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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    • Ami Awolf says:

      Fabulous. Loved the before and after Posts. Favorite portico rehab look!

    • Patriots says:

      Really??? Reread your post. Grammar police should at least know how to use punctuation properly. You should also know how to proofread before posting.

    • Janice Freeman says:

      So nice. We bought a small red brick ranch, and it sure needs an update, seriously. I was wondering about paint colors, although the brick is still quite bold in color–not very faded at all, however; it still needs a change. (especially since the home was built in the fifties.) I kept looking at so many homes, but nothing stood out until we saw yours. Love the door color, shutters, and the brick; so we have decided to use those same colors on our home. Thanks so much for showing your beautiful house!

  2. Allison says:

    This is the second time I have stumbled across your site, specifically this post. I love what you did with the exterior. I moved into my husband’s red brick ranch when we married last year and I HATE it. I have ideas for remodeling the inside, but want to also convert the single car carport (backyard facing, at least) into a 2 car garage. Tricky, tricky. Regardless, I would love to know what paint you used for the brick and the color name as well. Great job!! Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Courtnay Dunn says:

    Just came across your blog & I’m so glad I did! I currently just bought a brick ranch very similar to yours & have high hopes of painting it, along with turning the carport into a garage. May I ask how much you ended up spending on the garage part? And that front door! I’m a sucker for a unique front door- it’s a must have. Where did you get yours from? Was the whole exterior redo expensive? Would love to hear from you, with your great luck & knowledge maybe I won’t mess mine up too bad 😉

  4. Nicole says:

    What model is your door? I really like it

  5. Brenna says:

    I love the color you painted the bricks! Just gorgeous! What color is that?

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  8. Kayle says:

    If you don’t mind me asking, how much did it cost you to add the roof and patio? My husband and I are downsizing and buying an older ranch. It isn’t appealing to the eyes but we like it. I want to know that it has potential.

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  10. how much was it to add the porch? Absolutely love it!!

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  12. Tagmac says:

    We’re close to buying a brick ranch and thinking about adding a portico like this one. Trying to determine the approximate cost. Can you help?

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  14. Regina Kennedy says:

    What was your coat for all of these repairs, and individually the price of the carport to garage conversion.

  15. This is such a timely post for me! I am that picky, hard to please client – and I’m pretty sure I’m driving my realtor nuts! Thankfully, she’s a family friend, or she might not still be with me! Also, just this week I was discussing the house thing again with my husband, wondering why I just can’t find the right house (it’s been years now.) I was telling him how when we were getting married, I looked at every bridal shop in the area (NW Indiana & even over in IL) – twice – and still couldn’t find the right gown. A friend assured me that when I found the right one, I would know it. And I did. I saw it on the mannequin – a new arrival to a shop I had been in several times already. I didn’t even need to try it on to know. Well, I just saw a house newly listed & barring a smell we couldn’t live with, I want this house. It has all the features I’m looking for, but turns out THE house has to be a red brick ranch from the 60’s. I ‘m not a fan of ranches – the shoebox description exactly! I immediately googled “red brick ranch remodel” and hit your site first. Thank you for showing me how pretty it can be. I know too, that this house can be pretty, but it’s so nice to see a transformation with my own eyes for confirmation. Thank you! Calling my husband right now & then my realtor 🙂

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  18. Karen says:

    Would love a post outlining what you did for that little entry way… materials, cost, labor, etc. It’s exactly what I want to do and all I can think of is to go to Lowe’s and point at it and say “this please.”

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  21. Michael Arrowood says:

    Owning one of these houses myself (similar red brick ranch, built 1973-74), and also having grown up in one, I disagree with the decision to paint the bricks. Painting once means painting forever, and the original brick can never be recovered. It may seem quaint and out-of-date to you now, but that brick is built to last. I say, choose colors around it, and let it speak for the house. Paint will look worn and tired in just a few years… brick doesn’t change.

    • We painted our brick years ago and its held up wonderfully. I never heard of anyone having to constantly repaint their brick. THe “before” photo” is so dated but by painting and updating the house is much more attractive.

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    How do you deal with the windows in the front door at night? Did you blinds or some type of tinted shade to cover being able to see into the door at night, when you have lights or TV turned on?

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