In my last post I shared the reasoning behind our decision to sell our pretty red house and move back into the much smaller – and decidedly less pretty – ranch house we’d been renting out. The decision continues to feel like a good one; it’s fun to be making lots of plans, both short and long term.
It’s a little terrifying to show ‘before’ photos without any palate-cleansing ‘after’ photos to follow them up. But this is gonna be a process, folks, and you’re going to start right here at the beginning with me. Just you, me, and that boob light that greets you right when you walk in the front door.
Hoo boy. Just look at that marvelous ceiling texture – so three-dimensional! so tactile! A perfect background for the mammiferous light that presides over the entrance, threatening to squirt any interlopers. The ultimate booby trap.
So welcome! Welcome to our home! Once you’ve entered that aggressively red door (painted by yours truly), you are in a room that comprises the kitchen, dining, and living areas, and makes up most of the house’s square footage.
I have got big plans for that kitchen, but we’re tackling other projects first; taking the uncharacteristically sensible approach of settling in before creating a vortex of chaos in the middle of everything.
Though it may be hard to tell, we started the process of updating this house when we lived here before. We put in the bamboo floors and we took down a wall and some hanging cupboards that used to separate the kitchen from the rest of the room.
I don’t have any of those before before photos, so I decided a quick Photoshop rendering might be the most useful way to see what we did:
The wall and hanging cabinets made the kitchen feel dark and closed off, and the rest of the room feel oddly shaped; I like the beam much better. We’ve started drawing up new island configurations that will provide a little more separation of space (mostly just easing that line of sight to the sink and fridge when you walk in the door) while still keeping the open feeling.
The high ceiling is nice, and we’re really excited to have the woodstove for this winter.
This photo is taken from the kitchen looking toward the front door. So much brown wood!
And this one is taken from next to the woodstove with the front door on the right. The door on the far left is a coat closet, and the other one leads through the laundry room and into the garage (which we’re using as a woodshop).
More brown wood and popcorn ceilings down the narrow hallway, with doors that open into the bedrooms and a bathroom.
The two doors on the left lead to two small bedrooms – 10′ x 10′ – that are mirror images. One will be my office, and the other will be our guest room.
The master bedroom gets lovely light. We swapped out a window for those french doors the last time we lived here (though the curtains were left by the renters) and they open to a small deck and side yard.
Are you still with me, or have I scared you off? In the interest of time, and in an effort to not lose all our readers in one fell swoop, I’m going to leave the bathrooms for a later post.
As I consider plans – and their associated costs – I have to frequently remind myself that it’s unlikely we’ll live in this house forever. The goal is to live here and save money toward building a house ourselves, and to meanwhile take advantage of the easy maintenance and lower expenses to do some traveling. We’re not sure whether we’ll ultimately sell this house or keep it as a rental, so we want to make changes that can cover both of those eventualities, while also making it a nicer place for us to live in now.
Obviously this house could use a lot of updating, and we’re dialing in on what is essential and what is not. The kitchen will definitely get redone, but I also want to focus on some of those whole-house changes that will improve its overall quality and functionality.
The essential whole-house updates:
- Remove popcorn ceilings
- Replace hollow core brown doors with solid white ones
- Replace door hardware
- Replace rounded brown trim with more substantial white trim
- Replace light fixtures
- Paint walls, ceilings, trim, and doors a single color
- Update heating/cooling system
We’ve already started making progress on some of these, including the harrowing-but-ultimately-fruitful search for flush mount light fixtures that don’t cause “lactation” to be the first word that comes to mind when you see them.
Can’t wait to share! Any other thoughts on essential upgrades for bringing a house like this into the new century?
– Oh, and in case you were wondering about the title of this post: In reading our insurance policy, we noticed that this house is referred to as the Ranch Rambler and, since I’ve been trying to come up with a name (thanks for your help in the comments of the last post!), I thought I’d take it for a spin. What do you think?