One of the great things about ranch homes is that they typically lend themselves to today’s modern, open-concept floor plans. Most of the rooms line up with each other, so tweaks like widening doorways and taking down walls are pretty much all you need to bring these vintage homes into this century.
You can see in the floor plans above how we switched up the layout of this house just by changing a few walls. First, we decided that having 3 living areas in this house was a bit redundant, so we turned the formal living room (with the bay window) into the formal dining room, and simply added a wall to turn what was originally the formal dining room into a 4th bedroom/office. Then, we widened the doorway between the dining room and living room, as well as the doorway between the living room and kitchen. Now, the floor plan is open and bright, and makes more sense for the size of the home.
Here’s how the front portion of the house looked when we bought it:
And here’s that same view today:
Isn’t it crazy how you can add a few 2x4s and drywall and, voila! You have a new room!
(I’m adding a “Read More” link to my posts to help the pages load quicker, due to the number of photographs. So click, there’s more! :))
Here’s the formal dining room again, looking back towards the entryway:
So much better now!
One of the things that went a long way towards making this dining room feel modern instead of dated is the new bay window. Having 3 panes of glass instead of 6 (and without mullions) made a huge difference.
Probably the change that made the biggest impact on the feel of the space was opening up the doorway between the living and dining rooms. The back part of the house was completely cut off from the front of the house, making the home feel compartmentalized and smaller than it really is (it’s over 2,600 square feet). You can see in the photo below how small the doorway was originally (it’s that open area on the left-hand side of the photo):
And here it is all opened up! I love that now you can see the fireplace and the kitchen from the front door.
The living room originally had some weird flooring – I’m not quite sure what it was, maybe cork? – so it got spruced up with hardwoods to match the rest of the house.
Framing is one of my favorite stages of construction because you get to see how all of your ideas are going to pan out!
And the official “after.”
To save you from scrolling forever, here’s a Photoshopped reminder of what the “before” looked like:
(I forgot to take a “before” shot, so I Photoshopped this photo of the framing stage to simulate what the wall between the front and back of the house looked like before we began construction.)
The new framing really changed the view from the front door, but it also changed the whole vibe of the living room. It went from being rather cave-like to being an open and bright space. Here’s how it looked through the different phases of construction:
During the framing stage we also opened up the doorway between the living room and the hallway, and added 2x4s to the “thin wall.” We also removed the paneling and the beams – with all of the spaces being open to each other those two features just didn’t work with the new design.
Drywall makes everything look soooo much better, don’t you think?
And here’s how everything turned out! Taking down walls is always the answer, my friends.
Below you can see the original doorway into the kitchen – the poor kitchen was isolated and sad.
We opened up the wall to the ceiling, instead of just widening the doorway – that maximized the “open-ness” between the living room and kitchen. We also closed up the exterior door that was there since there’s a powder room on the other side of that wall now.
Does everything look how you imagined it would? That’s always the fun part for me, discovering how the image in my head matches up with reality.
If you have questions about anything, just let me know in the Comments! :)