time-fliesIts the beginning of another new year. In June, we will have lived at the Retro Ranch for five years. Time flies when you’re having fun — or if you are Leo, taking naps. Like usual, I have my list of resolutions for the year, plus a recap of last year’s resolutions.

First, let’s see how many 2014 Retro Ranch Revamp resolutions were completed:

1. Upholster at least one half of Great Grandma’s couch set. Incomplete. Though I did start stripping the old upholstery off of the frame just before we rang in the new year, so I’m off to a good start.

regrouted-shower2. Complete phase 1 of the green bathroom spruce up. Complete! In 2014 I managed to fix up the ceiling drywall where the new fan was installed and painstakingly remove all of the old, worn and moldy grout in the shower, replacing it with brand new, all white SpectraLock Epoxy grout. It is so much nicer and easier to clean!

modern-fence3. Work to return some privacy to our back yard. Complete! It was a long, drawn out process to get a permit and a fence along the one side of our back yard, but the struggle was totally worth it. Privacy returned!

path-done4. Make a path to the victory garden. Complete! This task had been on my list for a few years, and finally, this year I found the time (and the energy) to install a lovely circular stepping stone path between the patio and the garden, even though Leo refuses to walk on it.

porch-column-midcentury5. Repaint the iron work on the front porch. Complete! This is another task that’s been on the list for several years — and it is finally done. As the summer was winding down, I realized this small job could be knocked off on a Saturday morning, so I stopped putting it off. After a good cleaning and some primer and paint, the porch support looks better than ever.

6. Build that retro modern TV stand already! Incomplete. Once again, I spent the better part of the summer working on getting our yard under control and accomplishing other tasks, so the TV stand will have to wait.

7. Take up the carpet in the hallway to expose the original cork flooring underneath and spruce up the space with some paint and artwork. Incomplete. I’m dying to see the original cork flooring in the hall, but I’m also scared that it might not be in good condition. Eventually, we’d like to replace the carpet in our bedroom with cork, so I’ve decided to wait until we are closer to that point before I rip up the hall carpet, just incase the flooring underneath has to be replaced too.

Completing four out of seven resolutions for the year isn’t too shabby. Horray!

Now for the 2015 Retro Ranch Revamp resolutions…drumroll….

vintage-couches-in-corner1. Reupholster both of Great Grandma’s sofas. I’ve conquered my fear of the sewing machine. I’m working feverishly on reupholstering the first of the two sofas, things are coming together quite nicely — and it is only January 12th! That means I have complete confidence in my ability to finish both couches before the end of the year. Heck, maybe I’ll even make some throw pillows or a matching ottoman! (Ok, Kate now your are dreaming…)

peeling-laminateloose-floor-tile2. Complete Phase 2 of the green bathroom spruce up. Phase two of the green bathroom spruce up involves replacing the cracked and loose floor and installing a new tile floor (final tile selection still undecided). In addition, I will build a new vanity to replace the disintegrating and delaminating white vanity already in the space. I’ll also replace the worn, 80s laminate countertop, put in a the vintage white sink with hudee ring I scored for $4 at the restore a while back and install a new, low arc faucet.

cedar-fence3. Seal and/or stain my new fence. I love my new privacy fence and I want it to last for a long time, so that means I’ll need to get it sealed this summer. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll just use a clear sealer or if I’ll try to alter the color with a stain, but either way, it has to get done this summer.

tacks-on-my-porch-screens4. Repaint the peeling trim on the house/screen porch posts. The house and trim were painted about a year before we moved in, which makes it 5-6 years since the last paint job. I’m not sure what type of paint they used or how well they prepped, but the porch posts are peeling and are in need of repair (so are some of the screens), as is the trim on the front picture window. In a harsh climate like Wisconsin, one can’t let these things go too long, so I’ll be taking care of it this summer.

gutter-rust5. Try to repaint or seal the integral gutters. Our ranch house has the coolest integral gutters — and after 53 years of service, they are starting to get a little rusty in spots. I need to clean them up and try to either paint or apply a protective coating to keep them from rusting further, especially since they would be costly to replace.

weedy side yard6. Continue working on the south side yard. The one part of our previously overgrown yard that I haven’t given much effort to improving over the last four years is the south side yard. It is bumpy and weedy and in need of some ground cover, shrubs and possibly a little path to the fence gate. I’m not expecting everything to happen all in one year, but if I can pay it a little more attention than I have in the last few summers, I’d have a nicer view from my home office.

Saarinen-tulip-chairs7. Make seat covers for my newest acquisitions. Yes. Those are authentic vintage Saarinen tulip chairs. They need new seat covers. I bought them a while back. They are AWESOME. There’s a story. I’ll share it soon!

Its an ambitious list for sure — and one that involves a lot of outdoor paint brush time and surprisingly enough, sewing — but some years, that is just the way home ownership goes.

In addition to my personal list, I’ve got a fun new project over on Retro Renovation: Building a 1955 Besty McCall, 1:12 scale dollhouse! It is going to be super retro cute, you won’t want to miss it, trust me.



  1. The stepping stones & the fence design go Great with your house. Good choices!

    About that compost tumbler in the fence photo, don’t you just Love it? I used to turn compost in a pile, all my life, but I’m not as young as I used to be 😉 I just discovered these last year & I am so happy with them. E ~ A ~ S ~ Y! (and quick turn around!) Instant soil!

    Ambitious list you got going there, keep us posted. You Can Do It! ❤

    • Thanks Heart!

      Where I live we are not allowed to have open pit compost piles, so I had to buy an enclosed tumbler. It has worked well so far, but I have to be careful not to overload it, because then it gets hard to turn. Also a squirrel tried to eat a hole in the top of it right through the plastic. I’m now wishing I would have spent a little more money to get a metal drum compost tumbler (since last time I checked squirrels can’t chew through metal), but oh well!

      Thanks for the encouragement!

      • LOL, those squirrels… or opossums, racoons, etc. They might be whiffin the ‘call of the compost’ (especially in winter) It’s important the ratio of kitchen scraps to other material. It might just be that easy.

        I use a decorative (vintage, of course) aluminum ice bucket (with a lid) on my counter (lined with a plastic bag). Just the right size for two people/roughly one week. Take it to the bin, add equal parts ashes from wood stove, wood chips from the firewood (or shredded paper/dry leaves) & a dash of water. Turn three times, walk away, next week, repeat. 6wks to 2mos, easy peasy Rich Soil!

        Also, maybe try the smaller compost tumbler. The 65lb spins easier (I have both) & makes compost Quick!
        Sorry if this was off topic 😉

      • Thanks for the tips Heart! I’m still trying to get the hang of the whole composting recipe — I had thought about getting another one so I could have two batches going at one time. We’ll see!

  2. Very productive year! 🙂 the fence looks so good – did the neighbors ever comment on it? So excited to see your finished couch too! Keep up the good work ❤

  3. At the begining of 2014 I said I was going to send my sofas out for reupholstering. Well, that project incomplete mostly because I know I could do it myself. I guess I am afraid of purchasing the wrong amount of fabric even though I have read instructions for measuring. Your project turned out great, and I have more sewing experience . My other project is convincing my husband that our 70’s ranch bathroom needs Wilsonart daisy patterned countertops which he says is too whimsical.

    • Well, I bought 23 yards of fabric to be safe and I have loads left over (have to see just how much when I finish with couch #2). If you have more sewing experience than me (I had ZERO) I know you can do it! Just go slow and think about how everything fits together carefully and I’m sure you can do it. 🙂

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