Minnesota Classics: Split-Level

Do you live in a classic split-level home? Chances are then that the home across the street from you is a split-level as well. Are they on your left and right too? This isn’t surprising as this home style grew wildly popular in the 1950s and 1960s in developments. As Americans left the cities for suburbia, they were looking for something new and something bigger.

Developers answered with the original split-level, or three-level, home. The ranch-style home was “split” somewhere near the middle. One half of the house — garage and bedrooms above — were raised up a little bit. The other half — entry, living room, kitchen, and dining room — were dropped down a little bit. In many cases the living room/kitchen had a basement underneath. These four new distinct levels turned a deceivingly normal house into a spacious living option.

Each area tended to be designated specific duties. Children, mom, and dad were assigned distinct areas and came together as a family at the dinner table. Women utilized the entry area with the living room, kitchen, and dining room attached. Envision bridge parties and  club lunches. Step down a few steps to find the family den and garage, where fathers often escaped. Baby boomers will most likely recognize the basement where they played as kids.

These multifunctional homes open opportunities for sundry activities, making it a popular choice to this day. While new construction has mostly ceased on this nostalgic style, updating split-level homes to reflect modern styles and needs is a feasible option. If you’re looking for a true family home and something a little more traditional à la Carol Brady, the split-level is the one for you.

Before
Split-level before being updated.
After
Modern split-levels are functional options.
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