Splanch-style home: a novel architecture of two house styles in one

A splanch has a two-level exterior like this house


There are so many options for your home style that sometimes it gets overwhelming to choose, but did you know that there’s a once popular type of home that mixes two common house styles in one? 

This architecture style is called a splanch: and as the portmanteau suggests, it’s a mixture of split-level design with ranch architecture that blossomed in popularity in the 1950s on Long Island and the areas surrounding New York City. Though we rarely see this style of house built today, you can find many existing splanch homes across Long Island that have been renovated over the years with modern upgrades and improvements.

If you’re looking to buy a home on Long Island, why not check out this classic home for your next property?

A three-level house in two levels

The splanch is a combination of two architectural styles:

  • Split-level
  • Ranch

It’s not a split-level home. It’s also not a ranch. It’s a three-level house inside a two-level shell. As you enter the front door of your splanch, you’ll be greeted by a formal dining room, den, half bathroom, and an eat-in kitchen. The stairs will then lead you to the elevated living room. You’ll usually see three to five bedrooms in an open hallway as you turn the corner.

The elevated living room is one of its most notable features. This room sits on its own floor, nestled between your home’s upper level and ground level. You can even convert this ample living area into a poolroom or primary bedroom suite if you don’t need the space.

A typical floor plan for splanch-style homes positions the kitchen and garage opposite each other. A center foyer is nestled in between these two rooms. And, since splanch-style homes are built on a slab, they often lack a full basement underground. Instead, you’ll get a space pushed down half a level that can function as a laundry and recreation room. 

The garage of a splanch-style home sits on the main level, positioned on either the side or in front of the house.

More living space in a modest footprint

One of the great things about splanch-style homes is that they have a large amount of living space, not including the garage. You can get these benefits without building outwards, which is a feature of both split-level and ranch houses. Your living space is also enhanced by a clear and complete view of your backyard from your elevated living room.

Unlike other housing styles with long corridors, a splanch-style home offers a greater sense of connectedness. This is achieved because the home’s kitchen provides direct access to the den and your dining room.

The cathedral ceiling in a splanch home’s raised living room is one of the best benefits of this home. This type of ceiling ensures that your raised living room doesn’t feel cramped.

Lets more light inside

Another great thing about splanch-style houses is that they’re designed to invite more light in because of their horizontal windows. In fact, you could capitalize on this by eliminating non-load-bearing walls in between rooms — with certified professionals and permits, of course.

The architecture of a splanch-style home provides ample opportunity to clear more space and allow more air, light, and movement inside your home.

A charming house

Splanch-style homes became popular in New York during the 1960’s because of their ergonomic and budget-friendly design. This style is perfect for small plots of land that are typical in suburban areas. Because of this, many homeowners preferred this architectural style that eliminates long corridors while still having ample living space.

First used on the South Shore of Long Island, this style was then adapted by North Shore neighborhoods. Its compact, yet charming design also endeared many homeowners in New Jersey and New York in the following years.

Issues with a Splanch house

Despite its unique take on home architecture, there are some considerations to make that come with a splanch home. For instance, if having a formal living area isn’t a necessity, you may find that the elevated living room is seldomly used by household members. Of course, there is the option to convert it into something else.

Another complication with a splanch is the amount of stairs in the house. Though it doesn’t have as many levels as a traditional split-level home, if you’re looking for an open floor plan, this may not be the best fit.

And as mentioned earlier, splanch homes don’t have a full basement. In exchange, you’ll only get a space underneath your living room for your laundry and recreation.

Buy your very own Splanch

Across Long Island, you’ll find some neighborhoods will have a majority of splanch-style homes, and some neighborhoods will have none. This is because these homes were built as new developments in the 50’s through the 70’s.

So though you won’t see modern, new construction builds of splanch houses, you will find most splanch homes have been updated with modern elements throughout the years to fit your needs.

If you’re interested in buying a splanch house, give me a call or send me a message.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between a Splanch & a High-ranch?

A Splanch style home is a three-level house inside a two-level shell, typically built on a slab. A High-ranch style home is a ranch placed on a basement that is at least 50 percent above grade level.


Cristina Morizio

Long Island real estate agent Cristina Morizo
As an experienced REALTOR® and Long Island native, I know the ins and outs of the real estate market. I help home buyers, sellers, investors and homeowners navigate and negotiate. Questions? Ready to buy or sell? Let’s talk!

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