8 Ideas for Your Modern Ranch House Exterior

Modern ranch house exteriors blend timeless design with contemporary flair, creating spaces harmoniously connecting with nature. These homes are characterized by their large windows, which not only define this architectural style but also ensure the interiors are bathed in natural light. The expansive glass panes offer unobstructed views of the outdoors, making the natural setting an integral part of the home’s aesthetic. This architectural approach shares a kinship with hospitality architecture, which focuses on creating welcoming, light-filled spaces that seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor environments.

In addition to their iconic windows, modern ranches often feature decorative elements that are a practical, like overhanging eaves, adding contrast and depth to their exteriors. Porches with roofs over the largest windows and deep eaves provide respite from the sun, while the choice of front doors—from stained wood to bright pops of color—adds a personal touch to each home. The modern ranch house exterior is a testament to architectural evolution while staying true to its roots, whether it’s the original Spanish-style ranches with terracotta roofs or the rustic-industrial blend found in newer designs.

Popular Styles in Modern Ranch House Exteriors

modern ranch house exterior ideas

The allure of the modern ranch house exterior lies in its versatility and adaptability, capturing the essence of both timelessness and contemporary design. This section delves into the popular styles that define the current trends in ranch house exteriors, each bringing a unique aesthetic to the architectural landscape.

Contemporary U-Shaped and L-Shaped Designs

Contemporary U-shaped and L-shaped ranch homes stand out for their seamless integration with natural landscapes and their ability to create private outdoor living spaces. The bend in the floorplan’s designs often features open courtyards, large glass doors, and extended overhangs that blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. The strategic layout maximizes natural light and ventilation, making these homes beautiful and energy-efficient. Architects leverage these shapes to offer homeowners a functional yet aesthetically appealing environment, emphasizing comfort and modern elegance.

Mid-Century Modern and Its Impact on Ranch Homes

Mid-century modern design has left an indelible mark on ranch homes, echoing the era’s penchant for simplicity, clean lines, and integration with nature. This influence is evident in the expansive use of glass, flat planes, and open spaces that characterize many modern ranch exteriors. Materials such as wood, brick, and stone are meticulously combined to highlight architectural features while offering a nod to the natural environment. The incorporation of mid-century modern elements in ranch house exteriors pays homage to the architectural heritage of the style while providing a timeless look that resonates with today’s homeowners.

The Modern Farmhouse Ranch Aesthetic

The modern farmhouse ranch aesthetic combines traditional charm with contemporary design, resulting in welcoming and visually striking exteriors. This style is characterized by its use of natural textures, a muted color palette, and natural and industrial elements, such as metal roof accents on a reclaimed wood siding home with barn-style lighting. Porches with wooden columns and board-and-batten siding further enhance the farmhouse appeal. Homeowners appreciate the modern farmhouse ranch for its cozy atmosphere and the way it complements both rural and urban settings, offering a slice of country living with a contemporary twist.

Mediterranean and Spanish Influences on Ranch Styles

Mediterranean and Spanish influences bring a touch of elegance and warmth to ranch house exteriors, featuring stucco walls, tiled roofs, and arched doorways. This style is distinguished by its rich, warm colors, decorative ironwork, and lush landscaping that evoke the serene and luxurious feel of Mediterranean living. Incorporating courtyards and outdoor living areas aligns with the ranch architecture‘s emphasis on outdoor connectivity, providing an ideal setting for relaxation and entertainment. Mediterranean and Spanish-inspired ranch homes are popular among homeowners seeking a distinctive architectural style that combines historic charm with modern sensibilities.

By embracing these diverse styles, modern ranch house exteriors offer homeowners a range of options to express their taste while adhering to the principles of functionality, efficiency, and harmony with the surrounding environment. Each style contributes to the evolving narrative of ranch house architecture, ensuring that these homes remain a beloved choice for those seeking comfort, style, and a connection to the natural world.

For additional assistance with ranch-style homes, feel free to consult our detailed blog on types of ranch-style homes.

Exterior Upgrades for a Modern Ranch House

design for exterior modern ranch house

Transforming a ranch house into a modern marvel involves carefully considering its exterior elements. Homeowners can significantly enhance their property’s curb appeal by focusing on entrance makeovers, roof and facade renovations, and landscaping. Sustainable upgrades further ensure that modernization efforts embrace energy efficiency.

Entrance Makeovers and Front Porch Ideas

The entrance of a ranch house sets the tone for its overall aesthetic. Modernizing the front porch or entryway involves integrating materials that contrast yet complement the home’s design. Consider replacing the front door with a striking, contemporary option with glass panels to let in natural light. Adding sleek, modern hardware can instantly update the entrance’s look.

