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.


  1. Cristal says:

    I LOVE the improvements you’ve made! It looks awesome. And I agree with you that the garage door is a little too busy. Doesn’t Clay know you, the woman, is the boss and he’s only there to agree with you? haha

    BTW, I’m mailing A’s presents tomorrow, Thursday. I’m hoping it will get there in time. If it doesn’t it, please let him know it’s on it’s way!

  2. Karen Tyner says:

    Love these before and afters. Almost a spiritual experience. The repainted brick looks so nice-looks as if it has been regrouted or the grout area was painted, if so, that must have been quite a job. The entry is wonderful.

  3. AH! This is so beautiful, it almost brought tears. Seeing a good house before and after is maybe one of my favorite things ever. Besides looking at wedding photos – not my own, any weddings. Strangers, passersby, anyone in a wedding gown. But this house. . . it’s like she’s a brand new bride!! Love it. Such a wonderful job.

  4. I love before and afters and your home’s exterior didn’t disappoint. The new front door is fabulous! We currently live in a ranch and I actually like it. Ranch homes don’t bother me if the yard is landscaped really well (ours isn’t, but I think I have to like my own home). I’m weird, though.

  5. Very nice, we are big on painted brick. I keep wondering: have I seen this house? I also like the before even the carport. Not that it’s pretty just that they are so practical in the South. We just drove back roads from Brunswick to Macon and enjoyed farmhouses of all styles surrounded by sheds and out buildings. They don’t build many houses with carports these days. There is a new one on Arden with a carport. I like it.

  6. I LOVE it. You’ve impressed me once again. Did you consult someone about this, or just come up with it on your own? You’re so awesome, Angela! And yes to ranch houses!

  7. Peggy says:

    I liked the house when you first moved in and love it even more now. The changes were definitely improvements. You’ll have to help me decide what type of front door goes with our Old English style house. Past time for a change.

  8. Allison says:

    Angela, could you go into more detail on how you painted the brick? Did you guys build the window boxes? The house looks great! I know it’s personal, but any way you could give a range of how much the improvements cost for those of us looking to re-do in the near future? Thanks so much! It’s beautiful!

  9. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the re-do exterior. Boy, I would not have a CLUE where to being on an exterior re-do. Your vision and talent are just so incredible (I know, I sound like a broken record)…..

  10. Awesome! This is great inspiration. We’re still living with horrid mint green siding on our house and I cringe every time I pull in to the driveway. I must show your B&A pics to hubby and see if I can convince him to get crackin’ on our exterior. Thanks!

  11. Alison says:

    Beautiful home! I always love brick and black but it is kind of boring. Your “after” photos are gorgeous. Well done!

  12. gasp! I have to confess, I was drooling over your turquoise front door before I even knew what the rest of the post was about. Then I saw the after photos! I think it’s what every ranch house wants to be when it grows up. 🙂 I don’t live in a ranch house now, but grew up in one, and it wasn’t anywhere close to this cute. Thank you SO much for the inspiration! You got every detail right.

  13. I have totally bookmarked this post. What classic ideas and incredible timeless styling. This will come in handy for this ranch re-do girl!


  14. Lovely!

  15. Tammy says:

    I found your site yesterday and have spent too much of today wondering through your world, it’s a great place!….fabulous updates, love the front door and that you left some of the original brick color.

  16. Erin Miller says:

    I never cease to be amazed at your vision! Let’s discuss my front door this weekend!

  17. This is the type of front door I am wanting for my little ranch house.

    Oh the ranch. I’ve never lived in a midcentury ranch. I grew up in a 1920s-ish arts & crafts home and an early 19th century farmhouse. Does the fact that I live in an early 1990s rancher feel like a letdown after having been raised on such houses? YES!!

    However, I’m trying to embrace it. I only wish it were brick because I love painted brick. I think the midcentury ranch has its charms and appeal, but it’s harder to find in a 17-year old house. The exterior facelift on yours is excellent!! We’re planning a porch redo and shutter/window box dilemma-solving at some point. My goal as we make over our house is to try to infuse it with a little bit of vintage-esque cottagey charm. like planked ceilings.

