retro entryway with slate tile floor

Welcome to our Retro Ranch! C’mon in and look around…

Just inside the front door, is our groovy entryway complete with a retro built in planter/divider:

1960 planter divider

For a long time after we moved in, the planter was a catch all for junk, that is until I filled it up with plants!

retro planter lights

I love the retro recessed pinhole lights that act as a spotlight on my plants.

retro pin hole light

Here’s the awesome original grey-green slate floor, which I love.

slate floor entry

retro entry way

And now into the Den!

retro pink den

The den is one of my favorite rooms in the house. It gets great morning light, has a cozy feeling and is home to one of my favorite pieces of furniture — the little yellow couch.

retro pink fireplace

The fireplace is a lovely pink/grey/purple sparkly quartz stone that just glitters in the light.

retro pink den

The tiny shutters on the wall cover a pass-through window into the kitchen (easy snack access!)

retro pink den

Along the back wall is our media library (shelves are from IKEA) which houses our books, CDs and DVDs. (The dresser chilling out in the corner is possibly my new master bath vanity.)

retro pink den

retro foot stool

This room is also one of Leo’s favorites — he likes to lay on the rug and look out at the back patio. He also prefers to exit and enter through this door because he can see the small animals waiting to be chased on his way out and can see us from outside when we come to let him in.


Furniture arrangement in this room was tricky! Not only is there a corner fireplace, a door to the outside, a pass through window, built-in bookshelf and three doorways, but this room is a direct path from the kitchen to the bedrooms/bathroom! Just call it central station.

den to hallway

Next, we’ll head into the Kitchen…



The kitchen didn’t always look this nice. Prior to January 2012 the kitchen used to look like this before I painted the cabinets and installed a new range hood and stove top.





The framed butterfly on flower print is a wood block print I made in art school.



Not only is there a nice closet right by the back door, but also a full bathroom (though we use the shower as a closet) and first floor laundry! Having first floor laundry makes doing the laundry so much easier! I had to navigate some precarious stairs to get to the basement laundry area in my old house — the worst I have to navigate now is over a sleeping border collie mix! Plus when I come in from doing yard work, I can just dump all the dirty clothes right inside the door and leave the mud tracking to the guy who does it best, Leo.


All the appliances in the kitchen are either red or stainless steel (closest thing to chrome!) except the dishwasher and wall oven — both of which still work perfectly fine and I see no need to swap them for stainless until they quit being functional. Luckily there is some black in the kitchen (pink and black table and some black decorative accents) so they don’t look too terribly out of place.


I leave my giant wood cutting board (one of my favorite kitchen utensils) out all of the time — we eat a lot of fresh veggies in this house!



I love this new but retro looking stove top…plus I managed to sell the old glass cook top and over cabinet microwave on Craigslist to help offset the cost of the new stuff!


The coppery glass tile backsplash was hard to decide on, but I love the sparkle it brings to the kitchen.


From the kitchen table, you can see the Tiki Lounge (aka our screened porch)…


I just painted it this year…and let me tell you, the green and orange walls make it feel so much more lively!


I also finished acquiring the last of the IKEA “outdoor sofa” pieces that we wanted to make sure we could seat a crowd!


The Tiki Lounge is everyone’s favorite place to hang out during the summer and my favorite place to sip a cocktail and read a book.

Let’s step back inside and continue with the tour…

retro modern dining room

Now let’s look at the dining and living rooms (which are really just one big room with even bigger windows). This part of the house is where we spend most of our waking hours at home – that is when we are relaxing, entertaining, eating, watching movies, reading or hanging out with our favorite dog, Leo.

broyhill brasilia hutch retro dining room

The dining room is where some of my favorite furniture lives…my Broyhill Brasilia hutch and my retro Tulip table and chairs (table is Burke, chairs with arms are Fiberform and chairs without arms are unknown maker).

retro built in cabinet painted

I’m also a huge fan of the paint treatment I gave my built in china cabinet and all the fun stuff it displays.

retro modern living room

We get a lot of light through our huge picture window, which is one of Leo’s favorite places to sit and watch the world go by or take a nap in the sun.

