...because home doesn't happen overnight.

A video tour of the Underdog is on my to-do list.  It sounds easy enough, right?  But when the only free time I have includes two lil’ boys who are very curious about power tools and broken, sharp objects it’s not very conducive to gluing my eyes to a video camera screen and traipsing through a mess of a house.  Who knows what those rascals would get into while I focused my attention on a video house tour!  My guess is I’d walk in on Layne using the electric drill in his brother’s ear or something.  Could you imagine that house tour?!  There would be a lot of editing.  Anyhow, I do have some kid-free free time coming up in a few days and I plan on driving up to the new, old house and making a video tour.  Until then, you’ll have to settle for my measly attempt at drawing up some floor plans for you.  Like the title of this post suggests, they aren’t technical {I left out the closet in bedroom 1}, pretty {Photoshop is on my wish list} or even to scale but you get the gist.  If anything, maybe it helps you to get a feel for the layout so that when I share the actual video tour you have a better sense of where things are.  Maybe.  FYI – The house really isn’t crooked.

Since you saw the garage yesterday, let’s start there and work our way around the house, shall we?  Plus, that’s probably going to be our everyday entrance once we move in.  Does anyone enter their own house through the front door anymore?

{an old pic…the trees, shrubs and shutters are gone now}

Garage – The two-car garage juts out from the rest of the house and has a double garage door that opens on the side of the house.  I like this feature.  Our current home has garage doors that open to the front of the house and while it’s convenient, it looks like the house eats the car every time we park.  Not to mention garage doors {that I can afford} aren’t known for their aesthetic.  The Underdog garage has its own window at the front of the house.  It’s one of the few windows that wasn’t upgraded by the previous owners.  Someday we’d like to replace it to match the newer windows.

Den – The den is located just off the garage.  This is where the window ac unit resides…the only air conditioning in the house right now.  Once the window unit is removed, a new window will have to be installed.  There are fairly new patio sliders that lead out to the backyard.  Someday I’d like to replace the sliders with french doors but that’s way down on the to-do list.  The other day Handy Hubby asked me why this room was the ‘den.’  I’ve been referring to it as the den ever since we toured the house.  I didn’t really have a good explanation but it felt like a den to me.  This is probably the room where we’ll watch TV and relax.  I found a few, unofficial definitions of a den:  1) a secluded room for study or relaxation 2) a part of a house similar to the living room: a den is about the size of a living room, but smaller than a family room 3) a comfortable usually secluded room.  I think our den fits these descriptions, so a den it is.  Plus, den just sounds more sophisticated.  And this house needs all the suggestive sophistication it can get.

{another old pic…the dryer has since been sold on Craigslist}

Laundry closet – A modest closet just off the den acts as a laundry room.  It’s also where the original fuse box was located before Handy Handy relocated it to the garage.  Contrary to popular belief, we don’t have plans to move the washer/dryer hook-up.  I actually enjoy doing laundry and try to stay on top of it, so it’s rare that our laundry is ever taking over the closets/laundry room.  Not that having a laundry room in our den won’t pose a challenge.  I want those bi-fold doors outta there.  I’ve been thinking of hanging fabric panels in place of the doors, DIYing a countertop above the washer/dryer, adding open shelving and even using part of the closet as a pantry or serving bar.  There are so many different ways it could go, so I think we’ll have to live there a while before I decide one way or the other.

Kitchen – Oh, the kitchen.  Well, you already know the walls separating the kitchen from the dining and living rooms are coming down…as is the kitchen soffit.

I’ll be sharing more details of the kitchen reno plans next week but for now I’ll say that I’m going for a symmetrical, balanced look.  After all, you will be able to see the kitchen from the living room and front door. And since we won’t have a space solely designated to dining, the kitchen will be an eat-in kitchen.  We also won’t have a room to devote to office space, so our kitchen will triple as an office.  It’s going to be one busy kitchen!  Some things I do like about the kitchen as-is is the sink placement.  There’s a nice view out to the backyard from the window above the sink.  So, the sink location is staying put.  However, refrigerator, oven/stove and dishwasher locations are getting all jumbled around.  In fact, there was no dishwasher in the original kitchen so we’re having to extend kitchen space {into the previous dining room} in order to make room for the added appliance. Fun stuff!

