Rebirth: Our 1960s Ranch House Renovation | Transforming the Front Elevation
Curious about our 1960s ranch house renovation? Well we’ve found that our fellow ground redeemers are … because you’ve asked. We also realized that most of our posts featuring what we’ve done with our outdoor spaces have focused on our back yard … where there’s little evidence of how we’ve renovated our home a 1960s ranch. So we thought it was time for us to share how we transformed our front yard. Hopefully you’ll find this post both helpful and inspirational … particularly if you live in a 1960s ranch and you’d like to freshen up her curb appeal a bit.
Besides showing you some before & after pics, I’ll also share some of the ways that I believe made the biggest impact. But you must realize, this rebirth didn’t happen overnight – but more like a 15 year gestation period! We did a good bit of the literal ground work (i.e., landscaping) and adding lipstick (i.e., painting) over the first 5 years, but the structural changes (e.g., columns, windows, & porch eaves) came later … when budget allowed for a more extensive renovation. In other words, be patient.
Cleaning Things Up & Laying the Ground Work
When Britt first saw our soon-to-be home, you could barely see her from the street. Although the yard was overgrown, we saw a diamond in the rough and felt with the right amount of TLC we could bring her back to life. So after working on the interior (which was in about the same shape!), we went to work on the front yard.
Here are the highlights and some before & after pics peppered in:
- The first thing we did was remove all the overgrown … dying …d ead trees & shrubs.
- We removed the rusted out white wrought iron railing on the front porch (so 1960s ranch!) … never adding a railing back.
- The next project we embarked on … because it was cheap and easy, with a big impact … was painting the white front door and shutters “Charleston black” (which is tinted a dark, dark green).
- The first major project we did was adding a 7′ high retaining wall at the left-hand corner of our home, tapering out and away from the house toward the street. We filled the void with a ton of dirt and added sod. We did all this because the original view from the street was wonky. With the yard dropping off to the left, exposing the basement, the front perspective of our home always felt off-kilter. Adding the retaining wall effectively “righted” that view.
- Eventually (i.e., years later … when we could afford it!) we added plant material at the foundation of our home to not only soften the hard lines, but to break up the linear aspect of the long front facade as well.
The Right Colors Go a Long Way
Regardless of what era a house was built, one of the most common things to do to make a big impact is a nice paint job. Our 1960s ranch house renovation was no exception.
- We painted everthing:
- Painted the red brick grey.
- Trimmed out the front door with chunkier trim and painted it white.
- One of the details that I think made the biggest difference was painting the 3″ trim immediately under the eave of the roof the same color grey as the brick – NOT white, like the rest of the trim. Although seemingly a small deal, this effectively lifted the roof off the walls and windows of our home – allowing us and our house to breathe easier.
- At about the same time we re-roofed our ’60s lady – going from dingy white shingles to dark grey shingles. This not only cleaned things up, it took us out of the ’60s, and visually created a better contrast with the light grey bricks. Another significant change.
- We then decked out the front porch with a black porch swing, black rocking chair, and black wrought iron planters on either side of front door with ferns (in the fall & winter we replace them with boxwoods). We felt that the simple pops of black left our front porch looking clean, classic, & welcoming.
Updating Our 1960s Ranch with a Few Structural Changes
All of the above was done within the first 5 years of living in our home. We then moved out for 6 months and renovated the “public” spaces of our home – which included: doubling the size of our great room, re-flowing our living & dining rooms, adding a mudroom & half-bath, and gutting & raising the ceiling in our kitchen. (Thank you Steve Kemp, friend and architect-extraordinaire of Kemp Hall Studio!)
While all that was going on in the inside, there were other aspects of the renovation that impacted our home’s curb appeal … addressing some of the characteristics typical of 1960s ranch houses that dated our home:
- We replaced the quintessential ’60s windows with a more classic 6-over-6-pane (double-paned) window. This did a lot to make our home look more current (and better insulated!). But it wasn’t cheap – ranches have a ton of windows!
- We also changed the front porch in ways that made a big impact:
- We replaced the lovely tapered round columns with chunky square columns. Goodbye 1963!