starburst clock on orange wall

One of these days, I’m going to do some more paintings so I can fill up all of that blank wall space!

dog portrait

Speaking of painting, here’s Leo posing with the portrait of him that I painted a few years ago.

midcentury mod livingroom

modern living room

Our couch and coffee table are some of the only non-vintage furniture pieces we own (besides our mattresses). We purchased both of them about 5 years ago at a modern furniture store called Rubin‘s here in Milwaukee. The couch is very comfortable!

retro modern living room

Our Barcelona style chair is also new. It was on a scratch and dent clearance at a local furniture store (because of the broken straps that I figured out how to fix) and was too good a deal to pass up. The retro record cabinet was something I got on Craigslist for $10 and refinished to its current state.

retro living room

See those shelves up on the wall?

ranch house shelves

I made the mini ranch house shelves about a year ago. One of these days I’ll make a bunch and put them in my Etsy shop, I promise!

retro bullet planter

…now we’ve come full circle and are back at the entry way!

ranch house hallway

Now let’s continue the tour by exploring what’s down the hall…


Our first stop is peeking into the minty green hall bathroom


For how small this bathroom is, there sure is a lot of storage. The vanity (I’m not sure if it was original or not) has 6 drawers and two doors, which makes for plenty of room. There are also narrow cabinets along the top of the back wall for extra storage. Currently, they are empty — is there such a thing as too much storage space?



The toilet is newer…I’m guessing the original was mint green. All the toilets in our house were replaced prior to us moving in, so I can’t be sure. See that cool seagull painting over the toilet? That was painted by my Mom in her college days. It used to hang in my Nana’s house in Mississippi — in her yellow and mint green hall bath. History repeats itself!

retro mint green tub

I am in love with the original tub! It used to have a shower door that was very icky and made the shower seem very claustrophobic — that was until I got the urge to remove my old shower door and hang a curtain instead.

retro mint green tub


Next we’re on to the guest bedroom

Orange bedroom retro

This guest bedroom looks a lot different that it did this time last year — mostly thanks to my guest room makeover last winter and a few lucky finds from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

retro bedroom

I’m still on the lookout for a new lampshade for the vintage lamp I found and rewired — but it sure looks good on that end table I picked up for about $7!

vintage green chair broyhill sculptra

retro green chair

Then there’s the reproduction Nelson style ball clock that I found at HomeGoods of all places, and it looks great hanging over my retro green chair.

broyhill sculptra

retro guest room

Thanks to my large Broyhill Sculptra dresser and a large closet, this room isn’t hurting for storage either.

By the looks of Leo peeking into the room, it might be time to pause the tour and go for a walk…

broyhill brasilia bedroom set

As the house tour continues, let’s take a peek into the master bedroom. This is where my Broyhill Brasilia bedroom set lives — and where I dream up all my projects, paint schemes and yard improvements. I’m one of those types that does a lot of thinking while I’m trying to fall asleep. I keep a notebook next to my bed to scribble down the good ideas to make sure I don’t forget overnight.

broyhill brasilia bedroom set

When we bought our retro ranch, all the carpeting in the bedrooms and hallway had just been replaced. We aren’t big wall to wall carpet fans — mostly because of the dirty dog we live with — and hope to someday put down hard surface flooring like cork in place of the carpet. Until then, I suppose I’ll have to keep scrubbing the spot at the end of the bed where Leo sleeps because somehow he always gets it dirty!

retro bedroom set broyhill brasilia

broyhill brasilia nightstand commode

When I started collecting the pieces for my Broyhill Brasilia bedroom set, I was able to find everything except the second commode style nightstand…

broyhill brasilia nightstand commode

…then about a year later, I finally completed the set and found my missing broyhill brasilia nightstand!

view of victory garden

What’s that just outside the bedroom window? Why my raised bed victory garden of course! We can peek outside in the morning when we wake up to see if we will have ripe tomatoes for dinner!

retro master bedroom and bath

There’s the other green chair (with a lower back) I was talking about! It’s the perfect place to sit and put on shoes — if we feel like being like Mr. Rogers.  And what is that? Yup, it’s my master bathroom — still waiting to be remodeled.


