Same old one-story?: How to bring a 1950s rancher into this century

Photo: Christian Hommel Photo: Christian Hommel

We asked Weston Construction’s Todd Buck to choose a home currently for sale and make some recommendations on the best way to update it. He found one off Rio Road worthy of a second look.

2317 Greenbrier Dr.


MLS# 517391

There’s a lot of potential in this 1950s brick rancher. A well cared for home in the city, it has a level backyard, a sunroom that leads to a paved driveway, and it’s within walking distance of Greenbrier Elementary. But it’s had one owner since it was built in 1959, necessitating some updates to bring it from “Leave it to Beaver” to “Modern Family.”

Typical of many homes this age, the rooms are small and choppy, the kitchen and baths need updating, and there is a dry, unfinished room in the basement that could become a family room.

First, I would open the kitchen to that living room area at the right side of the fireplace and open the entry hall to the living room. This will open the flow to a more modern style of living. This would require removing some walls and putting in some beams, which should run $8,000-12,000.

Buck would modernize the space by opening the kitchen to the living room at the right side of the fireplace. Photo: Christian Hommel

Next up is the kitchen, a big space with original cabinets and appliances and vinyl composite tile flooring. Now that it is open to the living room, I would install hardwood floors throughout, custom cabinetry, and new appliances. This could be done modestly for around $37,000-45,000. The kitchen will also have to be repainted and have wallpaper removed, which should run about $8,000-10,000.

Photo: Christian Hommel

The home’s two bathrooms are fairly small and also in need of an update. I would re-tile the floors, upgrade to low-flow toilets, and put in small vanities instead of wall-hung sinks for $12,000-16,000.

If it’s in the budget, a new shower in the master bathroom and a new tiled tub shower in the hall bath would be nice, putting the total project cost at $73,000-93,000.

The basement, sunroom, landscaping, and other exterior improvements would continue to up the value of the home, but this is a good start to bring the Cleavers into 2014.