Influenced by Prairie and Ranch homes as well as later modern styles, Split Level floor plans feature a two-story high section joined to a single-story section located a half-story in between, creating three distinct interior areas connected by short flights of stairs. A common variation is the Split Foyer house plan, or Raised Ranch, which is essentially a Ranch plan elevated above a partly below-grade basement, with the entrance on the stair landing between these two levels. The exterior of a Split Level design is often composed of natural wood, brick, or stucco punctuated by large picture windows. Though Split Level home plans may display vaguely Colonial or Tudor details, minimal decorative elements give them a modern feel.
Innovative and intriguing, multi-floor Split Level house plans were hugely popular in the United States from the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s. They require smaller lots than their Ranch-style cousins and are particularly suited to tricky hillside lots. In addition, they are seen as a great choice for families: bedrooms are tucked away on the quiet upper level, the central level makes room for a spacious kitchen, living, and dining room, while the lower level (usually partly below grade) gives kids a place to play and provides room for storage, laundry, and parking.