The 1950s and ranches

emagineerAugust 21, 2006

This forum has me meloncholy....there are so many things shared here that remind me of houses lived in and to search more regarding the lifestyle as well as the past regarding my current home.

Am wondering who has a ranch style and or 50s built homes. There is little information regarding their plans and how remodeling has changed them. Most info relates to the atomic age and more modern ranches. Would like to see some pics of your homes and how you have changed them. Mine is a single level ranch, as rectangular as one can get, shingled siding, large front window, 1100 sq. ft.

At some point I am going to order books on such, but for now my house upgrading is taking the time once used for settling in with a good book.

Many of you live in cottage styles. Looking back at the home I lived in when a teenager, I never dreamed it would come full circle. I spent far too long in big houses, but now have a deep appreciation for my childhood homes. As a child I thought anyone living in the cottages, similar to most of the pics posted, were "rich".

Sandy in Colorado

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Is this what you're looking for? Mine was built in 1964, a bit older, but definitely a ranch, and about 1100 sq. feet base. We do have a full basement partially finished that adds some square footage.

We still have our scrolled porch railings and shutters. I did remove the shutters from the big window because they were in bad shape. I'm looking to update soon with new posts and a railing on the porch, and plans to tile the porch.

The original house had a one car detached garage. A previous owner (my parents) extended it into a two car garage attached to the house.

We still have our original cedar siding, they sure don't make siding like they used to!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 9:12PM
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Yes, thanks, these are the type of photos I am interested in. My siding is also original cedar, but shingle style. There is no porch to speak of, just a "stoop" and the front door is hidden as is yours. I have re-landscaped with added brick path to door...typical ranch with driveway to get to door.

Would love to have your porch... Could add one, but cost is prohibitive, close to adding a room.

Someone took out the metal posts/railings in the past and am also looking to update this. Actually a fairly simple solution to add square porch posts fitting the era.

Do you have any interior photos? Bath, kitchen?

Are there more of you out there?


    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 9:22AM
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Oh yes, do have more photos, will leave links below.

Originally there was a wall between the kitchen and dining room, it was a disaster of a kitchen. Luckily my parents removed the wall and put in an island, and put custom cabinets in to the ceiling! They did a great job with that.

When we finally purchased the house from my parents, it had wall to wall carpeting everywhere. We ripped it all out to find nice maple flooring. The bedrooms had to be refinished, but we just left the livingroom and hallway as is. I don't think they'd ever seen the light of day.

Last year, we ripped out the carpet and linoleum from the kitchen, and tiled it. This has been the best update thus far.

We have the typical alley bathroom. We recently had to replace the floor that didn't have the proper underlayment and came unstuck. We put cheap tiles in, as we'd like to completely gut the thing and change the layout.

There are 3 small bedrooms, and I mean SMALL!

We've finished the basement with a 4th bedroom & 3/4 bath. It's really small like the others.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:09AM
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How interesting....your floorplan is totally different than mine....and you have a diningroom, which doesn't exist at my end. A lot of the cottage style houses which have interiors posted look a lot more like mine. Wondering how that evolved, or perhaps due to the era with yours being in the 60s.

My bedrooms and bath are much larger, must be due to space which wasn't used for a dining room. Plus there is only one bath.

I'll get some pics posted in the next week. Am working on the fireplace, tiling surround which is crooked and the 12X12s won't fit square on the floor.... everything crooked in these old houses.

Thanks again....

Sandy in Colorado

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:38AM
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Sandy, you can find out LOTS of information about 50's ranch homes in the "Atomic Ranch" magazine which comes out 4 times a year.

We do not have a ranch home, although I looked at a few. Almost all of our friends however, did purchase 50's ranches in 50's ranch communities here in Atlanta. They all have either left them original, or have renovated them back to their original styles and footprints. I think the only additions may be decks although most already had patios.

Hope this link is helpful!


Here is a link that might be useful: Atomic Ranch

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 1:54PM
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I can remember the old kitchen for the most part, before my parents redid it. Here's the original layout of the kitchen/dining room.

I think the dining room was a big deal back when they purchased the house. My grandparents' 50's ranch did not have one. My mother was a school teacher and used it more as her office for grading papers & computers etc. We had a Commodore, then the Apples, etc. One desk was for bills, one was for the computer. We never ate in the diningroom!

There was hardly ANY cabinetry in the original kitchen. I don't know how they tolerated it for 30 years before changing it. They used the top of the portable dishwasher for storage, as the big Radar Range took up most the little counterspace they had.

I may have to subscribe to that magazine, it looks very interesting. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 5:24PM
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emagineer guys are great. I did find the atomic site a while back. My ranch is more of a cottage style, the atomic doesn't quite work. A lot of my friends as teenagers lived in the atomics, Cliff May's. At the time I thought they were awful, but now can see how wonderfully designed they are.