Dining room – You guessed it.  The dining room will become part of the kitchen space.  We aren’t formal people and have no need for a room devoted entirely to dining.  We’d rather use every square inch of space that we can for daily activities like paying bills, sorting mail, blogging, and checking email.  The dining room will gain cabinetry and countertops to make these tasks possible. Where exactly will we eat? There are a few possibilities:  a large kitchen island, a floating dining space or a combo of both.  We haven’t made up our minds on that one yet.  One thing that will stay for now is the large window that looks out onto the backyard, although eventually I’d like to have a french door or two there.  I have aspirations to open this house up to the outside.

Living room – I really do love this living room.  The huge picture window lets in so much natural light and the brick fireplace {minus the random lamp} makes for a good focal point.  Once that wall on the right is removed, it’ll feel even more bright and airy.  I’m leaning towards painting the brick but haven’t decided 100%.  Since this is the room guests enter into from the front door, it needs to act as an entryway of sorts too.  I haven’t been able to come up with any entry plans yet.  That’s okay.  I have plenty of time before anyone’s going to want to visit!

Hall closet/bath – The first space off the hallway to the bedrooms is another narrow little hall that leads to a hall closet {designated as ‘L.C.’ for linen closet – not Lauren Conrad – in the floor plan} and full bathroom.  This will be the kids’ and guests’ bathroom.  I’m pretty much set on getting a vintage claw foot tub in there if I can.  I do love the window in the shower area.  It’s one of the original windows that hasn’t been replaced but it’s in great shape and has rippled glass panels for privacy. I think it just needs a good cleaning and a few coats of paint to make it look like new.  I know some of you adore the pink tile but it’s just not my thing…and especially not my lil’ boys’ thing.  We’ll probably live with it for a little bit but eventually that tile is coming down.  Sorry to burst your bubble.  The toilet and sink positioning will remain the same to save time and money.

Utility closet – Just beyond the kids’ bathroom is a small closet that barely houses the furnace {labeled ‘F’} and gas water heater {labeled ‘W’}.  The furnace is fairly new and in good condition so it’s staying.  The water heater is 10+ years old and could die any moment according to our inspector.  We’ve tossed around the idea of replacing it with a tankless water heater to save space and money in the long run.  We may just wait until it goes kaput.

Bedroom 1 – This will be Everett’s bedroom.  It’s teeny.  Not even 10’x10′.  If you’ve been waiting for H*T to tackle a tiny bedroom, it’s coming.  I forgot to include the also teeny closet in the floor plan…probably because it’s small size is almost not even worth mentioning.  It’s located right behind where the door opens into the bedroom.  Closet organization here I come!

Bedroom 2 – This will be Layne’s bedroom.  It’s a nice size with decent closet space.  Layne’s only requirement for the room is a ceiling fan.  I’d also like to include a spot for doing homework.  It doesn’t come across in the floor plan but there’s a recessed wall to the left upon entering the bedroom.  I think a long, narrow desk and some open shelving would work well there.

Linen closet – At the end of the hallway to the bedrooms, there’s a small linen closet {labeled ‘L.C.’}  As you may have noticed already, storage is going to be tight in the Underdog.  I’m looking forward to editing and paring down our belongings to just the necessities.  We have so much stuff we don’t use!  I’ve thought of hanging a large mirror on the outside of the door to make the hallway feel bigger and bounce some light around. But I’m not sure how I feel about watching myself walk down the hallway all the time…

Bedroom 3 – This will be the master bedroom.  While the room itself is nicely sized, closet space is limited for two people so I’ve been pondering a wardrobe with a dressing bench included somewhere in the room.  This bedroom also has windows that are original to the home.  One of them has a cracked glass pane that will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.  As much as I love our current bedroom color scheme of grays, white and mustard, I’m thinking I might try a soothing color on the walls in our next bedroom.  Just for kicks and giggles.  And because it’s just paint which is cheap and easy to change.

Master bath – We were surprised to discover an adjoining bathroom on suite with the master bedroom…a true master in a 50’s ranch is rare!  This bathroom is basically a mirror image of the kids’ bathroom. Handy Hubby and I don’t take baths {I feel like I’m sitting in my own filth} so we’re thinking of removing the tub and replacing it instead with a tiled shower stall.  Again, I love the bathroom window.  It’s just like the one in the kids’ bathroom so it’ll stay along with the toilet and sink placement.

