This 1930s bathroom room in our big house had horrific wallpaper when we moved in, so we stripped it and painted the walls.

updating 50s ranch bathroom-63

I’d tell people where I worked with a smirk, quick to add that I didn’t actually But here I am now, and I’m damned if I’m going to be all hangdog and sheepish about where we live–or spend the years we’ll be here wishing I were somewhere else.

We may be five minutes from chain restaurants, discount retailers, and a warehouse grocery store (by car, of course), but we’re determined to make this our version of the American Dream. We think the suburban split-level may be a house whose time is coming, and we want to tell you why–so you can get in while the gettins’ good.

While a city neighborhood full of mid-century ranches and small, independent businesses would be cool and all, it wouldn’t get us the things we’re really yearning for. (And because if more people who like what we like join us, the community will change in ways we’d like.) No, there isn’t the kind of hipster cool we see in Portland: But there’s still a kind of cool.

Simplicity and sustainability are ideas we like a lot. It’s just a different kind of old-school cool (now that the ’70s were 40 years ago).

When we were househunting three years ago, I was one tough customer. We figured since the layout worked and it had a nice backyard, we could give the lady a face lift down the road. The stone patio first, then the garage, next the entry, and lastly the brick painted. I prefer not to have a garage in front of the house, but since we do, we’re making the best of it with a new trellis and decorative doors. The posts on the entry echo the design on the garage trellis.

But then I found this ranch that seemed to have all the important criteria we were looking for…except, uh, exterior beauty. We broke the project down into small bite-size pieces and decided on improvements that would give the most architectural bang for the buck. The new garage helps to clean up the front view of the house.

Are you a Fixer Upper fan who yearns for more from Joanna's favorite woodsmith and furniture pro extraordinaire, Clint Harp? He's hosting a brand-new series on DIY Network called Wood Work.

Read About It on Our Blog See a Gallery of Clint's Fixer Upper Pieces In the final episode of season four, Chip and Joanna take on a project for some extra special clients and deliver a makeover that's way long on 'wow' factor. Take the Photo Tour Read About It on Our Blog See Exclusive Video With Magnolia Silos and the new bakery complete, Chip and Jo are ready to take on another special project.

So, yeah: We bought a big, boxy split-entry house in the suburbs.

I’ve worked in this city (because it is a city in its own right) for years, and I always took some pride in living somewhere else.

And to celebrate, we offer up a compendium of some of our favorite Joanna Gaines pics from the Fixer Upper archives.