1960s Modern Ranch / home

First Time Homeowners! Our 1960s Modern Ranch


We bought a house!

Sweet Baby Jesus, I am so excited to write this post.  As of last week, Parker and I bought a house and became first time homeowners!!  We are so excited, happy, GIDDY, etc, but also feeling a bit shocked and overwhelmed that it’s actually happening.  I have been counting down the months until it was “time” to buy a house, but there was nothing that could have prepared me for that crazy process.

Originally we thought we were searching for a small bungalow in one of our “desired” neighborhoods.  We put a few offers in on tiny houses and ended up getting outbid.  We quickly learned that EVERYONE wants those tiny bungalows so that they can flip them.  We broadened our search a few miles north and came across a 1960s modern ranch.  It is not at all what I envisioned us in, but now I can’t picture us in anything else.  It has so much personality….. just the way I like it.

Before: (photos from listing):


This is the view when entering the front door, and that ceiling alone probably could have sold me on the house.  My head is spinning in circles around that living room.




The main living area is the living room, kitchen, dining room and entry.  We knew from the start that we would eventually take out that wall between the kitchen and living room, but decided at the last minute that it made the most sense to go ahead and bite the bullet and do it now.  Demo actually started today, and we just got back from the house.  It is in shambles, but I know it will be worth it.

My vision is that after that wall is out, the ceiling over the left side of the kitchen will mirror the right arch and it will be one, happy open room.  We aren’t touching the kitchen right now (it will be interesting to see what we’re left with after demo), but we are trying to salvage enough to have a functioning kitchen.  We’re hoping to renovate the kitchen in the next year.


As for the dining room, we have gone back and forth 353252 times, but as of now we are walling it back up.  It looks like the past owners took it out, unfortunately.  There will be an entry to the dining room off of the front door and then we will have a wide entry to the dining room from the living room side as well.  Hopefully that wide entrance will still leave the space feeling open.  I want open, but not OPEN.  I thought it would be overkill to have one HUGE room for the kitchen, dining and living room………  And I know so many people have done away with formal dining rooms these days, but my thought is that if you’re going to have a formal dining room, then have a formal dining room.  I want that space to feel separate from the rest of the open floor plan.

Dining Room Before:


(I did ask the sellers to sell that great dining table, but they declined.  Where to find a 10’+ dining table that doesn’t cost 1 million dollars…..?)

Along with the wall demo, we are having the popcorn ceilings scraped as well as hardwoods installed throughout the house (except the 3 bathrooms).  Choosing those hardwoods probably aged me 15 years, and I will likely do another separate post on my choice and how I got there, but in short, I went with a 5″ white oak solid hardwood from Lumber Liquidators.  I was back and forth between a solid hardwood vs. engineered and then once I decided on a solid, I was between a finished vs. unfinished.  Okay, separate post definitely to come on that because I have so much to say.  We went back and forth between installing the hardwoods only in the kitchen/living/dining for now and then doing the bedrooms later, but our contractor gave us a great deal on installation since we were doing several other projects at this time.


And that leads me to hiring out this project….. We thought for a very long time (long before we starting the house hunt) about taking on the labor ourselves but ultimately decided that if we were going to make the investment on the hardwoods that we wanted it done right.  And after we decided that we would ultimately hire out, we started aggressively saving our pennies.  All of them…..  Neither of us have any experience installing hardwoods (I’m not counting my parents’ diy wood plank floors from plywood because you literally can’t mess those up).  Our hardwoods have to be glued down as we have a concrete slab subfloor, and we didn’t want anything to do with glue installation.  I can see it now:  We would have attempted installation, messed it up, only to pretend like we didn’t mess it up and say out loud that the floors look perfect and we’re so happy with them, and THEN one day 4 months later I would explode into hysterical tears saying I can’t believe we spent all that money on material and then messed it all up.  ………..We might have had a few past projects that went something like that………idk  though.

