A Ranch Redo

I’m serving up a ranch B&A today.  I have a soft spot for mid-century ranch houses.

When we were househunting three years ago, I was one tough customer.  Picky, snobby, hard to please.  Yes, a dream client for a realtor.  But then I found this ranch that seemed to have all the important criteria we were looking for…except, uh, exterior beauty.  We figured since the layout worked and it had a nice backyard, we could give the lady a face lift down the road.  We didn’t want to spend a lot of money for major structural additions yet wanted to make the shoebox house as attractive as possible.

The after!  It is such a happier place to come home to.  I knew she could be pretty.

We broke the project down into small bite-size pieces and decided on improvements that would give the most architectural bang for the buck.  The stone patio first, then the garage, next the entry, and lastly the brick painted.  So worth every bit.

I hated the carport.  Ugly and not so safe.  Not to mention that the glass door there was the source of a very embarrassing breastfeeding episode with the UPS man.  The new garage helps to clean up the front view of the house.

I prefer not to have a garage in front of the house, but since we do, we’re making the best of it with a new trellis and decorative doors.  The hardware on the garage, while lovely on other homes, is a compromise on my part for the man (too busy for me).  And he didn’t want the house painted so dark.  Isn’t that what marriage is all about?

The posts on the entry echo the design on the garage trellis.  And we widened the width of white space around the new front door for a more graphic impact.  The lights are the Bradshaw sconces from Restoration Hardware.  The door is from Rogue Valley Doors.  I love, love, love the new front door.

We swapped out the iron flower window basket for a bolder white box and added beefier shutters.

Do you see the window ledge there under the bank of three windows?  All the window ledges are the original red brick–a little nod to the house’s past.

Oh, my, seeing the before photos again while writing this post confirms that the exterior transformation was a wise investment–not just monetarily but in my happiness.  The house was ugly!  And while it is still a shoebox, it is now a pretty shoebox.   In a time when it is harder to sell a house and move, I think it is more important than ever to embrace the small changes that can create a huge impact in your current home.

Click here for the paint colors we used on the exterior redo.


Do you love or hate mid-century ranches?  Chances are you’ve lived in one at some point in your life, given the prevalence of ranches on the American landscape.  We are a [ranch] house divided here at TPH.  The mister vows that this is the last one we will ever live in while I find myself strangely connected to this style/history/ideal.

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  1. I could SO use your expertise! We have a Strengs Brothers mid century modern house with kind of an Asian feel to it and I just can’t decide what to do out front with the landscaping. The homeowners before us were retired and had LOTS of time to bonsai the Black Japanese Pines… and uh knew what they were doing. Us… not any of the above. This house would be great for retired people but for a family with a 5 year old and 17 month old, a backyard of concrete a giant in-ground pool and a tiny front yard with a bunch of prickly pine just is not exactly family friendly.

    • those are not things you can easily change so why did you even buy it? HOW SAD someone who can appreciate such elegant and unique landscaping was not allowed to live there.

      • Lavhrain says:

        What an unkind comment “lou”. Maybe the house itself or the inside of the house were exactly what Julia wanted/needed, just not the outside. Sounds just like this ranch redo, in fact. I personally thought the original red brick was beautiful and very Boston-like, but AngelaTPH obviously didn’t. Ugh. Unkind people ruin lovely blogs like this.

  2. tammy says:

    I love the house! It is exactly what i have been wanting but could not put into words. I could really use your knowledge on my redo. We have lived in our house for 6 years, still trying to figure out what to do. My house looks much like your before(only a bit more withered,with the paint peeling from above the brick and around the front door) the brick is more textured and multi color browns. I must not forget the ugly light brown roof!!! Did you put siding under the eve of your house,or was it already there? I would love to do much of the work ourself this summer, since I am off in the summer. So, paint or siding? Or maybe both if any sugguestions, or would like to see a pic please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

  3. Nichole says:

    We are getting ready to make some changes to the exterior of our home and I have been stalking the Internet for “just the right color”. Your house is amazing! I’ve only found one other that even slightly tickled my fancy like your ranch. So glad you posted it. Tell me, how much of these things did you do on your own? Stone porch? New flower boxes? You also have a new roof. How long did the Re-do take? Years . . . Months?

