Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Welcome to my red raised ranch renovations...

... well it's actually orange, depending on the time of day.

I'm starting this blog to document the 'makeover' of our typical early 80's bi-level raised ranch in the metrowest area of Massachusetts. We bought the house in 2007 and though I love my yard and I love this neighborhood - I really hate raised ranches.

Every single window and door is in need of replacing - so with that being the basis for our reno, we are taking the opportunity to change the look and style of the house with new windows - not just replacement windows - while also adding more interest to the roof line and changing the look of the front door by adding a portico.

I'm confident the investment we make in this makeover will pay for itself in years to come. Though real estate has 'adjusted' in our area, every new construction going up is nearly twice the value of our property. Just across the street from us is a home designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and is on the market for almost $900k (and under contract finally!). Just next to that, someone is building quite the interesting contemporary on an acre of land. And the Frank Lloyd Wright-ish property is selling off 5 acre plots that I expect one day will each have very pricey homes on them. But along our stretch of road are a number of nearly identical raised ranches that were all built in the late 70s and early 80s. I'm told that 'back in the day', this was *the* neighborhood to buy in - and I'm hoping (and praying?) that we have that hay-day once again. Most properties are .5 to 1 acre in size and we're surrounded by plenty of protected land. New property limits in our town won't allow us to tear down and build something beyond our existing footprint - and that's not a financial option to us anyways.

Another home in the neighborhood has attempted a similar makeover - but they over did it and had to give up before it was complete. From what I can gather, they invested over $100k into a home that was already overpriced when they bought it. It came out beautiful on the outside, but incomplete on the inside when I suspect it just got to be too much and the bank had to take over.

Here is their before and after...



Can you believe that's the same house?

We certainly don't have the money to add a whole 'nother story to our home, but we'll be doing something similar on a smaller scale. I hope it becomes an inspiration to other raised ranch owners to do the same. Honestly, I wish they'd burn the blueprints to raised ranches once and for all, but while googling for new split level design plans, I do see many great ideas out there that look more current, and everlasting, than our style of raised ranch. I'm using these home plans as inspiration and took them to a local builder to map out our ideas. He's come up with some beautiful ideas too.

Here is what we're working with...

Today I close on my refinancing. Enough money to not put us over our heads, and enough money to turn our house into a beautiful home.

So keep an eye here to follow our progress. I expect that construction will start in a few weeks - after plot plans are done, permits are applied for, and windows ordered. I also plan on buying myself a nice new camera so I'll have plenty of visuals too.

After the exterior is complete - we'll start on interior projects as well.

I'm so excited!! Weeeee!


  1. I was so excited to find this site. I too have a raised ranch. I hate the style but love the location. I also have raised my three children in this house and will not move. I would like to change the look of the house. I am also from MA, in the Berkshires

  2. Just wondering how your renovation went. We are just beginning our research. We have a raised ranch on 3 acres with a pond. Love the location, but hate the house. Too small for our family. Would love to see before and after photos.

  3. Ok it is April 2010 what is happening?

  4. I really like what you've done. I also love that you started a blog. And amused because I am the same situation as you. Love the location, just hate the house. We want to do an addition - if anyone has some ideas. Thanks for show us what you have done.

  5. So where are you in the process now?

  6. Hey Wendy - our builder ended up giving us a crazy unreal estimate (something like 37k!!!!) for the renovation we proposed so we didn't go ahead with it after all. He either didn't want to do it or thought I was made of money. We considered getting other estimates, but went ahead with having our windows replaced. After that, we didn't have much budget left for adding a portico. I think the house looks fantastic now as it is and is the nicest raised ranch on the block: