Real Estate Blog by Windy Crutchfield, REALTOR®

The Split Personalities of Split Level Homes

As a Realtor, I've enjoyed witnessing the modernization of the split-level home.  Once known as "Cadillac splits," this home design lost popularity in the 80's & 90's, as buyer trends moved toward a separation of family activities and the McMansion was born. After the Millennium, "open concept" became the style du jour.  One draw-back to that style was lack of separation and sound levels in homes rose in these areas as well. Teens retreated to their bedrooms (which had also grown in size) and the "man-cave" was prevalent. As family values and needs have changed, the split-level home is getting it's second chance at being the darling of the American family. Homeowners, today's Millennial and Sandwich Generation buyers, and designers with vision are learning how limitless this floor plan is in providing comfort, convenience AND style to today's family home.   

Growing up in a split-level home in Virginia Beach, I enjoyed the many benefits of this unique home design. Originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, they gained popularity in the 60's. As Carol and Mike Brady moved their 6 children into a split-level in 1969, the style became known for it's family-centric virtues. The principle design features staggered floor levels, with the main living space (kitchen, living, and dining area) between the upper bedroom floor and a lower/garage level. The lower level usually contains the laundry room and access to a crawl or basement area.  In our home, that basement area attached to the inside of our house made for our "safe room" during major storm events. Many of the homes enjoy the utility of a proper foyer. Cathedral ceilings on the main living floor provide a more spacious feeling while still maintaining a relatively compact area.  For some this translates to more economic benefits in purchase price, for others it means less space to clean!  The configuration of the living room,...