We were actually planning to take on the demo of the floors ourselves, but our contractor only charged us about .30/sq ft extra for demo outside of installation.  We also decided we weren’t going to scrape the ceilings ourselves even though Pinterest tells you that you can in fact do it yourself.  We have some friends who tried to scrape a very small area in their home and swore that it wasn’t a doable project for someone who isn’t a professional.  We took their word.  So in the end, we hired out for the demo of the wall & floors, scraping the ceilings and installation of the hardwoods, and I really think it was the best decision for us.

And now onto the fun part…………what I’m going to do to this house when I finally get my hands on it!!!!


  • Monochromatic
  • Lived-in
  • Ivory, Cream & White
  • Layered
  • Muted
  • Relaxed
  • Flat Black Accents
  • Traditional meets Modern meets Vintage meets Ranch…….
  • Natural

Those photos from that visual are so small, so I’m going to share a few separately that I especially love.



Oh  man.  This muted, creamy color palette…… I want every one of these shades in the house.  They just all melt together.



Love the wall color here.  Love the collected feel.  I honestly love every single detail here.



This home belongs to Jennifer of The Ranch Uncommon (instagram and website), and her home has been such a source of inspiraiton.  I had honestly never really dissected a ranch style home before I jumped head first into ours, but seeing Jennifer’s home makes me believe that a ranch style home might actually be the best style of home out there…. 😉


Love how the art feels collected and vintage.



I’m 95% sure we will do paneled walls and paneled ceiling between the beams in the living/kitchen.  This paint color is exactly what I’m after.  I love the paneled walls here as they are charming but not farmhouse-y.


Again, the paneled walls that feel collected.  Love the natural wood accents here. (Anyone know of a good (inexpensive) wood mantel source?)  Love everything about the one pictured here.  All of the options I’ve seen on Etsy are just a square block of wood (which is totally fine), but I do love the traditional detail this one has.



Yet again with the paneled walls….. I have two chairs on the way that are somewhat similar to that one in front. I love how this space feels so relaxed.



Traditional lines… all over it.



With the kitchen being open the LR, I’ll have to choose the mushroom paint color for EITHER the walls or kitchen cabs.  Which would be better/more effective??

A few things to note that I’m going to organize by bullet point:

  • I’m going au naturel……in a huge way!!! I know, so different from our current rental that is so stuffed with color, but I just want something different.  I want to experiment with the idea of creating a unique space that has personality and draws you in the way that an eclectic space does.  Is it possible??  I think yes, just in a different way.  It’s all about the way you use texture and pattern, and I can assure you, I will not be short of either!!  Let’s hope I don’t go overboard.
  • I still want collected.  I think neutral spaces can sometimes get a bad rep for being boring because they are super clean feeling, almost untouchable.  I want our home to be layered and collected like we’ve lived there for years.
  • Paint color….. currently what’s keeping me up at night.  I want a creamy, rich beige like the above inspiration photos, but I’m afraid….. It could go so wrong.  I could always go white, but I think this house needs a creamy foundation.  Anyone know of any mushroomy-beigey-creamy-yummy paint colors that I should try?  I’m thinking I’ll take that paint color throughout the house except the dining room.  I think I want rich olive in there (assuming we wall it up).  That would be the only “color” on the wall…
  • I’m going to attempt to mix several styles — neo-traditional, dare I say a touch of RUSTIC (more on that another day…), plain ole modern, and then a lot of collected layered on top….. Does that sound appealing?  It really doesn’t when I phrase it that way, but have faith, peeps!  I think it’s going to be great..!  I’m most excited to throw in neo-traditional style.
  • It seems like we are jumping in head first, and yes, we are, BUT there are several projects that will be on hold for a long time.  We wont touch the kitchen until later this year (if that), the 3 bathrooms will come after the kitchen.  We are planning to do some work on the exterior, we need to update the electrical and the laundry is currently in the garage, so we’ll need to address that.  Just listing off the projects that aren’t even on our radar right now…. Sigh…..