You may ask, “What are those photos in the frames by your bathroom door?” Those are the photobooth photo strips from when my adorable husband Jim asked me to marry him. (How do you think he got his nickname as “adorable husband”?) Remind me and I’ll tell you about it sometime…


I have a whole laundry list of reasons why I want to remodel my master bath over on Retro Renovation


…but we won’t get into that now. I’m still in a gridlock trying to decide exactly how my floor plan and design will come together to make the retro modern master bathroom of my dreams. So far about all I’ve decided on is that it will be light pink!


Right now it is peach and mauve — not my favorite colors. I think this is the only room in the house that I’m not in love with — both because of the design and the functionality…


…however, I’m not going to demo a single thing until I have a plan that I feel satisfied with 100%…


…I’m hoping I can get it nailed down soon so I can start with the renovation in early 2013. Fingers crossed!

hall to office

The final room on this tour needed some serious tidying up before you could peek in — this seems to be the room that catches all the stuff! Now that it is presentable, let’s take a look…

orange and mint green office

Now that I work from home, the office is where I spend the majority of my waking hours. This is fine with me because the office gets very good light throughout the day and I love the color scheme (probably since orange is my favorite color).

retro basset desk

Remember when I scored this retro Basset desk on Craigslist? Now it has a nice home in my office! That series of three abstract paintings was a gift from a friend of mine (that I met in art school) whose son painted it just for me! And see that framed poster?

hatch show print

My Mom bought that poster for me in Nashville, TN at Hatch Show Print (it is a letterpress print — which the graphic designer side of me just adores!) and then had it framed for my office. I love it!


Then there is the painting of my grandfather that I have been working on for quite a while now — or not working on. It is really close to being finished but not quite done yet. Maybe I’ll try to finish it up this weekend?

art studio

This is the part of the office I call the art studio. There is plenty of room to work on the huge drafting table (another Craigslist find) and of course paint on the easel I received for Christmas a few years ago. The only thing holding me back is finding the time to paint!

orange chair and table

I do find plenty of time to sit in my orange thinking chair and contemplate blog posts, home improvement projects or just to take a break from looking at the computer.

jims desk

Of course my adorable husband Jim has a desk to work at — err play computer games at — even if it is quite messy most of the time. That’s his amp at the end of the desk. He’s carted that around ever since I met him, but I have yet to see him use it or use any of his bass guitars. It makes me feel less bad about not finishing my painting…

office closet

This room also has two nice big closets! I’ve never seen a house with so much storage space! (FYI these are both full — that’s where we keep all the junk).

hallway to LR

welcome to the yard

welcome to the yard

I asked Kate if I could give the yard tour, since I am the guard dog around these parts. Here’s the yard tour — by me — your host, Leo.

retro ranch house

We’ll start in the front yard — not the most exciting part since Kate is still working on the landscaping and I’m not allowed to run around out there without my leash on…

weeds in the side yard

I really wish Kate would pull some of those weeds, they obscure my view of the street from the back yard. How can I tell what I’m barking at if I can’t see it?

retro ranch front porch

Here’s the front porch. It is only good for one thing — it is where the pizza delivery guy drops off the pizzas. Sometimes somebody else will show up — without pizzas — then I bark and they leave. No pizzas, no waggy tails. End of story.

front of retro ranch

See that big window? It is a great place to sit and watch bunnies and squirrels go by, or my neighborhood dog friends.

retro house with built in planter outside

Kate always says how much she likes the built in planter out there. I don’t understand why she likes it so much — it isn’t like it is full of Milkbones or anything….

roman brick

Kate wanted me to point out the cool brick on the house. She thinks it is called Roman brick.

corner garden

Kate is also a big fan of this corner garden she put in last year. Once again, I don’t see the allure. She won’t even let me water it!


