Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ranch Renovation Diary # 5

Last summer, a 70s ranchburger came into my life. I remember looking up at the old split-level, the low-slung roof barely visible, and I repressed an urge to run away. "Not much curb appeal," my Realtor said, "but you'll love the interior."
 It wasn't love at first sight. Rumor has it, the home had been built without blueprints, and over the years, it had been remodeled many times until it had become an architectural orphan--poor bones and no clear style--and it was supposedly jinxed. The house was a far cry from the gorgeous Mid-Century Modern that stood next-door.Nor did it resemble a French Country cottage, as the sales brochure had promised. 
But I saw great potential. I still do.



The front elevation is long and narrow, an H-shaped structure with wings at each end and a corridor-like center. The house consists of brick, wood siding, and stone (columns and chimneys).
The chimney on the left is fake, added years later when the wing was built.

Inside, the house had been beautifully decorated, and it "showed well," as Realtors say. Murdock, the architect, pointed out that the breakfast room table presented a (small) speedbump in the traffic flow, but it could easily be remedied by removing the French doors and adding a bay window. (Enclosing the porch wasn't a viable, or affordable, option.)

Here is the floorplan with the proposed bay window:
We priced various windows, and I realized that my budget would be gobbled up quickly. So we opted to create a bay window out of stock French doors. (Note: the bay will appear larger when the original patio doors have been removed, along with the wall space on either side of the doors.) 

Below, you can see the original French door (well, not the original-original door--it was probably a sliding door at one time.)

The bay overlooks the front porch and the Tennessee hills.



 We'd hoped to make at least one French door operable in the bay, but the porch just wasn't deep enough. And we had to consider the door in the kitchen--we'll need to build two steps, and it was just cleaner (and less expensive) to keep the bay's doors inoperable.

  The small casement windows on the left (kitchen windows) will be replaced with stock French doors. The center door in the kitchen will be operable. To bend the exterior style towards traditional, Murdock suggested mortar-washing the bricks and adding shutters on the "wings" (not pictured). Another option would be to add cedar shake shingled siding--either in key spots or everywhere (if it won't  involve pulling off the bricks).

I will eventually replace many windows...maybe with doors. Many windows in the house aren't windows at all: they're framed glass inserts and aren't energy efficient.

Are you picking up any style vibes?
We are looking into creating parapets on each wing (raising the roof just isn't in the cards), along with dormers in the attic and "building up" the chimneys (that's another story, another journey).
 An old fashioned, screened-in porch is a possibility.

Another direction would be, as Murdock says, "a quietly elegant rustic look"--shingles and a seamed tin roof. The house (below) was a pre-fab 60s house and it got a tremendous makeover--without raising the roof. To see more photos, click on the link below the photograph. I wrote about the renovation HERE.
source: Houzz

While Murdock and I were concocting a plan, we exchanged a flurry of ideas. I thought you may enjoy seeing the preliminary sketches, including one that shows an early idea. While Murdock revised and scaled back the plans quite a bit, they served as a jumping off point and helped me visualize the house in different ways.

The first time I saw the house, I envisioned a "Something's Gotta Give" look. I still dearly love it. But the elaborate roof line just wasn't in the budget. And, because I'm a worry wart, I had concerns about maintaining cedar shake.

Below, my imaginary facades aren't to scale. The dormers won't be this large and elaborate; the windows won't be arched, either. The wings are, in real life, different sizes (and the left wing has a faux stone fireplace between the windows). We won't have a second story in the middle part of the house. At one point, my husband insisted on having a loft, but quite a bit has changed.
So the drawings were just a form of brainstorming while I tried to get a feel for the style. Dreaming helps me find my way. One thing I learned from previous renovations--nail down your plans, girlie! Then stick to them. Renovations are always a bit hair-raising, and the more pre-planning, the better.


1. Cedar shake plus crisp white trim



.

2-Shingles, brick, stone.

3. Traditional mortar-washed bricks in a warm white and black shutters. I couldn't help but add a small pergola on the right wing.
3. A red door is always charming.

