Little Pax Ranch Kitchen Renovation

This ranch kitchen renovation takes a small, outdated farmhouse and converts it into a rustic modern kitchen perfect for gathering family and friends.

texas ranch house facade and split rail fence | Maison de Paxtexas ranch house with split rail fence | Maison de Pax

You know what’s even better than the excitement my children have for getting presents on birthdays or Christmas morning? It’s their excitement toย give presents. Rarely do my kids make it more than about an hour after making or picking out a present before they’ve shoved the wrapped package in the recipient’s hands and begged them with eager, sparkling eyes to open the gift. Who cares if it’s three weeks early? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Texas hill country walk | Maison de Pax

That’s how I feel about our renovation at Little Pax Ranch.

This post won’t have the “after” pictures or the full reveal (don’t worry, that’s coming soon!), but I can’t wait any longer to tell you about the process and progress. Plus, this will help the full reveal to make more sense.

Finding Little Pax Ranch

First of all, I want to give a little more backstory on this place. I shared this story before, when I revealed the tiny house on our property, but I think it bears a quick summarizing here. My great grandparents had property in this part of the Texas hill country back in the 1950’s, when my mother was a little girl. Since her father’s job had them moving aย lot, the little property here was the most “home” my mother ever had. Fast forward to the early 80’s, when I was a girl, and my grandparents retired to this same area, marking my childhood with endless visits there. Ridiculous antics when all the cousins gathered there (like using the golf cart to help us water ski across the pool and building two-story forts deep in the woods) are the cornerstone of some of my favorite childhood memories. I even got married on their property. But after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother was no longer able to live alone out there, and the property was sold. Ever since, we’ve been saving and looking for a way to get back a little slice of that hill country area we love so much.

tiny black and white house in the country with a gorgeous sunrise overhead
Sunrise on the property (after we purchased it and gave the tiny house a makeover)

Just over a year ago, we found this property with about six acres (enough to feel secluded and allow the kids to roam, but not so much to keep up from a distance). It’s only a few minutes away from the old family property, and we loved the natural beauty of the land, the tiny house, the charming split rail fence, and the potential of the big house and workshop.

texas hill country beauty | Maison de Pax

But it definitely was awaiting a makeover.

farmhouse renovation BEFORE | Maison de Pax

We could have replaced wallpaper and added a lot of paint, and it honestly would have been a sweet little weekend house. But 1600 sf, a 15×15 living room, no dining room, and just three bedrooms wouldn’t really fit my family very well. If just my parents and siblings all show up (with spouses and kids), there are 17 people… and that doesn’t include any of the cousins. And our dream is for this weekend house to be a gathering place for friends and family.

texas farmhouse with austin stone and cedar exterior | Maison de Pax

Plus, the attic space was too tempting to pass up. This is almost what it looked like on our first visit (minus the hole we cut for the stairs and the beginning of framing that you see.. not sure why I can’t find an earlier picture!), and I knew that by closing it in, we could gain almost 1000 sf.

before attic renovation | Maison de Pax

So when we found out we got the property (it was actually under contract when we first saw it, but that fell through!), we knew a great renovation was about to begin.

Planning the Kitchen Renovation

It’s always tricky to decide how to best tackle a renovation. Sometimes, it makes sense to go in stages; other times, it’s most cost effective to do it all at once. We originally thought we would tackle the downstairs first and then the upstairs, but because of the best location of the stairs (basically in the middle of the house) and the most logical HVAC options, and the fact that we were taking away a bedroom to make the dining room, we finally decided we would save time and money in the long run by doing the renovation all at once. If you’re a nerd like me, you might enjoy seeing my drawings of the proposed changes:

floor plans before ranch house kitchen renovation | Maison de Pax

proposed floor plans for ranch kitchen renovation | Maison de Pax

I’ll share more about the full house plans later, but today let’s focus on the kitchen (because that’s the part I’m almost ready to show you!). As you see on the plans above, the front of the house along the porch used to be a small living room, an eat-in kitchen, and a bedroom.

texas farmhouse makeover and renovation | Maison de Pax

Here’s a look at the interior of that space.

BEFORE of a modern farmhouse kitchen makeover

My immediate plan was to give up the bedroom at the front of the house by knocking down the walls on either side of the kitchen and creating one large living/kitchen/dining space. It was easy to imagine the great room, but it took aย lot of measuring, planning, drawing, and even knocking down walls before we could determine the exact location for the stairs. We had to take into account the downstairs floor plan and upstairs floor plan, as well as the AC and electrical routing.

renovation: adding stairs to build out the attic | Maison de Pax

The permitting was a huge challenge, too. If you are considering a massive renovation like this, just multiply your timing estimate by about 37 and you might be ok. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  To be fair, we were talking about some major changes.

