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What to Know About Building a Ranch-Style Custom Home in Hunterdon County

Bright White Kitchen by GTG Builders

Ranch-style homes embody timeless charm and practical living, transcending trends. Their single-level living and open floor plans connect the indoors with nature, emphasizing bright, inviting natural light. Central New Jersey's diverse landscapes and seasons provide an ideal backdrop for this style of home.

If you’re planning your dream custom home keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the popular ranch-style home.


What are the design elements of the ranch-style home?

Ranch homes typically offer single-level living with open, flowing floor plans. Large windows connect the interior with the outdoors, and low-pitched rooflines give them their iconic curb appeal. This architectural style emphasizes a harmonious coexistence with nature, often featuring sliding glass doors that lead to patios and gardens. The absence of stairs enhances accessibility, and the floor plans are flexible, making them ideal for both family living and entertaining. The practicality of ranch-style homes is a key attraction for homeowners looking for comfort and accessibility.

What makes a ranch-style house unique?

Ranch-style homes stand out with their seamless flow between living spaces and a strong connection to the natural world. With open floor plans and no stairs, they are perfect for those who prefer easy accessibility. Their single-story layout allows for an abundance of natural light, creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere. What makes them especially unique in Central New Jersey is how they blend with the diverse landscapes, whether it's a rural retreat or an urban oasis. Regardless of the setting, ranch homes offer an unparalleled sense of spaciousness and accessibility.

What are the 5 Types of Ranch Houses?

Ranch homes come in various styles, each with its unique features and character. Let’s delve into the five popular types of ranch-style homes, showcasing their distinguishing elements and the exciting design opportunities they offer for crafting a custom home that's distinctly yours.

1. California Ranch

This style is known for its sprawling layout and indoor-outdoor flow.

2. Raised Ranch

This style typically features a split-entry design, providing flexibility for customization, such as an outdoor kitchen and gardens.

3. Split-Level Ranch

With multiple floor levels, this type is a creative playground. You can go for a finished basement with a complete home theatre for entertainment.

4. Suburban Ranch

This classic style suits urban and suburban settings. It's the perfect canvas for landscaped gardens with decks and patios.

5. Storybook Ranch 

This style is ideal for those who love a touch of nostalgia or whimsy. Think of charming details like brick exteriors or intricate gardens to add personality to your custom ranch home.

9 Things to Consider When Building a Ranch-Style Custom Home in New Jersey

There are several important things to know when weighing the pros and cons of ranch-style homes.

1. Local Building Codes and Zoning Regulations

Understanding the building codes and zoning regulations specific to New Jersey is crucial. These regulations will dictate what you can and cannot do with your ranch-style home, including size, design, and location. Obtaining permits is a critical part of the custom home building process. Be sure to hire a contractor who’s experienced in the local process where your new home will be located.

2. Ideal Lot Size

Choose the right plot of land. Consider factors like soil quality, drainage, and proximity to amenities. A flat or gently sloping lot is often ideal for a ranch-style home. Because this style is single-level, it’s important to find a lot that can accommodate all the square footage you’re looking for.

3. Architectural Design Options

One of the benefits of the ranch-style home is the abundance of design trends to choose from that all work well alongside the ranch-style floor plan. New Jersey offers a range of popular design options, from traditional to contemporary. 

To find the best style for you, do your research! Find inspiration from homes online and in person, and carefully review potential contractors’ portfolios to be certain you can achieve the exact style you’re looking for.

4. Budget

Before determining if the ranch style is right for you, have a general understanding of your project budget and what you’re willing to invest in your new home. Ranch homes can sometimes cost more than two-story homes due to their larger footprint, which requires more land. They also necessitate longer foundations and roofing, which can increase construction costs. However, this cost difference can vary based on location and design choices.

Establish a clear budget that includes construction costs, design fees, permits, and contingencies. Ranch-style homes can be cost-effective if done right, but careful budgeting is always necessary.

5. Energy Efficiency

Explore energy-efficient features and technologies. If designed poorly, single-story homes can be difficult to heat or cool effectively. However, with modern features like proper insulation, efficient HVAC systems, and energy-saving appliances, single-story ranch homes can be more energy efficient than their 2-story counterparts.

6.  Plans for the Future

If you plan to stay in your home long-term, consider how your life might grow and change—impacting what you need from your home. The ranch-style home is excellent for aging-in-place, with features that prioritize long-term accessibility. Design for the best mobility with wider doorways, no-step entries, and reinforced bathroom walls for future additions like grab bars.

If you're considering creating space for aging loved ones, think about incorporating an in-law suite—complete with a kitchen, primary suite, and great room. With everything on one level, it’s easy to spread out living spaces effectively, so that everyone can have better privacy.

7. Construction Materials

Selecting the right construction materials for your ranch-style custom home is pivotal to ensuring longevity and durability. A professional builder, like GTG Builders, can guide you in making these crucial decisions, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of various materials. From the foundation to the roofing and everything in between, quality materials not only influence your home's lifespan but also its energy efficiency and maintenance requirements. 

To create a home that stands the test of time, these material choices should align with your overall vision for your ranch-style residence, ensuring that you not only achieve an aesthetically pleasing result but also a structurally sound and energy-efficient one.

8. Landscaping and Lot Location

Designing your ranch-style custom home isn't limited to the structure itself; the landscaping and outdoor spaces play a pivotal role too. With larger yards typically found around ranch-style homes, you have ample opportunities to create beautiful gardens, spacious patios, and other outdoor amenities that enhance your property's aesthetics and functionality. 

Planning your landscaping also means considering the surrounding environment of your lot, so that your home truly complements and integrates well with the natural beauty of the region. When thoughtfully designed, your outdoor spaces can become extensions of your indoor living areas, perfect for relaxation, entertainment, and embracing the beauty of all four seasons in Central New Jersey.

9. Find An Experienced Builder

The most important thing you can do when building your custom dream home is to hire the right builder. Select a reputable and experienced custom home builder with expertise in ranch-style homes. A skilled builder will guide you through the entire process, from design to construction, ensuring a successful and worry-free project.

Building Your Custom Ranch Home with GTG Builders

At GTG Builders, we specialize in constructing ranch-style custom homes in Hunterdon County, NJ,  and beyond. Our experienced team offers a wide range of services to bring your dream home to life. With our expertise in building ranch-style homes, we have the knowledge to guide you through the process, ensuring your vision becomes a reality. Contact us today and take the first step toward your custom ranch home.