    Your entry is particularly fantastic. well done!!

  18. Amazing before and afters. I kept scrolling back and forth, back and forth to see the full effect of the changes. We bought a large ranch 2 yrs ago, built in the 1940’s. It’s the most amazing house on the inside, full of character (tin ceilings in the kitchen!), but the outside looks as sad as your ‘before’, except our landscaping is good. Unfortunately, I’d have to give my husband a whole lot more than garage door hardware to get him to let me paint the red bricks. I love the grey on yours. I am going to send him this link. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be inspired!

  19. Your house looks amazing! The turquoise door is the icing on the cake. I would love to come home to this house every day. I love ranchers too and can’t wait to see more of your ranch-love posts. -cristi

  20. I actually live in a house that looks a lot like your before shots, except I love it. I have that front porch already, except it’s mostly brick. I like the idea of the new shutters, though! Also, we have an adorable sunporch on our side and our ugly, really ugly, carport is in the back. That is hugely on my list of things to change about the house, after all the kids are out of college…in about 13 years…

  21. Wow! Seriously Wow! It is just beautiful! I LOOOOVE the color of your front door. What color is that? You have got a good eye girl. I am stopping over from Chatting at the sky.

  22. My front door is close to that color. It was originally black…dark and depressing. I’d like to paint it a different color each year, but I can’t seem to find the time.

    I am house-hunting right now and not finding much. There are hundreds and hundreds of homes for sale, but nothing is interesting or unique. I’d prefer a ranch from the 50s, 60s or 70s. I’d love cool windows and a sunken living room! All I’m seeing are new houses with cavernous living spaces.

    Your house looks great! Maybe you can find me one and fix it up for me.

  23. Um…wow. You seriously couldn’t have done a better job. Thanks so much for the inspiration!…not that I’m changing my home’s exterior (I actually like it)…but I just feel so inspired! 🙂

  24. Laura says:

    I love the trellis on the front of the garage! It gives the appearance of actual exposed rafter tails. Where did you guys find that? We have carriage house garage doors on the front of our garage as well, but I think the trellis would add even more architectural detail. Thanks for you help!

  25. LOVE it!! You did such a classy job. One of my all time favs. Saving this to show the hubby……. he hates me looking at these blogs. 🙂

  26. I like ranch houses! But it must have decent eaves. No eaves = no love.

    Oh, glory, I’m so glad someone else was a super picky house hunter. I’m worried I’m ruining an otherwise excellent relationship with my realtor by trying to buy a house that I actually … like.

    So when the big day finally comes (will it ever?), I will definitely click back here for some inspiration! Beautiful house!

  27. wow. WOW!

  28. lovely digs m’lady 🙂

  29. elle fritz says:

    What a breath of fresh air. Gorgeous redo! We have been in 3 ranches, updated inside of 2 for good resale. I always wanted to paint the brick, but hubby did not share my idea. We needed your pictures first. Now we are on to other projects.

  30. Christy says:

    wow! you have such incredible vision, Angela! I never in a million years would have thought to do all that to that house! The front portico (is that what it’s called) gives the house such presence and the window boxes and shutters are so charming! And I am totally in love with the turquoise door. Bravo!

  31. WOW!!! What a difference such small changes can make! You have inspired me for sure… dreaming of what my round-top windows might be able to be someday…

  32. What? You are hired. I am not kidding how did you do that? I am so inspired right now to tackle the outside of our home to give it curb appeal.

  33. WOW! Looks completely and totally amazing! I just forwarded to my neighbor who has a similar style ranch. They are considering some updates and this would look amazing.


  34. Megan says:

    Oooo! I’m so in love with the exterior of your home. We live in a midcentury tri-level. All red brick and boxy. At first, I thought that I liked the outside of our house and it just needed a little somethin’ somethin’. Now, with all the beautiful houses going up around me, mine is just dull and needs more than a little somethin’ somethin’. Changing the carport to a garage would be a luxery for me!