So, there’s a more detailed look at the Underdog’s floor plan.  Does it make sense now?  I would like to point out that this house has on-center windows which should make furniture placement and room arranging easy.  Have I mentioned yet that I love the fact that there’s at least one window in every room?  Me + windows = lots of smiling.  One thing that we will NOT be undertaking is room additions.  We plan on keeping the house’s original footprint outside.  What would be the point of downsizing if we added on?  Because of the smaller size of this house, we hope to be able to afford more quality materials and finishes since we won’t have to buy as much for projects.  We’re all about the quality versus quantity thing right now.  That doesn’t mean we’ll be choosing the most expensive option every time…we’ll still mix-and-match bargains with splurges…but we’re looking forward to incorporating materials that we haven’t worked with before.  Heck, we’ve still got a budget to stay within.  Stay tuned for the video version of this tour coming soon to a PC near you!

images:  Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



cool layout, especially once the walls are taken down, perfect for a young family.

for the smaller bedroom, what about wall-mounted shelving with a desk? Our old place had a 8×9 bedroom, and we used Closet Maid shelving with a larger shelf for a desk, it really made maximum advantage of the small space. We’ve used Elfa in our new place (on sale, of course, that stuff is expensive otherwise). I have two 25% elfa coupons at the container store (one for me and one for a friend, they said!), email me if you want one! it’s good until 6/30.

here are some shots of how we’ve used wall-mounted shelving for offices/bedrooms:


Carole – Thanks so much for the coupon offer but I don’t see us buying any organization stuff before July. It would probably go to better use with someone else. That’s so nice of you to offer it though!


Wow, I am so impressed at your willingness (and enthusiam) to take on such a major project. I grew up in a ranch style home that had been modified to have a more open floor plan than traditionally seen in a ranch. It’s a pretty cool style! I can’t wait to it evolve.

To second what carole said, the Elfa “desks” are really cool and work great because you can modify them into about a 1000 combinations. We don’t have it for desks but use it in almost all of our closets. Each year, right after Christmas, they do a 40% sale and we finish another closet in the house with it. Definitely a great product for small spaces!


Your tour here is great— video if you want, but I feel like I’m getting the gist! As a home tweaker in the midst of a renovation process, I’m VERY curious to know what your priority list will be. I find that there are so many projects to complete in so many rooms or areas of my house that I get overwhelmed and have trouble prioritizing. I’ll be glad to read any tips or guidelines you can offer! Love your style and your new home project— you’re giving me hope all the time that I can realize what we’ve started over here!


Looks great!
one thing – I’m currently living in a teeny one bed and if I were you I’d try and get the washer and dryer out of the den, we have a modern front loader but it is still SO LOUD. But maybe for your family that’s the best place? but the noise is definitely something to think about.


If ya’ll have a natural gas hookup for the water heater, I definitely recommend getting a tankless one before your old one goes out. It pays for itself in energy savings (no keeping a giant tank of water hot endlessly!) and in convenience (space saving! no more choosing who gets to take a shower that night because there’s only enough hot water for one person to get a decent rinse!).

Also, I am totally jealous of the new kitchen you’ll get to have, 50s ranch kitchens suck!

I have never looked forward to a renovation more than this one, because our home is very, very similar in layout (albeit a bit smaller, I think). I can’t wait to see what you come up with.


Thanks for the house tour! Seeing it all has been so much fun and Im definitely seeing the great potential you two saw in this house. Great layout and space, even though as someone who has been city dwelling for years I can’t help to see it as huge space lol.

I can see why you’re totally opening up the kitchen, since you love open layouts but why aren’t you considering making part of the den the office area? I’ve never had second living room so I’ve never understood the second family room.

Anyways excited to hear what you tackle first!


If you decide on fabric panels for the laundry closet, make sure they are pretty thick, so they can drown out the noise of the machines. Then again…your washing machine probably doesn’t sound like a giant robot trying to take over the house, does it? That’s probably just my machine. :)

Just came across your blog, looking forward to following along on your adventures!


Lauren – My god! I just clicked over to your amazing home pics! Why haven’t I seen these before? Beware: I pinned a few of your bath and kitchen pics onto my Pinterest board. Amazing!!!


I feel like I have such a great feel for the lay of the land. Nice job. LC would be proud. :)

We bought an all original (80’s) condo in Santa Monica last September. We put every penny we had to the down payment so are trying to build our stocks up for renovations (hopefully can start next year). Our bathroom has the same layout as yours (except we have a weird wall separating the toilet and sink?) so I’m dying to see what you do with them. We also have the same laundry config. I too was thinking to doing away with the bi-folds and adding in fabric panels instead. How fun!

In a weird twist, just yesterday we heard rumors that 3 (of the 6) units in our building might be selling within the year. Which means, someone might try to buy the entire building. I’d be hard pressed if someone showed up on our doorstep with a $700,000 check. However, at the same time, we really want to fix this place up ourselves. I hate unknowns.


