Tips and ideas from Atlanta professionals for remodeling your ranch home.
By Barbra Buoy
The traditional ranch house can evoke an uninspiring image of cookie-cutter dwellings with less than favorable ceiling height. “Modern,” “open,” and “bursting with natural light” aren’t words that typically come to mind. However, these six redesigns prove that with the right vision and the tools to bring it to life, today’s ranch home can be as unique as your fingerprint.
LIGHT AND AIRY
Contractor: The Contractor Crew
Architect: Bach Design Studio
Square Footage: (Old) 2,200 main, 1,950 terrace; (New) 3,650 main, no change to terrace
Strategically removing four major walls, creating vaulted 16-foot ceilings, and adding skylights transformed this drab 1960s ranch into an expansive oasis flooded with light. The owners, empty nesters who downsized after their children left for college, considered removing the chimney from the living room. “It was a strong element, so we decided to keep it,” says architect Magdalena Bach. “It divides the room and makes it cozy, but everything is still open.”
The transformation included expanding the dark, narrow kitchen, along with adding an oversized island and screened-in porch.
Contractor: Welch Custom Homes
Designer: H & M Property Investments
Square Footage: (Old) 1,214; (New) 2,430
When Craig Hatfield partner at H & M Property Investments did a deep dive of this scruffy fixer-upper, he found a host of problems. “We had no choice but to go in and literally take it down to the studs,” says Hatfield. “It’s basically a new home.” Luckily, some items of the 1930s home were salvageable.
The oak accent wall in the dining/sitting area was hidden under drywall in the original structure. “This is gorgeous original wood that you just don’t find nowadays,” Hatfield says. The addition of a second floor with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a laundry room doubled the living space of this traditional rancher, which is currently for sale.
Interior Designer: Suzanne Williams Designs
Architect: Hagan Architects, Inc.
Location: North Decatur
Square Footage: 1,656
What started as a consultation about building a carport morphed into a dramatic overhaul of this 1950s home. The owner, a lawyer and avid art collector, wanted to open the living space and boost natural light, which was achieved by installing a stunning all-glass entrance with a pivoting middle door. An oak ribbon extends from the living room wall to the dining room ceiling, tying the two spaces together and serving as a visual canvas for the owner’s grand piano. “It’s literally flooring,” says architect Timothy Hagan. “It was a great way to add warmth and texture without using exotic materials.”
Contractor: W.L. Hitt & Associates
Designer: K Schoone Interiors, LLC
Location: Historic Norcross
Square Footage: 3,400 (excluding back porch)
Homes in Historic Norcross are a hot commodity, so the owners of this raised ranch snapped it up right after their last baby bird left the nest. The house was in desperate need of repair, which gave the family the freedom to customize the space. “When I first saw the house, I was excited,” exclaims designer Kim Schoone. “It was a blank slate.” Dormer windows and landscaping upped the home’s curb appeal. The magnificent screened-in rear porch with sliding glass doors, a fireplace, and custom-designed swing fills the home with natural light and provides ample space to entertain or relax outdoors.
IN THE FLOW
Contractors: Mary Cromer, Carol Bell, Katherine Aldrich
Architect: Pimsler Hoss Architects, Inc.
Square Footage: (Old) 850; (New) 1,950
The owner of this dollhouse-sized ranch wanted a modern redesign with an open floor plan that naturally flowed between the indoors and the outdoors. The final product more than doubled the square footage, with a second story and an expansive 15-by-12-foot deck at the rear of the house and lots of windows and glass doors for natural light. “Most of the space we added was set toward the rear of the house,” explains architect Randy Pimsler, AIA, LEED AP. “In the end, we were able to give the owners a home that was large and modern but didn’t look like a McMansion in the middle of the block.”
Contractor: Pinnacle Custom Builders
Architect: Robert M. Cain
Location: LaVista Park
Square Footage: (Old) 1,650; (New) 2,240
The lot of this traditional 1950s ranch extends several hundred feet into a wooded area, with a 100-year-old beech tree anchored just off the back deck. “The owners wanted to open up the back of the house so they could enjoy the beauty of their site,” explains architect Robert M. Cain. Underneath the deck and overhang is a gardening room/potting shed and additional storage space. Incorporating eco-friendly elements was important to the couple, so geothermal systems were installed; bricks removed during demolition were repurposed as paving for walkways around the house; and waste materials (wood, metal, drywall, etc.) were recycled on- and off-site. These actions ultimately earned the home a National U.S. Green Building Council Sustainability Award.