- We also cut back the deep overhang (again, very typical of the ’60s) of the porch’s roof about 18″. This both “lifted up” the porch and allowed us to create a “beam” of sorts above the new columns – providing more visual margin under the roof and to the front door.
Directing the Eye & Our Guests with a Simple Stone Path
Lastly…and more recently…we added a path (made of chunky crab orchard stepping stones) from the front porch, through the large landscape bed, towards the street. We did this for 2 reasons:
- Our ‘formal’ sidewalk comes off of our driveway close to our home and essentially travels parallel to our home to the front door. However, many of our guests park on the street – which requires them to walk to and then down our driveway … which is not very welcoming. The new informal path allows a more direct and “romantic” way to get to and from our front door.
- From a design perspective, the path also creates a strong visual line pointing to our front door from the street. Which is where we want people to travel and what we want them to look at as they’re making their way there. The path, being perpendicular to our home, is also a nice contrast to our ranch’s long, strong horizontal lines.
So for those who have asked or are interested in our 1960s ranch house renovation … there you have it – what we did to the front of our 1960s ranch to give her a new lease on life. I hope you’ve been both helped and inspired. Please reach out if you have any questions.
[If you’d like to talk a look at our interior renovations you can check out the first in the serious of posts where we bring you inside to see the transformation.]
PS: Here’s a side-by-side of the before & after for you…
PPS: A number of folks have asked me to provide the “formula” for the color we painted our brick … the Sherwin Williams “Putty” (5402). So here’s a pic of the “color match” off the paint can. Let me know if you need anything else. – D.
PPPS: Alright, so some other folks have asked me to provide the “formula” for the color we painted our shutters & front door. Your wish is my command. And by the way, I never knew the actual color (e.g., Sherwin Williams “Putty”), since I simply matched the color my mother-in-law painted her shudders & front door back in the ’80s!
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Great job! Such vision!!!! Proud of you!
Oh Thusie…thanks so much! It was certainly a labor of love…that we enjoyed making happen and are enjoying still! Hugs, D3
What a well thought out transformation! I like the reminder that “Rome” doesn’t have to be built in a day. Many of us make changes slowly over time……and that is okay!
Thanks Kim! Yes, quite a transformation that we really love living in…and the story it tells! And you are right…it is MORE than okay to take your time during the transformation process. Yes, some of it is practical…time & money…but some of it is just living in your space and seeing what changes would help you live in your space more fully! Thanks again my friend, D.
YOU MAY HAVE IDEAS BUT YOU DO NEED TO OCCUPY THE SPACE – FIRST SEE WHERE THE SUN SHINES, WHAT NEEDS SOME COLORS THAT YOU WANT AND VERY IMPORTANT – -WHAT PLANTS WILL DO WELL IN THAT ENVIROMENT.
THEN, OF COURSE, WHAT HAVE YOU ALWAYS LOVED – AND WHAT YOU DO NOT ESPECIALLY CARE FOR.
NEXT, IS MAINTENANCE! LIKE AN EASY TO CARE FOR HAIR STYLE – OR DO YOU ENJOY FUSSING WITH YOUR HAIR?
I AM NOT A GARDENER OR KNOW MUCH ABOUT GARDENING OR FLORA AND FANA – SO GO TO SOMEONE WHO DOES. SAME AS YOU WOULD CHOOSE A HAIRSTYLST. SOMEONE WHO HAS THE KNOWLEDGE TO ADVISE YOU AND WILL TAKE THE TIME TO SHOW YOU WHAT WOULD DO WELL ALONG WITH WHAT YOU LIKE.
IN MY OPINION – THAT IS MONEY WELL SPENT AND YOU WILL ENJOY THE RESULTS AS LONG AS YOU REMAIN IN THAT HOME. PERHAPS EVEN IF YOU LATER SELL AND BUY ANOTHER HOME – YOU WILL KNOW YOUR LIMITATIONS AND YOUR DESIRES.
What an amazing transformation!!
Thank you my fweet widdle seester! Y’all need to come and visit!!! Hugs, D3
WOW, what a great job. it is beautiful, maybe you can come to my 103 old farm house and do the same thing. You should have your on TV program. I love your yard also.