Annette – An office in the den is a great idea! Currently, our computer/printer/scanner setup is in our living room {separate from the family room/dining/kitchen area} and we find ourselves bringing the laptop into the kitchen and family room quite frequently…to make grocery lists from online recipes, to pay bills, to reference recipes when we cook, to listen to music and to blog. I guess we like to be around each other when we’re working on the computer. That doesn’t mean I want to see all the office-y stuff that goes along with it in the kitchen. We’re planning on hiding the wires, printer, hanging files and other office miscellaneous behind closed doors/drawers. While the den would be a totally acceptable space for working on the computer, we envision putting our large sectional in there for TV viewing/relaxing/playing with the kids. Once the sectional is in there, space is going to be tight. There’s not a lot of wall space to begin with and there will be even less after the large sectional comes in. We’ll have a laptop so if we feel like moving it around, we’ll be able to but all the computer accessories will be stored in the kitchen. Hope that makes sense. That’s just what we’re doing. It doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.


Annabelvita – I usually do laundry during the day, rarely at night. Most likely the den will be the room where we hang out to watch TV, movies and play games with the kids…which we normally do in the evenings. Very seldom do we watch TV during the day. So while the washer/dryer are running during the day, they won’t bother us at night when we’re trying to watch a movie. Plus, honestly, hearing the washer/dryer run doesn’t sound all that bad to me. I’m weird. I like the shushing sound of fans, dishwashers, washers and dryers. But that’s just me. I can see how others may want to find a quieter spot for a laundry room but we think this one will work just fine for us.


Shannah – Thanks! I’ll have to remember to check out the Elfa sale after Christmas…if we’re organizing closets by that time!


Tami – I’m right there with you on the ‘unknowns.’ When will our house sell? When will we be able to move into the Underdog? Will Layne be able to start school in his new district for 1st grade? What surprises are waiting for us in the Underdog? {Something is bound to come up.} Etc, etc. I can start to feel overwhelmed if I get too far ahead of myself. I’m forcing myself to take it one day at a time or I fear I will go nuts. Handy Hubby might venture to say that I’ve already gone there. :)


I would make the den into a fabulous laundry/mudroom/office combination. We have an office close to where we all come in through the garage and it’s a great landing pad for mail, mags, etc. You still have little ones – remember all their stuff will turn into man-size shoes, coats, gloves, etc and it gets harder to store.


So exciting! I love the mentally moving in part! Before we started our projects here I had them all planned out perfectly in my head its been really awesome to see them come to life even better then I had pictured! I’m excited and exhausted for you as I think I wore myself out planning before we dug in! I so wish I had documented as well as you have the transformation is that much more great! It seems like the deeper we got the less I blogged…I have SO much to catch up on. I check everyday to see your progress….making a mess NOT living in it is so much more fun so although I hope your other home sells for you ENJOY leaving your mess at night! Its going to be so awesome loving watching!


You don’t need photoshop to create a floor plan…. floorplanner.com is a free site and it’s super easy to use. (I first heard about it over on younghouselove).

I’m excited to follow along your updating renovation! I’m planning to get a fixer-upper of my own within the next couple years so it’s great to watch other people do it first… it makes me feel slightly more capable…. that and the fact that I have my own handy boyfriend (hmm… doesn’t have quite the same ring as “handy-hubby”… we’ll get there).


My husband and I would love to find a house just like this. We’re close to being empty nesters, and this is just what I imagine for our next (down-sizing) move. I agree with you on garage door placement- our last house had it way out front, and I said it looked like garage with attached house. I’m also really liking your idea of the eat-in kitchen. An area that can be used as needed just by moving some furniture just makes more sense than walls enclosing rooms that don’t get much use (like dining rooms).
I’m so glad I found your blog just in time to keep up with the progress.
Carry on!


Does the house or garage have an attic space? Our 50’s front to back split doesn’t have a garage or a basement. The attic space isn’t much but with a plywood floor it is useful for holiday decorations and once a year dishes and pans.


Rose – The Underdog does have an attic, so we will have some storage there. But since we plan on vaulting the ceilings, we’re going to lose a lot of the attic storage space. Oh well! Less space for stuff to gather.


Ladizzle – As much as we want our current home to sell, Handy Hubby keeps telling me that everything is going to happen at the right time. We both feel pretty lucky that we’re able to live in a nice, clean house while we fix up a dirty, old one. It is nice locking up the Underdog and walking away from that mess to go home and eat/sleep.


