There are inexpensive ways to open your floor plan using your existing rooms. Did you know that nine out of 10 new houses built in the United States in 1950 were ranch-style homes? Unfortunately, this style of architecture faded in the early 1970’s, and a thirst for more square footage and open floor plans had become the more preferred floor plan by the mid 1980’s.
Today there is renewed interest in these iconic 20th-century homes. Not only are they readily available, but many people are realizing their one-floor set up is quite practical. If you are thinking long term, a ranch can be modified for the elderly quite easily. Rails for bathrooms, higher toilets, ground level tubs, even lower counters in the kitchen if needed, to accommodate wheel-chairs.
Additionally, in most cases they lend themselves to renovations more easily then any other style home, with a little imagination ! The following examples are from the renovations to our present home, to ‘open’ it up. All the rooms were separated by walls, which gave it, a very ‘boxed in’ feeling. But the moment I went thru the home, I knew how it could look, I bought it and began the process of opening the floor plan.
The wall separating the kitchen and dining room was the first thing to go. The one white wall shown here had a ‘flip -side’ holding the refrigerator, pantry and desk with overhead cupboards. Once removed, a ‘header” was added to support the walls and roof. This opened both rooms and made them appear much larger, even though no square footage was added.
Then a beautiful chandelier, and adding color to the walls, made it more welcoming for friends and family as we gather around the table, next to a two-way open fireplace.
Once the rooms were opened to each other, then there was room for a large kitchen island which was built out of two ‘Naked Furniture’ stereo cabinets. (Bought for next to nothing compared to islands you purchase through kitchen and remodeling stores). They were connected back to back, stained, covered with polyurethane, then electrical wiring was run underneath for outlets on the sides to keep serving containers warm. Topping it off, a granite counter was installed, the same color as was used in the rest of the kitchen. This ‘home made” island, adds tons of storage space to the kitchen along with a lovely clear glass display case for your beautiful stemware, vases, wine bottles.The kitchen was painted a soft orange, to accent the colors of the kitchen cabinets, and the foyer was painted ‘egg-plant purple’, which made the original slate floor ‘pop’ with color and contrast.
Office and Paint Choices
The wall in the dining room through the family room ran the entire length of both rooms, closing off the original living room fireplace. By cutting out a new doorway, framing it in and adding two antique french doors, now we have a new office. Now the fireplace in the office can be seen. Then, the original door off the hall into the room, was removed, dry-walled and painted. Opening the wall and adding the office made the home seem larger with more square footage even though none was added.
Paint choices, are always the finishing touches. We chose a soft light green paint, to bring out the darker green walls of the dining room, which made one room flow into the other. The office had a lovely tan brick fireplace which popped when the walls we painted a soft brownish tan color. Now the kitchen, dining room, office and family room all open to each other. Again creating the illusion of more square footage and a large open area for family, friends and entertaining.
Master Suite Bathroom
Starting with just drywall, and plumbing, the master bath was the last room to be completed. First the shower was put in and light green tinted glass doors were installed. Then the tub and floor tiles were added. For the sink and vanity, another new approach was taken. A large, antique ‘china hutch’ was cut in half to become a ‘home made’ antique vanity. The top piece with glass was cut in half, so it could be anchored to the wall. A hole was cut in the back for water pipes and a sink was dropped into the center of the bottom piece. The same granite used in the kitchen, was put on the new vanity and surrounding the Jacuzzi.
Landscaping and Curb Appeal
The first thing you notice when you pull up to a house, is the front door and landscaping. We replaced the single front door with beveled glass, wood trimmed french doors which also accented the antique french doors into the office. For the landscaping (after we replaced the septic system) a sprinkler system by Hunters Irrigation Home was installed. Sod was put down, and a two sided berm was added to hi-light the stone walkway to the front door. The berms contain perennials, which change colors from spring to fall. Spring boasts; pink, yellow, purple, and white flowers. In the fall these same perennials change color to orange, red, burgundy and dark purple. Designed by Outdoor Expressions, Inc.
Finishing Touches – The Backyard
We live in a neighborhood with a wonderful homeowner association which is very active; mom’s night out, euchre groups, progressive dinners, halloween parades, bonfire parties, even ice skating. It just so happens, the ice pond is in our backyard, as well as several of our neighbors. So, I decided to add to the fun! We added a large stone fire pit with raised seating, for those cold winter days. Now all the neighborhood kids are able to come warm up by the fire and share hot chocolate, s’mores, and hot dogs.
I Hope this Article Gives You some Tips on How to Update Your home as well as Bring Activities to your Neighborhood !!!
Virtual Remodeling and Redecorating via Karen Highland
Kitchen Remodeling and Decorating Trends for Homeowners via Karen Highland
What to Look For When Searching For A Neighborhood via Bill Gassett
Wendy Weir Relocation – Real Estate Agent, Relocation Specialist, Birmingham, MI
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