Thank you Martha! Thanks so much for your encouraging words…as always, you are so kind! And I am so jealous of your 103 year old farm house…I’d love to a. help you redeem what you want redeemed…if you only lived closer!; and b. would love to have a 103 year old farm house of my own!!! There’s just something about houses with a deep history that brings so much meaning and texture to a home! Oh…and if you have any contacts in the TV world…we’d love to expand our footprint wider to help folks redeem there yards, homes, life! Take care my friend & thanks again, D.
Oh my, your before and after pictures are amazing! That landscaping! As I read, then I started imagining your interior re-do. It must be just as amazing.
Hey Kris…thanks for chiming in and for your oh-so-kind words! Yes, I think the interior spaces went through an equally significant transformation. Although not within the typical scope of RYG blog posts, you got me thinking that perhaps I should do several posts on what we did inside. Stay tuned…and thanks for the idea!!! Take care, D.
Hey Kris…Doug Scott here from Redeem Your Ground. I hope you’re well. I just wanted to let you know that per your suggestion we FINALLY started a series of posts on the interior renovation of our 1960s ranch. You can find it here: https://redeemyourground.com/our-1960s-ranch-renovation-interiors-the-history-and-whys-for-renovating-1/
Thanks for suggesting the idea. I hope you had a nice 4th…take care, D.
This is the first time I have visited your blog. Nice job!! I also have a brick 1960’s ranch house – that looks very similar to your “before” pictures! I have wanted to paint the exterior brick for years, but my husband is unsure (he likes the “no maintenance”, and is afraid of the paint peeling or needing maintenance in the future). What paint/primer did you use? Is it holding up well? Any suggestions? -Peggy
Thanks for reaching out Peggy & your encouraging words…and so glad you found our blog!
We are so glad we painted our brick. Changing the color really did a ton to move it beyond the ’60s…when our color brick was used a great deal…and not since! We have had ZERO maintenance issues. We painted it 15 years ago and have only had to repaint the trim (needs to again!), but not the brick. Now, it may have to do with the fact that our brick is “combed” (has grooves in it)…so it took 3+ coats to really cover it…but regardless…nada issues. The other advantage to having painted brick is when we did our renovation we didn’t have to worry about matching the color of the brick…just the size and texture.
Our brick is painted “Putty” (Duron 5402M)…and the trim is “Shell White” (Duron: 5770 W – it is one of their “Antebellum Whites”).
I hope this helps & take care, D.
Beautiful!!! what color ..paint name and brand, is the front door?
Hey Kim…and thanks! Unfortunately I don’t know the name and brand of the color we painted the front door. I matched it from a 20 year-old can of paint from my mother-in-law she used to paint her front door back in the ’80s. I took a picture of the top of my 10-year old can and placed it above…just below my signature line. I hope that helps. Take care and thanks again for reaching out! – D.
So I guess we should just call you two Chip and Joanna now!!??! Great job! I personally hate red brick, painting it was the perfect decision.
Lisa, You are TOO funny. Thanks my friend…it’s definitely been a labor of love! Cheers, D.
Hello there. I just came across your blog today and love what you’ve done to your land. Do you have any photos of the complete and full front/back/side yards to get the full visual. Everything is stunning and I’m happy to have found you.
Hey Keli, so great to hear from you. Thanks for your oh-so-kind words and reaching out! I don’t have a central place where I can share before/after pics of all the areas you requested. Many of them are found on various posts on our blog…but that may be cumbersome for you to find. I’ll work on that! However, if you check out the article where we were featured in Southern Living, you’ll find a few before/after pics. That may at least whet your appetite a bit. Here’s a link to that article: https://redeemyourground.com/redeem-ground-southern-living/. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you again. Cheers, D.
Thanks so much Doug, that’s actually where I found you. It left me wanting more & I’m now all over your blog catching up to all that I have missed :). It’s just so pretty and practical.
Thanks so much Keli…glad you saw the article on SL! I’ll see what else I can do to get you more! Have a great rest of your Sunday! Take care, D.
