Updating a split level home

Posted by / 25-Feb-2020 07:02

The split-level design is believed to have derived from the ranch, which, in turn, was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s low-profile, horizontal Prairie homes and no-frills Usonian houses.

For stairs coupled between two walls, a smoother transition might include one wall painted the same as one adjoining room, and the opposite wall to match the other room.

It's important to determine the style of painting for each room in advance.

For example, decide whether there will be an abrupt change of color between each room or whether the colors will blend together.

Back in the 1950s and ‘60s—when the USSR’s launch of Sputnik made outer space the new frontier, and the Beatles were transforming rock and roll music—the split-level home began to emerge on the American suburban landscape.

At the time, the style appealed to a wide swath of buyers because it was a fresh design and it was grander than the modest bungalows that dominated many neighborhoods, yet could be affordably built on smaller lots than a sprawling ranch.

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“The split originally was a way to build on a sloping site, but the interior visual connections it created were so popular it became a part of a new style,” says architect Stuart Cohen of Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects in Evanston, Ill., and co-author of Acanthus Press, 2008). Split-levels looked more substantial yet their quasi-stacked designs were still compact and could be affordably built on smaller lots.