A Run-Down Ranch Gets Totally Revamped

While others might have overlooked this house, one couple saw oodles of potential. HGTV Magazine helped bring their vision to life.

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Photo By: DAVID TSAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo By: DAVID TSAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Photo By: DAVID TSAY PHOTOGRAPHY

Exterior Before

Ashley Goforth doesn’t mince words when she describes her first impression of the 2,500-square-foot home that she and her husband, Scott, eventually bought. “It was a total dump,” she says, with a laundry list of hideous details: green shag carpeting, wood-paneled walls, a sorely outdated kitchen and bedrooms stuffed with boxes à la Hoarders. Yet Ashley, an interior designer, wasn’t deterred. “For a 56-year-old house, it was in great shape,” she says. “You could see that it got a lot of light, and the rooms flowed together nicely.”

Plus, the Goforths were running out of options: Both grew up in Houston’s Memorial neighborhood and wanted to move back for its school system. But finding a place they could afford was proving difficult, even after six months of aggressive hunting. So they went rogue and contacted the owners of the ranch house, who neighborhood friends said were about to list it. “We wrote a letter to them, and they sold directly to us,” says Ashley. It took a dozen or so gallons of paint and some high-impact cosmetic changes to transform the home into something not only livable but also beautiful. “There are things about it that still aren’t perfect,” says Ashley, “but for right now, it’s perfect for us.” 

Exterior After

One of the couple’s first projects was updating the exterior with new gutters, Andersen windows from The Home Depot and a fresh coat of pale gray paint (Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore). The front doors are painted Luau Green by Sherwin-Williams. “We cleared out the brush and weeds, then planted a short row of boxwood and a row of ligustrum behind them for a super-clean, manicured look,” says Ashley.

Family Room Before

Family Room After

While a sofa with a white slipcover might seem like a risky choice for a family with two children in grade school, Ashley maintains that “everything is practically indestructible” in this space, thanks to sturdy fabrics: Sunbrella sailcloth in salt for the sofa’s slipcover, Perennials fabric on the barrel chair and easy-to-clean Novasuede on the stool. The Parsons coffee table is from Crate & Barrel, and Ashley scored the French-style chair at Round Top, a biannual antiques fair in Texas, and had it re-covered in mohair. The rug, purchased in Turkey, covers most of the tile floor, which they didn’t bother to change. “This floor is not my first choice, but it’s somewhat neutral, so we left it as is,” says Ashley.

Living Room Before

Living Room After

To make the built-in shelves and the brick wall disappear, Ashley painted them the same warm white as the other walls (Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams) and added doors to the shelves to turn them into cabinets. She painted the inside of the fireplace Black Magic by Sherwin-Williams. The shag carpeting was tossed in favor of wall-to-wall seagrass from Creative Flooring. “I like seagrass because it’s a hard surface, so furniture sits on it the way it would on hardwood,” says Ashley. The custom-made armchairs are upholstered in Perennials fabric, and Ashley bought the bull’s-eye mirror at Restoration Hardware. 

Dining Nook Before

Dining Nook After

The house lacks a formal dining room, so the family eats every meal in this corner off the kitchen. A mix of seating surrounds the white tulip table from IKEA: Louis XVI chairs upholstered in camel-color leather, a modern S-shaped plastic chair and a storage bench topped with a teal Sunbrella-covered cushion. The turquoise-and-white pillows are from HomeGoods, and the Murano glass chandelier is from their old home. “It might be too formal here, but I couldn’t bear to keep it in a box in the attic,” says Ashley. 

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Since they may someday build a new home on this lot, Ashley didn’t want to pour a ton of money into a major reno. But being an avid cook, she couldn’t stomach the idea of turning out meals in the outdated kitchen. Her short-term solution: Replace the old countertops with affordable white linoleum and paint the cabinets inky black, a color Ashley says “gives a space high style.” She also replaced the cabinets close to the dining nook with floating shelves. A black-and-white-striped rug from Crate & Barrel and a Roman shade with grosgrain-ribbon trim from Pottery Barn echo the black-stripe detail on the backsplash, which they didn’t change. The star-shaped light fixture is from Circa Lighting. 

Sutton's Bedroom Before

Sutton's Bedroom After

True, 6-year-old Sutton’s bedroom is adultlike, but “I didn’t want to redecorate every three years,” says Ashley. She painted the walls can’t-go-wrong pale gray (Gray Screen by Sherwin-Williams) and had a trundle bed upholstered in sandy-hued Pindler fabric. “It’s easy to swap out bedding,” she says. “And because his walls and bed are so neutral, we can change things over time to bring in colors he loves.” The gallery wall is all Sutton-created, except for one print by abstract artist Steven Alexander framed with an oversize mat. The yellow side table is an outdoor piece by McGuire.

Carys' Bedroom Before

Carys' Bedroom After

Ashley avoided a full-on pink assault and instead used the color as an accent. “Carys is girly but not a princess,” says Ashley, who painted the walls warm white (Snowbound by Sherwin-Williams) and the ceiling powdery pink (Strawberry Yogurt by Benjamin Moore), which gives the room a pastel glow. A striped rug from Dash & Albert that includes green and khaki helps downplay the pink. The canopy bed, which Ashley had painted white, is from PBteen, the pale pink Roman shades are from Pottery Barn Kids, and the mirrored dresser is from Z Gallerie. 

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

Two mandates Ashley has for most bedrooms she designs, including her own: Keep the palette neutral and the look symmetrical. She flanked her 5 ½-foot-tall headboard with nightstands from the Longoria Collection store in Houston and mercury glass lamps from Restoration Hardware. The custom linen window treatments not only look super polished, but the Roman shade above the nightstand also disguises the fact that it’s actually covering a door, not a window. “To be honest, our room isn’t that big, so in order to make our furniture fit, the nightstand had to go in front of that door,” Ashley says. “We swapped out the French door that was there for a picture door.” A pair of velvet appliqué Lacefield pillows from Tuvalu add a pop of color to the space.  

Office

An abundance of natural light allowed Ashley to go dark in her petite home office, painting it Black Magic by Sherwin-Williams. By eliminating a closet, she made room for a custom piece: a glass-and-wood desktop designed to rest on two standard-issue file cabinets. Floating shelves that reach to the ceiling keep vertical space from going to waste. The highlight of the room is a vintage Platner chair with hot pink nubby wool that Ashley found at a mid-century-antiques store. The zebra-print cube is from Williams-Sonoma Home.

Patio Before

Patio After

“One of the things we love so much about this home is the backyard,” says Ashley. “There’s no dedicated play space inside for the kids, so this is it.” The Goforths added a row of Japanese blueberry trees along the back fence for privacy and installed four raised garden beds that turn out a steady supply of herbs, tomatoes, and peppers. Brown wicker furniture from Pottery Barn, an outdoor rug from Dash & Albert, and a custom table create the setting for evening and weekend hangouts with other families. A big Sunbrella umbrella from Pottery Barn shades the space on hot days. The planters are from CB2.