Hey Kelli, I hope you’re well. Doug Scott here w Redeem Your Ground. You had asked about other pics of our renovation awhile back…so I thought I’d let you know that we just started a series of posts on our interior renovations. Thought you might be interested in checking it out: https://redeemyourground.com/our-1960s-ranch-renovation-interiors-the-history-and-whys-for-renovating-1/
Take care and I hope you had a nice 4th of July, D.
Hi Doug. Watched your story on our PBS channel this weekend, 2 times !! Thoroughly enjoyed it. Beautiful transformation. Will be reading your blogs from now on.
Charmaine…you are so awesome to reach out to let us know that you saw us on Growing a Greener World…and that you watched it 2 times!!! Thanks too for your kind words my friend. And I’m glad you’ll be reading our blogs…and make sure to read those we’ve already written – given that a lot of what we write about is seasonal in nature, you may find something you’re looking for from the past. That said, I’m so sorry that we haven’t been putting out posts as often as we used to. This has been a crazy season for us on a number of fronts…including my getting a kidney stones and shingles within the past couple of months. It sounds like I’m 100 years old…but I promise, I’m not. Again, thanks for reaching out and take care, D.
Would you be willing to share the types of plants you used in the front of your home? It is so lovely and my ranch home falls off to one side just like yours does! Thank you!
Hey Theresa, thanks for reaching out with your question. We have a number of different types of shrubs in the front of our home:English Laurel; Otto Luyken Laurel; GG Girbing Azaleas; Carissa Hollies; Leucothoe; and Limelight Hydrangeas. Then we have Autumn Ferns, Holly Ferns, and Lenton Roses in front of the beds. I hope this helps. Let me know if there was a particular plant that caught your eye and I’ll try to let you know which one that is. Thanks again for reaching out. Take care, D.
I love all that you did. Your house looks amazing! Do you have any photos of how you changed the inside flow? I have a 1960s ranch that I would love to update outside and inside one day. Would love to see what you all did!
Greeting Margaret…thanks so much for your oh-so-kind words. I do have photos of our home’s interiors, but I’ve not posted many. But perhaps I should do a post on the inside of our home…a number of folks have asked. I’ll get that in the works…so stay tuned. Thanks again and take care, D.
Hey Margaret, I hope this email finds you well. I just wanted to let you know that we’ve started a series of posts on the interior renovation of our 1960s ranch…you had asked about it a couple of years back and we finally got around to it! You can find it here: https://redeemyourground.com/our-1960s-ranch-renovation-interiors-the-history-and-whys-for-renovating-1/
Take care and I hope you had a nice 4th of July weekend, D.
Would like to do some of same changes to our 60ies home. May I ask about how much did it cost?
Hey Margaret, so tough for me to answer … not know which changes you’re looking to make, the size of your house, etc. Besides, most of our renovation was done 15+ years ago … and I’m sure prices are different, not to mention geographical variations. That said, I’d recommend you get a few quotes from reputable local contractors to see how much the specific changes you’re looking to make would cost. A quote costs you nothing but time…but with several in hand you can make a much more informed decision. Good luck and take care, D.
Where do I start? I am in the North….way North 8months of snow. I have 2 1/2 acres, some grass, but mostly willow that just keeps muliplying every year, evergreens and birch. I am a grama, but my grandkids are far away. I want something appealing, but easy to take care of, I have no idea what to do, I am getting up in age and its hard to run the lawnmower.
My yard has a VERY wild look. All the wild grass, fireweed grows like crazy with 24 hr light for several months.
Any ideas? I am on a budget but can set aside some money if I can get some good ideas.
Best to you
Hey there AlaskanRoses! Thanks for reaching out with your question. Wow…Alaska…that’s a long way from my Florida-and-now-Georgia roots. I’d love to be able to help. Let me know where in Alaska you live and I’ll try to do some research for you. I look forward to hearing from you. Take care, D.
Thank you Doug, I look forward to some ideas from you. It was suggested to put poison on the willow, but I do not want to contaminate my well water. I sent some photos on connect@. Hopefully you can get an idea what I am talking about.
Hey again AlaskanRoses! I just replied to you directly by email. I don’t know how helpful I was in your response…but hopefully you’ll find some value out of it. Take care, D.
