How to Find Furniture on Craigslist + Our Favorite Finds EVER!

If you know me at all, you know that I love a good deal. I’m one of those people that will happily sort through 16 racks of socks on sale for 2 hours just to find that perfect pair. Because, hello, deal. It’s kind of a problem, but Craigslist lets me scratch that itch in a productive way. It is also my secret weapon when it comes to finding furniture.

Craigslist is full of unique pieces with unique stories that the seller is often more than happy to share with you. Plus buying used means less landfill waste.  That’s a win, win, win in my book.  Read on for our best tips for scouring big on Craigslist and 4 of my favorite Craigslist finds…ever!

One // Victorian Headboard for the Dexter House Master Bedroom // $195

I found this solid, antique headboard on Craigslist and immediately fell in love. I was out of town, so promptly emailed the seller to set up a time for Garrett to pick it up. I should say thankfully I wasn’t in town because this sucker was heavy and I’m sure Garrett was cursing my Craigslist obsession as he egged it into the back of the truck.  At $195 it wasn’t the best deal we’ve ever gotten on Craigslist, but it wasn’t bad either. The previous owner had purchased it from a designer for a lot more than $195 and stripped the paint off. When we got the headboard home, we realized that it was more of an oversized full than a queen, but we were able to build out the frame accordingly to make it work with a queen mattress.

Two // Solid Wood Cabinets for the Ravenna Basement // $160

I saw these custom cabinets pop up one weekend afternoon and immediately emailed the seller. I was first to respond and first to schedule a time (for Garrett:) to pick up these heavy suckers, which won us the prize. Can you believe that these solid wood built-ins were listed for just $200? Even crazier, Garrett talked the seller down to $160. They fit perfectly in our Ravenna House basement remodel and totally make the space (seen here back in 2014).

Three // Rope Bed in the Dexter House Guest Bedroom // $60

This rope bed is one of my favorite antiques ever. It’s super sturdy (especially after we retrofitted it for a full-size mattress) and just plain beautiful. The seller was really kind and shared the story of the bed, which is just too sweet. Related: would you guys want to see a DIY on how we adjust antique bed frames and head boards to fit modern mattress sizes?

Four // Patio couch in the Porch House sunroom // $300

I originally bought this patio couch for the Dexter House backyard, but shortly thereafter, we bought our Farmhouse. It came with us and briefly had a spot on our front porch before moving over to the  Porch House sunroom where it has sat ever since. It will be returning to the Farmhouse shortly, but in the meantime it looks great here.  Originally listed for $500, we talked the seller down to $300.  It certainly wasn’t the best deal we’ve ever gotten on Craigslist, but it’s one of my favorites.

Now that I showed you all of our favorite Craigslist scores, lets talk about how we scored them. Because if you’re on Craigslist often, you know it’s easy to let those great finds slip right through your fingers OR spend way too much on things you don’t love. So here are six tips that work for us:

Tips for How to Score Big on Craigslist

Check listings in big cities // we’ve noticed that Seattle has so much more to offer than our small town (our town doesn’t have Craigslist but a couple surrounding towns do). So when we need something, I look in Seattle a day or two before we’re planning to be over there.

Check often // the best stuff on Craigslist goes fast, so you have to check listings often. If I’m in the market for something specific, I’ll check multiple times a day. Usually a seller will sell to whomever emails first or whomever picks up first, which brings me to my next point…

Offer to pick it up right away // if at all possible, try to be available to pick up the item right away (the same day). My email inquiries usually look like this: “I love your table! It would fit perfect in our old Farmhouse. Could I come pick it up this evening or tomorrow?” And if I’m not 100% sure I’ll buy it, I’ll say something like “if it’s in good condition, which it looks like it is, I’ll take it!”

Ask for Measurements! // Save yourself the hassle of going to look at something that won’t fit by just asking the seller for the measurements ahead of time.

Crappy photos usually mean good deals // Do not be deterred by crappy photos or a little dirt on the item. You were going to clean it anyway. And crappy photos usually mean you can get the item for cheaper (since those photos will scare away a lot of buyers).

Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount // Garrett’s policy is to always ask for a discount, usually 50%. And while I’m not always so gutsy, I’ll often ask for a lower price if the item isn’t something we absolutely need or it seems overpriced. It can be hard to bargain, but honestly, that’s just part of selling on Craigslist, and if you’re polite, you usually will end up with the item anyway.

What did we miss? Do you have any other tips?!


Farmhouse Master Bedroom Update // How We’re Surviving Winter


This post is sponsored by Leesa, a company we have used and loved for years. Thank you for supporting the brands that support the Grit and Polish. Use discount code GRITANDPOLISH when you checkout at Leesa! 

Our Farmhouse master bedroom has seen a lot of small, seasonal changes since we first decorated it last Fall. And this winter is no different. We made a few changes. Nothing ground breaking. Nothing too flashy. Just a few minor updates to get us through the long, Washington winter.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Master Winter Update angle.3The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Master Winter G Side Bed

A More Comfortable Night’s Sleep

Despite the fact that Garrett and I own 14 mattresses – 5 at the Farmhouse and 9 at our rentals – we were still sleeping on the very first mattress that we bought together. It was 13 years old and well past it’s prime. So we upgraded to a Leesa foam mattress and we love it! But we knew we would because we already own 4 Leesa mattresses, including one at our Dexter House Airbnb and both of our boys’ beds at our Farmhouse.

So why Leesa?

We first tried Leesa on a friend’s recommendation a few years ago and now we’re excited to be recommending them to you. Not only are Leesa mattresses comfortable (our Airbnb guests have seconded that!), but they’re made in the USA and don’t contain toxic flame retardants. Plus Leesa offers free shipping/returns and we love that you order online and skip that awkward trip to the mattress store. If you’re in the market for a new mattress, use code GRITANDPOLISH  for $100 off a Leesa plus if you order by Presidents Day they’ll up that to $125 off and throw in a free pillow.  

Pro tip // for narrow staircases and awkward bedroom entrances, Leesa’s boxed mattresses make for easy installation!

Layers of Warm Blankets

In addition to the new mattress, we’ve added a wool blanket and down comforter over top of our year-round cotton quilt because it gets cold in the Pacific Northwest. Garrett and I actually love sleeping in cold rooms (and saving on energy bills ;), so we keep the house heat at 60 and pull up the blankets (the kid’s rooms have space heaters).

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Master Winter Update LinensThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Master Winter Update G SideThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Master Winter Update nightstand 2

Masculine Updates

One purely-aesthetic change we made was to bring in some masculine elements. I really wanted this room to appeal to its male occupant as much as it does to me, so I layered on the blue-ticking and green velvet throw pillows (the former were made by my mother and the later was a gift from Rejuvenation last winter). Truthfully, the throw pillows don’t always make it back on the bed in the morning – three young kids equals chaos in the early hours – but we do try. A made bed just makes for a better day, you know?!

I also brought in some vintage and nostalgic art for Garrett’s side of the bed. The windmill prints have always been here, but the soldier and George-in-glasses print are new. The former is from my great-grandparents and the later a free download that I printed (see resources at the bottom of this post). And lastly, the rusted horseshoe, which I found in our garage, adds a dose of texture to Garret’s marble-topped nightstand.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Master Winter Update Angle PillowThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Master Winter Update G Nighstand

Where is the sleeping bag?

Long time readers of the Grit and Polish might be wondering where Wilder’s sleeping bag is. Well our oldest son has (finally!) been sleeping through the night pretty regularly, so we rolled it up and stored it away (you can read about that here).  We also moved our Skyline rug down to the living room.  It’s still a favorite rug and as much as I LOVED it in here, it definitely felt feminine for this co-ed space. So now the whole family gets to enjoy it for playing and dance parties in the living room. I’m hoping to find a replacement soon.

