How we turned our 1950's ranch house into an English Cottage

Tuesday, January 19

The "After" (above)
The "Before" (Above)

These next few weeks I wanted to share a few before and after pictures of our old house! As many of you know, we recently moved into a new house which we are loving! But, I never really got around to sharing any of the house projects we poured our hearts into these last 5 years at the old house! So, without further goes!! 

In the Fall of 2015, we pulled up to our old house for the very first time! To say it needed a little vision is an understatement, especially the exterior. However, I could see my dreams of a proper English cottage taking shape in my mind. I'm a total anglophile, and  I had all sorts of ideas on how to take it from drab ranch house to sweet little cottage. 

Surprisingly, the house only had one owner before us. A professor bought the home in the mid 1950's when it was brand new, and lived in it up until his death at age 95 in 2015. He was a bit of a recluse (so the neighbors told us) and had literally planted bamboo around the entire house in order to block all the visibility from the windows. 

Needless to say, the front yard (as well as the back) was a bit of a mess, a bit of a jungle. The first thing we did was start working on killing the bamboo, taking out the mess of plants, and making plans to spruce up the exterior. 

The FIRST task was painting the exterior brick! I normally love brick, but this was a dirty weird brown color and desperately needed some livening up. My mother-in-law was so kind to fly up and help me paint it. We chose the color China White, which is a warm white (which is what I was going for). We borrowed a friend's paint sprayer and it took about 2 days to accomplish. We were so proud of ourselves for doing it ourselves! (Girl power! haha) 

Our SECOND task was adding some charm in the form of shutters for the windows. I found a tutorial online for some basic wood shutters, and Kevin and I went to work building and painting them. I chose the color Cathedral Gray, and was so happy with how they turned out. 

Our THIRD task was redesigning the front landscaping. I wanted something simple and sweet. In the end, we chose a small brick patio and pathway, and a planter filled with all sorts of cottage plants (including lambs ears, poetry lavender, Russian sage, Peonies, Dusty Miller, etc). 

Lastly, (and maybe my favorite addition) was planting the climbing rose. I figured all good cottages have a climbing rose adorning their walls, so I needed one too. I did some research and chose a Cecil Bruner rose which is a soft blush pink. I could not believe how fast it grew and our second springtime it literally overflowed with the loveliest blooms! 

It's amazing how just a little creativity, paint and hard work can transform a place! What do you think?? While we no longer live here, I love to still drive by this old house and just smile at how far it's come!! xoxo 

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