    • Love the color scheme! You gave me hope for a 60′s ranch that we are hoping to purchase. It is a foreclosure that needs some work so I’ve been searching the web for painted brick pictures and fell upon yours. You did a great job, looks amazing! What color were your shingles I’m assuming 3 dimensional?

  4. jamie says:

    You’re house is absolutely beautiful and updated. I am looking for some updates for the outside of my 70′s ranch house. It is red brick with beige siding and a black roof. What would you sugget for mine?

  5. jamie says:

    I so love the new look of your house. I have a red brick ranch with a cream colored vinyl siding and black roof. The roof and the vinyl are new. What colors would you suggest for the shutters and the front door? I would like to paint te brick but my husband is not on board at this time. I need your hlp really bad.

  6. Claudia Winter says:

    Angela, thank you so much for posting all the pictures! It’s so helpful and interesting to see how other people have handled the challenges of an ugly home. We just moved into a 50′s ranch for the same reasons you mentioned-good bones, great lot, and the price was right. The appearance, however, needs a lot of work. The brick is a light color that only a Grandma could love, and we’ve been toying with painting or staining it a dark gray. After seeing how great it looks, I’m convinced it’s the right choice. Thanks again!

  7. Anna Soltani says:

    I love everything about your beautiful home.
    I am considering purchasing a ranch and I googled and found your home.
    Can you tell me what type of stone you used for the walkway?
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. I love, love, love the way you changed the front of your home. Do you have a hip roof? I love the portico. I need some help with the front of my home. I’d like to be able to pin this image to pinterest for ideas to update the front of my home. I just painted my front door turquoise but it stands out like a sore thumb. I need shutters or something to balance it out. My brother-in-law is a carpenter and I bet he could do somethingn like this to the front of our home. My husband would kill me because the projects never end!


  9. Nicole says:

    Love, love your home! Reminds me so much of mine, which has needed a makeover for so long. We are in the process now and I am stumped trying to pick a color to paint it. Love your color. Question…in these pictures the color looks gray, on the color swatch i have that same color has a brown tone. Your thoughts….thanks so much.

  10. You turned a perfectly lovely brick home into a trendy McRanch that will be just as “outdated” in 10 years as you believed your classically styled home to be. What a hack job!

  11. I have finally located the style number of your door and it is on it’s way to bond with my ranch home! A salesman for the RV distributor told me that this door style is an old one; originally called a “Christian” door because the top makes a cross and the two bottom windows are an open bible. I love worthless information and trivia so wanted to pass this along in case you didn’t know.


  12. Rhiannon says:

    We are considering the same sort of paint job on our ranch and your pictures are beautiful. Have you had any problems with the paint chipping? Did you use a primer on the brick?

    Great job – the house looks Amazing!!

    • angela | the painted house says:

      No problems so far with the painted brick and it has been four years. :)

      • Kelly says:

        Did you paint the brick yourself? Would you mind sharing your process if you did? I’d love to paint the ugly brick on our bungalow…


      • I was always told that you shouldn’t paint brick unless you have mortar problems. I love what you have done to your ranch and I would copy it in a NY minutes if I was certain that the paint wouldn’t hurt the brick or end up chipping, etc (for the next 50 years)!!! I am just wanting to make sure!!!! thanks

  13. So glad I stumbled on this when I googled “Ranch Redo.” I, too, was a picky house buyer (having grown up in a lovely yellow Victorian with charm), and a ranch was not what I wanted. But the price was right, the neighborhood is great, and the yard is very large. I love seeing what a little paint will do and will add these tips to my design file.