Kate has been spending a lot of time weeding this side of the yard. It was really nice of our neighbors to cut down those big trees that were blocking my view of the street. Now I can see everything on this side of the yard!

retro ranch screened porch

There’s the screened porch — a.k.a. the Tiki Lounge. I like to hang out in there and eat hamburgers and steaks fresh from the grill during the summer. It is also a good place to take a nap.

c'mon back

Now for the best part of the yard — the part I hang out in all the time!

pavers installed

Kate finally finished up putting in the pavers — though if you ask me, I much preferred the dirt…

…though I will say that it turned out very nicely.

let me show you around

And now for the main event…

screened porch

retro oval patio

Look at how much room I have to run around!

retro oval patio

The retro oval patio is a good place to use the meat cooker — also known as the grill.

feet dirty

This back corner of the yard is where I chase the squirrels and get my feet dirty. Kate loves to wash the floor so I try and help her out by making it muddy again.

did you see a squirrel

Here’s the raised bed victory garden…

raised bed victory garden

…it is a great place to grow veggies. (Veggies are a tasty compliment to the meat Kate cooks for me on the grill.)

raised bed victory garden

weedy side yard

There’s that weedy side yard that Kate really needs to clean up so my view of the street improves…

weedy side yard

She’s got a lot of work to do!

I hope you all enjoyed the tour of my yard! Come back again soon, unless you are a squirrel or a bunny. Woof.

And that concludes our tour of the Retro Ranch Revamp! I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour!




43 thoughts on “HOUSE TOUR

  1. Pingback: HOUSE TOUR – LIVING ROOM AND DINING ROOM « Retroranchrevamp's Blog

  2. Found you off of pinterest and we have some of the same items in our house, i.e. that gray/green slate floor, the bathroom wall tile( I should send you pictures of the re-model I did), Our home was built in 1964 by my grandparents.

  3. First off, I love your blog! I have a 1965 ranch and the exterior is almost identical to yours. I have a question: do you have house numbers on the outside of your house? I don’t see any in the pictures and was hoping to get some inspiration as I want to replace mine since they are not original. Thanks!

    • Thanks! I do have house numbers, but they really aren’t anything to write home about. They are the small ceramic tile numbers that are in a metal bracket with a light (that doesn’t work anymore) over it. I bought some new numbers but I haven’t put them up yet….

  4. Hi Kate,
    I see you have your hands full now writing for Pam at Retro Renovation, that will be so cool for both of you.
    I was looking at the pics of your house and I noticed that you had that pretty copper colored tile on your back-splash in your kitchen. I used the same tile to do a 3 sided wall around my guest bath sink. I have an American Standard wall sink with chrome legs, and the matching toilet in Bermuda Coral. I thought the color of the tile was really nice with those peachy coral fixtures, and it was fairly easy to put up. I commented on the retro Renovation site when you backed up the use of glass mosaics, I think they are great and they give you the opportunity to do it on your own.
    Just takes a little time and elbow grease with the grout!! I have a couple pics of the “after” look, but unfortunately the before pics were lost in a computer melt down : (

    Hubby and I have a 1960 small ranch house in AZ. (1175 sq ft.) We have done a LOT of things since we moved in. It’s been fun, but I just wish the money was always available to keep going, sometimes you have to wait patiently!! It still needs lots of help… so many ideas!!

    Thank you for the lovely tour of your home and best of luck with the new job. I will be reading regularly, looking for input!


  5. Kate
    I just love Your kitchen. If It were mine the only thing I would change would be a Gas hob instead of the electric. I love the sea foam paint colour and all the natural light.

  6. Thanks for the tour. I have a retro-ranch that my grandfather and dad built in the 1950’s. My dad passed away this year and now I am enjoying remodeling while embracing the era and incorporating a steam-punk influence. My dad owned a machine shop and was a gatherer of “stuff” and has left some cool looking finds. I look forward to seeing more of your transformation.

    • Thanks Erica! Those are my two favorite rooms of furniture in the house too. They took a while to locate (didn’t buy the bedroom set in all one piece, or the tulip table and chairs set) but they ended up being just what I had hoped for!

  7. Love your home. Ours is a 1961 “T” shaped modified ranch with 5 sets of patio sliding glass doors across the back of the house. It was featured in a 1964 ad for Pella. The top of the “T” and 4 wide steps up, is where the bedrooms are. The long part of the “T” is where the kitchen, dining room and living room are. I had to replace all the original appliances recently, including a GE “toast” bottom freezer refrigerator and double oven with stainless. The guys did a good job, but when it came time to replace the stainless electric coil cooktop, I was at a loss and went to a ceramic top with stainless knobs. Love yours. Who makes it. I may go back to the coils!