The kitchen layout is greatly appreciated and really interesting.. It actually looks like it was quite functional and gave a lot of space to remodel...even without the lack of cabinets originally. Miss a dining area, but think it may have to do with habit as mine were rarely used except for company, just always had one.

Now that you mentioned the cabinet space, there were only 5 that I can remember. We always ate in the kitchen. Your layout looks like you were able to remove a wall. This is my big problem with the kitchen. One wall has the fireplace and the other 3 are load bearing....or I would break into one and inset the fridge which would give me tons of space.

Thanks for going to the trouble to post.


    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 12:54PM
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Sandy, this past issue they featured a ranch that was less typical "ranch" ie, not brick..more cottagey. They do sometimes. The company that publishes the magazine has published a book. It might be wise to hit the book store and paruse the book for some ideas. Doesn't hurt to look, does it?


    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:56PM
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Hi Sandy,
I don't know if my house qualifies of a ranch. It was build in 1954. We are adding a room to it in the back, so I will include the picture of that too. I am a little embarrassed of its appearance but we are in the middle of a major remodel, so it will all change. A lot has already changed. We are restuccoing so the trim is a different color. We have purchased new windows for the front of the house, new roof, basic stuff like that. We are going to do tropical landscape in the front and topical in the back. The picture of the back is taken from our second level deck. From that deck we have a view of the pacific ocean and a bay, same from the windows in the front of the house.

When you walk into the house, you walk into the dining room, basically a walkway with a table, which is open to the living room, the three large windows are in the living room. The kitchen is pretty big and it is the smaller window in the front of the house. W are changing one room into a tv room, it is the one with the slider in the back, our bedroom is small, small window in the back but it has an attached bathroom. We are changing the other bathroom into a laundry room/ pantry, my daughter's current bedroom is going to be their new big bathroom, and the addition is their new bedroom. The house will only be 1700 sq ft when we are done with the addition, but we are using the space wisely I think (hope).

I hope this helps.

Love our small house.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 11:43PM
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You are right, I'll check one of the book stores to look at the latest mag. It is amazing how much we all are doing to our small houses. And really appreciate the ongoing wirtings/pics from all.

SDtriplits....jeesh, you are doing all of this with 3 babes walking around? I'm having enough trouble getting things done on my own. Find trying to complete something requires something else which becomes a revolving door going to HD and I'm not even changing walls, etc. Having 1700 feet when you are finished will be wonderful.

As for being embarrassed, me too at this point. Haven't posted any pics yet because of the "in-between" stages. Will get there with some before/afters.

My front opens into what was being used as a dining room, open to living room. Using the entire space as a living area. The kitchen too is rather large for such a small home, but was remodeled before I bought, there were other ways it could have been done for better flow but better judgement says to work with what has been done. Your house sounds like it is laid out like a ranch, but think the design is a bit more than such, although same era and probably looks a lot like mine interiro wise.

My creativity isnt' as good as it should be and making me a bit irritated when things don't work out as envisioned. Or I have gotten myself into more than planned. Am very visual so all the things that need to be done are tough for me to ignore.....need patience on this one. Still, it sure helps to know what others have done and are doing to keep me on track and see ideas.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 9:06AM
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Our home was built in 1949, but it's not really a ranch. We haven't changed the footprint, but have renovated extensively inside. BTW, we have the original blueprints to ours. Here's a pic of the outside....

You'll notice we still haven't taken out the horrid 50's poodle!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 11:41PM
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Your description of a "poodle" juniper is funny, old houses always seem to have junipers in some stage of oddity. Yours is fine, at least it has been cared for and wasn't shaved flat to keep it a foot high and 10 foot wide, which is what every bush in my front yard had done to them. My house had every 50 year old bush shaved flat, everytime one of the kids came over they would hack out a bush. Yard is now free of them, but I did keep the juniper in a far corner. Trimmed it out so it has some flow to it. I don't really like taking out plantings, it seems a waste after so many years.

I would love to have the original drawings, did figure out that the house next door was built by same person. There are arches in doorways that are identical in both. They have added a back room and plastered the exterior, but the rest of house is original with no upgrades and about 400 sq ft bigger than mine.

Thanks for posting your 50s house.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2006 at 6:51AM
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Since I am fascinated with the 50s original, although not what I would recreate my living style into, a few interesting links.

One link is Lotta Living which covers the LA modernism during 50s, 60s. It also has a great deal about remodeling smaller homes on their forum. You have to dig a bit to find info relative to such as they cover relative architecture both industry and home, but a lot is there.

The bath thread listed a site for toilet covers to match old colored toilets. Lots of pics of orignal baths, kept asthey were and look great. Plus remodeling of small bathrooms.

Good bantering on remodeling with trends vs doing what works personally and/or maintaining mid century architecture.

Toilet seats:

Here is a link that might be useful: Lottaliving

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 9:30AM
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