Beautiful transformation! My husband and I are remodeling our 1950s ranch style home and are currently trying to update the landscaping. May I ask what plants you used (especially the low ground cover type evergreen?). I love how it accents your home and would love to copycat!
Just saw where you already answered a similar question re: landscaping – please ignore my earlier comment! Thank you.
Hey Sarah, thanks so much for reaching out…and for your kind words. Glad that you were able to find the info you were looking for…but please reach out if you have any other questions. Thanks again and take care, D.
My hubby and I have been remodeling his grandmothers house for a couple of years now. I’m ready to pain the brick exterior and was wondering if you guys did it yourselves or hired someone. I’m tempted to do it myself but am also extra worried that I will mess it up. Any words of wisdom?
Hey Julie…thanks for reaching out and so sorry for my late reply. Let me say this, I’m glad that we did not paint our own brick. Not because I don’t think we could do it, but because it’s a lovely “combed” brick, so the surface area is practically doubled…if not tripled. I honestly don’t think our painters even anticipated the extra work (and paint!) it would require. That said, if you were to paint your own brick, make sure you use a power painter. Trying to brush it on would not be easy. Let me know if you have any other questions…and thanks again for reaching out. Take care, D.
Hi! Do you have before and after of the inside redo?
Hey Adria, thanks for reaching out with your question. You’re not the first to ask…so I definitely plan on doing some posts on our interiors…maybe even just pics with a few comments. As you can see, we’ve not been able to do as many posts the past year or so…some family matters had to take precedence …i.e., had to “redeem some of our family ground” before we could honestly help others. I hope that makes sense. All that said, as we restart are blogging efforts we’ll definitely put doing some interior before/after posts/pics in the mix! Thanks for the suggestion and take care, D.
Hey Adria, just wanted to let you know that we’re finally starting a series on our interior renovation. Just thought you might want to check it out: https://redeemyourground.com/our-1960s-ranch-renovation-interiors-the-history-and-whys-for-renovating-1/. I hope you’re well and had a nice 4th of July. Take care, D.
Hi Doug, I was so excited today when I happened upon your story about your beautiful family and home during my search for ideas. My husband and I are working on plans to remodel our 1956 ranch where we have lived for 45+ years and where we raised our four wonderful children. Like fine sterling, our home has been well used and has the patina to prove it. Now it deserves a little TLC. The exterior of our house is very similar to your “before” photos, long and low, except the porch has heavy wrought iron pillars that already were antiques when installed in 1956. I want to change the pillars to substantial square ones like you did. Did you use wood or a composite product?
I have three other quick questions. Did you paint your front door the same color as the shutters? Is the black you’ve chosen for the shutters a true black or a very dark grey or navy? Third and last question – are the Putty and Shell White paints you used mildew resistant? We live in Louisiana so mildew can become a big problem. Thanks for your help. God bless!
Hey Betty…thanks so much for taking the time to comment with such kind words. I would opt for a house with patina…i.e., a story to tell…than a new house any day. Sorry to just be getting back w you on this…I’ve had some technical problems on the backend of our blog. Fixed now…I hope! Anyway, we used a PVC material for our columns. Yes…we painted our front door the same color as our shutters…which is a VERY dark green, actually…but almost black. If you want the “formula” let me know and I can email it to you. Yes and no…I believe we used a mildew resistant paint for the wood trim and shutters, but not the brick. But it’s been 13 years, so I’m not 100%. But I would definitely opt for that in Louisiana. I lived there as a very young child and then in Florida until I went off to college…so I KNOW mildew. Thanks again for reaching out. Take care, D.
What is the name of the grey paint color you used? Love it!
Hey Shelby, our brink is painted with Duron “Putty” (5402). If you can’t find it, anyone should be able to color match it. If you have any problem finding it, let me know and I can email you the “formula” from our paint can. Thanks for reaching out and take care, D.
Love, love, LOVE your style! I thoroughly enjoy following your work and always learn something. Thank you for sharing. Your home is beautiful. Curious – do you have an attached garage? If so, do you mind please sharing what colors you used on your garage door & garage door trim? Thank you for your time! We are getting ready to paint our exterior – our garage faces the street – want to get these details right! 🙂
Jamie, too funny…I just got things fixed on the backend of the blog…and look what I found, your comment! So glad we were able to connect through email and you were able to get your house painted just right! Thanks again for reaching out and for your kind words. Take care, D.
