes, low unemployment and the establishment of new airports and developing technologies all fed into suburban growth.

At the same time, new homebuyers wanted something different from the traditional Colonial, Victorian and Cape Cod architecture that was so prevalent in the DC area. The long wartime conflict had been hard and citizens were buying into a new American Dream—convenience of living, a backyard, a barbeque grill and a TV in the den!

It should also be noted that Split-level homes were also coming into prominence at the same time as were mid-century modern styles. And in fact, you can find a number of hybrids throughout the region, such as Ramblers with a modernist slant.

And while the above-mentioned housing types had a relatively brief reign when it comes to active development, they still represent a significant piece of the real estate market. It really has everything to do with the sheer volume of homes built during an important era in American history.

To learn more about Split-level homes for sale, call District Partners at Compass, at 202-798-3600.


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