It’s my philosophy that good design means a room works for us and not the other way around. For our bedroom, that means a comfortable place to sleep and a relaxing and simple environment that can grow with us over time. If you’re in need of an easy change this winter (or spring!), try swapping around your throw pillows or blankets or bring in some fresh art (like Melissa’s free print or something vintage). And if you’re in need of a more comfortable night’s sleep, we highly recommend you check out Leesa.


Previous versions of this room: original / ORC reveal / the toddler sleeping bag that saved our sanity / home birth and co-sleeping.

Farmhouse Master Bedroom sources:

paint color (BM Simply White) / mattress / bed frame (we bought ours at the outlet because it was missing slats) / marble and wood nightstands DIY / sconces in aged brass / cord cover / green velvet pillow (similar) / sheets / white quilt / wool blanket (similar) / down comforter / duvet cover / white pitcher / small bowl / curtain rods / drapes / George Washington print (free from Melissa) / “smile and wave” print /


Why we opt for REAL House Plants and Flowers in our homes

This post could also be titled “why I bought another fiddle leaf fig even though I keep killing our house plants”. Although that isn’t entirely true. I haven’t killed all of our houseplants, some hearty plants have survived and others (like our last fiddle leaf fig) died very slow deaths, which some might even call living. All humor aside, I’m not one to waste money on something temporary, but there are a few really compelling reasons why we buy real house plants (and fresh flowers too) for the indoors.


Our Farmhouse, master bedroom // rug, mirror, my favorite cotton quilt

We humans spend over 90% of our time indoors, so any small, inexpensive, and healthy improvements we can make to our spaces seem well worth the effort. Read on for 4 reasons why we keep REAL house plant and fresh flowers in our homes.

Plants clean the air – while all plants replace carbon dioxide with oxygen, many common house plants also remove toxins from the air (source). NASA researchers spent years studying the effects of potted plants in enclosed spaces and their conclusion: 1 plant per 100sf of home or office space achieves efficient air cleaning (source). Check out this helpful graphic to see which chemicals some common house plants clean.

Plants help you concentrate – Your house plants serve a greater purpose than just looking pretty. As published by Texas A&M,”tasks performed while under the calming influence of nature are performed better and with greater accuracy, yielding a higher quality result.” Yes, you actually produce better work with house plants in your space! And more than that, being around nature, even when it’s inside your home, helps with concentration, memory, mental cognition, and performance (source).

Flowers make you happy – this is something I’m sure we kind of knew was true, albeit without any formal source. But according to the same article from Texas A&M, “having flowers around the home and office greatly improves people’s moods and reduces the likelihood of stress-related depression. Flowers and ornamental plants increase levels of positive energy and help people feel secure and relaxed.” Total justification for that weekly farmers market bouquet!

Avoid Faux – this is purely a personal design rule of mine, but in our spaces I always seek out natural, REAL materials and objects. Think wood furniture, stone countertops, and real house plants. Every time I find myself thinking about ordering a faux fiddle leaf fig, I remind myself that an imitation is not the real deal. The real deal has a purpose (see above), which the faux version just can’t live up to. Like all good rules, I break this one now and again, but not yet with plants.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Lavendar on Nightstand

Our Farmhousemaster bedroom // light in aged brass, cord cover, favorite pitcher, art

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Our Dexter House renovation, 36sf master bathroom // stool

Is anyone else out there passionate about real house plants? Or are they just not worth the hassle? Let me know in the comments.


8 Great Wallpapers for a Powder Bathroom

This is part 2 of our powder bath series. You can read more here: designwhy we added a powder bathroom.

One of my favorite parts about designing the Porch House powder bathroom was that it was dark and small. I know, I know! Those are not exactly the words that come to mind when you’re thinking about favorite architectural features, but here’s the thing. Small rooms can handle bolder patterns. They excel with darker, cozier colors. And small bathrooms are the perfect place for experimentation in design because it’s not a room that you’re looking at all day long (unless you’re potty training a toddler ;).

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom from doorway

Our Porch House renovation, powder bathroom

At the Porch House, I selected this wallpaper from Farrow and Ball as the main focal point of the design. I went with navy because it was one of the three colors I used in that house – yes, just 3 colors for 2000sf – and the pattern felt traditional yet interesting. The traditional bit was key because the house was earmarked for resell so we wanted to make sure our finishes had wide appeal.

