The cookie-cutter ranch home is very popular in Oklahoman subdivision tract housing. Unfortunately, many new homebuyers end up in one of these neighborhoods because they sell for lower prices in areas near schools, parks, and restaurants. Additionally, they are likely newer homes, which hopefully (but not always) means less surprises to deal with after purchasing. The problem is that they all look the exact same and are never just what you wanted. There is nothing unique about these homes or particularly pretty.
“Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes made of ticky-tacky
Little boxes on the hillside
Little boxes all the same
There’s a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one
And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all look just the same”
So how can you customize the exterior to make a brick cookie-cutter ranch your own? Let’s take a look at a gray 1990s cookie-cutter ranch house that is very typical of the OKC metro area.
We have a bare front yard, which is great to work with. However, this home is just too plain for my taste. From the start, I hated the light gray color, but I knew this home had potential.
In this area, we constantly battle red clay. Yes, it is a real thing – that’s where the term red dirt comes from. And it is RED. It stains the bottom of our homes and our walkways, driveways, patios – you name it. To begin with, this home needs a good wash on the lower part of the house and all over the walkway and driveway. In fact, there are many good instructions and videos online if you want to attempt to do this yourself, but you can hire this out as well.
Landscaping is Important
Next, I cannot express how important landscaping is for enhancing curb appeal. Add a little greenery and color with layers and bam! A simple and important enhancement.
The Little Details Count
Ideas for updating a basic or outdated home:
- New or painted shutters
- Replace or paint front door
- Add new or paint trim
- Replace or paint siding
- Updated light fixtures for entryway and garage
- Updated house numbers for entryway and/or garage
- Add planters to porch
- New, painted or covered garage doors
- New or updated walkway
To good ole trusty Photoshop we go!
Doesn’t this home look better already? Simple, low-cost options can dramatically increase a home’s exterior and therefore its worth.
This update is ideal for those against painting or staining their brick home, which does require maintenance over the long-term.
Stained Brick is an Option
If you are not opposed to staining brick, there are many color varieties available. As I stated, the light gray is just not great on this house (sorry if you are a fan!). Accordingly, a less dramatic option is to stain it a slightly darker gray, which may or may not be worth the cost.
However, if dramatic is your style, a darker red stain would completely transform this home. And you can do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you.
I think this looks great. In addition to staining the bricks red, the trim was thickened in the entryway. The red brick can handle a chunkier look, but I thought it was too much for the gray.
Painted Brick is also an Option
I know, I know! This is a controversial topic, but I like painted brick houses, too! This really takes the light gray cookie-cutter home to the next level. Of course, tract housing is usually found in neighborhoods with an HOA. I feel the need to warn you here – check with your HOA rules and regulations prior to painting your home or doing any major changes.
But, if everything is all peachy and you are willing to take the leap to painting your brick house, there are a lot of great videos and instructions online that walk you through the process step-by-step, which will save you money. Be that as it may, you can also save a lot of time and hire the work out.
Drum roll please….
Yet another transformation! An off-white exterior paint would look lovely on this home. On the other hand, whitewashing the brick would look cool and leave a little of the gray in there. While the black garage door is a bolder choice, I like it with the other black accents, such as the entryway trim, fixtures, shutters, and gable vent.
Don’t be Afraid to try Wood Accents and Wood Garage Doors
It’s easy for me to say this because I can preview any major change in Photoshop. Nevertheless, Photoshop is one thing and real life is another. I hope that any of these changes will look better in real life. Okay, prepare yourself for this – wood garage doors, wood siding in the entryway, and wood shutters!
Finally, this home has officially gone from cookie-cutter ranch to customized ranch. Consequently, this is the most expensive option. If you wanted to go much beyond this, it would require more than a basic facelift.
Final Thoughts on the Cookie-Cutter Ranch
I believe that this 90s cookie-cutter ranch home update is achievable by any home buyer or homeowner. My hope is that this post gives any potential homeowner comfort in knowing that a house can completely transform with minor updates. Don’t let the exterior of a home completely dissuade you from the neighborhood or interior of the home.
What do you think? Is this project achievable? Do you like any of these options? Any similar experience that you would like to share? I would love to hear it!
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Check out related posts, such as this great 1980s Modern Ranch update.