DIY Putz house #5 — Storybook ranch putz house — free downloadable pattern

storybook-ranch-christmas-houseGet ready for cuteness overload — a mini “Storybook Ranch” house pattern with lots of potential for adding vintage charm. This putz house pattern can be as plain, or as dolled up as you desire. The first of my patterns with a gabled roof, the house can be finished with a mid century minimal hand or trimmed to the gills with bric-a-brac. Let your imagination take over and make this a house worthy of Hansel & Gretel.

storybook-ranch-putz-houseThis design started out plain and simple — a gable roofed ranch house. Then it dawned on me. This would be the perfect pattern to turn into a Storybook Ranch (see all our stories about storybook ranch houses here). All I needed to figure out was how to make that classic mid century scallop trim.

decorative-cut-scissorsThen it hit me — why not use some decorative-cut scissors. This pair came from Michael’s and was on sale for a mere $1.50. There were several designs to choose from. To make the roof trim, I used the decorative-cut scissors to make long strips from the same lightweight cardboard used to make the house. The strips should be about twice as wide as you want the finished trim to be with one side fancy cut and one side straight. Then, using a ruler and x-acto knife, lightly score the strip in half and fold. The straight side of the trim will give you surface area to glue the moulding to the underside of your home’s roof. Then just paint the desired color, cut to length and install.

mid-century-christmas-houseYou can see that this house was completely trimmed around the entire roof line and all the windows. The window trim is just plain white computer paper, no need for cardboard here. For extra cuteness, a simple dovecote was added in the peak of the gable — another great way to personalize this pattern. For dovecote design inspiration, see our post: Dovecotes in Storybook Ranch houses. 

storybook-ranch-house-cardboardTo finish off the look, some colorful bottle brush trees and a two-toned grey “stone” sidewalk adds charm to the landscaping.

A tip for assembling this design: build the main part of the house (including roof) first, then add the front gable. The notched area in the main roof will help with placing the gabled section of the house.

Click here to download Kate’s free Putz house pattern

Make a whole neighborhood of mid century “Putz” style houses:


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  1. Mary Elizabeth says

    Kate, this is adorable, but shouldn’t you be leaving the Putz houses alone this week and caulking around your vanity top? What time do your guests arrive Thursday? My mother’s favorite saying, whether it was going to school and working or getting ready for the holidays while also home renovating was, “Don’t spread yourself too thin.” If you do, you are likely to have caulk in your turkey and pumpkin pie in your caulk gun. 🙂

    Speaking of caulk, I learned from that couple that had blue tile in their bath to put masking tape on the wall to get a straight line. My DH always gets it right just using his finger, but I’m not as experienced and need the tape.

    Everyone on Retro Renovation, Happy Thanksgiving, and be happy celebrating in the house you have, even if you have to move some furniture to the garage to fit your guests in (which I have done in the past).

      • Kate says

        Thanks MsKittyMuses! I got the idea when I was out on a walk with Leo, and saw one of my neighbor’s houses that has some scalloped trim… I thought I’d seen the pattern before…and realized it was from the decorative cut scissors that I used as a kid! Lightbulb on! 😉

        • Mary Elizabeth says

          That WAS a stroke of genius! But you were lucky to have decorative shears when you were a kid. We old fogies (the ones who walked five miles to school, up hill both ways, in the snow) had nothing but plain scissors in school and at home our mothers’ pinking shears and our fathers’ scroll saws. And you know what kind of trouble we got into for borrowing those! 🙂 I remember my mom on any given Saturday just trying to find a pair of scissors–any scissors–and every kind of scissors in the house were off with one of us kids for school or personal art projects.

          This makes me think the Putz houses would be awfully fun to make out of balsa wood instead of cardboard.

  2. linda h says

    How fun! I hope I can find time to make these before Christmas. I may just have to make do with the ones I made last year.

  3. DonnR says

    Kate beat me to this, I have a storybook ranch with very similar window/door placement (mirrored) and it’s nearly the same color.
    I started a pattern for my house last year and hope to finish it soon. I happen to have the original design drawings so was going for an accurate depiction….I’ll let you know how it goes.
    From my original drawings I’m creating a pattern to replicate the scallop trim on my house to add to a shed so they match. However, your pinking shear inspiration is great for the cardboard version.

  4. JKaye says

    This house is just precious. The landscaping is so nicely balanced. (Unfortunately, we’re supposed to get that much real snow in my region tonight. If only we had pink trees to go with it! )

    • Robin, NV says

      The trees are far too close to the house. I see foundation problems in its future. But at the same time, I’d hate to see someone take an itty bitty chainsaw to those trees. 😉

  5. says

    Kate! This is very much like the pattern I’m trying to draft for the one that will look like my parents’ first home (my favorite of all the houses we’ve lived in)! Yay! Thanks!

  6. Ruth says

    I saw a package of Xmas tree shaped bottle brushes in the dollar store the other day, and the first thing that came to mind was Retro Renovation LOL. Must be getting close to the holidays.

  7. tammyCA says

    That’s how I make my little storybook houses with the scallop/deckle scissors for the Swiss/Bavarian trim – I have all different shapes. We have a lot of storybook houses here and they have many different trims & shutter designs & dovecotes…burns me up when I see flippers or homeowners strip off that vintage detailing. I was born in the wrong time..can’t stand design of today. 🙁

  8. linda h says

    In the original instructions you said make the base any size you want, but you did give suggested sizes for the first ones, but I didn’t see that for this year’s models. Do you want to tell us what size you made your yards?

    • linda h says

      What I meant to say was, “Could you, please, let us know what size you made the bases for the houses?” Sorry, I didn’t realize my original request sounded so impolite til reading it again after being posted. And “Thanks!” in advance.

  9. Scott says

    Cute, and me too, loving on the dovecote. I noticed those for the first time ever in 2008 on some of the houses at the Henry Ford, now I am always scanning for them. I never knew what they were called until now though, and I really enjoyed the link to the other story.

    When the openings are scaled down for smaller birds are they called wrencotes? 🙂

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