While I love (LOVE!) the wallpaper we used, if this had been a bathroom at our Farmhouse I would have probably looked at more options. Shopping for ourselves instead of some unknown buyer would have meant we could look at whimsical, busy, and quirky prints. But even with more options available, I have to admit that it’s really hard for me to commit to wallpaper. It’s expensive and difficult to install, plus my tastes change. But when I do commit to a wallpaper, it’s always super interesting to look at.  And that leads me to my number one tip for wallpaper selection:

Tip: when picking out wallpaper, make sure you love to stare at the pattern. Tape a sample next to your computer or above your kitchen sink. If you find yourself getting lost in the print, staring at it for unknown lengths of time, than it’s a good option for your home. Loving a wallpaper pattern is good too, but love fades and taste changes. Whether or not you find a pattern interesting has more staying power. Plus, if the wallpaper isn’t interesting to look at, just save yourself a whole bunch of time and money and paint the room.

With that sentiment in mind, I’ve rounded up eight great wallpaper patterns that could live large in the small confines of a powder bathroom.

The Grit and Polish - 8 Wallpapers for a small bathroom

Top // 1 / 2 / 3/ 4 / green paint / navy paint

Bottom // 1 (room via My Scandinavian Home) / 2 / 3 (room designed by Jersey Ice Cream Co at Magic Egg Farmhouse) / 4 / neutral paint / white paint

For the record, I haven’t ordered from all of these companies, so don’t have any feedback on that. But I love that some of these prints are reproductions from folks like William Morris. And one note about coordinating paint colors: white is always a great option, but I paired a warm neutral trim color with our navy wallpaper at the Porch House and it looks so much better than white ever could have. So don’t be afraid to step away from white (ahem, Cathy!) and try something new once in a while.


Adding vintage charm to a kitchen // Takeaways from the Porch House Reno

There are few things I love more in a home than a beautiful kitchen with vintage appeal. And I’ll let you in on a little secret, adding vintage charm into your kitchen isn’t as hard as it seems.  Even if your kitchen is brand new and your budget is stretched super thin, vintage charm is possible!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelves and Cabs 3.2 CROPPED

our Porch House kitchen renovation (via Instagram)

Six takeaways from the Porch House renovation on how to add vintage charm to a new, old, or something-in-between kitchen. psst: these are great tips to review before starting on a kitchen renovation, especially in a vintage home!

Natural elements // wood, marble, stone and other natural materials feel old because they are old. These are also the materials that were used in kitchens at the turn of the last century – back before the advent of quartz and mdf – so these materials lend a timeless appeal to any kitchen. If you’re renovating, think about marble, soapstone, or honed black granite countertops. And if not, prop some old wood or marble boards against your backsplash. Natural materials tend to get better with age, so you can argue that they are great investments too!  That brings me to number two…

Aged Brass // in the oldest of old homes, you usually find brass hardware on the original cabinets and doors, and it’s aged to perfection. To get that feel in a new kitchen, try swapping out your hardware for unlacquerd brass (which will patina) or aged brass hardware in a classic style such as a bin pull, cabinet latch, and knob. For budget hardware options, like what we used in the Porch House kitchen, look here.

Vintage accessories // if a remodel is not in your immediate future, bring in some vintage accents. Pieces with a little patina like old bread boards, vintage cotton towels, hand-carved utensils, vintage art and rugs, your grandmother’s cookbooks, and old baskets add instant character. Place them on your countertops (in low traffic areas), on open shelves, in glass-fronted cabinets, or prop them against your backsplash. These pieces don’t need to cost a fortune, either. Try hitting up yard sales, antique shops, estate sales, or peek through your parent’s garage.

Dried herbs // growing food and making spices is a bit of a lost art these days, but hanging herbs in your kitchen (even if they’re from your grocery store’s produce section), gives your space automatic vintage appeal. I like wrapping up a few stems of thyme, sage, or lavender with a little twine and then hanging them from a peg or a small hook mounted to the underside of a cabinet. Bonus: your kitchen will smell like a five-star restaurant!

