Reviving a Ranch-Style House

Nine years ago, Chelsea was single, bought her first house and we worked together to renovate it. Now, she has a family of five that has outgrown that house, and they’re moving into a mid-century ranch-style house.

“Today’s Homeowner” hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf

“Today’s Homeowner” hosts Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf prepare to work on Chelsea’s ranch-style home.

Moving into a Ranch-Style House

Chelsea and her husband, Brandon, purchased this ranch-style house that was built in 1956. It’s only had one owner, and that’s perfect for Chelsea, who wants to add her sense of style to a blank slate.

The couple have some ideas to make the home their own. but they don’t plan to make all the changes at once. Instead, they plan to live there, see how they use the space, and make updates as they see fit — and as the budget allows.

But there are some projects the couple would like to tackle immediately.


Danny Lipford and Chelsea Lipford Wolf remove wallpaper from a room in a ranch-style house
Danny and Chelsea start removing wallpaper in one of the bathrooms.

Removing Wallpaper

In one bathroom, some baby blue tiles look dated, but Chelsea plans to decorate around them so those retro colors look intentional.

That bathroom also has floral wallpaper that Chelsea wants to tear up and paint off-white. So, we’re using our go-to recipe to remove the dated wallpaper.

Just mix some wallpaper remover concentrate, white vinegar, baking soda, hot water and fabric softener — which prevents the solution from evaporating too quickly — in a pump sprayer and apply evenly. It makes this job much easier!

And it makes this ranch-style house closer to matching Chelsea’s style.


Danny Lipford, host of Today's Homeowner, installs attic stairs in a ranch-style house.
Danny installs attic stairs for more convenient access.

Install Attic Stairs

The attic is big and empty, so there’s plenty of storage — that’s good. But there’s no easy way to access it, other than dragging out a step ladder. Installing some permanent stairs will be a huge help.

Once we measure the attic stair unit, we mark those dimensions on the hall ceiling.

There’s just one joist running through the space, so after I cut through the plaster, I begin cutting that joist at either end of the opening.

After we remove the joist that was in the way, we add 2-by-4’s to create a box for attaching the stairs.

Here’s a trick: Use some temporary 2-by-4’s on either end of the hole in the hall ceiling. That way, you don’t have to continuously hold the heavy attic stairs while securing them from the attic side.

We then drill lag screws through steel plates all the way into the framing. That way, this ranch-style house’s stairs will hold a lot of weight.


6 COMMENTS

  1. Chelsea, I have a blue bathroom exactly like yours and it is so intimidating I don’t know how to update. Can’t wait to see how you do it.

  2. Just curious if the addition in the last house didn’t quite do the trick so you moved or you found a great deal? Spill, please. We have a new baby and are a family of 5 too. 😉

    • Hi, sahmpaw! Chelsea and Brandon outgrew their old house, so it was time to move on.
      They loved their old home, but the kids needed more room to run around, and Mom and Dad wanted them to have it. 🙂

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