Welcome to our SoCal mid century ranch

Even while living at the firehouse, we always lusted after mid century ranches. St. Louis has quite a few (not within our budget) and we’re obviously enamored with the simplicity of mid century modern design. I tell you this because I think it’s kind of cool that in giving up our “forever home” we landed in the only other style of home we’ve ever had heart eyes for.

So without further ado, I present our new home.

It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bath 1,800 square foot ranch that has only been owned by one family before us. Let’s take a look inside and chat about our renovation plans. (Note: all of these photos are from the day of the inspection. None of the furniture is ours… although if you think we own a recliner you may be new here…)

Reno plans: We already want to paint the exterior, which sucks because the previous owners did a really nice job painting it before they put it on the market. But seriously that yellow beige has got to go! We’re envisioning a blue grey main color and black roof (more on that later). Ultimately, we’d like to change the front yard to water friendly, desert landscape. We’re already noodling it, but we may need help from a professional designer (suggestions please!) because landscaping isn’t our forte.

We also ran into a little bit of an issue trying to get our trailer parked on the pad to right of the driveway. So we’re nixing the light post and curved wall on the right and extending the concrete to the sidewalk. As we work on the exterior, we’ll eliminate the “country” leaning aspects (like the fixtures and the brick around the front door) to give it a sleeker vibe.

To the right of the entrance is a front living room. The photos don’t do the space justice, it’s rather large has gorgeous corner windows with extra deep sills.

Reno plans: The entire house is getting new flooring, so let’s get that out of the way up front. We’re just not carpet people and the Danes have only confirmed that by reveling in every square inch. They’re in heaven. I keep telling them to enjoy it while it lasts, but their very small grasp of the English language leaves me feeling like they’re not getting the message.

I digress. This space will likely become our dining room and contain a desk/working area. I think this will make more sense as we go so bear with me.

It opens into an existing dining area and the kitchen. So looking right you see this:

Looking left you see this:

The kitchen is rather compact… even more so when you realize the large open space in the photo below is the laundry area.

Both the kitchen and existing dining room look into the rear family room, which offers a TON of natural light from a huge slider, two doors and another set of corner windows.

Reno plans: Per usual, I’ll dedicate an individual post to major renovations before we dive in. I mention that because it’s a little hard to describe exactly what we’re going to do to the kitchen/dining areas without sticking you in the center of the space and gesturing… maybe a video is in order? Suffice it to say that we’re merging the spaces together to form a large kitchen, carving out a dedicated laundry room and adding a walk-in pantry. We’re planning to lose even more walls between the front room, kitchen and family room so the space feels super open.

Speaking of the family room, there were no photos of this space in the listing and it’s one of the reasons we fell for this place. Hello high ceilings. Hello fireplace.

The kitchen is to the right in the photo above. If you turn to the right, this is what you see… minus Aaron and the inspector. We’re amazed at the custom woodwork and the former owner’s ability to get a TON of storage in this home. But this bar has got to go. It’s totally impinging the flow in this space.

Here’s a shot looking to the other side of the room (with your back to the fireplace).

This corner includes a custom sewing area and you probably already guessed that it’s on the chopping block.

Reno plans: This space has some major issues with flow, mostly because every wall has a window, door or built-in. By the fireplace, we’ll install a different set of built-in cabinets to house our bar and hide a projector screen when it’s not in use. We’re also seriously considering moving the large sliders to the sewing area (in favor of a large window). More to come there. Oh and this space needs white paint like WOAH.

Back through the kitchen and down the hall you come to the smaller of the guest rooms, which we’re planning to turn into dedicated wine storage. Exact renovation plans are TBD, but paint and wine racking are obvious.

The guest bathroom was recently renovated, which is great. It would be more great if it wasn’t a melange of beige on beige on brown, but it works for now. This space also has a huge skylight, which I love.

Reno plans: This is lower on the list, but when we get it to it we’ll de-beige and make it match the rest of the house.

The actual guestroom is at the end of the hall on the left.

Reno plans: It’s mostly basic decorating in here: paint, new light/ceiling fan, then figuring out what furnishings and decor we keep from the captain’s bedroom.

At the end of the hallway to the right is the master suite. Β Β 

Reno plans: The bedroom is HUGE and the bathroom is tiny… and has a lot of awkward angles… and there’s no mirror over the sink. So it’s kind of a hot mess. When we get to it (this is probably at the very bottom of our list), we’ll do a total overhaul and give more space to bathroom. For now, paint will tide us over.

