How One Texas Couple Turned An Old Ranch House Into A Family Retreat

The Masseys

‘There’s just something about being in the country that relaxes you,” says Dallas mother of two Ashley Massey. “The moment we arrive at our ranch (located one hour south of Dallas, near Corsicana) everything slows down, and my blood pressure drops. I see it with the girls, too.” Massey, founder of ASM Style vintage furniture renovation, is no stranger to breathing new life into things, but she never could have imagined the project in store for them when they first visited that little, white ranch house in the April of 2016.

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“My husband, Jordan, is from the country, and when we found the house he was actually just looking for some land for hunting,” says Massey. “When the realtor sent us the link to the property and I saw that charming, country house, I started to think of the possibility of having a family place.” The realtor advised that the house held absolutely no value, was full of bugs and had evidence of animals, but that didn’t dissuade the Masseys. “We both love DIY home improvement, and we felt up to the challenge,” she says. With a background in hotel renovation project management, Ashley got right down to business, bringing her vision to life through hand-drawn blueprints and renovation plans.

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Turning any house into a home is a labor of love, but especially when that house is close to 100-years old. “The story we heard was that the original part of the house was built in the 1920s in downtown Corsicana and was moved to this property when the land was purchased for commercial use,” says Massey. With 13-foot ceilings, shiplap walls, a large kitchen window and a welcoming porch, they fell in love with the home’s character … but it needed some serious work.

The first thing that had to go was the carpet. The Masseys removed all of the carpet, gave everything a fresh coat of paint and laid new floors. “We didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so we did a lot of experimenting at the ranch … and it paid off,” she says. “We took nice-looking, 4×8 sheets of sanded plywood and laid them down as our flooring. Once they were stained, they looked great, and the rooms looked instantly refreshed.”

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Next up was the porch. “I loved the porch, but it just wasn’t safe,” says Massey. Jordan’s dad and brother, both of whom work in commercial construction, came out for the weekend to help them build a safe porch with new columns and a fresh deck. Later on, Massey used the discarded wood from the original front porch to create stunning headboards for the guest bedroom.

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In the kitchen, Massey transformed a lackluster hood vent and oven by spray-painting them a dark grey. For the light fixture, she found a decorative lantern at HomeGoods and repurposed it into a chandelier. “I turned the lantern upside down and drilled a hole in the bottom,” she says. “Then, I bought a small chandelier at a thrift store and strung it through the bottom of the lantern. Voila!” She found a kitchen table on the side of the road, and the kitchen was complete.

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Through the years, the Masseys have pulled back paneling, installed pine plank bathroom countertops, layered more fresh paint, gathered antique and discarded furnishings (including the gorgeous Victorian dollhouse Ashley found on a curb) and even rented a trencher to repair plumbing and connect a new drain pipe. The ranch is far from complete, but it has become a beloved country home for their family.

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“We throw on our cowboy boots, pack the cooler and head to the ranch where we can really be ourselves … no makeup on, hair a mess, just relaxed with a drink in my hand watching the girls catch baby frogs, play on the swings and explore nature under the tree lights,” says Massey. “It’s magical.”

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*DIY Tip
Massey painted the house using only what she calls the “Oops” paint from Home Depot. “Sometimes the color-match computer doesn’t get the paint right, and they have to make a new gallon for the customer,” says Massey. “The ‘oops’ paint is put on a rack near the paint counter and sold for $9/gallon. If they don’t have a color I want, sometimes I can mix two of them together to get the look I want.”

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Massey’s Favorite Antiques Stores

ASM Style Dallas
(At City View Antique Mall)
6830 Walling Ln.
Dallas, TX 75231

City View Antique Mall
6830 Walling Ln.
Dallas, TX 75231

Forestwood Antique Mall
5333 Forest Ln.
Dallas, TX 75244

Resell It!
10233 E. Northwest Hwy.
Dallas, TX 75238

Lots of Furniture
10 N. Riverfront Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75207