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A 1950s Ranch Renovation

A 1950s Ranch Renovation

white brick fireplace next to gray chair with dog
Written by Victoria Van Vlear
Photography by Lu Tapp

Small spaces aren’t too confining when you have room to roam. Homeowner Jennifer Maxcy and her family live in their ranch renovation that’s less than 1,200 square feet, but their 1-acre property more than makes up for the small interiors.

Just 40 minutes outside Los Angeles, the ranch house was built in 1959, and Jennifer and her husband completely renovated it when they moved in three years ago. Jennifer is a professional stylist and the curator of her online antiques shop, The Ranch Uncommon, so she knows how to pack lots of style into a small area.

living room with beige couch, post and beam ceilings, wood floor in ranch renovation
This part of the living room used to be a bedroom. Jennifer and her husband didn’t need the extra bed space and preferred a larger, open living room, so they took out the walls to extend the living area. It’s the perfect place to relax and watch TV.

Ranch Renovation Rescue

The main change was to remove one of the bedrooms to create a larger living room with an open floor concept. They took out an existing wall between the kitchen and living room. The result is a single open room where the family can cook, eat, relax and entertain guests.

bathroom with round wood mirror black sink in ranch renovation
In the guesthouse, Jennifer upcycled several pieces for the bathroom. She found the sink on Craigslist, and the wood behind the mirror is part of an old armoire. “I took it apart and did about five different projects with it,” she says. “Here, I put it behind the mirror so the mirror wasn’t directly on the wall.”

Further changes included redoing the kitchen, the bathroom in the main house and renovating their 600-square-foot guesthouse. “It was a challenge to live here in the small space while we were tearing things down,” Jennifer says. “Living here with the dogs was a bit much.” But the results were worth it.

Salvage Savvy

Every house project has a budget, whether large or small, and one of the challenges for any homeowner is to get the end result you want and not break the bank. The same was true for Jennifer and her ranch renovation. “We did everything on a budget,” she says. To do so, she took her antique-hunter skills and upcycled and recycled items. “We got creative, I reused what I knew would work,” she says.

vintage wood cabinets and oven and pot rack in kitchen in ranch renovation
Because Jennifer bought lower cabinets from a showroom going out of business, there was a limited supply and not enough for the stove wall. “I had to get creative with alternatives for cabinets around the stove,” she says. “These are two identical dressers, I didn’t even redo the fronts.” The pot rack is an old bridle rack.

For example, during the ranch renovation the existing cabinets in the kitchen had to go. To save on new cabinets, Jennifer found a local showroom that was going out of business. “I bought their floor sample,” she says.

Open and airy kitchen with wooden island in ranch renovation
When Jennifer and her family first moved in, the kitchen had both upper and lower cabinets. But she decided to go with open shelves above the countertops instead. “The ceilings aren’t very tall, so I didn’t want to bulk up the space,” she says. Jennifer’s kitchen island is a vintage workbench. “It was in my store, and I never put a price tag on it because I loved it so much,” she says.

She also decided to replace the existing upper cabinets with open shelving, but the cabinets were still in good condition. “We turned them on their sides and added hinged tops,” she says. Now they serve as the bench for the breakfast nook.

farmhouse shed with metal roosters and plants in ranch renovation
A small shed on the property serves Jennifer as storage for her inventory. Yet the outside is still appropriately farmhouse, with metal roosters and pops of green plants.

Classy Collections

The name of Jennifer’s business, Ranch Uncommon, describes her décor style. “I go for what’s not mainstream or current,” she says. “My home is a mix of so many different styles. Clean, modern, rustic and country.” The move to her ranch opened up new possibilities for her to intertwine her home with her business as well.

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enclosed porch decorated for fall

“I had a store, but when we were renovating I decided I could use our home as a set,” she says. “I moved the business online, and now I give each piece I sell a moment in my house.” By seeing the products in Jennifer’s home, customers are better able to visualize the piece in their own homes.

Open outdoor space with picnic table and hanging lights in ranch renovation
Above the house on a rise is an open area Jennifer and her family use for entertaining. “This is more of an event space,” she says. “We’ll have parties up there.” Because Southern California has fair weather much of the year, the outdoor area works for entertaining even in the fall and winter.

The result is a home that’s constantly changing. Yet despite the constant inflow of new items, the rooms stay clean and simple. To do this, Jennifer maintains hidden functional storage such as her eating nook, TV cabinet and island.

bright dining nook with built in bench and white table in ranch renovation
The dining nook is to the right of the front door, in the corner of the living room. “We use that for a breakfast spot, and then eat dinner outside or at the island,” Jennifer says. She made the benches out of the old upper kitchen cabinets and added hinged lids to create storage.

She’s constantly evaluating the rest of the items in her ranch renovation to make sure it doesn’t become too crowded. “If I don’t need it, it goes,” she says. The process keeps her home light, fresh and simple.


Want more? Check out this barn renovation rescue mission! Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterestfor more daily inspiration and farmhouse style.

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