I did not take nearly enough photos of the backyard. Another post with some better shots is definitely in order. So let’s hold on that for now.

Three large sheds line the walkway to the garage and were another huge selling point for us. This eliminated the need for Aaron to build a sh-workshop because the storage space freed up all of the garage space for the larger tools.

And here’s the garage/future workshop. It’s #1 on the list (and already in progress) because we need those tools for the other renovations and there’s a BUNCH of boxes that I’d like to get out of my front living room.

Reno plans: Remove all the cabinets, patch the walls, paint, epoxy the floor, new electrical and lighting, then re-install everything that we JUST installed in the workshop at the firehouse. Moving is fun, guys! (Sarcasm)

I mentioned that Aaron got to see the house for the first time during inspections. His eye, along with a lot of input from various professionals, added several major projects to our list:

  • New roof (it was way past due and will require a full removal/replacement)
  • New furnace (it was original) and possibly adding air conditioning (because global warming)
  • New electrical panel and additional sub-panel in the garage
  • Stucco repair around the new electrical panel
  • Tenting for termites (a common need, that is normally covered by the sellers, but wasn’t in our case… and to get into that story I would really need to have you here in person… and a bottle of wine)
  • Minor fireplace repair

So, here we go again… albeit in a much more manageable space. Questions? Encouragement for a video? Or maybe just an extended story on Instagram?

  1. Without further ado!

    1. Ha! Thank you! Edited.

  2. Love it! That living room is so good, and I’m super jealous of the deep window sills (as my cats would be too…ha!). Normally I’m not a huge fan of those big stoned fireplaces, but if you don’t already follow Mandimakes on instagram. She added a similar looking fireplace to her remodel and it totally sold me on this style! I’m very excited to see what you guys do!! Can’t beat a good midcentury ranch…im sure the pups don’t miss the stairs! Ha!

    1. The deep window sills are awesome and would make any cat jealous. While the dogs can’t appreciate them, they do love stairless living πŸ™‚
      Oh! I didn’t follow her, but I do now. Thanks for the tip!

  3. I’m so excited for you guys!! And I CAN NOT WAIT to see what you do with it! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Megan!

  4. You’ve got a lot on your plate but I can’t wait to see how you take this from a ranch-y ranch to something sleeker!

    If you are interested in a waterwise, ocean- and wildlife-friendly landscape, I very highly recommend Lisa Burton and her business Nature by Design (http://www.nbdgardens.com). Lisa set up a consultation with me that lasted a couple of hours and included about 9 million questions πŸ˜‰ to understand me and what I wanted. The installers that she used (Jesus was the lead on my project) are artists in their own right, came up with some great ideas and clearly enjoy and take pride in their work. I should mention that Lisa has dogs and will certainly consider the needs of your canine tribe in her plans.

    If you want to take a more DIY approach, the series on garden design at Mother Nature’s Backyard is well worth a look: http://mother-natures-backyard.blogspot.com/2013/07/designing-your-new-california-garden-1.html.
    That site has a lot of information you may appreciate if you are new to So Cal’s gardening “seasons” – planting is best in late fall & winter and August starts the doldrums here rather then the abundant bloom and growth season you see on the East Coast and Midwest.

    I really enjoyed your neighborhood review in your last post, too – Thanks for sharing!

    1. This is awesome. Thanks so much, Sheila! We will likely DIY the backyard, but I’d love to save up and hire professionals (planning and labor) for the front.

  5. Congrats on your new place! I am eyeing those triple sheds with severe storage envy.

    1. They’re so awesome! Plus they all connect so it’s like one huge storage area!

  6. How exciting!love love love the tall ceilings and detail on them in the family room! Also, your comment about recliners cracked me up, because I’m sitting in one right now, it’s nothing like those In the house just to clarify!

    1. Ha! I should have been more specific that we would never own that style of recliner. πŸ™‚ No offense intended.

  7. Congratulations on finding a wonderful new home and thank you for continuing to share your journey online. I look forward to seeing your vision come to life in months ahead.

  8. Love it! Could also maybe include a little sketch of the floor plan I’m a little confused what attaches where but over all I think it’s goin to be such an awesome house for you guys!

    1. Yes! That will definitely help. I think Aaron has one started that I can use.

  9. […] important to share these updates because you may have noticed in the introductory post for the new house that I failed to take good “before” photos of the backyard. Now I can’t do that […]

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