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Field Guide to Atlanta Housing Types: Ranches

The craze for mid-20th century design has been going strong for quite some time, and the popularity of "Mad Men" has kicked it into overdrive. And yet, it seems like appreciation of the actual housing from that time is just now gaining the respect its furnishings have had for a while. It may have been a matter of technicality: A building isn't deemed "historic" until it's reached the 50-year mark. The Atlanta area is chockfull of this once-unappreciated building type, and for good reason: In the early 1960s, Atlanta became the first Southern city to surpass the 1 million-person mark.

All ranches are characterized by their low-slung character, but there was actually a wide variety of style variations. You can find "Colonial" ranches, contemporary ranches and even Polynesian inspired ranches. They're typically brick, one story, and easy on the detailing. Since post-WWII was really the era of the "American Dream" you can expect big lots and mature tree growth. On the downside: Ranches are also characterized by low ceilings, small closets and minuscule bathrooms.

These days, home buyers are usually attracted to ranches for three reasons: Location, value and design. What was once considered suburban in Atlanta now qualifies for close-in, and so many ranch neighborhoods can be found in relatively nearby proximity to Midtown and Buckhead. Dekalb County is chockfull of this housing type, as it was the first area to receive Atlanta's sprawl. They're usually more affordable compared to older bungalows and Victorians, and much cheaper than new teardown replacements.

If you're hankering for a well-located ranch for under $300,000, start by looking at these neighborhoods:

Lindridge/Martin Manor
Woodland Hills
Ashford Park
Lavista Park
Drew Valley
Pine Hills
Sagamore Hills
Clairmont Heights
Dunwoody Forest

— By Curbed Atlanta contributor Jonathan Carnright