Heather – I love your idea of a laundry room/mudroom/office. There really are so many options! I am curious to see how the house changes as our boys grow. I do have plans for an everyday entry of sorts where the garage opens up into the den hall…keys, mail shelf, shoe rack and all.


Marcy – Love the frosted door idea!! I had actually thought about using one for the hall/kids’ bathroom door to let some light into the hall from the bathroom window. Thanks for linking to an image!


My brother had that same furnace unit in his remodel he moved the entire unit to the attic and gained closet space.
Just a thought,


Your bathroom reminds me so much of ours it’s a little creepy! We want to update it someday too, but have chosen some other projects to tackle first. We probably will leave the sink and toilet positioning but hope to move the actual fixtures to a basement bath we’re roughing in this summer and then put in matching fixtures upstairs with a sink with more storage. I have dreams of a claw foot tub too but am on the fence. We’re not sure if it will fit, and I’ve heard bathing babies in one is difficult since it’s so deep. We’d also like to have a shower in there but the attachments to make a tub a shower with curtain can look a little looming in such a small space.

I look forward to seeing what you do and the choices you make!



Hi! I just came across your blog and I am so excited to see the underdogs progress! We have the pink and gray combo bathroom in our ranch- ours even had the original GRAY toliet when we moved in!! Yuck!!
And PS I am totally living vicariously through you as you renovate your kitchen!!


If you’re knocking down some walls anyway, I’d take a sledge hammer to most of the laundry closet. Leave the wall on the right, but take off the “lip” on the front and bust it up to the ceiling.

You could still run curtains over the whole space, but squaring it up will give you just enough space for a little laundry storage next to the washer and dryer, add something like a foldup ironing board and a nice big countertop like you mentioned. Opening it up to the ceiling could give you some great opportunities to do great storage and fancy up the laundry.

Ooo, do the countertop thing, and go English style where the put the curtains under the countertop to cover the dryer and washer. Than above the counter is prime real estate for storage and display.


Happy to hear that the pink tile will eventually fall away – I think I still have PTSD from the pink tiled kitchen my parents built in the 50’s. This is a very amazing project you have going here and it anyone can do it, I am sure you are the one. Just when you alk about it, it begins to fill in and light up. I have something I am determined to do at some point when the person finally decides to sell me this stand alone carriage house – my goal will be similar to yours – smaller space which allows the budget to go for more distinctive interior. I dream about it all the time – Hope your house sells soon – to tell you the truth, I cannot imagine that it wasn’t sold the first day. Surely reflects market trends in your area rather than what a great place it is – btw – I renovated a house that hadn’t been lived in for 20 years, an old victorian – it was incredibly fun – and makes watching your renovation that much more interesting. Wish blogs had been around when I did that


Kimberly – You’re speaking my language!!! Love all the ideas for transforming the laundry closet. I definitely want it to feel more like a nook than a closet.


Deborah – Oh, Deborah, how I wish our house had sold the first day! We have had 2 offers so far {yay!} that didn’t pan out {boo!} so we continue our search for the right buyer. Several potential buyers have mentioned that if their house sells, our house sells. Meaning they need to sell their house first before they can make an offer on our home. Here’s hoping sales pick up around here, so all the third party obstacles work their way out and lead to a sale for us! We partly blame bad, bad, baaaaaad weather for slow sales but the sun is finally making an appearance. Good luck on getting the carriage house of your dreams!

[…] ‘You Get The Gist’ Floor Plans at House* Tweaking (Dana is downsizing and renovating an ‘Underdog’ to pursue her dreams of becoming an Interior Designer) […]


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I LOVE you new kitchen/living area! Could you provide the dimensions for this space?…Before and after? And the Island dimensions?


The main kitchen – living space is roughly 21′ x 24′. (It’s 24′ from the front of the house to the back.) The original kitchen was roughly 12′ x 11’6″. The original dining room was roughly 9′ x 11’6″. The entry / living room occupied the rest of the space. We didn’t expand the footprint of the house – just removed some walls.

The new island is 9′ x 2′ at the base. Essentially, it’s three Ikea base cabinets screwed together. The island is 36″ high. The island top measures 9′ x 3’6″. It’s huge! There is a 15″ overhang to allow for casual dining at the island.

Hope that helps!


Hi, love your blog! I am curious, our homes are very similar in layout. Is your home on a full basement?
And if so, is it usable space?


No, we’re on a concrete slab.


Great, detailed post & pics! We are considering buying a similar rambler needing a rehab. What is your homes sq footage?


~1,600 sq ft