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!

xoxo

-Cathy

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

THE BRYANT HOUSE

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!

xoxo

-Cathy

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

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Farmhouse Office // Chair + Trestle Desk Pairings

THE FARMHOUSE

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.

xoxo

-Cathy

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Master Bedroom Update // Preparing for Baby (and a home birth)

THE FARMHOUSE

We made a few changes to our master bedroom recently in preparation of the arrival of it’s new tenant, our baby girl.  With her due date just a few days away, I eagerly got this space finished up last week.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom hanging crib

all sources are listed at the bottom of this post

I’ve always liked having my babies sleep near me when they’re little, at least until they slow down on night nursings.  So putting a hanging crib up in our master bedroom was pretty exciting.  Isn’t the crib lovely?  I first saw it here and immediately bought it for Brooks back when space was tight at the Dexter House.  Not only is the crib easy to fit virtually anywhere you have a couple of square feet to spare, but it also helps to soothe the baby by bouncing and swaying whenever they fuss.  (For the record, I’ll pull the pillow and stuffies out when baby arrives.)

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Bedroom Hanging CribThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom hanging crib 5The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom baby space 2

The other new addition to our master bedroom, is this old Ikea unit, which we’re using to store baby’s nighttime essentials: diapers, wipes, swaddle blankets, burp rags, and pj’s.  That way we won’t be running back and forth to the nursery (where the rest of her clothes are stored) in the middle of the night. I may eventually swap the shelving unit out for the antique hutch that used to be in our bedroom (and just change her on the bed), but that piece is currently at the Porch House being used for staging (yes, the Porch House is still under renovation).

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom baby space

Those are the essentials we have for baby in our master bedroom, but we have made a few other additions/changes in preparation for a home birth.  We’ve done home births with all of our kiddos thus far (Wilder at the Bryant House, Brooks at the Dexter House, and now baby girl at the Farmhouse) and have enjoyed them.  ‘Enjoy’ is probably not the right word here – labor is labor and they don’t call it that for nothing – but being at home has made for a more comfortable and peaceful birthing process for me.  My favorite part is waking up the next day in my own bed.  Yes, I am a homebody through and through 😉

Speaking of our bed, you may have noticed it’s made a little haphazardly in that photo.  In preparation for labor, I made the bed with sheets and our usual quilt, covered that with a waterproof mattress cover, and then made the bed again with our not-so-nice sheets and a blanket we can quickly pull off.  That makes for easy cleanup and a quick tuck-in after baby is born.  And in case you’re wondering about the sensibility of a wool blanket on our bed in the summer, Garrett needs it since I have the AC on full blast and still can’t stand more than a sheet.  The joys of pregnancy 😉

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom lavendar nightstandThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Lavendar on Nightstand

Another addition I’ve made to our bedroom is lots of lavender, which is supposed to be a calming scent, so I have it on both sides of the bed.  My nightstand also houses my favorite Ina May labor-prep book, a couple of kids books, and lots of enjoyable paperbacks for those long nursing sessions to come.  Plus there’s a giant-sized box of Tums tucked on the bottom shelf because pregnancy indigestion is a real thing.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep NightstandThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep Nightstand zoomThe Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Home Birth Prep books

Of course there are quite a few other supplies we have on hand for the home birth: a box of medical supplies from our midwife, old towels, trash bags, a large bowl, an inflatable tub, and hoses/adaptors to fill said tub up.  It’s great to have everything on hand, but I’m secretly hoping this labor goes so fast that we won’t even have time to set up the tub 😉

You may remember that our 4-year-old, Wilder, is not much of a sleeper and usually ends up in a sleeping bag on our floor sometime in the night.  Well that hasn’t changed.  I’m not sure how Wilder’s continued tenancy in our room will play out with the frequent night wakings of a baby, but I’m hoping that it will be the kick Wilder needs to finally stay in his own bed.  All night long!

A mama can dream anyway 😉

The Grit and Polish - Master Bedroom Wilder's sleeping bag

Sources: hanging crib, Kindekeklein | pillow in crib, Serena and Lily (color discontinued) | unicorn head, Target | bed, Restoration Hardware (ours is from the outlet) | sconces in Aged Brass, Rejuvenation | cord cover, Amazon |Claire Elsaesser print, Etsy | white pitcher, Le CreusetIna May’s Guide to Childbirth book (highly recommend!) | Skyline rug, Rejuvenation | plaid throw, Pendleton (ours are from the outlet) | overhead light, Rejuvenation (6″ Jefferson in old brass with 14″ Classic Opal Schoolhouse Shade) | curtain rods (on sale!), Restoration Hardware | drapes, Pottery Barn | Wilder’s sleeping bag, LL Bean (similar)

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. our master bedroom reveal from last November and surviving a not-so-good sleeper.

