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Renovating a Ranch-Style Home: How Smart Design Can Make for More Space

When my friends approached me to work on this home in South Portland, Maine, we came up with a design plan that was casual, functional, and perfectly suited for entertaining. Read on to see how we implemented these ideas into the design of the living areas and the bedrooms.

Jesse and Jackie Cyr were looking for property in a beachside neighborhood in South Portland, but they never expected to settle on a 1960's ranch. Maine is known for it's Capes, New Englanders, and Colonials. A single-story home just isn't very common in New England. What excited them about this property was the prospect of an open floor plan in the living, dining, and kitchen spaces with a master bedroom tucked away at the opposite end of the home, allowing for a peaceful retreat.


My contractor, Pat Schwartz and I, designed and renovated the living, bedroom and office spaces to function for the Cyr's. We aimed to create a social living space, a serene sleeping space and a productive workspace -- read on to see how it turned out!

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The living room before.

The living room before was a bit of a blank slate, but the space overall felt a bit dingy and weathered. I wanted to incorporate a sense of comfort and brightness while using materials that acknowledged the 1960's era that this home was built in.

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The living room after. Photo by Justin Levesque.

The anchoring piece of the room is the Loloi shag rug. A Flokati was at the top of the must-have list for the Cyrs. It's a nod to decades past, but it's also incredibly comfortable under foot. The Room and Board sectional is clean lined and the muted teal upholstery adds color to the room. The walnut Blu dot coffee table is the perfect size for this room. Custom drapes were crafted by The Shade Store in an off white and grey pinstripe. They provide a classic, tailored element to the room.

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The sitting room before.

The gas "wood" stove was an element that Jesse and Jackie were excited to save and use in their daily life. To make the most of it, I wanted to create a seating area where they could enjoy this nook. The orange and green walls throughout the living areas were given an update and all painted Benjamin Moore's Moonshine.

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The sitting room after.

A comfortable arm chair and pouf provide an area for Jesse or Jackie to hang out with a cup of coffee and take in the ocean views out of the windows on the opposing wall. I added a large mirror to reflect light in the space. A jute rug grounds the space and provides an extra natural element.

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The guest room before.

Jesse works quite a bit from home, so instead of a guest room, the Cyrs turned the second bedroom into his home office (luckily they have an extra bedroom in the basement for guests).

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The guest room, now home office, after. Photo by Justin Levesque.

I had been on the hunt for a mid-century desk for Jesse from the outset of the project. I found the perfect desk at Just L in Littleton, NH and built the rest of the room off of it. The Patriots light, a tribute to Jesse's favorite NFL team, doesn't sacrifice on craftsmanship or style. I sourced the piece through Portland Architectural Salvage.

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The master bedroom before.

The master bedroom was spacious considering the overall square footage of the house. Even though it's slightly separated from the rest of the space, I wanted to keep the aesthetic consistent.

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The master bedroom after. Photo by Justin Levesque.

The grey walls are a cool-toned background for the warm-toned furnishings. There are a number of different species of wood represented in the furniture, which brought some warmth to the room. The first piece we purchased was the Furniturea bed. The creamy white is the perfect contrast to the grey walls. The burlap ship was sourced through the Portland Flea for All and framed in maple to match the side tables, made for Jesse and Jackie by a friend. The sconces provide the mid-century component to this room. The scale is unexpected, but they are balanced by the size of the art above the bed.

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The master bedroom after. Photo by Justin Levesque.

Penny, their puppy, is quite comfortable among the global-inspired textiles.

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Detail of the dresser in the master bedroom. Photo by Justin Levesque.

The dresser was sourced on Etsy and is perfect in this room, and matches the overall design scheme of the house. It offers tons of storage and the hardware makes the piece well suited for the aesthetic of this home renovation.


Renovating this home was an honor, not just because it was an opportunity to work with my friends, but because it allowed me to put together a creative design plan that incorporated the entire house. The space is cohesive and none of the elements are too serious or stuffy. There is a sense of fun that exists in this house, perfectly suiting the people who now call this home.


Photography by Justin Levesque.