Ranch Cottages: Designing for Aging in Place in Build-to-Rent Communities


As a residential construction company specializing in build-to-rent developments, we understand the demand for housing that accommodates the changing needs of our aging population and promotes independence. Over the years, a growing segment of empty nesters and active seniors have sought out smaller ranch homes in rental communities for maintenance free and single-level living for comfort, accessibility, and adaptability. While ranch cottages certainly appeal to other demographics, today we’re focusing on the latter category.  Harrison Homes is a design-build firm experienced in the architectural design, interior design, and construction of rental cottages.  We are uniquely qualified to help plan and construct your rental cottage development.

A Build-to-Rent Community Designed and Constructed by Harrison Homes

The Rise of Build-to-Rent Communities

Preference for build-to-rent communities has grown in popularity in recent years as an alternative to traditional homeownership or renting. These purpose-built neighborhoods offer residents a sense of community, convenience, and access to various amenities.  An increasing number of active adults 55+ prefer the freedom of renting, not having to manage costly home repairs and home maintenance, while still residing in a single-family residence versus an apartment, condominium, or townhouse.

 Survey findings from U.S News and World found that an “ overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) agree that aging in place – ‘the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level,’ according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – is an important goal for them.” In the coming years, the volume of residents that will be searching for home rental opportunities stands to increase significantly, creating a challenge and opportunity for land developers and builders.  These renters enjoy the privacy and space a cottage provides, ideally located within a neighborhood for social opportunities and relationships. This lifestyle choice allows the freedom to travel or embrace other pursuits without the additional burdens that accompany owning a home.

By focusing on designing homes for long-term living, build-to-rent developments are uniquely positioned to address the needs of individuals looking for alternative housing solutions to age in place.

Designing Ranch Cottages for Aging in Place

Ranch cottages, with their single-story layout and functional design, lend themselves perfectly to accommodating the needs of residents as they age. Here are some key points Harrison Homes considers when designing ranch cottages in build-to-rent communities:

Single-Level Living: The absence of stairs eliminates physical barriers, making ranch cottages easily accessible and navigable for individuals with mobility challenges. Residents can move freely within their homes without the limitations posed by staircases. This allows residents and their family members to feel more confident that they can safely remain in their home. 

Open and Spacious Interiors: Ranch cottages with open floor plans provide residents with ample space for easy maneuverability. Removing unnecessary walls and incorporating wider doorways and hallways allow for unrestricted movement, even with mobility aids. We are well versed at designing open floor plans that still designate spaces for certain functions, providing an efficient and attractive floor plan.

Adaptable Design Features: Designing with adaptability in mind is crucial. Including features such as adjustable-height countertops, lever-style door handles, and non-slip flooring ensures that residents can modify their living spaces to suit their evolving needs.

Safety and Accessibility: Prioritizing safety and accessibility is essential. Incorporate features like grab bars, zero-entry roll-in showers, and slip-resistant surfaces in bathrooms to reduce the risk of falls and enhance the overall safety of the home.

Outdoor Living Spaces: Access to outdoor living spaces, such as private patios or gardens, is beneficial for residents’ physical and mental well-being. These areas can be designed to be easily accessible and low maintenance, providing a peaceful retreat for relaxation and socialization.

Promoting Community and Supportive Services

In addition to the design of individual ranch cottages, build-to-rent communities can further enhance the aging-in-place experience by promoting community and offering supportive services. Some initiatives to consider include:

Shared Amenities: Designing communal spaces within the community, such as fitness centers, community gardens, dog parks, and social gathering areas, encourages social interaction, promotes active lifestyles, and fosters a sense of belonging among residents.

On-Site Support Services: Partnering with healthcare providers or offering on-site support services, such as wellness programs, regular health check-ups, and access to home care services, can greatly contribute to residents’ well-being and peace of mind.

Technology Integration: Embracing technology, such as smart home features and remote monitoring systems, allows for convenient and efficient management of the homes while ensuring the safety and comfort of residents.

Designing ranch cottages for active adults who prefer to age in place within build-to-rent communities is a step toward creating inclusive and supportive living environments. By incorporating accessible design features, maintenance-free living, promoting community, and offering supportive services, your community development can empower individuals to age gracefully while maintaining their independence and quality of life. As a build-to-rent construction company, Harrison is dedicated to creating homes that meet the evolving needs of your residents, and ranch cottages are a fantastic product to add into the mix of your residential rental development. Contact us for more information.

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