Keep the color palette simple // whether you’re renovating anew or dealing with an existing kitchen, sticking with two or three hues in your kitchen lets vintage accents shine through. At the Porch House, we painted all the walls and shelves a basic white, selected a soft neutral for the cabinetry, and topped everything with carrara marble. This simple color palette allows the eye to notice the elements we layered over top: vintage artwork, wood utensils, and brass hardware. And if you happen to have a dark kitchen or it’s wood heavy, I’d look for white stoneware and other light vintage accents to achieve a similar focal point.

Hide the hood // this tip is for folks looking to renovate or do a large DIY project. Built-in range hoods that hide all or part of the hood and vent, feel much older than their modern counterparts. At the Porch House, we drywalled the built-in hood, and in our Ravenna renovation, we built a cabinet to hide the vent.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Large HoodThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen HoodThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelf 2.1

our Porch House kitchen renovation (vintage utensils from, crockhardware, pegspot filler c/o)

Those are a few takeaways from our Porch House renovation, but I’d love to hear if you have any others. Let us know in the comments!

If you’re itching to find a few vintage (or vintage-inspired) accessories for your kitchen, here are a few items that have caught my eye as of late:

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our favorite hardware under $7 / tips for buying vintage rugs (from Room for Tuesday) / how to age brass (from In My Own Style)

And in case you want to Pin this one for later…

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelves and Cabs 3.2 TEXT




My Sister’s Home // Holiday Dining Room


Since I showed you the Porch House holiday decor earlier this week, I thought it would be fun to continue the theme and take you on a tour of my sister’s dining room. She had her dining room all decked out before Thanksgiving, so I took some shots when we were down for the holiday.  I did absolutely nothing to stage the space besides move some chairs around and get their puppy, Dita, to sit and stay (quite a feat, I might add ;).

The Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Room 11-2017 Dita 5.4

My sister would probably say this space isn’t totally done yet, but I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s beautiful as-is.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of ‘finishing decorating’ a home lately and how silly it is.  Spaces evolve over time, and it’s a beautiful process.

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The dining room connects a lot of spaces: the entryway (which is behind those beautiful french doors), the kitchen (behind the white door at the far end of the room), the staircase, and the living room.  It’s one of the first rooms people see when they walk in the front door, so it’s no surprise my sister decided to furnish it first.  She bought the table and chairs from Restoration Hardware, during a sale last year.  The chandelier is original as are the floors and seagrass wall coverings.  Beautiful, right?!

The Grit and Polish - Terr's Dining Bar Cart 2The Grit and Polish - Terr's House T

To prepare for the holidays, my sister added simple glass vases on the mantle with greenery and candles and layered placemats on the table.  It’s simple, festive, and beautiful.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these holiday tours.  Maybe next year, I’ll get around to photographing our own home 😉  With the spirit of family in mind, I’ll be taking a break for posting over the holidays (after tomorrow).  During the break, you can catch me over on Instagram, where I’ll be sharing my favorite spaces and before-and-afters from our year.




Porch House // Holiday Decor (and Sneak Peeks)


Garrett and I hardly need an excuse to throw a party (see: birthdays, holidays, seasons, babies, work parties, Wednesdays…), so to celebrate the completion of the Porch House we, naturally, threw a party.  We invited friends, family, neighbors, community members, and blog readers over for a “finish party” so they could see the house before it sold.  And since it’s December, we added a little holiday cheer to the decor in the form of wreaths, garlands, and pops of red, green, and gold.

pssst: I’ve rounded up a few last minute gift ideas based on the Porch House holiday decor at the bottom of this post!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Hutch and Table

Last weekend, I got back over to the Porch House to clean up from the party and shoot a few of the spaces before taking all the decor back down in preparation for sale (eeech!).  You may notice that some of the decorations are in a couple of the rooms, which I did purely for styling the photos, something I try not to do in my own home, but was a necessity since this house is currently almost empty.