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Farmhouse Office // Progress Update

THE FARMHOUSE

It’s been awhile since we’ve looked at the Farmhouse office (besides the beautiful story behind our pantry cabinet) so I wanted to give you a look today.  Even though the office isn’t quite finished, we’re already using it to get some much needed business done.  We manage our rentals and renovation projects from our home, so having a dedicated space for all of our paperwork and office supplies has proven invaluable.  Honestly, I’m not sure how we survived so long without a real office!

The Grit and Polish - Office Update flowersThe Grit and Polish - Office Update 3

The vibe in the office is moody and historic with the practicality of a modern workspace.  The best of both worlds, if you ask me. This room is right off of our entry and the dark walls provide a stark contrast to the lighter spaces throughout the main floor.  I chose the navy color intentionally to make this room feel like it’s separate from the living spaces (which will all be white), but apparently a single dark room in a house is also a trend (according to Ms. McGee that is).

This room has a large east-facing window, which allows a view of our side yard and garden.  We get great morning light in here but the room takes on a cozier by late morning when the sun is filtered through the large elm tree standing directly outside.  Inside, the room is anchored by the double-sided marble trestle desk – a DIY that Garrett and I put together.  I still have work to do in here, but I love how this room is shaping up so far.

The Grit and Polish - Office Update 2The Grit and Polish - Office Update kids chairsThe Grit and Polish - Office Update detail 1

The framed Oregonian paper is something I remember from my childhood.  The story goes that my grandpa’s beloved dog, Sam, chipped his tooth in a dog fight, so my grandpa gave him a gold crown with diamond inset.  Sam sat in my grandpa’s dentist chair for the procedure, while the Oregonian photographed it for a story, and the whole thing has been a fun part of our family history ever since.

The Grit and Polish - Office Update cabinet 1

For those who have asked, our baskets are from here.  I already shared all about our large cabinet and the lovely story behind it, but for the record, I’m so smitten with it!

The Grit and Polish - Office Update entry doorways

The view from our office into our entryway is one of my favorites.  The white and wood look of the entry is everything I love about our historic farmhouse.  I’m still looking for a larger, brass mirror, but until I find the right one (at the right price), the entry table will stay styled as is.

The Grit and Polish - Office Update Hale Navy

That navy color with the wood trim.  It gets me every time!

Once our office chairs come in (BTW they are on sale right now!) and I finish the room up, I’ll do a full reveal, but in the mean time, I hope you enjoyed this progress shot.

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. the Farmhouse office design and storage.

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Farmhouse Entryway // the Kids’ Alphabet Wall

THE FARMHOUSE

With our almost-4-year-old finally interested in letters, I knew it was time for an alphabet wall at the Farmhouse.  I wanted something fun for the kiddos, but also a bit more grown-up for us adults to enjoy too.  I searched everywhere for the right alphabet cards and finally found them on Etsy.  We decided to hang them in the entryway, at least for now.  The letters will surely get changed out for something a little less juvenile as the kids grow, but for now, we all love them here.

The Grit and Polish - Alphabet Wall and stairsThe Grit and Polish - Alphabet Wall ABCThe Grit and Polish - Alphabet Display XYZ

alphabet cards // clipboards // wood push pins

Cute letter cards, right?  I happily paid way too much for them because how can you say no to these sweet animals?!

The Grit and Polish - Alphabet Wall Stairs and EntrywayThe Grit and Polish - Alphabet Display ABC

So far the boys are getting a lot of use out of the alphabet wall.  Wilder likes to sit Brooks and I down on the stairs and pretend he’s the teacher, standing on the bench and pointing out letters for us to repeat.  Sometimes he even lets me switch roles with him and will recite the letters I point out, which couldn’t be more adorable!

The Grit and Polish - Alphabet Wall with Wilder 3.2

Hard to believe that boy turns 4 next week.  4!  Next thing I know, Wilder will be off to college and I’ll be one of those moms who sends way too many care packages and embarrasses him with daily phone calls 😉

But I digress.  This little bench nook of our’s measures only 4’4″ wide and has a sloping ceiling, so it’s awkward to say the least.  But awkward spaces like this are usually some of my favorite rooms in old houses.  They feel so fun and whimsical and I can’t help but think how much I would have loved these awkward spaces as a kid.  This bench nook is no exception.  Our boys love hiding here and have already logged hours of quality coloring/visiting/silly time on the bench.