  8. I love you home:-) We live in a 1951 brick ranch here in the midwest. I also have original bathrooms; a green 3/4 bathroom and a peachy-pink main bath. I am looking forward to seeing your master bath redo and also what you do outside. Thanks for sharing. Tell Leo he did a good job on the outside tour 🙂

  9. Love the tour.. Everything is really cute. I am getting ready to paint my living room and dinning room and I am having a really hard time choosing colors Can you tell me what colors you used? Thanks!

  10. love, love, love that cute retro “orange slice” side table in your bedroom. Do you know the name/maker so that I can look for one as well? Your house is fantastic! I especially love that your artwork all have personal meaning to them. Your mom’s piece in the green bathroom is my fave!

  11. Thanks for posting this wonderful tour of your home! I just bought my first home, not a ranch but a 50’s home that I’d like to incorporate some retro items into. Great blog, keep it up!

  12. Hi, what can you tell me about the tree art in your master bedroom? I love mid-century AND I love trees. Thanks for the tour of your retro ranch…it’s mid-century marvelous!

    • Thanks Jakshaw! The tree art in my master bedroom is fabric stretched over canvas stretchers. My Mom bought it (already stretched) back in the late 60s or early 70s when she lived in Milwaukee, WI. She hung it up in the house I grew up in (1980s ranch) and when I got my Retro Ranch, she gave it to me. Unfortunately there are no markings or signatures on the fabric or frame. That’s all I know about it! 🙂

  13. Kate,
    Did you have any problems with the raised bed garden soil heating up or drying out quickly from the cinder blocks retaining heat?

    • Hi Mandy —

      Any type of raised bed garden will heat up faster than one that is level with the ground….which is good especially in spring when you want to get planting as soon as possible. The soil mix I used to fill the garden is 1/3 peat moss, which helps it retain moisture. I didn’t notice the raised bed garden drying out any faster than the rest of my gardens. Hope that helps!

  14. OMG – Love Your House. I know I’ve checked out pieces of your blog in the past – but for some reason never realized you were in Milwaukee! I keep looking at your pics – and saying… ‘I Have That’ … ‘I want that’ … ‘Why didn’t I think of that!’ …

    I’m nearby in Hales Corners & have some very similar features in my 1959 Ranch… I haven’t updated my blog in a while – but now have some additional inspiration!

    • Thanks Lara and hello to a fellow Milwaukee area resident! I’d love to see some photos of your house, especially the features similar to mine. There are a lot of great retro ranch homes in this neck of the woods. Glad you found one to love too! 🙂

  15. I love your home! I recently moved into a 1967 split level home with many of the original features. The kitchen was redone by the previous owners but in the same footprint. All original doors and windows and it was lovingly maintained by the previous owners. I am starting to appreciate the era and am happy to have bought such a solidly built home. Your home has some really neat features and ideas!

  16. How did you attach the mirror on the dresser in the bedroom? It appears to not be sitting on the dresser top. Is it hanging on the wall? Thanks.

    • The mirror is attached to the dresser via two long strips of wood that are attached to the back of the dresser. This makes it look as if it is floating a few inches off the top of the dresser. I didn’t make the wood strips, they were like that when I bought the dresser. Hope that helps!

  17. I am curious about the narrow, full height door next to your kitchen, beside the clock. it looks like it would go outside, but appears to be only as wide as the studs. What is it for? Also, do you like your panel curtains? Do you use them in combination with shades?

    • The narrow full height door in my kitchen hides the full size, fold out ironing board! I don’t iron often, but it is handy to have it stashed in the wall like that for when I do need to use it. 🙂

      I do like my panel curtains for the most part. Sometimes the catches get “caught” on each other causing two panels to stick together, but otherwise they are great. They don’t completely block out all the light, but that’s ok. If they did, I might sleep all day!

  18. Pingback: Tour of our retro kitschy kitchen! | By Gum, By Golly

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