In complete honestly, I’m not a big seasonal decorator.  I often find it to be too labor some and expensive to seasonally decorate.  Plus too much clutter makes me feel claustrophobic at home. But I do love making our homes feel welcoming and festive with natural elements, which at the holidays means wreaths, garlands, and a live Christmas tree.  I’m a ‘live’ fan because natural foliage is beautiful, inexpensive (most of the time), and smells amazing.  The Porch House has a crab apple tree in the back yard (at least I think that’s what it is), which still has some small red apples on it’s leafless branches, so I clipped a few and put them in vases all over the house.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelves and Hood Xmas 1

The kitchen at the Porch House is definitely the gathering space of this home.  It’s open to the sunroom and has plenty of seating plus it gets the best natural daylight.  Even at the party, this is where 90% of the adults hung out (the kids were given free reign of the upstairs).   Of course, this is also where the keg was, so that could have had something to do with it 😉  Decorating the kitchen’s open shelves is always fun, but it can be a trick to make them look interesting without feeling cluttered.  I kept to white, glass, and wood elements and then layered holiday cheer in the form of greenery, pops of red, and vintage brass.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Xmas Large AgainThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Xmas AngleThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Butcher Block Xmas AgainThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Sink XmasThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelves Xmas 1

In the dining room, a space you haven’t seen on the blog since the ‘before’ photos, I filled the built-in hutch with entertaining basics like plates, bowls, wine glasses, platters, and vases and moved the vintage table and patio couch into this room from the sunroom.  I added branches of red crab apples and the green velvet pillow (that Rejuvenation sent me last year) for a little festive-ness.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room and Fireplace AgainThe Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room Xmas 5The Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room Berries XmasThe Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room Xmas 4 Again

The living room fireplace was a natural place to add a garland and a little holiday cheer.  This fireplace, which looks so historic, is actually half new.  It originally had a 70s wood insert and a faux surround, which we removed and then repaired the brick, replaced the mantle, redid the hearth, and finally added a gas insert.  I can’t wait to show you the DIY transformation!

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The living room is pretty bare these days since the built-ins are empty, but it’s one of my favorite spaces in the house.  It’s hard to believe, but that built-in bench is 100% new, although the cabinets are original.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Living Rm Xmas Peek

As promised, here are a few last minute gift ideas, all of which I love, and some of which I already own.  A few of these items are from Anthropologie, which is offering free shipping and 25% off, but check shipping dates, since things are selling out fast and going on back order!

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I haven’t formally revealed the Porch House living room, dining room, or kitchen on the blog yet (I’m waiting for our HGTV pilot to air first), so consider these sneak peeks.  I’ll be sharing more in 2018!  In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you decorate for the holidays!




Ideas for Inexpensive Art

Art is always something that I struggle with. It’s essential to how a room looks and feels, but it can be expensive and difficult to pick.  Lately we’ve been furnishing a lot of houses – our Farmhouse, the Porch House flip, and the Bryant House Airbnb – so I’ve been on the hunt for inexpensive art with high impact.  Maybe someday I’ll be able to invest in original art, but in the meantime, I’ve come up with a few easy ways to get great looking art in our homes for very little investment.
The Grit and Polish - Inexpensive Art Collage 2

ONE // DIY Botanical Art

This is something I first tried this summer and am totally obsessed with.  Botanical art is easy to create and it adds greenery to a room, which doesn’t need watering (thus, you can’t kill it ;)! To create a botanical, you need to pick leaves/flowers/weeds and then press them in a book for a week or until they are dry.  I framed mine in simple clip frames on top of thick, watercolor paper.  I love how you can customize botanicals for your own home by picking local greenery or things that have special significance. For instance, when Daphne was born, I picked sweet peas out of our yard at the Farmhouse, where she was born.

TWO // Framed Etsy Art

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I love to buy prints from artists on Etsy and frame them in inexpensive frames.  A few of my go-to artists are Clare Elsaesser and Lisa Golightly and I buy my frames from IKEA or Target in white, black, or brass.  You really can’t go wrong with this formula.