The Grit and Polish - Entryway Bench Nook

I asked our old neighbor’s daughter what they used to use this space for, and apparently it was the telephone nook.  How sweet is that?  Can’t you just imagine a giant antique telephone sitting on a table back there?  And oh my what fabulous late night gossip sessions must have gone on in here!

The Grit and Polish - Entryway Bench with Lilacs

xoxo

-Cathy

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Wilder’s Farmhouse Bedroom // The Reveal

THE FARMHOUSE

Wilder’s bedroom was one of those magical rooms that came together like, well…magic!  After coming across the matching twin bed frames on Craigslist and finding the perfect overhead light and drapes, the rest of the room just fell into place.  Most of the decor and small furniture items came out of storage or Wilder’s previous bedrooms.  The funny thing is, this room is my favorite of all of Wilder’s bedrooms and it was by far the easiest to put together.   Isn’t that the rub?  How can a space you think about and plan for the least be the easiest to finish?  Craziness.

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom 4

Resources: overhead light | drapes (LOVE these!) | roman shade | hanging chair | animal heads (no longer available, cute alternatives here) | dinosaur backpack (no longer available, cute option here) | plaid blankets | table lamp | ukulele | stuffies: bear (similar), fox, monkey (we love the Jellycats brand!) | kids ranger vest | Dinosaur figurines: Giganotosaurus, Sauropod | Dragon lego kit | books: see below scrolling bar

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom LampThe Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom 1

This east-facing room gets intense morning light, which made blackout drapes essential.  Wilder is already an early morning person, so anything we can do to combat even earlier mornings is worth Every Single Penny!  But even with the great morning light, bedtime is my favorite time of day in Wilder’s room.  Wilder has always loved story time and snuggling, so bedtime, spent together in his bed with a favorite book, has made for some of my favorite moments of parenthood thus far.  In case you’re interested, I put together a few of our current favorite bedtime stories below:

If you have a little one with an active imagination and an interest in dinosaurs (can you tell we’re into dinosaurs?!), I cannot recommend Dinotopia and it’s sequel, the World Beneath, enough.  Garrett’s mom passed these down to us last year and they’ve become some of our favorite bedtime stories.  What I love about these books is that they are wonderfully imaginative, well written, beautifully illustrated, and best of all, they keep both our 3-year-old and us parents engaged.  Check them out!

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom NightstandThe Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Vintage MapThe Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom ladder

That vintage toolbox is a find from the Dexter House, and it’s been Wilder’s favorite box ever since.  He stores all sorts of things in it – tools, hair clips, bugs – so not surprisingly, it’s one of his most prized possessions.  Wilder has a bit of a collector’s disposition (which sometimes borders on ahem…hoarding) so boxes and containers are his thing.  I joke that we have to shake his pockets out when we leave friends’ houses, but it’s not far from the truth!  Right now Wilder stores his collections in his large closet, but I haven’t come up with a good organization system yet, so stay tuned for a look into that space another time.  In the meantime, maybe the fact that we’re finally settled in one house forever will help Wilder get over his ‘collector issues’ or maybe it’ll bring out the hoarder in him…

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Tool BoxThe Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Hanging Pod

As I mentioned last week, this is Wilder’s forth bedroom at the ripe old age of three.  The Grit and Polish didn’t exist back when he was a baby at the Bryant House, but here’s his room at the Ravenna House and his room at the Dexter House.  The latter was also featured on coco+kelley last year.

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Nightstand 2     The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Hanging Chair 2

When the boys play together in here, that hanging chair is Brooks’ favorite spot.  He loves to fall into it and swing around.  It’s such a cozy seat – it literally hugs the occupant – that it makes a great space when either of the boys needs a little quick comfort.  Nana gave the hanging chair to Wilder for Christmas a couple of years back, and I’m so glad that we finally have the space to enjoy it!

The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Fox on Bed The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Chairs The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Deer The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Closet Door  The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom Beds  The Grit and Polish - Wilder's Bedroom 2

I just noticed that we still need to add the base shoe molding in here.  Plus I’m still toying with painting the bottom of Wilder’s walls in a gray/green color.  There’s always something, right?  I should also mention that we usually have a thick, 8×10 jute rug in here, which really cozies up the space.  I temporarily stole it for the living room since we do more playing down there.  Here’s a link to our rug, but since it’s currently unavailable, here’s a similar one.