  14. I Love your house! I too painted my brick house a shade of green and get tons of compliments! I don’t understand why it upsets some people like Lu. I had the ugliest 70′s brick and my house looked so tired. Now it’s new, fresh and beautifil! If you can paint siding and stucco and other materials, why the heck not brick? So I guess we’ll regret painting hardi siding in ten years too? Love your house!!!

  15. Dolores Oakley says:

    What kind of roof did you put on this lovely re-do? It looks white. We are downsizing from a expanded ranch house on 16 acres and a swimming pool to a ugly red brick house in town with a ton of work to be done. We have lived in our place for over 40 years and have done a lot of work over the years. It has gotten too much for us to take care of so are going to move to a smaller place in town. Love the colors you used and the only thing I did not find was information about the roof.



    • Mark Cornell says:

      I hear that ranch house is nice. You’re selling it to move in town? That must be hard. Good luck. We want to paint our brick ranch house, too, but not the brick part, just the siding. Can’t decide.
      Mark Cornell

  16. I love absolutely everything that you’ve done here. We live in a 60s ranch that lacks curb appeal. While we’ve done an extreme amount of work in the 24 years we’ve lived there, I’ve never been able to figure out how to improve the look of the front. YOU have solved it for me in this post. I’m printing your pictures and giving them to my builder. I want the entrance way the same and even the mini pergola trim over the garage door. Thank you for sharing and solving a decades old problem for me.

  17. Cassidy says:

    Did you get a new front door, or is that the old one, that’s been cut out and glass added?

    • angela | the painted house says:

      The front door is new–the link to the company from which we ordered is up above in the body of the post. We love it!

  18. Carol says:

    We will be using your colors to put a fresh look on our 1957 ranch in the coming weeks. Thank you for your inspirational re-do. Can you provide the shingle brand and color that you used for your roof? Weather permitting, our roofer will be ready to work next week.

    Thank you in advance for your help!


  19. I read that you bought the paint at Home Depot and color matched the SW colors, do you remember what type of paint you used? How has it held up since then? I’m in a similar situation where I was a picky house hunter and ended up compromising on the curb appeal for a layout and location we loved. I’ve wanted to paint the ugly brick for as long as we’ve owned the house but have heard that brick needs to “breathe” (whatever that means!) – that special paint is required. Did you hire professional painters? If you did it – what kind of prep work is required? I’m so inspired by your beautiful ranch redo! Thanks.

  20. Michele Lettiere says:

    I am just blown away by these before and after pics. You are AMAZING!
    I have an ugly ranch that we need to sell. We cant afford the mortgage anymore in this economy. Can you please send me the type of paints & colors that you used?
    Seeing this pic has given me hope. Thank you so much for sharing!

  21. Michele Lettiere says:

    lol I read your blog again and saw the link to the colors. Thank you!

  22. Julia says:

    Would you mind sharing the specific paint colors/brands for both the brick and shutters? Thanks! Really love what you did here. We just purchased a red brick rambler built in 1953. Same exact conundrum as you!

  23. What color is the new roof? I am getting ready to replace mine from a storm and love your house!

    • Thank you, Tina!

      I don’t know the color of the roof–it was put on before we bought the house. It is just a standard gray-black.

      Good luck!

  24. Hi! Could you tell me if you bought the shutters (and where) or did you make them yourself (and how)? Thanks!

  25. Ginger says:

    Love the colors! Where did you get the beefy window planter? Would love to put something just like that under my windows.

  26. Allison says:

    Any idea what the name of the medium shrubs next to your front steps are called?

  27. I have learn several just right stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you place to make any such fantastic informative site.

