Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Is It Possible to Transform a Boring Ranch into a Cozy Cottage?: Before and After

Our goal when we bought this house?  Transform a bland, boring 1960's ranch to create a bright, warm home that meets today's lifestyle.

Here's the 'before photo.  As one young couple told us when they looked at it 'before' - they knew it had potential, but they didn't have enough love or money to get there.  That's where we came in!  (want to see all the 'before' photos and the background story?  Click here!)

What did I learn from this project?  Renovating a small house (it's only 750 square feet) is hard.  Probably harder than a bigger home, because every square inch matters.  Storage, living space, amenities...... it all makes a bit difference.  I spent lots and lots of time figuring out how to maximize everything!

How did we do it?

Starting with the exterior, we desperately needed to improve curb appeal.  This house was a 'drive by' - most buyers wouldn't even want to go inside.  To change that, we kept the original siding (but gave it a major beauty treatment - click here for more info), added a front porch, new shutters, walkway and window boxes.  Now it's a house you'd want to turn into the driveway  (oh yes, that's new too!).

Transforming 1960's ranch curb appeal to cottage style

Inside, the biggest change was in the living area.  We knocked out the wall between the living room and dining room.  We ripped out the old ceiling  (a really big job that required a whole new rafter system and ridge beam) to create a big open space, complete with a reclaimed wood beam and skylight.
Living Room - Before

1960 Ranch Living Room - After

New vaulted ceiling required a lot of work!
A highlight of the living area is the board and batten wall, which gives the room some added architectural interest.

And once that was done, we installed a brand new kitchen.
1960 ranch kitchen - Before and After
New cabinets, quartz countertops with an updated subway backsplash and lots of reclaimed wood all tie together to give this kitchen some style.
Kitchen looking towards living room 'Before'

Kitchen looking towards living room 'After'
Living Room looking towards Kitchen 'Before' 

Living Room looking towards Kitchen 'After'

Quartz Counters with updated subway tile

Custom Reclaimed Wood Stove Hood

Using this antique window to create a built in, adds so much character to the room.

But we didn't stop there.  Here's the before bathroom.

Bathroom - Before

We did a to-the-studs gut of the bathroom.  That let us move fixtures, add lighting, Velux Sun Tunnel and more.

Bathroom - After

The hexagonal marble floor is one of my favorite features!  (click here for more info and sources

The bedrooms didn't get major structural work, but new windows, doors, hardware and molding made a big difference (click here for info and sources).
Master Bedroom - Before

Back Bedroom - Before (we replaced that narrow transom window)
This new window made a huge difference in the back bedroom

Installing a basement waterproofing system was critical
Since this isn't a large home, we decided to finish the basement - to create a lot more living space.  What started as a dank, dark space filled with cobwebs is now a bright happy space (thanks to a waterproofing system and lots of new finishes - click here for more info).
Yeah.....there were a LOT of cobwebs!!!
We left the majority of the finished basement as an open space - to use however the new owners want.  In our case, I staged it as a kid's playroom 

and a media room.

We also created a big laundry room, with lots of built in storage.

But my favorite feature?  This half bathroom with an antique sink that I spent weeks refurbishing.  (What's it take to transform a nasty old basement?  A lot!  Click here for details

But to really appreciate the Before & After, check out this 3D video tour.  It's so cool!  It lets you walk through the space and really see the difference!

Can you believe the difference?  Is this a Cozy Cottage you'd want to live in?  To see even more of the process, scroll back by date on the lefthand margin.  

Thanks so much for following along on this adventure.  We'll be turning the keys over to the new owners shortly!

Want to see more?  Follow us on Facebook or Instagram as we get started on our new project!

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  1. Great job! Can't imagine how fun that must have been. Great problem solving too. Is there a sold sign out front yet?
    I hope so. What is next????? I really enjoy your blog. My husband built spec homes and customs for the last 40 years ~ so your bloog really peaks my interest and I am a fan. Jane in Oregon

    1. Thanks Jane!!! We are under contract and will be closing soon. In the meantime, I'm busy planning the next project. As I'm sure your husband has told you, new construction and renovations are different animals. But they both have their plusses and minuses! Stay tuned for more!!!!

    2. The best I have ever seen.

      * PIQUED stimulate (interest or curiosity).

  2. Spectacular!! I drove down the street the other day and it is absolutely the most adorable house on the block. I wish I could move into it! (My renovations are taking soooo much longer than your amazing projects do). Thanks for sharing all of the great info (and inspiration) along the way. :)

    1. Oh thanks so much! I'm really pleased with how it all came together. And hang in there - we all get frustrated with how long renovations take!! Once it's done, you'll forget all about it and just be happy with how beautiful your home is!

  3. I can’t get over how well this turned out. I’ll admit, you had me wondering. �� Yours is the only design blog I read anymore because it’s so useful and inspiring but I do miss the chatter of the old days when there were design bulletin boards, etc. to share projects with. I don’t want to start blogging again. Now that I’m building our retirement home on Lake Michigan, I’m wondering where all those like-minded amateur designers went. Any idea?

    1. Sorry Ellen - I don't know where they disappeared to. I think a lot of bloggers get tired over time..... but I enjoy sharing our adventures and really appreciate people like you that keep reading!!! Thanks so much for following along!

  4. Somehow I missed this wrapup--saw your post on the new Colonial and thought "is the ranch done already?!" It is beautiful, as per usual!

    1. It’s done and the new owners have already moved in!! Thanks for the kind words, I’ve never done such a ‘new’ house before - but it was really fun!!!

  5. What an amazing transformation! Can you share your paint colors.... really love them.

    1. Thanks so much! The walls are Sherwin Williams Downy, the trim is Sherwin Williams Extra White. The cabinets are from Thomasville in a brand new color called Oat.

  6. Absolutely stunning renovation! I’ve done several small homes over the years myself, refinished wood floors with a drum sander, removed and updated tile, scraped up old linoleum to reveal wood floors, replaced old light fixtures, some roofing and landscaping, etc. I draw the line at plumbing and some electrical. I tend to live in my houses 2 years and then do another, I’m 57 years old and have rheumatoid arthritis but I still do quite a bit. I’d love to do a final project for myself like this, am curious about the costs mainly on removing the ceiling and opening up the space. I am going to follow along as I just stumbled upon this via apartment therapy. LOVE your work!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words Jill! I really loved working on this house.

      Regarding costs, it’s really tough to say, since so much of the work was being done at once. I’m not sure I could split out electrical, carpentry etc. and this was much more expensive than other vaulted ceilings we have done, because of the way the house was framed. You might be able to get away with collar ties, which would be much cheaper!!

  7. This is so beautiful - great job! I was curious about the square footage. Does the 750sqft include the now finished basement?

    1. Thanks! The 750 is just the first floor. We finished about 3/4 of the basement - leaving room for the boiler and storage.

  8. We also live in a 750 sq foot house same layout -oh to have a basement for added space but alas in New Orleans basements don’t exists. Even though we downsized tremdously to fit in our house we still need to do more. I would buy that house in a New York minute

    1. Come to Maine!! We left New Orleans many years ago and it’s taken a few decades, but we finally acclimated to the cold 😂😂. But our family will only visit in the summer!!

  9. Hi — love your subway tile in the kitchen. What brand is it?

    1. Hmmm.....if my memory is right, it's called SoHo by Hortus. My tile company stopped carrying it, which is a shame. It's so cool!!

  10. Do you mind me asking what the renovation cost? I am thinking upwards of 75k with all that you did. Maybe more because of luxurious details. More like 100K? Whatever it was, worth every penny!
    Love it!


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