Here’s what our yummy, original bathrooms look like.  They actually all have good layouts, so eventually when we do tackle them, we will just replace/update everything (rather than having to rework).

Bathrooms Before:


A lot of beige going on there, but they’re working bathrooms, so they will stay as is for now.  As for the bedrooms, there are 3 of them — First photo is the master, second is the guest and the third will be my very own office.

Bedrooms Before:




Those babies will be ready in no time after we get furniture……… because, you know, I’ve sold everything we own.

So that about sums up where we are right now!  Many more posts to come on the #1960smodernranch (I’m trying to make that a thing)….. Stay tuned.  Oh, and please tell me what you think!

*Intro image of Parker and I by Kayla Snell.  (Pictured in front of our current rental, not the new house.  It was the only photo I could find.)

Traditional Eclectic Guest Room Reveal
The Guest Suite Reveal

50 comments on “First Time Homeowners! Our 1960s Modern Ranch”

  1. Hi Claire! Fellow Austinite here! This may sound like a creeper question, but how far north did you have to search to find this gem?!? Are we talking RR North or Anderson Lane north?

    Anywho, congratulations on the house and can’t wait to see the transformation!

    1. Hey! No not at all! We’re at Mopac & Spicewood Springs, which I’m still calling NW Hills?? Not sure if it really is. To put into perspective, when we first starting looking our “dream” neighborhoods were Rosedale & Hyde Park. I think our house now is 2 miles from Rosedale…. Are you on the hunt??

      And thank you 🙂

  2. Ah, this is SO exciting! We bought our first house this year, and then completely renovated it. It’s a crazy, stressful, FUN time (especially for those of us who love design) and I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to watch it unfold! 🙂

  3. OMG! It’s amazing! Please have me over…pretty please! It reminds me a bit of my house, mine is also a ranch style home (4 bedrooms, one floor), but mine was built in the early 80’s. My master bedroom had the open vanity like yours does…ugh, but one thing at a time right ; ).

    Good call going with the contractors….we have yet to have our ceilings scraped and flooring is still a want for us. If I could afford it I would do it (damn you day care). Do as much as you can BEFORE kids…they will take ALL your money.

    I can’t wait to see this beautiful space…I have no doubt it’s going to be AMAZING! Congratulations girl!

    1. So funny you mention that because I had the same thought the other day when I was watching one of your snapchats!!! They do feel similar! And, HA, great advice on doing it all before kids!!! We’ll try our best 😉

      Come over any time!!!

  4. You need to read this older book by Laurie Smith called Discovering Home. Se did the same ting and documented every move. I think you would enjoy it. I love the house and see it’s potential. It reminds me of my first house years ago ( BC, before children). We did hardwoods but I always wished we’d had the concrete floors stained instead. Congrats to you. I know it will amazing and I will love following along.

  5. What a gorgeous house!! Looks like there are endless possibilities. I totally agree with you closing up the dining room! Also, smart move to get the floors professionally installed. #noregrets Congratulations on what will surely be a beautiful journey! I can’t wait to follow along!

  6. So excited to see how you transform this! It’s going to look so great, even just after scraping the ceilings and installing the new floors.

  7. Wow!! Looks amazing. I think it will be the perfect house for you. Great bones for sure. I cannot wait to see how things transform.

  8. Incredible news. I can’t wait to follow along with you on this exciting new chapter and see all the design goodness you come up with!!!!

  9. Oh, what a fun project ahead! I recommend reading what Maria Killam has to say about whites. As a designer, you will appreciate her philosophy about color and hard finishes and you’ll have your mind made up quickly. Regarding a wood mantel, Centsational Girl had her dad and husband make one for a flip house, it’s a recent post with no detail (um, can it be THAT simple?). I also see where you can buy them ready to install (http://www.hayneedle.com/product/dogberry-collections-rustic-fireplace-mantel-shelf.cfm?ltype=child&tid=DOGB001-2).