Someday soon, this will be Wilder and Brooks’ room and I’m really excited for that day to come.  There’s bound to be all sorts of important late-night talks in here.  And arguments.  And adventures.  And memories.  Isn’t that what growing up with siblings is all about?!

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. what Wilder’s room used to look like and what we’ve done to it.  Also, how we handle Wilder not sleeping through the night.

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Vintage Find // A Jenny Lind Spool Bed

It’s no secret that I have a thing for vintage beds.  There’s just something about them that gets my heart all aflutter.  Vintage beds are undoubtedly my number one Craigslist/vintage/salvage/antique store find and despite already having a hefty collection (see below), I keep adding more.  Garrett would probably say that I just can’t help myself.  But luckily for him, we keep buying old houses, so there’s always a new space for a good vintage bed!

The Grit and Polish - Vintage Beds Collage

bedrooms, clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

My most recent find is a twin-size spool bed, a style that I’ve long admired.  After eyeing the bed at a local antique store last month (Relic, if you guys are in eastern Washington), I finally told Garrett that we needed it for staging at the flip house.  He begrudgingly picked it up last weekend, but there were certainly no complaints at the price, $89.  In case you were wondering, I’m head over heals in love with this one!

The Grit and Polish - Spool Bed

The spool bed, or Jenny Lind bed as they’re often called, is one of my favorite vintage styles.  The spool detail is so delicate, crafted, and beautiful and these beds can really add a special element to a space.  Even though my spool bed is far from perfect – the foot board was replaced and there’s some damage on the side rails – I’m really happy to be adding it to my collection.  It’ll be the perfect bed for the little girl bedroom at the flip house (and maybe our own little girl’s room at the Farmhouse, someday).

After buying this bed, I did a little research on the ever-popular spool bed style and thought it would be fun to share what I found with you all.  Let’s start with the name.  These beds are referred to as two things: spools for their resemblance to sewing spools and Jenny Lind after the 1800s Swedish opera singer of the same name.  Ms. Lind came to America in 1851 on a much publicized tour and captured the public eye.  She was an “it girl” long before the likes of Beyonce or Adele.  Ms. Lind was said to prefer the colonial-style spool beds during her hotel stays, and the notion stuck.  The spool bed has been referred to as the Jenny Lind bed ever since, as long as it has square solid corners on the headboard (according to Design Sponge).

Originally the spindles were turned using a lathe operated by a foot pedal, which was a slow and laborious process.  Can you imagine how much effort went into each bed?  Talk about an heirloom piece!  Steam power replaced the foot pedal in the first half of the 1800s, making spool beds much easier to “mass” produce.  If you want to know more on spool beds, check out these two articles (here and here).  The first one has some useful tips if you’re trying to date the construction of a spool bed.

Since my Jenny Lind is intended for a girl’s bedroom, I plan to style it with updated florals and traditional feminine details for a modern take on an antique bed.  Maybe it is just the baby girl in my belly, but I can’t get enough of this look!

The Grit and Polish- Spool Bed Style Wrap Up

 

sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

Lots of cozy white textiles, vintage-inspired goods, and floral prints in this bedroom.  Of course, a spool bed would fit equally well in a boy’s room, guest room, or even a master bedroom.  Here are a few of my favorite rooms featuring spool beds from around the internet.

Livinglifemoments Insta Inspiration Domaine Inspiration double twin guest roomjenny lind inspostarbright farm spool bed

sources 1 / 2 / 34 / 5

Showstoppers, right?  Spool beds not only headline those rooms, but they also fit into very different decor styles.  I really can’t get enough!  I’d love to hear if you guys collect antique beds (or maybe just have one or two like a normal person), and if so, what style?!

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. finding a vintage bed on Craigslist (my favorite source) for the Dexter guest bedroom.

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Farmhouse Living Room // The Prettiest Chandelier

THE FARMHOUSE

It’s been a couple of weeks since we talked about the Farmhouse living room, and I’m dying to show you what came in the mail!  The prettiest chandelier I ever did see…

The Grit and Polish - Rose City Chandelier GlobeThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Chandelier 1Sources: Chandelier | Sofa | Rugs, top and bottom (similar) | Side table | cotton blanket (aka the softest blanket ever!)

When it came time to pick out an overhead light fixture for this space, I knew I wanted something sculptural and eye-catching.  I briefly thought about trying a more modern-shaped light like this, but I was skeptical that it would feel appropriate in our 105-year-old home or be something that fits in with my decor style.  So instead I focused my search on something timeless, pretty, circular (to break up all the square lines in this room), and brass.  When I saw the Rose City Chandelier on Rejuvenation’s website, I knew it was the one!