The Renovation Process

As I mentioned, I knew I wanted to take down the walls on either side of the kitchen to create one large living/kitchen/dining space, with a huge island at the center of it all… And the engineering required large support beams in their place.

texas farmhouse renovation in process | Maison de Pax

We wrapped the beams in simple cedar and finally decided on the location of the stairs… and I think it’s perfect – just at the back of the main kitchen area.

farmhouse renovation process | Maison de Pax

We were even able to fit in a little pantry beside the stairs (where the AC unit was formerly housed) and tucked the laundry/mudroom under the stairs (more to come on that later).

new stairs to finished attic renovation | Maison de Pax

As you can see, we also replaced all the flooring with wide-plank engineered oak floors. It’s actually the same flooring we used in our current home but in the Rivera color. Once the walls and floors (and HVAC and electrical and plumbing… it’s been a loooooonnnnnng process) were done, we were able to begin installing cabinets and seeing the space take on more life.

open kitchen renovation with rustic cedar beams | Maison de Pax

Traffic flow was a huge priority for this space. Even though we are expanding into the attic, the main living area of this home is not enormous, especially considering the number of people we hope to gather here. So I knew we needed plenty of walking space (48″ minimum) on either side of the island.

big island kitchen renovation progress | Maison de Pax

To achieve that and still have a 12″ bar overhang for seating, we put 24″ deep cabinets back to back with 18″ deep cabinets. It will make the overall island approximately 4.5′ wide, and I think it’s the perfect size.

ranch house big island open kitchen renovation | Maison de Pax

We wanted to keep the kitchen sink where it was, and since we removed the other kitchen walls, the range had to go in the island. I shared more about this when I shared our appliance choices for the space. That meant an island hood, too, which was a first for me.

black island hood over large island kitchen renovation | Maison de Pax

Working around the large support beams was challenging, but I’m so pleased with how it’s turning out.

kitchen cabinets framing around support beams | Maison de Pax

It’s all coming together beautifully, and as I am writing this, the final countertops are being installed! After that, it’s backsplash and touch ups… I can’t wait to share the full reveal with you soon.

More questions about the project? Check out the following:

before and after of a little ranch kitchen makeover | Maison de Pax

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  1. Love what you’re doing but I’m confused. Are there two different houses on the property? The first exterior picture of a house is totally different from the second one. Which is the one you are renovating?

    1. There is a ‘tiny’ house on the property (in dark paint) and the stone home is the main home. Right now, we are focusing on the main stone home. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Looks great! Can’t wait to see the final reveal. I love thinking about your extended family making memories there. (also, I’m a big fan of that chandelier)

  3. What a change and can not beat the property. Very nice and some awesome changes. The lighting is amazing. Never seen the globes. Cannot wait to see it all together.

  4. Your kitchens have always been fabulous wherever you lived and this one will be too. You will have a great place to celebrate family times together and make lots of memories. Thank you for sharing, those children are going to love it.

  5. What a wonderful space for making memories! Canโ€™t wait to see the final reveal of the kitchen!

  6. Love the story behind the property! It’s amazing that you’ve decided to preserve the family tradition and also add a modern vibe to the house. I can’t wait to see the rest of your renovation plans because judging by the kitchen, it’s going to be wonderful.

  7. Hi Rachel, really lovely ideas for a kitchen renovation. Your kitchen looks really beautiful. Thank you for the share. Keep up your good and best work.

  8. Really appreciate the detailed explanation with top view plans.
    Can you please drop for a 1 bedroom apartment.
    Thanks for the post
    Do Keep posting

  9. Hi Rachel, love your site. I’m an Austinite living in Bastrop on some acreage with my husband and 6 kids (though 2 are at A&M). You’ve done such a great job on the ranch house – and to see it all documented (with links to purchase!) is a treat. What did you use to make your floorplan drawings? They’re simple but effective and I have need for something like that. Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much! And what fun to be on acreage with your family… I’m so glad you’re finding this all helpful! I actually create my floorplans in photoshop. I’m sure it’s not the quickest or most efficient program, but since I already know how to use it, I just do it there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thank you so much for posting all of your documentation and hard work. Our family is about to embark on updating the interior of our 90’s home to a modern farmhouse style. This has been immensely helpful! Any major follow-up/lessons learned about any particular product or process that you would recommend if you had to do it all over again?

    1. You are so kind, and I’m so glad you found it helpful! The only thing that comes to mind right now is that Magnolia Homes eggshell paint isn’t as wipeable as other brands I’ve used. I love love love the color, but with four kiddos, I wish I had something a little easier to clean. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We also managed to pull a handle out of our kitchen faucet. We were able to put it back in, but it’s not longer perfectly straight. Not sure if that was user error or a quality problem, but it was unfortunate either way. Otherwise, we’ve loved it all!

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