Monday, June 23, 2014

house crush: vintage ranch

this post has been a long time coming. from the very day i first hit "publish" on this blog, i knew that i needed to feature photos of this house. it is the home of my dear friend (interior-designer-on-hiatus-raising-babies), laura peacock, and my all-time biggest house crush.

the home is a darling vintage 1950's ranch that laura, rather than gutting and remodeling, has embraced and enhanced with a few buckets of paint and a creative eye. i'm so inspired by what a small amount of money can do to completely remake a space, and i knew if you could see these before-and-after photos, you would be too.

so i bribed laura (with baked goods) and my favorite photographer ellen swalley (with starbucks) into putting together this feature with me. dream fulfilled!

join us on a tour, won't you?

welcome and come on in! laura painted the side door (a charming, informal passage that has replaced the front door as their main entry) a welcoming buttery yellow. it opens into a sunny front room. 

this room has a wall of windows and a large table to gather around. over the family's years in the house, it has served many purposes-- from office to dining to music room-- and the bright and cheery space suits them all. 

here's a look at the before in this room:

and after: 

spraying everything with white paint completely transformed the space. all the original details remained; they're just light and fresh now, and as you'll see, that approach works its magic throughout the house.

this cozy fireplace, also original, warms the entry in chicago winters.

the front room leads directly into the kitchen. i'll start by showing you a before picture:

and after:

i know, right?! it's so amazing! the kitchen is my favorite room in the house (though it's hard to choose) and the difference is unbelieveable.

naturally a table this pretty needs some pretty flowers. this garden bouquet of peonies, lamb's ear and mint fits the bill.

another before:


here is a before of the stove and ovens on the other side:


some barkeeper's friend and some elbow grease revealed this gorgeous copper range hood (score)! the range and wall ovens are about 50 years old and still work perfectly. 

there's the baked good bribery...bethany's scones.

they were soooo yummy. (what? i had to try one to make sure they were a suitable bribe, right?!)

finally, this perfect little built-in pantry transitions us from the kitchen into the main floor living spaces:

we caught laura looking adorable in the family room around the corner:

a before of her family room fireplace:


i love how she mixed it up in this room and went with a dark smoky navy on the fireplace mantle. the same blue is picked up in an accent wall on the other side, and in the printed drapery.

this girl makes my heart so happy.

around another corner is a bonus room, which is not original to the house. it was added before laura moved in though, and is certainly in keeping with the character.

i'm swooning over those wonderful plank and beam ceilings. laura is debating painting the beams white at some point. anyone want to vote on it?

she grabbed a can of spray paint and gave the existing ceiling fan a new lease on life. the ornate style would have been too formal in brass and wood, but with this fun mint green it is just right.

i love this serene corner and the views of the wooded yard. and this chair! i assumed it was vintage; turns out it is almost-vintage pottery barn. 

leaving the common areas, we'll head to the adorable bathrooms and kids bedrooms. we were banned from the master bedroom for now, as it's a "work in progress" (ok, direct quote was "because i hate it") but i have a feeling it's pretty great too. and join me in jealousy- there's another fireplace in there!

ready for the master bathroom?

and here are the kids' rooms:

they're so bright and fun. and what kid wouldn't want a cozy hanging chair like that?

the kids' bathroom is perfectly 50's. it has pink tile, a pink tub, even a pink toilet! i love love love it!

i have a great shot of ellen in the tub (preggo no less!) working for this picture, which i will save for blackmail purposes. now that is dedication to your craft. you can see why she's my favorite.

last, but certainly not least, let's head down to the basement for a peek at the cutest little laundry room ever:

laura had the basement's open ceiling sprayed white. even though the beams and duct work are exposed, it looks amazing! why bother to drywall when paint can make it look this great? she added some vintage industrial pendants and was good to go. can someone please help me convince ryan we need to do the same?

well, that concludes our tour. i'm so glad you stopped by! this house is so beautiful, it really feels too soon to leave. let's just grab a coffee and a scone and linger at that kitchen table a bit, shall we?

laura, thank you so very much for inviting us into your lovely home!

oh, and p.s., for a few more shots and to meet my darling friend & photographer, visit ellen's blog. read her story while you're there...i know you'll love her as much as i do. 


  1. Just got done viewing the crush house for the second time. Your friend has lovely style! What does the yard look like?? By the way, I vote to keep the beams the way they are; they make the room seem warm and cozy, a nice contrast to the blue walls.

    1. thank you!! oh goodness, the yard is gorgeous too...maybe i'll have to go back to shoot a garden tour!!

  2. gorg! just gorg! this house is just lovely...BTdubs, I've been dying to see this post! finally!!!!!

    1. lol..."BTdubs" is one of the funniest things you say. love it. and yay, i'm glad it was worth the wait!!! :)

  3. ohhh what a beautiful home!! it is just so amazing, always, what white paint can do. I love the beauty and charm in each of the rooms...the windows, the details, the soft, pretty colors! all of it :) .. such a lovely, lovely home, thank you for sharing with us ... so fun to see such an incredible transformation! I am a navy & white girl through and through, love the navy mantel and where are the drapes/fabric from? oh, and my vote is to absolutely paint the ceiling in the family room! thanks laura, loved this post :) linda finley

    1. thank you linda!! i know laura will be thrilled by your sweet comments. she said the drapes are from ballard designs. looks like the concordia medallion style. i agree, they are so pretty!! xo!

  4. The charm of the home is so evident through this tour. The yellow sconces are taking me back to the korbels in Sarah Richardson's farmhouse! Love them! I think the whole post made it clear you are an approachable designer. Instead of being all high and mighty, you showed you design for and appreciate REAL LIFE. Few designers make us feel that the way we truly live is okay, and now you are one of them. Such a sweet tour. :)

    1. you are so right steph, they totally evoke sarah's farmhouse...still the best kitchen ever!! ;-) and thank you so much for that wonderful compliment! even in the short six months since starting this blog, i've realized i appreciate small spaces and inexpensive designs so much more than the pricey huge homes i used to think i'd love to have. i've been reading grace bonney's book, 'design*sponge at home,' and her approach resonates with me so much louder than what i've been used to hearing. she says, "i've always believed that great design doesn't have to come with a high price tag or require a professional degree." amen & amen! curating a mix of furniture and objects you love over time, doing it yourself, and having a story behind your space are things i value and crave much more now than the idea of walking into a store with a fist full of money and coming out with a room. xo friend! you made my day!

  5. Hi! What is the smokey navy paint brand/color?

  6. Hi Jessica! I'm sorry, I don't know. Laura said she will check and see if she has it in her basement and get back to us! You might try a swatch of Benjamin Moore Mysterious. It's very similar, but as its name implies it is a chameleon-like color that changes throughout the day. I love it!

  7. Hi again Jessica! Laura wasn't able to find the name of the paint, I'm sorry! She said all she can remember is that it was a Martha Stewart color, which Home Depot carried (or used to). Good luck!


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