For porch ideas, minimalist designs reign supreme in modern ranch house renovations. Install clean-lined seating or a simple bench, and incorporate low-profile planters with lush green foliage for a splash of color. Statement outdoor lighting fixtures illuminate walkways and serve as decorative elements that enhance the home’s modern appeal.

Roof and Facade Renovations

Updating the roof and facade of a ranch house can dramatically change its appearance. With its durability and sleek appearance, metal roofing suits modern aesthetics and complements a ranch-style home’s lines. For the facade, consider replacing older materials with modern alternatives such as fiber cement siding, which offers versatility in textures and colors and keeps your home safer from wildfire risk.

Painting the exterior with a fresh, neutral palette can also modernize the appearance while maintaining a connection to the landscape. Adding architectural elements like wood beams or metal sunshades can break up monotonous wall sections, creating an intriguing visual composition that draws the eye.

Landscaping for a Modern Ranch House

Landscaping is a crucial element in modernizing a ranch house exterior. Embrace a design that blends indoor and outdoor living spaces, enhancing the home’s connection with nature. Opt for native plants that require minimal maintenance and water, adding to the home’s sustainability. Hardscaping, such as clean geometric paved walkways and patios, should complement the home’s design and create cohesive outdoor living areas.

Incorporating outdoor lighting into the landscaping plan ensures safety and highlights the property’s architectural and natural features. LED path lights, spotlights on trees, or understated wall lighting can add ambiance and showcase the home’s best assets after sunset.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Upgrades

Modern ranch house upgrades provide an excellent opportunity to incorporate energy-efficient and sustainable features. Replacing older windows with double—or triple-glazed options and updating your attic insulation can significantly improve insulation, reducing energy costs. Solar panels blend well with flat or low-pitch ranch house roofs, offering a clean energy solution that lowers electricity bills.

Consider adding a rainwater harvesting system to reduce water usage, especially in arid regions. Such systems can be easily implemented and designed to complement the home’s architecture, ensuring functionality does not come at the expense of style. High-efficiency outdoor lighting and HVAC systems decrease energy consumption, making the modern ranch house visually appealing and environmentally responsible.


Embracing the modern ranch house exterior is about blending form with function in a way that respects the home’s architectural heritage while pushing boundaries with innovative design and sustainability. By incorporating large windows, sleek door designs, and durable materials like terracotta and natural stone, homeowners can create inviting and impressive spaces. Upgrades such as minimalist porches, metal roofing, and energy-efficient features enhance the aesthetic appeal and improve the home’s overall efficiency. With thoughtful landscaping and the integration of modern materials, the modern ranch house exterior remains a timeless choice for those looking to combine classic elegance with contemporary flair.

If you want to build your ranch getaway, SRI Architects offers personalized consultations and custom plans to ensure that your ranch home meets your specific needs.



Emily Warren, AIA, NCARB

Emily is celebrated for her insightful commentary and technical expertise. As a licensed architect with over a decade of professional experience, Emily boasts a rich background that spans high-end design, historic documentation, and sustainable development. She honed her skills with the National Park Service’s Historic Documentation Programs, mastering complex projects completed to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

Emily’s work is distinguished by meticulous attention to detail and a passion for advancing architectural knowledge. Her leadership and teaching capabilities, demonstrated by her guidance of interns and management of multimillion-dollar projects, underscore her commitment to fostering growth and excellence within the architectural community. Emily’s compelling narratives and technical prowess make her an invaluable voice in the field as she continues to inspire readers with her dedication and vision.

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Charlotte R. DeChant



As a young artist, Charlotte tailored her pre-architecture undergraduate degree at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, and completed her Master of Architecture at the University of Colorado, Denver. With her fresh eyes, she is an observer, analyst and critic of our processes, and her imagination inspires and contributes to our creativity. Of the partners, Charlotte’s willingness to raise the children fostered Doug’s ability to focus upon the practice.

She is a lifelong resident of Colorado, skied Vail in the early years as a child and remains an excellent bump skier (if the sun is shining). She was an original teammate of the Vail Breakaways, Vail’s first women’s hockey team. Charlotte’s vision includes an amazing gift for seeing, rescuing, restoring and placing cast-off furniture and other elements, giving the pieces valuable, renewed lives.

Douglas M. DeChant

Founding Partner/Principal


Architecture is more than a profession for Doug, our principal designer; it is a calling, understood since childhood. While a modernist at heart, his work reflects the necessary context of each setting and the voice of each client. He trained in the program of modernist and former Bauhaus Director Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, at Illinois Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture in Chicago. After working throughout the nation and overseas, Doug settled in Vail in 1985, where he met his wife, Charlotte. Together they founded the practice in 1989 and have enjoyed raising four amazing children.