What color gray is the exterior oaint?
Hey Matt, our gray brick is Duron “Putty” (5402). Duron was bought by Sherwin Williams…I think…but you should be able to have someone color match it for you. If you have any problems, let me know and I can email you the “formula” from our paint can. Thanks for reaching out. Cheers, D.
Would you mind sharing what the name of the gray was that you used??
Hey Carlye, The color of our paint is called “Putty” (Duron – 5402). I think Sherwin Williams bought Duron…but anyone should be able to color match it. If you have any problem finding it, let me know and I can email you the “formula” from our paint can. Thanks for reaching out and take care, D.
Great Job!! Could you share the exterior paint you used on the brick including the color?
Thanks J.R. I appreciate your kind words. We love our gray bricks…and even after 13 years the color has stood the test of time! The color of our paint is called “Putty” (Duron – 5402). I think Sherwin Williams bought Duron…but anyone should be able to color match it. If you have any problem finding it, let me know and I can email you the “formula” from our paint can. Thanks and take care, D.
Good Morning. I also see the diamonds in the rough and have vision for 1960, 70 and 1980 style homes. I recently purchased a ranch on a basement in the Doraville area and cannot wait to modernize the interior while continuing the integrity of the style. Your home is so well preserved but yet has such a beautiful modern feel and look. I love the new front porch which is what I am researching at present. Thnk you for sharing your journey. I have only been in my new home for one year and have to slow my execution down each week because I am excited to see the vision and want to get it done quickly. Our backyard is very large, so my progress requires great planning and budgeting!! I love the color scheme as well. Would love to talk about the interior work I want to have completed, inclusive of a two story master bedroom and bath.
The Duron Putty 5402 looks more beige than gray on the color swatch. Do you mind posting or sending me the paint codes? Love your transformation and would like to use the same exterior colors. TIA
Hey Mona, thanks for reaching out. Paint colors can be so tricky…so yes, I’ll post a pic of the “color match” formula below my signature line of the post. I hope that’s what you’re looking for. Reach out again if it’s not. Thanks & take care, D.
Thank you for all your information! I have two quick questions and I know this post was a while ago, so any info is much appreciated. I was wondering hat color white was used for the trim and also, what treatment did you use on the floor of the front porch? My home is very similar and I am looking for ideas. Thank you in advance!
Hey Allie, thanks for reaching out! And no problem whatsoever that you’re commenting on a post from 2018…I’d be happy to help no matter how far into the future.
Our trim is “Shell White” (Duron: 5770 W – it is one of their “Antebellum Whites”).
As for the treatment on the front porch…although some folks may not want to cover up the mosaic of broken tiles, which is classic 1960s…once we painted the brick the orangish-red color really popped in a way that we didn’t like. So we simply painted it with several coats of latex paint.
When we initially painted it we added a non-slip grit like this to the paint so that it wasn’t slippery. Note, over time the paint has chipped in several places … primarily under the large metal urn planters next to the front door and under the wrought iron welcome mat we once used – for obvious reasons. Once there were more chips than we could stand we simply scraped the chips back so that there were no longer any ‘edges’ and painted over them. Then, when we repainted our brick (only once since the initial paint job) we repainted the entire front porch to freshen things up. You’ll likely read online that painting tile in a high-traffic area is not recommended; but we’ve not had any real problems doing so and it’s a ton cheaper than completely redoing it!
I hope this helps and good luck! Please reach out if you have any other questions.
Take care, D.
Really, really beautiful makeover. Can you tell me the size of the columns you used on the front porch? Our ranch house is the same style and our thin, outdated looking posts are beginning to rot and need replaced. Our thought was to go with 8″ square columns, but yours look closer to 10″ or 12″?? Brings such a classy look to your home.
Hey there…thanks for reaching out and your oh-so-kind words! Our columns measure just over 9.5″…which are probably sold as 10″ columns. And we used a PVC product and have had NO rotting issues and sooo easy to clean. I hope this helps and good luck. Take care, D. (PS: Please share some before/after pics!)