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Living Rm Chandelier 3

Being the reformed blogger that I am, I immediately approached Rejuvenation to see if they’d be interested in partnering with us on this project.  To my utter amazement and joy, they agreed.  So I’m thrilled to tell you guys that this post is in partnership with my all-time favorite lighting store, Rejuvenation (who also has awesome house wares too, by the way…I mean, could this and this be any more beautiful or perfect for my home?)!!!

Of course, installing new lighting in old homes is tricky.  You never quite know what will be behind those switch plates/fixtures/outlets.  Not only is there sometimes extensive out-of-date wiring (I’m looking at you knob and tube), but often you get a mix of old and new wiring, which makes even the simplest task, like swapping out a light fixture, super unpredictable.  In our master bedroom, we found extensive knob and tube when installing the new overhead light, and decided to change it out, which lead us to rewire most of the upstairs.  When we took down the fixture in the living room, we unfortunately found more knob and tube.  But this time we decided to take the easy road: install the fixture now and add rewiring the living room light to our to-do list.  So we got to work taking the old and not-so-pretty fixture down (finally!).

The Grit and Polish - Chandelier Install

After we removed the old fixture, we opened up that giant Rejuvenation box.  To Wilder’s utter delight, it was filled with those water-soluble peanuts, which entertained him (and Brooks when he woke up from his nap) for hours.  Thank you Rejuvenation!

The Grit and Polish - Rose City Chandelier package The Grit and Polish - Rose City Chandelier hottub

Installing the new chandelier was quite easy, although the sheer size of it made this a 2-person job (it’s 36″ wide).  We started by turning off the power to the fixture.  Which for Garrett meant turning off the switch to the light, but most responsible (and safe) adults would turn off the breaker.  For the record, I’d always suggest you take the responsible adult route and turn off the breaker when working with electricity (that applies to you too, Garrett)!  Next we removed the back panel of the fixture and installed that to the ceiling, finding both joists and lathe to attach to.

The Grit and Polish - Rose City Chandelier install smThe Grit and Polish - Rose City Chandelier Install 2The Grit and Polish - Chandelier Install Screw

Garrett connected the fixture’s wires to the house wires using wire nuts, and then screwed the chandelier to the back plate while I held it up.  To keep the fixture protected, we left the bubble wrap on while mounting.

The Grit and Polish - Rose City Chandelier install 1The Grit and Polish - Rose City Chandelier InstallThe Grit and Polish - Chandelier Install FInal

Lastly, we screwed in the light bulbs (okay, so we drove to town, bought light bulbs, stopped by the taco truck for lunch, returned home, and then screwed them in), affixed the globes and voila!  The prettiest chandelier I ever did see…in my living room!

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Living Rm Chandelier cropped

As with most Rejuvenation fixtures, the length is customizable so we went with 40″ measured from ceiling to bottom of globe (for reference, our ceilings are 9’6″).  It’s definitely on the low side for a living room fixture, but since we’re planning to add a large, board-game-friendly coffee table beneath, I think it’ll be the perfect height.  We also have a ‘no ball throwing’ rule in our house (technically more of a guideline), so I’m hoping we won’t have to replace any of those hanging glass globes anytime soon.  But I suppose it’d be a small price to pay for having such a beautiful fixture.  And for having such fun, energetic little kids 😉

The Grit and Polish - Rose City Chandelier 3The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Living Rm Chandelier 2

Now that the chandelier and sofa are in, I cannot wait to finish decorating this room!  Garrett mentioned that he doesn’t like the jute rug (something to do with too many browns in here), and I see where he’s coming from.  I’m planning to keep the rest of the finishes light in color, soft to the touch, and lots of vintage to make sure we achieve a comfortable, welcoming, farmhouse-esque feel.

I’m off to scour my favorite vintage and salvage shops (not to mention our garage) to finish up this room.  Wish me luck!  And in the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few other rooms we’ve remodeled using Rejuvenation lights (BTW none of the fixtures below were sponsored, we just really love their stuff!).

The Grit and Polish - Rejuvenation Lighting Projects

Dexter kitchen, Imbrie | Wilder’s bedroom, Jefferson | Dexter bathroom, Fords Mill Double | Farmhouse masterImbrie

Thank you Rejuvenation for making such beautiful lighting and partnering with us on our Farmhouse living room!  I love you guys <3

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. more on this room: pulling up the carpetspaint, picking out the sofainspiration, and getting the sofa!