Which option do you like for the ranch?
As Murdock says, just about any direction we go will improve the curb appeal. Even small changes
will make a difference. I just need to focus and keep them cohesive. Argh.

So far, I have three options:
1. All cedar shake and crisp white trim and shutters
2. A mix of shingles, stone, painted brick
3. Off-white mortar-washed bricks and black shutters (on the wings)
4. Something else?


For more photos of the ranch and the background story, check out the Pre-Renovation Tour.

Shared at:
Home Matters



35 comments:

  1. Both sound beautiful. I think white with black shutters is timeless and classic. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love the idea of new stock French doors to replace the existing windows and sliders. Somehow I've become enchanted with black shutters lately, so I would probably go that route, but I totally trust your taste and you should go with your heart ML.
    Sam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Until the bay was added, I'd been totally leaning towards Ballet White or White Dove on the bricks and black shutters. But now, I'm so confused. LOL Thanks for your input, Sam.

      Delete
  3. I would definitely lean towards the cedar shake. The house admittedly needs some help with curb appeal, but you can see the potential all over. With a new exterior and cleaning up the landscaping, I think it will be charming :) And what wonderful natural light walking into the house!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cedar shake had been my first idea. Somehow the traditional approach took root, but the bay really changed the whole look, and I'm going to ask my builder if shakes can be added without tearing off the bricks. (I don't know if I am capable of deciding where to add the cedar shake and where to leave brick...too hard. lol.) Thanks so much for stopping by, Jessica, and for your input!

      Delete
  4. Hi Michael Lee! I'm loving seeing your ranch coming together. The new big bay window will look amazing! Now I know you didn't mention it, but I really like the stone work on the chimney! I looks almost fairy tale like! I wouldn't know how to finish the outside...but I know you'll make it perfect!
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hard to say without seeing more of the overall house. Those stone columns are wonderful, and the painted brick you showed in your previous post looks wonderful. From the pics on this post, it is difficult to see if there is stucco on the back or if that is construction board. If it were me, I would pick a color out of those stones and paint the trim in that. But you have to live there, so go with your gut and what makes you happiest. Look forward to seeing what you choose!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carole, I added more pictures. Good idea. Thanks! The materials on the house are painted brick and wood siding.That's a great idea to choose a color from the stones.

      Delete
  6. You have me so intrigued! This sounds like an amazing project and I like both ideas. I can't wait to watch this unfold. What a great idea to use french doors to create an bay window. LOVE it. Please come share your blog posts over at the Home Matters Linky Party! We'd love to have you for a visit. The Door is OPEN! http://lifewithlorelai.com/2015/01/29/home-matters-linky-party-22/# :)

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the invitation, Lorelai. Your party looks like great fun--I added my link. Again, thanks.

      Delete
  7. Wow, both sound amazing. I can't wait to see what you choose. Love the bay, it is fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Marty! i love the paint color in your great room, btw.

      Delete
  8. Wht an exciting Reno this must be!! Love the French door bay idea -- and what a difference that will make! I just can't wait to see all the progress as you go along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm eager to move. Thanks for stopping by, Anita!

      Delete
  9. Looking at the overall shape and structure of the house I'm put in the mind of Doris Day's house in Send me No Flowers which would suit option two. You know, that updated traditional look, with lots of architectural texture. I see it as a bridge between the two choices.

    I like three, though. You can make your porch look very similar to the one that is pictured. I love those X's! The dormers would be a great addition. The picture reminds me of the Kennedys. I had a wonderful opportunity to be a guest at the Rockefeller summer home in Proust's Neck, Maine where my husband did their son's wedding. It reminded us of the Kennedy compound. It had that wonderfully breezy, we-don't- take ourselves-too-seriouly, but-we-know-who-we are vibe. Lots of silver picture frames with Presidents. Silver loving cups. White painted furniture, faded chintzes, needlepoint throw pillows, US flag on the beach. Effortlessly elegant. The exterior was rather like the picture but slightly more Victorian.

    Back to this house. Although a Tennessee ranchburger is nothing like a New England summer home there is underlying grace here. And you are the person to expose it! Options one and two would give you that sense of traditional elegance without being stuffy.