    Looking forward to seeing your progress! Love the direction you’re taking this.

  10. Yay so excited for y’all! Those beams are my favorite part!! Can’t wait to see how you style a whole house. So exciting!

  11. I am so excited for you! And frankly for me too…. your house is the same era as mine with much of the same architecture. I can’t wait to see what you do and be awed and inspired! I know it will be gorgeous.

  12. Congratulations! I’m so looking forward to seeing what you do. I have a 1966 ranch and it took me a little while to get into the feeling of the house but it’s a great style to work with.

  13. Congratulations! Your first house that is totally yours is such a big step and a great time to change things up if you feel the need. Just a thought about cabinet colors. White is clean and elegant but high maintenance. Even just a touch of color, especially on the lower cabinets, saves a lot of worry and time maintaining them. But if you want white, now’s the time to try it out, before the kids come along, while you have more flexibility with how you use your time. Love the mushroom color! House and Home magazine out of Canada has some good on line articles and videos about favorite go to paint colors.

    1. Thanks, Lori! This is a great point on white cabs! Thanks for brining it up. Really, I wasn’t even convinced that white cabs + mushroom walls would look great anyway. Kind of stuck on what to pair the mushroom walls with…

      thanks again!

  14. Your house is amazing! You got a really good one for your first house. It’s going to be so fun to follow along as you fix it up and make it just right for you guys.
    I recently downsized to a one floor, sort of open floor plan house and have painted most of it in Benjamin Moore Pale Oak. It’s a little beige, a little taupe and goes with everything I’ve put in the house so far.
    Congratulations! Your excitement is showing in your words!

  15. I CAN NOT WAIT to see what you do with your house!!! It will be amazing! Your inspiration board reminds me of your parents living room you did and that is hands down one of my all time faves as far as before and afters and style goes. So happy for you!

  16. I’ve recently become obsessed with a certain mushroom color and I’m painting ALL THE THINGS — It is a Behr color called “Sculptor Clay”. It is such a beautiful, soft color. Not quite beige, not quite gray. I recently just painted my living room built-ins this color — you can see it here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BO5BH9ADTwD/?taken-by=mzinteriors. (I had it paint matched in Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint for the cabinetry). Of course your lighting will be completely different than mine, so it may not work, but may be a starting point?

    Good luck with such a beautiful home. It has SO much potential. Congratulations!

  17. Hi Claire, I’m so excited to follow along with you on the house renovations/decor. I, too, have an open concept fixer upper and we painted everything Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter. I love that it’s a warm grey. Depending on the day it can read a bit beige or light grey. You have a lot more sunlight in Texas than we do in Oregon so I’m sure it would read more warm. I also what to say I am leaning towards the neo-traditional, vintage, modern look too. I have a bit more color but love that layered lived in look. William McClure’s place is a total inspiration for me too. Best of luck and enjoy the process!

  18. Congrats! I can’t wait to see what you do with it! I love me some textured neutrals!
    I have and love in my kitchen and dining room Benjamin Moore Pale Oak. Def check it out!

  19. Hello! I’ve been following your blog for a half year or so, and I absolutely love and appreciate the truly uniquely styled spaces you create. They have brought me so much inspiration!

    My two cents on paint: a friend of mine is currently renovating her home and painted her walls Behr-Shoelace. Maybe a bit lighter than what you’ve described, but the color is absolutely wonderfully subtle and soft and sophisticated…however I can’t find a very good representation of it online.

    Good luck with the hunt, I can’t wait to follow along!

  20. Congrats on the house, Claire! Very exciting. You did neutral so well with your parents living room, no doubt you’ll ace it in your own home. Love that fireplace wall. Even if you just painted it. And the beams!! Looks like a great home to grow in. 🙂

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