THREE // Clipboard Art

Clipboards can make for very inexpensive frames.  At the Farmhouse, we clipped alphabet cards onto small clipboards and hung them for a large display.  I bought our cards on Etsy, but you could also find postcards, photos (think Instamax/Polaroid style), prints, or really just about anything else to hang on a clipboard.

FOUR // Online Image Gallery Print

Over the years, we have hung tons of photos from Costco’s free image galleries.  Their prints are really reasonably priced ($2 for an 8″x10″ up to $10 for a 20″x30″).  And though I haven’t tried it yet, I’ll likely buy a $15 print from Jenny’s Print Shop and print it at Costco as well.  Ashley also pointed me in the direction of free images from MET Museum and the Audubon, which I’m eager to try out.

FIVE // Vintage mirrors

Vintage mirrors are a wonderful way to bring in a large hanging for relatively little dollars.  I pick up my vintage mirrors at antique stores, Craigslist, and even my parent’s giveaway pile.

SIX // Historical House Photos

I love finding historical photos of our homes.  We’ve found some from the local archives and also gotten some from previous owners.  They are such a fun ‘conversational piece’ so I like hanging them where guests can see.

Do you have any more ideas for inexpensive art?  I’d love to hear them!




Bryant House // Why We Turned a Traditional Rental into an Airbnb


This is part 1 of our Bryant House Airbnb makeover.  See more of this series here: part 1 (why we turned a traditional rental into an Airbnb), part 2 (living room), part 3 (master bedroom), part 4 (kitchen and dining nook) and part 5 (bathroom and office)

We recently converted one of our Seattle rentals into a furnished Airbnb.  I’ll be sharing the quick transformation of the Bryant House (we did it in just 3 days!) over the next few weeks here on the blog, but today, I wanted to begin with a little history about the house, explain why we converted a long-term rental into an Airbnb/month-to-month rental, and take a peek at the numbers.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant Airbnb Master Bedroom Door Knob

The Bryant House was built in 1920 and is a compact 2 bedroom/1 bathroom bungalow in a cute Seattle neighborhood. We purchased the house in 2012, our second house, and moved into it so we could rent out our first house, which we had already renovated. We did a quick bathroom renovation at the Bryant House and a couple of months later tackled the kitchen and dining rooms. We lived there for just over a year, during which time we welcomed baby Wilder and then bought and renovated the Ravenna House. The Bryant House then became a traditional rental, left unfurnished and leased annually.

Fast forward to 2017. Bryant had seen a few tenants over the years and in August, the most recent lease was up. Garrett and I debated whether to rent it for another year or convert it to an Airbnb, the former of which was easier and the latter of which was definitely harder, but also more lucrative (although it would require an initial investment to furnish the home).  Ultimately we decided to furnish the house and list it on Airbnb.  There were other considerations too – like the neighborhood culture and the house’s busy location next to a coffee shop, restaurants, and a yoga studio – that made this property a good fit for short-term and month-to-month tenants.  And if you’re thinking about a similar conversion, a few other things to consider: local short-term rental laws, the impact of the rental on the neighborhood, and the city housing climate as a whole.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant Airbnb Living Hanging Chair 3

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Over the past 9 years of being landlords, Garrett and I have found that renting on Airbnb during the summer months and then finding month-to-month tenants for the rest of the year is our ideal rental model. It’s a delicate balancing act between cost, effort, and return, but we make almost double using Airbnb versus any other rental model between June and September (high tourist season in Seattle).  Of course there is the expense of utilities as well as cleanings/turns, which we try to take on ourselves as much as possible, but even with hiring some of that out, we still make substantially more renting through Airbnb over the summer months.

