My entire family seems to have a love affair with ranch style homes. I grew up in one, both sets of grandparents owned them and even my Mom and Dad’s first home was a ranch house. They bought the house in 1977, shortly after they were married. In fact — Mom and Dad’s ranch house was built in 1962 and was in the greater Milwaukee area just like ours (though it is on a different side of town).
When Mom and Dad bought the house, it had white painted siding with blue shutters that Mom said might have originally been painted pink.
There’s Mom — the proud homeowner — on the front steps.
It is likely that you never forget your first home — and Mom remembered this one vividly. She even drew a quick sketch of the floor plan to enclose with the photos. Thanks Mom!
Here’s the living room. The sofa was a wedding present from Dad’s parents. Mom and Dad kept it until I was in college before getting a new sofa. It was a sofa sleeper and very heavy to move.
Here’s the other side of the living room. Mom said the chair was a second wedding anniversary present to one another. This chair was in our living room growing up too. When I bought my first home in Milwaukee, Mom and Dad brought it out for me to use. As my vintage furniture hoard grew and space became limited, I sent the chair out to live at my little brother’s house in Michigan where it still is today.
Mom said that Grandpa (Dad’s dad, who was a mason by trade) replaced the fireplace bricks on this fireplace. They used to be the yellow brick that is on the front of the house, but apparently Mom and Dad were not too keen on that style of brick.
Here’s Dad in his Engineer hat and jeans taking down the wallpaper in the kitchen and painting the ceiling white. Don’t you just love that light fixture?
This photo is captioned “After refinishing oak cabinets — notice the knobs — painting ceiling, walls, new floor, brick fireplace, paneling, removing wallpaper.” Looks like after all of that remodeling work, Mom and Dad had some friends over for a well-deserved party.
This is the dining room. If you look carefully, you might see something familiar that is now hanging in my bedroom.
Here’s the dining room again, this time filled with more light and people. The chandelier is awesome. Mom and Dad liked this fixture so much that when they moved to Pennsylvania to build the ranch house that I grew up in, they found a similar light for the dining room in that house, which now hangs over my dining room table at the retro ranch.
Here’s the guest room with the characteristic ranch corner bedroom windows…
And here’s Mom and Dad’s 1970s bedroom with groovy flowered bedspread.
Those who read RetroRenovation.com might have seen this photo of Mom’s bathroom in the story about where to find machine washable, cut-to-fit bathroom carpet. Whether or not you like the idea of carpet in a bathroom, you’ll have to agree that Mom’s yellow bathroom was a sunny, happy space.
Here’s Dad relaxing in his chair in the groovy wood paneled family room. Note: Mom and Dad put in the paneling themselves.
Mom even included a shot of Dad posing with the Christmas tree. Those French doors behind the tree lead out to the back patio.
Here’s the other side of the French doors.
Looks like Mom and Dad’s ranch had quite a large, fenced-in back yard. The swing set must have been left over from the first owners of the house. I wonder what that A-frame structure next to the fence was used for — a shed?
The following year, Mom and Dad decided that having one garage in a snowy climate like Milwaukee, Wisconsin was not a good idea, so Dad put a garage addition on to the house. They also painted the house “sand” to help minimize the yellow Marion brick that they were not fond of and added a dark chocolate color to the shutters. Very 1970s color palette, don’t you think?
Here’s the back patio after the garage addition. I’m betting this made the patio more protected from the winter winds, since Dad has been known to BBQ even on the coldest days of the year.
So there you have it — a tour of Mom and Dad’s first retro ranch. Mega thanks to Mom for taking so many photos back in 1977 (in the days before blogging) and for sharing them with us.