  35. Beautiful transformation. I live in a midcentury ranch. In fact it is our third midcentury ranch. I can’t seem to get away from them, but now find that I don’t want to. I love my house, even with all the work that still needs to be done.

  36. I LOVE the new exterior. I’m not a ranch dweller currently but have in the past and while it isn’t my favorite style of home, the can be so adorable when done right and you certainly did it right. Thank you so much for sharing with us!

  37. oh my goodness…I just stopped over here today from thenester (love your cottage by the way!)…and seriously, hubby and i have been talking THIS WEEK about painting our 1964 ranch. it’s so ugly–and so THE SAME as all the other houses around. Do you know how refreshing it is not only to read a blog confirming our idea, but also seeing a beautiful exterior that IS a ranch? Sometimes I underestimate the possibilities of a ranch. I see all the other gorgeous homes–that have character–and think that my ranch will never measure up. But I have hope! I think it will. 🙂 Thanks for even more inspiration! I look forward to reading your blog more often!

  38. I know I already commented and told you how great I think this looks. I am still amazed and inspired. I wanted to let you know that I featured your amazing transformation in my blog post today.

    -Alisha @ SnugasaBugBaby.com

  39. Lindsay Jackman says:

    I am amazed at the changes you have made! My new husband and I are actually looking at buying a mid-century ranch right now for our first home. I love the old houses. The interiors have so much character, but I have been so unhappy with the outside.

    I knew there was something we could do with paint, etc. to brighten up the exterior and make it more unique, but this post encourages me so much! I’m so excited now to get started! Thank you 🙂

  40. LOVE, love it! I like painted brick, it just makes everything fresher. The garage looks fabulous, your landscaping and flower box is so much more welcoming!

    P.s. I never thought abt the slots on a platner table being an issue, but I can completely see kids (or pets) pushing things thru the lines. TOO Funny!

  41. Angela Wells says:

    What a transformation. That is just beautiful. I too love ranch houses and love to see makeovers!

  42. wonderful!
    So sad to admit that your house’s before is my house’s ‘current’… except for the ranch part… gotta find something to do about that….

  43. What I LOVE about mid-century ranch homes is that there IS room for improvement! I sit here in my 2005 house with trees that are thankfully getting tall (finally) enough to provide a modicum of shade and I feel completely paralyzed in making structural changes exterior OR interior. Shouldn’t this house be perfect since we ‘built’ it? Not so! I spent 2 years of my childhood in a mid-cent ranch. I cherish the memories of ripping out carpeting, painting rooms, making the backyard not so much of a koi-pond jungle gone wrong…
    I think we have an innate compulsion to feather our nests, to make our houses ‘homes’ in every sense. The older home gives you a good excuse to haul out the brushes and power tools and get to work!

  44. Love it – would you be so kind as to post what colors you used on the brick and the shutters. I don’t think my monitor is giving me true colors.


  45. I love, love, love the transformation!

  46. Francoise Sell says:

    The change to the exterior is refreshing. I am about to purchase a small ranch that needs an exterior make-over (paint). Would you mind sharing what brand, type, and color of paint that was used on the brick. The front door is a jewel! I’m very interested in that paint color and info. as well.
    Thank you.

  47. K MORRIS says:


  48. Oh my gosh! The transformation is awesome! We are in the process of selling our big (to me) 3 story home and trying to find an old single story ranch like yours. We have found one in a beautiful setting on 1.38 acres in a great location. Problem is—it’s ugly– inside and out. Some think I am crazy to be selling my “beautiful” home – but it never really fit me. This post is giving me courage to proceed. My thoughts and the photo of the ugly house is here: http://diydesignfanatic.blogspot.com/2010/09/looking-for-new-home.html

  49. This is an awesome transformation. I am working on a upcoming post about remodeling a mid-century rancher. A reader gave me your link and I’m glad I discovered you.

  50. Love the before and after pics. I so want to paint my boring home after seeing this lovely transformation. Did it cost a pretty penny for all of this work? What steps did you take to get from the before to the after?

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