Ideas for updating ranch/rambler

lisakkJuly 31, 2010

We are purchasing a second home for my mother to live in. It was built in 1969 and we plan to remodel the interior, which has the original everything (including Maytag washer and dryer!).

I'm leaning towards cottage style because it has no particular style except for one thing: a large white quartz rock fireplace surround with paneled walls adjacent to it. There are also oak hardwood floors under the carpet.

My vague plan at this point is to paint the paneling blue or green, add a more substantial mantle and replace the thin strips of baseboard with white painted baseboard and crown molding.

My husband and the contractor think we should pull the paneling off and install drywall.

We will also update the kitchen and bathrooms, but I'm trying to figure out which direction to go first.

I've posted a link. The siding is white vinyl and will someday be replaced, probably with board and batten above the brick.

Any opinions/ideas?

Here is a link that might be useful: Ranch Remodel

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I would definitely beef up the interior trim if you want but the entire scale of the house is "soft" midcentury modern and you may get a lot more mileage out of letting the house be what it is. It seems to be pretty pleasant layout. If you allow the house to be what it is, with some sympathetic updating rather than trying to convert it into something completely different, you can still pretty much furnish it and decorate it however you like.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 10:19AM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I agree. It has some nice MCM features. I would probably keep the paneling for that reason, but if you don't like it, I would recommend replacing with drywall rather than painting it. I would also pull up the carpet if there are hardwood floors underneath them.

It does sound as though you want to make it something other than what it is, but I think sometimes it is better to play up what you have-in this case a mid-century modern type. If your mother likes that style, furnishing it with that in mind could really be quite cool. If she is more comfortable with cottage style, that won't work.

I do like the house a lot and think it has tons of potential.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 10:34AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I'll start researching MCM. I know what it is, but haven't paid a whole lot of attention to the details that are common to that style. I do want to be true to the house's architecture, but the popcorn ceilings, vinyl siding, and berber carpet over the hardwood flooring sort of threw me off.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:19AM
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I'll preface this by saying I am an MCM girl and I hate to see an MCM home pushed into something it isn't. That being said, your home doesn't have strong MCM features that would warrant an obsessive restoration vs. renovation. But pushing it too far past the late-60s ranch that it is might leave you unsatisfied with the result.

I think one of the best soft-contemporary designers out there is Candice Olsen. To me, soft contemporary is the way to go with this house, otherwise you're working against it a bit. Are you getting new furniture? Because if not, you need to consider what your mom will be bringing with her and how it will fit in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Divine Design

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:39PM
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I am somebody's older mother and I would like to keep the carpet. Its soft underfoot and warm.(just my preference)Does your mum care about updating so much? The house is wonderful as is- I hope she spends many happy years in it!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 12:45PM
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A local young couple did exactly what Palimpsest suggested ... a little updating, but they allowed the house to be what it was meant to be.

Here is a link that might be useful: a real neighborhood

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 1:09PM
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As wonderful as it is that you're purchasing this home for your Mom, I think it would be nice if she were to have a say in the changes made.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 10:21PM
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I donÂt know how old your mom is, but the posted who mentioned keeping the carpet should give you a reason to ask your mom for her input. Besides carpeting being softer underfoot, it isnÂt slippery and there is no danger of tripping over area rugs or runners, which seem to always follow when someone has hardwood flooring.

Love the feel of the house. I would get rid of the paneling, rather than painting it. The dining bar in the kitchen is so much fun, so I hope you will be keeping that. I would also give thought to staining the stone a warmer color.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:27PM
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My mother is a fit and healthy 69-year-old, and isn't anymore likely to trip over an area rug that I am! I plan on continuing the hardwood flooring throughout the house with tile in the bathrooms, because my mom really wants to get a small dog and she's worried that it will do naughty things on carpet as she experienced with her last dog. This is her choice. I appreciate that people are concerned that I'm not getting her input, but I assure you that she will choose paint colors, window coverings and help make decisions on backsplashes, countertops, and light fixtures. Getting the popcorn ceilings scraped and extending the hardwood floors is a no-brainer for both of us, and fortunately we have very similar taste!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 1:13AM
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Lisa, I am glad to hear that your mom is fit and healthy. Since you gave no indication of either your age or hers, those of us who expressed concern were merely trying to be of help.

May your mom continue to be in good health and enjoy her new dog!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 4:17AM
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Ditto what Les wrote.
We were only concerned for your Mom's feelings based on your comments:
"I'm leaning towards cottage style..."
"My vague plan at this point is..."
"My husband and the contractor think..."
It was the most likely conclusion without there being any mention of your Mom's tastes. No harm meant at all.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 12:03PM
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I use to have a sprawling ranch when I lived in another town. I kept the interity of the ranch style on the outside. But took all the icky carpet up and the floors were gorgeous as most are in the ranches of the fifty's and sixty's. I had all the cabinets painted a soft cream with new hardware, added a white porclain sink with new fixtures and double french doors leading out to the patio and added hardwood floors in the kitchen. The kitchen had paneling (can you imagine) and I had that painted, it looked great. Changed the chandy in the kitchen, but in the dining room it had a crystal chandy and I left it, errrrrrrr.

Now, you would have to take a helicoper into this beautiful neighberhood, gang bangers have taken it over. It makes me sick but most of the neighboors have taken care of their property but are scared to death I'm sure.

Sixty nine is no longer old, hope she enjoys her new property. I would do the inside the way I like not try and change a ranch into something that it isn't.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 12:48PM
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It would be a real synergy if your mom liked elegantly simple design, because that's also what that nice home you've chosen for her suggests to me. Hope you guys have a blast pulling it together just as you like.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 2:12PM
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Have you checked out the Young House Love blog? They updated an old house too. If you scroll down you can see how they transformed a den with paneling and dark stone with just paint.

Here is a link that might be useful: Young House Love Home Tour

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 5:12PM
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Every home we have bought has been older with our most recent purchase young to us as it was built solidly in 1964. I agree you can go too far trying to add character but what i mostly see people doing in this type of remodel is updating the windows so they sit lower and updating the landscaping. I will say that getting rid of the paneling is a GREAT way to make a home feel more updated too. Painting the paneling, which we have tried, just never looked right. I 'get it' about hardwood floors but her home looks like it is a surface home, am I right? If it is, some of them really sound a bit odd when you put hardwood floors down. Another update which can bring instant character is window doorways and floor moldings and casings and crown molding. Changing the ceiling fans to a more modern style will make a difference too. The fireplace is really pretty as is unless you want to just paint the mantel and I would honestly go very neutral on the walls to compliment that focal point in the room. I am sure your mom is asking your help, which is why you are asking OUR help. You are a good daughter. I would keep the kitchen fairly traditional when you do make a change there, but its just fine right now. Once shes in it for a while something major like that can be looked at after she sees how it works as it is now.

Good luck to your mother and to you.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 9:38PM
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