Doug’s service has included the Eagle County, Colorado, Planning Commission; the faculty of the Byron Fellowship, an annual sustainable communities conference; panelist at the Summit for Creativity in La Jolla sponsored by The Design Futures Council; participation in local design review boards; youth sports coaching; and various lay-leadership positions in his church. In 2004, he conceived ‘Benevolent Architecture’, a proprietary service offering low-cost or no-cost architecture and consulting to worthy ministries and non-profits.  In 2005, Doug began to develop an intimate, artistic retreat and conference venue, Wellspring Ranch, LLC, relocating and restoring several historic Colorado structures upon a remarkable property outside of Buena Vista, Colorado.

He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and has been licensed in numerous states, including Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Indiana, Georgia and Pennsylvania. He finds balance in guitar, sculpture, hiking, snowshoeing, golf and crafting various elements of his retreat venue. 

Tom Bashford


Tom, one of our most valued, gifted leaders, passed away unexpectedly in March 2017. Together with his joyful spirit and hilarious dry wit, he enhanced our studio with a wealth of design and management experience. Tom will never be replaced. He was the type of person, father, leader, and mentor to which we all aspire, and the fruit of his efforts will live on, in his son, in us, and in our projects.

Pam, Peraya Mongkolwongrojn


Peraya, Pam, is originally from Bangkok, Thailand, where she first became interested in Architecture from the rich spatial environment.  She explored Canada before moving to the States to pursue her passion for architecture. Pam went to the University of Arizona to earn a Bachelor of Architecture professional degree. During school, she energized a passion for the arts and drawing. 

In her free time, Pam enjoys exploring the great outdoors, hiking through Colorado’s scenic landscapes, and finding inspiration for her designs in nature. With a keen eye for detail and a creative approach to problem-solving, Pam has been involved in many of our custom residential homes. Her passion for the arts and drawing has influenced her design style, which incorporates elements of beauty and functionality. Pam’s commitment to excellence and her love for architecture make her a dedicated professional who strives to make a difference through her work.

As she continues to grow and learn in her field, Pam remains devoted to creating innovative spaces that enrich people’s lives and leave a positive legacy for future generations.

Brett Lehr

Project Manager

Brett is a designer with a unique blend of expertise, holding an undergraduate degree in Media Arts from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and an M.Arch degree from the University of Nebraska. His diverse educational background has ignited a passion for utilizing realistic virtual environments to enhance the efficiency, enjoyment, and overall success of architectural design processes.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Brett finds joy in a variety of hobbies, including snow skiing, biking, fly fishing, golf, and hiking. Embracing the scenic wonders of the Vail Valley, he has found the perfect lifestyle fit, drawing creative inspiration from the surrounding natural beauty.

Laurie Baggott


Our studio is fortunate to have Laurie bring her considerable experience in business and finance to our daily operations. Among her many administrative responsibilities, she manages accounting, payroll and invoicing for us. When not busy here or as a private chef, she avidly hikes in our beautiful summers and snowshoes in the winter.

Patricia Marcine


Earning her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Houston in 2016 was just the beginning. From there, Trish headed to Europe, to study at the Graz University of Technology in Austria and work at the Aedes Architekturforum. Then she determined it was time to return to the Rocky Mountains. We became beneficiaries of her delightful, collaborative spirit when she joined our studio in early 2018. Her savvy technical support and inspired design voice enhance each project, while her design comprehension and growth demonstrate that she has a future with much to offer the profession. As a lifelong artist, Trish’s search for a practical art form and meaningful profession has been fulfilled by custom residential architecture, where “…not a day truly feels like work.”

Trish grew up in Northern New Jersey, playing club and varsity soccer, enjoying ski club with friends, and learning to snowboard at a young age. As a teen, she competed in various equestrian events, highlighted by working for Frank and Mary Chapot to train Olympic-level show jumpers. Eventually, faster hobbies were necessary, and Trish became a driving instructor for the SCCA and track-day rider on her CBR600RR. She’s also been an enthusiastic racer on our company’s ‘ski team’. When a new project surfaces, she’s pleased to slow down enough to collaborate with the team.

Emily Warren


Emily joined us from the DC area, lured by the mountains, our core values and our creative environment. She earned a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Architecture degrees from SUNY Buffalo’s School of Architecture & Planning, with a minor in Earth System Science.

