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Interested in a Mid-Century Home? Consider University Hills Real Estate


December 22, 2015

Denver is lucky to boast several residential neighborhoods with mid-century modern architecture still intact. “Mid-century modern” typically falls between the years of 1945 to 1970. And the neighborhood of University Hills—bordered by I-25, South Colorado Boulevard, and Highway 285—is one of Denver’s mid-century neighborhoods, featuring many ranch and minimal traditional style houses built in the 1950s. If you’re considering purchasing a home in this neighborhood, or just want to learn more about the defining characteristics of the ranch, split-level ranch, and minimal traditional styles from this time period, here’s a breakdown:

Ranch
Ranch houses dominated American residential building from the 1930s through the 1960s, eventually replacing the Tudor style in popularity and favored by the baby boomer generation. Originating in California in the 1930s, the ranch style took inspiration from many other styles of architecture, such as the adobe “rancho” style of the Spanish Mission, as well as the Craftsman and Prairie styles. Ranch houses from the 1950s can be identified by:
  • Wood or brick exterior walls—and sometimes a combination of both
  • Low-pitched roofs with a moderate to wide eave overhang
  • One story
  • Ribbon windows or large picture windows, especially in the living areas
  • Decorative iron or wooden porch supports
  • Modest detailing
Split-Level Ranch
Instead of one level of floor space, three levels of floor space were born with the split-level ranch style of home, which began to emerge in the 1950s. With the same horizontal lines as a ranch house, the split-level style sought to separate noisier living and service areas from the quieter sleeping areas. The lower level usually included a garage and a family room, the mid-wing level housed a quieter living room or den, and the upper level usually housed the bedrooms. Although less common in the Southern and Western states, split-level ranches from the 1950s can be identified by:
  • Half-story wing attached to the one-story ranch
  • Variety of wall cladding
  • Some traditional decorative detailing (vaguely Colonial)
Minimal Traditional
Considered “early modern Tudors,” minimal traditional homes came on the scene during the Depression and were built in large numbers right before and right after WWII and throughout the decade of the 1950s. Despite their simple detailing and facades, as well as the sheer numbers that were built (reminiscent of the tract homes built post-WWII by Levitt & Sons in Levittown, New York), these homes were well-designed and crafted. Minimal traditional houses from the 1950s can be identified by:
  • Typically one story, but occasionally two stories
  • Dominant front gable
  • Big chimneys
  • Low roof pitch
  • Eaves and rake are close, but do not overhang
  • Simple façade
Mid-century architecture produced other styles of houses as well, such as the Contemporary and the Shed styles. Learn more about mid-century modern from 1945-1970.
The team at Elevation Realty are your go-to real estate experts when it comes to finding the mid-century modern home of your dreams. Get more information about University Hills market trends and current homes for sale in the neighborhood. Or feel free to contact us with any other questions.