When Fall hits, we like to find month-to-month tenants on Craigslist.  These tenants – who are usually looking to buy a home of their own or are undertaking a renovation on their existing house –  pay between 12-25% more for a furnished rental with flexible lease terms than they would for a traditional year-long, unfurnished rental.  We’ve also found that month-to-month, furnished rentals make close to the same in the Fall/Winter/Spring as Airbnb would over the same time period. But the biggest benefit with this model is not having to clean the property or deal with guest communication (which takes quite a bit of time) for months at a time.  For us, that means less driving over a mountain pass, less time on our cell phones, and lots more time outdoors and with our kids.  So even if we make a bit less on month-to-month tenants than we could on Airbnb during this time, it’s worth it to us.  I will mention that when we haven’t found month-to-month tenants in the Fall/Winter/Spring, we’ve made quite a bit during the holidays and graduation season with Airbnb, so it’s not a bust.

Airbnb Host Tip // balance effort and profit by using Airbnb during peak months and finding month-to-month tenants during slower months. We often use Airbnb for just the summer months and switch to lower-maintenance month-to-month tenants for the rest of the year.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant Airbnb After Dining Table

So that’s a lot of information packed into a few paragraphs, but hopefully I answered the question of why we chose to convert Bryant to an Airbnb/furnished month-to-month rental. One more thing I wanted to share about hosting on Airbnb…it can be really fun. Hosting guests is a great way to meet people (or at least communicate with them) from all over the world. We’ve found that in general, guests are really respectful of our homes, and we have loved sharing our spaces and Seattle with those guests.

Now a bit more about the numbers… I still need to tally the total cost of furnishing the Bryant House (i.e. our initial investment or cost to turn a traditional rental into an Airbnb), but we anticipate the number to come in around $6,000. And while that is a lot of money, it is not a very large budget for furnishing an entire home. I had to be pretty creative to keep this budget in check by utilizing a lot of hand-me-down furniture and finishes we had stored from other properties.

From an investment standpoint, our return on converting Bryant to an Airbnb/month-to-month rental looks like this: we expect to recoup our initial investment in the first 11 months, which means the switch to Airbnb would pay off before the end of the first year. Admittedly it’s hard to project exactly how Bryant will rent over the year – that’s the constant uncertainty that goes along with being a landlord – but that’s our projection based on past experiences.

Next up, I’ll be sharing the transformation of the house, starting with the living room, plus tons more tips for Airbnb hosts. Let me know if you guys liked this look into the life of a landlord and/or if you have any more Airbnb questions. And if you happen to be an Airbnb yourself, I’d love to hear any advice you have for other hosts!



p.s. The ‘How I Built This’ podcast featuring the Airbnb founders.  It’s a great listen!

p.p.s. the Bryant House kitchen renovation


Farmhouse Office // Chair + Trestle Desk Pairings


Our backordered office chairs recently arrived and goodness, what a difference they’ve made.  Who knew that a comfortable/tilting/swiveling/rolling office chair would be the key to an enjoyable work space?!

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Office Chairs 6 good

sources // office chair (lower back version here) / trestle legs / sketch book / brass wall frame

Okay that was a facetious question.  A comfortable seat is obviously a key ingredient to any good work space, but honestly, I was surprised just how key they have been.  Suddenly I find myself sitting in the office any chance I get.  And that makes these chairs worth every single penny…especially considering I bought them during a 25% off sale 😉

Strangely West Elm seems to have discontinued our high back Helvetica chairs, but they still have the lower back option plus there’s a TON of other great chairs out there.  So today, I thought I’d share a few great office chairs paired with my favorite style of desk (and what we have in our own office), the trestle desk.

The Grit and Polish - Office Chair and Trestle Desk Pairings

top chair / top desk / middle chair / middle desk / bottom chair / bottom desk

Really all of these pieces could be mixed and matched, but I paired them as I did our own office, with a mix of natural and light elements.  Our desk is of course a DIY project with Ikea trestle legs and a marble countertop (it’s actually the rest of the 3’x8′, 2cm slab we bought for the Porch House kitchen backsplash), but I love these options too, especially the center one even if it’s not technically a trestle desk.

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Office Chairs 6

Well I can’t wait to finish up our office, but in the meantime, you can get caught up with what we’ve done thus far here: office design, office cabinet, and a progress update.



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