Tag Archives: The Pink Ranch

Gravel Overdose Pt. 2: Back Yard

When we purchased The Pink Ranch we did so in the middle of one of the worst winters Colorado had seen in a while.  Actually, we went house hunting during most of it and I can recall on several occasions having to literally shovel our way up a walkway to see a house.  When we came to see this house we could barely drive down the street.

For the most part we didn’t think much of it (besides the perpetually cold feet) until we were moved in, the snow had melted and we realized we had no idea what the yard looked like.  The yard looked just fine covered in snow!

One of the big selling points for this place was the large yard, but what we didn’t know however is that for some reason this house was built on a weird slope (the only one in our neighborhood, as far as we can tell) which means the back yard slopes gradually downward towards the fence.  It isn’t flat at all.  The front does the same thing, but who cares about the front yard.

The biggest problem with this is that we see directly into our neighbors back yard which is *not* cute.  The fence, though normal height, doesn’t block our visuals because it’s so much lower down there and the house is so much higher.

Also, we have a concrete area just off the sliding doors in the TV room, which would be a lovely, sunny place to sit and stare at the neighbor’s yard, if the slab wasn’t nearly a foot lower than where it was originally laid and sliding away from the house.  Also, the slab is surrounded by a unexplained but very large dirt patch which contains in it a randomly planted rose garden which is kind of placed smack dab in the middle of the yard.

Also, the grass is terrible. Thin, neglected for lord knows how long, and probably the wrong kind to handle both sun and shade, and now two dogs.

On the plus side, we have two gorgeous old trees that blossom into bright pink flowers right around Mother’s Day every year:

Here’s the worst part, just off the house.  It’s mostly mud. Why? Because there were strawberries planted along the edge of the patio, Why? Why? Why????

Welcome into our home, Mud!

Our Summer 2009 plan? Cover it all with rocks!! We couldn’t afford to lay concrete (or so we thought) and a wood deck would look weird. Grass won’t grow there (clearly) so more more of our favorite tiny gray pebbles seemed the only option.

For the record I thought ordering two tons was a bit excessive.

So we skipped the professional part where you level out the space with sand and went right to doing a terrible job trimming the area, laying down Preen (did ok with that) and spreading out the gravel.
At least Lucy likes it.Oh, the gravel.  There was so very much and it just got everywhere. Plus the chairs and table sank into it as did your shoes. So while we succeeded in eliminating one mess with the mud, we created another, more destructive mess with the gravel.

Skip to the following summer (2010)…

Inspired by The Brick House’s scarily identical problem, we followed in her footsteps and added pavers INTO the gravel, rather that the other way around.  180 pavers to be exact. And a few weeks later I would discover I was preggers while doing the whole thing.

Note: pavers are not light.

Yes, we eyeballed the whole thing.

Et Voila!

The girls approve.

We’re still tweaking this area, but the pavers are sooo much better. We have a (semi) level place to sit and the gravel stays in the cracks where it belongs.  Best part is they were so inexpensive and totally in keeping with our hopes of transforming the back yard into a more modern, minimalist space.

To recap, BEFORE:

Before: gross, yucky, muddy mess.


After: Cleaned up, leveled out and ready for parties.

Break out the margaritas!

Removing Carpet

I realize there isn’t really anything new to add to the world about the fact that we removed carpet and restored wood floors. I only add it here, because if you’ve done it, you know how instantly gratifying it is.

Just say no to Dusty Rose.

Say "YES!" to hardwood floors!

Yes, it is gratifying, especially since the entire main floor was covered in this nasty pink carpet.  It is fun to roll it back and haul it out.

Fun. Until you get to the tack strip.

Man, that tack strip was everywhere.  It took days to remove and we all were poked 10,000 times with those damn sharp tacks.  AND I had a fever in this picture…just to make sure we all were having super amounts of fun.

But the end result was worth it! Our hardwood flooring guy was a GENIUS. An artist really.  Look what he did!




So to recap:

Living Room: Before


Living Room: AFTER


The Pink Ranch: A grand tour.

Here is our fair house, a modest 1963 Ranch in Denver.  We closed on Valentine’s Day in 2007. The Hus was horribly sick with the flu and we couldn’t even enjoy our bottle of champagne. Nor could we enjoy the insane two months of preliminary renovations waiting for us, which has to be finished before we could move in.  The flu of course passed on to me.  Ever ripped up tack strip with a fever? It’s super fun!

After nearly 6 months of looking for homes at entry level Denver prices, this was of course the very last house we looked at.  The minute we walked in, our Realtor exclaimed “It’s got good bones!” She was right. It’s got GREAT bones. The bones were sadly covered in every shade and form of pink you can imagine: pink carpet throughout (but gorgeous hardwood under there!!), pink wallpaper in stripes, flowers and metallics, pink toilets, pink sinks, pink laminate counter tops in the kitchen, PINK GROUT in the tile people!  Here’s a looksee:


Yes, the outside is a lovely mint green to compliment all the pink inside.

This is the front room, the living room which faces the street.

The dining room, which attaches to the kitches via a pony wall just behind The Hus.

The pink kitchen with bisque appliances and bisque laminate cabinets. A great size and layout though!

Another view of the kitchen looking back into the dining room.

This will become the TV room, just on the other side of the kitchen. A small, modest room but boy do we love that gorgeous working fireplace! The stone is gorgeous! (NOTE: one of the few rooms that is not pink.)

This is a bedroom which will eventually serve as an office. There are three bedrooms upstairs and 1 bed and bath in the "finished" (use that term loosely) basement.

The second bedroom. Why no pink? We'll never know. It's so great how clean the walls are, though. Har. Har. Nothing a whole lotta paint can't fix.

Ah, the master bedroom in all it's pink, mint green and brass fixture glory.

You're looking at a pocket door into the world's tiniest master bathroom.

See? So small and awful and clearly designed by insane people. We can't even shimmy in to fully photograph it.


This is the pink bathroom, and the main/guest bathroom for the whole house. Yep. That's a pink bathtub you're looking at. And two pink sinks, a pink toilet (with padded pink seat cover!) and a mirror on the OUTSIDE of the door, so when you're walking down the hallway you can check yourself out.

Now on to what I think was my favorite little nugget of decorating in this house: the downstairs bathroom.  In a total departure from pink the previous owners decided to embrace the seizure-inducing color combo of yellow and blue! They loved it so much they wallpapered the ENTIRE bathroom in it.  What do I mean by entire? I mean EHN-TY-ER. Like the cabinets, and of course, why not keep going across the back of the bathroom door?

Note masterful wallpapering skills which continue the pattern without regard to cabinet doors.

Oooh! A contrasting pattern! Perfect for a DOOR!

Just one more look at them wallpapered cabinets.

The basement. 1/4 of the space is randomly tiled and the washer/dryer were placed on the outside of the utility room.

Really cheap wood slabs were loosely nailed to the walls as a...border? And the walls were so dirty. So very, very dirty.

Lastly, the very weird, very hodgepodge utility room which makes no sense, and is generally scary. (Especially if you take a gander at the wiring up above you in the unfinished ceiling.)

On a positive note, this space does lead to a massive crawl space.

So there’s the nuts and bolts of the good bones of the house.  This was four years ago and we’re still working on the space, de-pinking it room and bringing out her hidden beauty.  Over the last four years The Pink Ranch has very much become our home, and even with all her bizarre quirks and unanswered questions we love this place very much.  At first it was just me and The Hus, and now the home is filled with two gorgeous dogs and a beautiful baby girl. We are blessed. And, we are tired.