  28. Karen says:

    I was searching for an hour before I found your website. My home was built in 1979 and is a 4 column brick ranch with a gable in front. 3 years ago we built on a big addition to the end of the home and added like a studio apartment in it for when the children are at home, 2 bedrooms, a bath, kitchen and my library in the end. That addition has a different roof than the original house that has the gable on the front. I want to change the roof on the original house to have the raised part in the middle on it and do away with the gable. The new addition is white sideboarding. Now I want to paint the brick white on the original part of the house to make it match. I felt the change of the gable on the front orig. part to somewhat match the roof on the addition would help the architecture of the house to be pulled together. I know this is lengthy but I had to tell you the situation before I could really make my comments. I feel your pictures have helped me in the decision. I have had reservations about painting the brick as there is nothing wrong with it and I am “afraid” to tell people of my intentions as I am sure they will be met with tales of woe and also very heartfelt suggestions that I abandon the idea. I know my Mother would be turning in her grave if she thought I was about to paint bricks. If you are still monitoring this page I would very much like to hear your suggestions or your endorsement. I am not going to put the sideboarding over the brick just to prevent my painting it. It would be more expensive and I have also found a webpage where the contractor paints brick back to be their original color and be put back to their original appearance. So if and when I’m gone and this home is sold then the new owners can put it back to brick if they wish in that way and maybe even a newer improved method cause I’m not planning on going anytime right away. I think your home is lovely and much improved. We are waiting now for another estimate on this entire project as it is expensive and to be considered and weighed carefully on our funds. But your pictures have been sooooo helpful to me. Thanks, Karen, Georgia

  29. Ashley says:

    About how much did you spend on adding the covered front porch, and covering with stone? We are considering doing the same!

  30. Wallace says:

    did you paint the mortar between the bricks a darker shade of grey? It looks darker than the new color and the original.

  31. Katie says:

    Where did you get the front door?!

  32. Anjelisa F. Thomas says:

    Hey Angela,
    I love the ranch redo!!!! I have a house made simular to yours, however I am interested in knowing where you purchased the wood surrounding the front door and also, the wood flower box.


  33. Angela says:

    Beautiful job!!! I am currently renovating the exterior of our own ranch house. It is much worse than yours was. ;-) Can you tell me where your garage door is from? Did you buy the door that way, or did you add wood slats to the front of an otherwise plain garage door. Hard to tell from the photo.
    Thank you! Again, great job!

  34. Jessica says:

    Oh my gosh, you all did an absolutely amazing job! I love they grey and white! Was it hard painting the brick? I would love to put of the same touches on my mothers house. I love this!

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  36. Kelly says:

    Hello. I love your exterior. Could you PLEASE tell me where you bought your window box? I have been searching forever. Much appreciated!

  37. micaela says:

    Love the redo. Can you tell me where you bought the flower box? Thanks!

  38. Preferred the before.

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  40. Carey says:

    The after is great, but I like the before even more.

  41. Dona Bronkie says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE it! Stunning color combination. Great landscaping. Super job!

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  44. Jeremiah Hutcherson says:

    The color of the brick, in the photos and maybe it’s just my eyes, looks like a greyish color. I went to SW to pick out the paint and it is actually more of a brown tone. Whatever you guys did, and I know you posted the colors, looks UHmazing! Is it indeed more of a brown tone? Before I saw your photos, I was wanting to go more grey but I really like the look you achieved, so I’m trying to decide between the two. Thanks so much in advance! Jeremiah

  45. Excellent article! We will bbe linking to this
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  46. Sherry says:

    Angela -

    Could you tell me how much these upgrades cost you? I know it was a few years ago, but it would give us some idea about the budget. Also, what part of the country do you live in (this impact price substantially as I’m sure you know).

    Thank you! We love what you did and are copying it as soon as we can!


  47. hello,
    We have the same house with a few minor differences.
    We want to add a portico to our porch. Do you have plans
    For the one you created or would you mind sharing how much you
    Spent on this portion of the Reno?

    Thanks you,


  48. Sabrina says:

    i found this on Pinterest and it looks amazing! How has it held up? I notice it was about 5 years ago, is it still holding up? Any peeling? I’m looking to do the same and curious :) thanks in advance!

  49. What an amazing transformation. Many are afraid to paint brick, but it looks so amazing here. Also, I love that you went high end on your garage door, it makes a really big difference on a ranch home where the garage is so prominent. Great work!

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