Often referred to as a tri-level, a split-level is more of a building type than a style. Developed in the 1930s, it emerged in the 1950s as a multi-story counterpart to the dominant one-story Ranch house. Retaining the low pitched roof, overhanging eaves and horizontal lines of the Ranch, these homes added a two-story unit connected at mid-height to a one story section creating three staggered floor levels. This bifurcated floor layout reflected an interior planning theory that determined families needed three types of interior space: a noisy living and service area on the partially below grade level (represented by a family room and often a garage); the mid-level quiet living area (containing the living room, dining room and kitchen); and the upper level with the bedrooms.
A variety of wall cladding is used, such as brick and clapboard, and is often mixed with the brick relegated to the lower level. Attached garages, of