    Option one is my last choice. Although I can see that it would turn out well I'm not sure the overall outcome would be as suitable to your taste in the end. It would be more rustic. Yes, it would be more like a ranch house and maybe you are after something completely different. I'm sure you appreciate many different styles, but that is still a far cry from the Georgian. Would you be able to wear it for a long time?

    In the end, don't listen to us, listen to the house. You have the ears. It will speak to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A wonderful comment. You put into words what I couldn't articulate. I love the notion of a house that refuses to take itself too seriously. I can see those silver-framed photos and and loving cups. I love these images: " White painted furniture, faded chintzes, needlepoint throw pillows, US flag on the beach. Effortlessly elegant." You've really given me something solid to think about. Thank so much. I had forgotten about that movie! For those who are unfamiliar, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch has a tour of the Send Me No Flowers house. http://betweennapsontheporch.net/send-me-no-flowers-tour-this-classic-doris-day-and-rock-hudson-movie-house/

      Again, thanks!!

      Delete
  10. Option 3 is what I visualize. I think it would have the most eye catching "curb appeal". And, it seems to suit the style I sense from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's two votes for #3. Thank you so much, Beverly! I'm hoping to have something for Pink Saturday next week.

      Delete
  11. I also also vote for #3 can't wait to see more

    ReplyDelete
  12. Option #3 would be my choice, but I feel the house will talk to you and you will get the feel of what to do. Your homes have always been beautiful and I am sure you will make the right choices on this one. I can hardly wait to see all the changes that are coming. The country side is breath taking.
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the brick and stone...so I guess that puts me with number 2.
    I love the stone. Is it Tenn limestone?
    With the strength of the mountains and the house on a hill, I like the idea of the house being a reflection of the strong Tenn land. Is it possible to add more matching stone touches to give the house even more strength?
    So excited to see your progress. I like the idea of using the French doors too instead of a unit of some sort. Looking good!
    Sheila E

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a hard decision. I like your statement "the strength of the mountains and the house on a hill." Love that. I am putting together a post for tomorrow, and the architects considered the setting as part of the house. One element informed the next. My builder and I worked hard on the bay, and the prices were killing me. The French doors saved $$. They'll be installed in the kitchen and the foyer (the makeover).

      Delete
    2. I totally agree with Sheila E. Let the beauty of the landscape guide you. ☺ -Brenda-

      Delete
  14. I trust whatever decision you make! I am really enjoying the ranchburger saga!

    ReplyDelete
  15. The bay was a terrific idea and love the idea of using the fixed French doors. #3 gets a thumbs up from me. I like the idea of mixing in the cedar shake perhaps on the new bay, but I would't trade the brick for shingles.
    You have such vision that I know without doubt this will be an amazing transformation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, that's a wonderful idea to add the shake to the porch. The shake wouldn't get a beating from the sun, and it would be easier to maintain. I've lived in 2 stucco homes, and I am so ready for brick (when the wind blows hard, I want to be the Little Pig who lives in the brick house!). Plus, there's the cost of tearing down the brick. That's the main reason we opted to keep the faux chimney. Tearing it down (yikes--that stone) and buying/framing windows would be wildly expensive. Right now, I'm pricing gas FB inserts.

      Delete
  16. The bay window is ideal. Love to see how everything is coming together. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  17. If it were my house, I'd go for #3, Michael Lee. Once I saw that red door, I was sold, but I just like the overall feel of the outside of that house. It's not too stuffy, but soft and welcoming...like you! However,whatever you choose, you'll make it yours. One more thought however, is that all that cedar might be too overwhelming. Maybe too New England looking? It's fun going on this process with you.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sarah, I'm so glad you came by and shared at the @HomeMattersParty :) Hope to see you again next week.

    ~Lorelai
    Life With Lorelai

    ReplyDelete
  19. Love how you expanded the breakfast room with that beautiful bay area...and what a view!!!....Glad to know that your contractor thinks you have strokes of genius!!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Just wanted to let you know that this post is one of our features over at the #HomeMattersParty this week! Check it out at: http://theroadtodomestication.com/2015/02/06/home-matters-linky-party-23/

    ReplyDelete