Through her wonderfully infectious spirit, Emily eagerly contributes diverse knowledge and experience, having worked on historic National Park Service documentation, and urban high-density residential projects facing strict constraints. She is a productive and dedicated team player who thrives through learning and contributing to the growth of others. Her detail, project management and organizational skills are exceptional. Emily is licensed in Maryland, and nationally accredited by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

Emily is passionate about youth empowerment, with considerable experience teaching and mentoring in schools and camps. She’s an ardent weightlifter, hiker and nature enthusiast, embracing the Vail Valley’s active, outdoor lifestyle.

Cam Frey


Cam was introduced to Colorado’s rivers and mountains at an early age, returning annually from Michigan with his family to fly-fish and hike near the small mining town of Creede. His interest in design and architecture was ignited by his high school drafting teacher, who instilled a balanced approach to design through technology and craft. Cam received his BA from UNC, Chapel Hill, followed by a few years of medical research before heading West to earn his Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon. There he became interested in the interdisciplinary study of Biomimicry; an approach to solving design problems by looking to nature. Not coincidentally, this interest, the stunning landscapes, wildlife, and outdoor lifestyle led Cam back to Colorado in 2014. He joined us in 2017, quickly becoming a central piece of our culture and project management structure.

Cam serves on the Design Review Committee of the Arrowhead at Vail community, is a certified Biomimicry Specialist and licensed Architect in the state of Colorado.

His other pursuits include fly-fishing, skiing, hiking, and a good game of euchre…, and the list continues to grow. He is married to a wonderfully talented children’s book illustrator, and dotes on his young son.

Ben Marion


From an early age, Ben had a pen in hand and a curiosity for exploring both natural and built environments. Much of his adolescence was spent drawing what he observed, balanced with his passions for cross-country skiing the New England forests and playing soccer as far away as Europe. Like many of us, Ben arrived in Colorado as an adult, following a lifelong passion to further pursue the resort lifestyle. After graduating from the University of Colorado, he practiced with some of the finest architects and builders in the region, creating fine homes and other structures. His broad experience includes California mountain resort homes, as well as mixed-use and commercial structures, peppered with an interesting mix of furniture building and construction. In our studio, Ben is a strong design voice and outstanding project manager, leading by quiet example as he mentors our emerging leaders.

Ben remains passionate about skiing and soccer, coaching both youth sports locally. Travel remains in his blood as he and his family explore the west in their vintage 1967 camper.

Bert Willemse


Bert found a home away from home in the Vail Valley while exploring North America’s most beautiful landscapes on a post-graduation road trip…, from his hometown of Bellvale, New York to Wasilla, Alaska. He had completed his studies at SUNY Buffalo and apprenticed with two well-known firms in New York’s Hudson Valley area before joining our studio. As the son of a general contractor Bert gained practical construction knowledge with hands-on experience in the field. His many professional attributes are exceeded only by his wonderful, collaborative spirit.

Naturally, Bert is an active individual who embraces hiking, biking and skiing in our amazing Colorado mountains.

Adam H. Harrison

NCARB, LEED AP / Principal


After graduating from Illinois Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture in 1994 and working as an intern for three years at Fujikawa Johnson and Associates in Chicago, Adam packed his van and toured America to determine where he might settle; he found Vail and Shepherd Resources in September of 1997. After growing from intern to project manager to associate, Adam began transitioning into ownership in 2017 and became a principal owner in early 2020. As a dedicated designer, Adam loves collaborating with his fellow architects and interns while managing a busy studio.

His priorities are rooted in sustainability, strong leadership skills, and staff mentoring to uphold the core values of the practice. He is licensed in Colorado, Michigan, and North Carolina and serves as the chairman of the Red Sky Ranch Design Review Board. Adam enjoys golf, mountain biking, skiing, music, and any activity involving his daughter Bellalee. Adam has been practicing for a quarter century and looks forward to designing and collaborating for another quarter century; the opportunity to doodle a quick sketch, with the future opportunity of walking through such a doodle fuels his creativity and passion for design.

Adam H. Harrison

NCARB, LEED AP / Principle


As a young artist, Charlotte tailored her pre-architecture undergraduate degree at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs, and completed her Master of Architecture at the University of Colorado, Denver. With her fresh eyes, she is an observer, analyst and critic of our processes, and her imagination inspires and contributes to our creativity. Of the partners, Charlotte’s willingness to raise the children fostered Doug’s ability to focus upon the practice.

She is a lifelong resident of Colorado, skied Vail in the early years as a child and remains an excellent bump skier (if the sun is shining). She was an original teammate of the Vail Breakaways, Vail’s first women’s hockey team. Charlotte’s vision includes an amazing gift for seeing, rescuing, restoring and placing cast-off furniture and other elements, giving the pieces valuable, renewed lives.