messToday marks four years ago to the day that we closed on our 1962 retro ranch. In some ways, it feels like it couldn’t have possibly been four years already, but in other ways it seems like we have been living here happily for longer than that.

The last four years here have been filled with a whole lot of yard work, painting walls, a gut remodel of our master bathroom, painting the kitchen cabinets, and generally making our house feel more like a home. It also marks four years of this blog, which I started as a creative outlet, a visual journal of our quest to make our house a home, a way for far away friends and family to “visit” our lives without having to travel and what ultimately led Pam to me, which in turn helped me get my current job as Managing Editor for

Now let’s all take a walk down memory lane with some before and after photos that show the progress made over four years.

The yard:

Above: Front yard before.

yard-today-2Above: Front yard today.
before11Above: Front yard before.

yard-today1Above: Front yard today.

wheresmailboxAbove: Side yard before. (Our mailbox was hiding in there)

yard-today-3Above: Side yard today.

nofence1 Fence3 Fence4Above: Vegetable garden before.

gardenAbove: Vegetable garden today.

The Kitchen:

Kitchenday1Above: Kitchen before.

retro-red-and-white-kitchenvintage-mint-kitchen retro-red-and-white-kitchenAbove: Kitchen today.

The master bathroom remodel:

retro-master-bathretro-bathroomretro-vanityAbove: Master bathroom before.

retro-pink-bathroom midcentury-bath-vanityAbove: Master bathroom today.

We’ve come a long way in four years, but there is still more to be done — especially out in the yard. I’m starting to get the feeling like its nearly under control after four years of hard, backbreaking work and a whole lot of tree trimming and weeding. Of course a house is never truly finished, and the journey is part of the fun. Thanks for tagging along on this journey with us.



  1. Kate,
    Thank you for your blog, I also have a deep love for all things mid century and try my best to preserve (or in my mind “rescue”) what I can find. We are currently an owner of a 1968 two story and before that a tiny “retro ranch”.
    Both of our houses had/have paneling, the ranch’s was not the best quality, the currently one is actually wood. Here is my question- what was the reason for painting your family room paneling?
    Thanks much!

    • Hi Jen,

      The paneling that is on all four walls in the family room is also on one wall in the dining room and half a wall on the bottom of our planter. We decided to leave the paneling unpainted in our living/dining room because it worked as an accent in that area of the house and there are many windows to let in light. Since the family room only has the patio slider for natural light, and doesn’t get quite as much daylight as the rest of the house, the room felt dark. The room also has wood floors and was starting to feel like a dark, wood box. Our corner quartz fireplace in the family room has hints of pink and purple in it and I wanted to lighten up the room and help bring out the pink in the fireplace, so I painted the room a light pink. Painting the paneling in that room made it feel so much brighter, which is the main reason why we decided to paint it. I like to take wood paneling on a room-by room basis before I decide if I should keep it or paint it, which is why I left the paneling in the living/dining room and painted the family room.

  2. Hi Kate…what a great look back! You followed the rule “worst house, best location” and it has paid off. I bet your neighbors were happy to see you two coming!! Keep up the good work! Have fun at Christmas in July!!!!

    • Yes, the house was in good shape, but not the yard. So worst yard is an accurate description! We’ve had so many neighbors compliment us on a job well done as they walk by, or offer encouragement. One neighbor said they were worried no one would buy our house because the yard was so neglected and so big. I like working in the yard, so it has been a good project for me!

  3. I never realized you have what look like integrated gutters too?

    Lots of progress, very much an improvement! I’m in the midst of a yard cleanup myself…such a large amount of work!

  4. You both have such a beautiful showplace now! All of your hard work certainly paid off in a huge way!! Congrats!!!

  5. Kate, what great progress in a short span of time. I love seeing those photos. And you are so right, that home-ownership is not a spectator sport; everyday it seems there is maintenance. It seems you two have built a happy home that you can enjoy for years to come. And the hard work will have been worth it, because you can take pride in knowing that you did it yourself! BTW, still LOVING that whole bathroom remodel. Also, where’s Leo? LOL.

    • Thanks Elle! We are proud of all our hard work and all of our visitors are always impressed, even if they don’t do “retro” decor, they all have liked the pink bathroom! Leo will be showing up soon…he’s got lots to say about some of the recent happenings around here. Stay tuned!

  6. Your spot on with the bathroom tile and mirror plus sliding glass doors. My parents 1962 split- level had the same floor tile pattern and mirror. Each bathroom had the same tile pattern but a different color and matching toilet and tub color.

  7. You’ve done a fantastick job! All your hard work and time spent on it shows in the “after” pictures. Those yard photos are a dramatic difference. Nice work!

  8. I am loving the bathroom floor. Is it tile? If so, where did you get it? I have a 1957 brick ranch with the original wall tiles, but new linoleum I’d like to replace. One of my bathrooms is pink and black so I have a framed black and white poster of Elvis in 1957’s Jailhouse Rock as my only wall art in that room. I was born in 1957. Thank you, love this blog.
    ps I have the Brasilia Magna, headboard, and just got the long dresser and wide mirror TODAY!

    • The bathroom floor tile in my pink bathroom is Merola University Pink, which you can buy through the Home Depot website. I absolutely love it!

      Thanks for reading and congrats on your Brasilia score!

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