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Farmhouse Nursery // The Current Version

THE FARMHOUSE

We’re taking a break from the living room makeover this week to share our progress in the nursery.  You may recall that the nursery has undergone quite a transformation since we moved into the Farmhouse.  The room always had great bones, but it took a lot of work to bring the space up to snuff.  Thankfully, it was well worth the effort!  Somewhere along the way, the nursery turned into one of my favorite spaces in the house, and one of the hardest working.  Not only does Brooks sleep in here, but the space doubles as a playroom and an overflow guest bedroom.

We’ve always seen this as a temporary room for Brooks though.  We’d like our boys to share a room.  We’ve even tried to have our boys share a room, but we abandoned the plan after too many sleepless nights.  After the better part of six months, we’re ready to try again, or at least, almost ready.  As soon as we get the courage to move Brooks into Wilder’s room we’ll get to rethink the nursery (stay tuned for our plans on that), but in the mean time, here is a peak at what the nursery looks like today.  And I must say…I love it!

The Grit and Polish - Nursery TeepeeThe Grit and Polish - Nursery Day Bed 3The Grit and Polish - Nursery Bed SideThe Grit and Polish - Nursery Wallpaper Nook 2The Grit and Polish - Nursery CribResources: teepee, Wayfair |teepee pillows, Anthropologie | curtain rods, Restoration Hardware | jute rug, Rejuvenation | brass side table, Urban Outfitters | mirror, One Kings Lane | diamond pillows, Serena and Lily | dark gray pillows, Ikea | quilt and white pillows, Pottery Barn | whale, Land of Nod | throw blankets, Pendleton | overhead light, Rejuvenation | sconces, Rejuvenation | wallpaper, Anthropologie | crib, Pottery Barn | rocker, Amazon (similar) | selected books: Chicken Chicken Duck, Waiting, Zen Shorts, DinoblockThe Going to Bed Book, Flip-o-Saurus | rope bed, vintage | dresser, vintage | paint, BM Simply White

This space hasn’t always looked so good.  Here are the before photos and how we transformed this space from dark and dingy to light and bright:

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Nursery 2The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Nursery WallThe Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Nursery Closet

Those carpets don’t look too bad, but believe me when I say that they smelled like dog and all sorts of stuff I’d rather not think about. So we ripped the carpets up and then painted the walls, updated the electrical and lighting, built shelves, and refinished the hardwood floors.  We also wallpapered over the floral print in the large closet (which is where Brooks’ crib is).

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Nursery Post Paint 2 The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Nursery Carpet Pull The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Nursery Post Paint and Carpet 6 The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Nursery Wallpaper 2 the-grit-and-polish-nursery-picture-wall-2the-grit-and-polish-master-hardwood-refinish-1

Phew!  All that work took us the better part of 6 months, the length of time we’ve lived at the Farmhouse.  We took our time, working on this room as we had the time, energy, and money.  And about that last criteria, since this room was always temporary for Brooks, I tried to keep the decor inexpensive and versatile.  You’ll notice a lot of vintage furniture and hand-me-downs from Wilder.

The Grit and Polish - Nursery at Door The Grit and Polish - Nursery Teepee 2The Grit and Polish - Nursery DresserThe Grit and Polish - Nursery Shelves

Brooks’ crib is in the door-less closet, which is 6’x6′.  It’s proved to be the perfect little nook for a baby, fitting just the crib, a rocker, and usually a stack of books.  Brooks loves winding down in here, staring at the wallpaper, and reading a few stories before bed.

The Grit and Polish - Nursery Crib Nook

The full-size bed, which I style as a day-bed, hasn’t gotten as much use as I thought it would.  We have a guest bedroom downstairs, so this room has only seen occupants on Labor Day, when we had more friends and family than we did beds.  Brooks and I also use this space to cuddle up when he’s up at night teething or sick.

The Grit and Polish - Nursery Day BedThe Grit and Polish - Nursery Shelves 2

Garrett and I have been thinking a lot about what we’ll do with this room once Brooks moves in with Wilder.  I’m excited to say that we’ve finally come up with the perfect plan, which I’ll share next week.  I cannot wait to see how this room continues to evolve!

So that’s the whole nursery/guest-room/play-room, at least for now.  I’d love to hear what you guys think of it!

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Wilder’s second nursery and big boy room.  And an update on Wilder’s current bedroom here.

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