The Cost of Refinishing our Hardwood Floors Ourselves


On Tuesday, I shared the process we used to refinish our hardwood floors at the Farmhouse, and today, I want to tell you what it cost.  As a reminder, we refinished about 600sf of fir floors.


Here’s a breakdown of the expenses:

$120 Drum sander rental (2 days)

$160 Drum sander sanding belts (20 @ $8/each)

$40 Sand paper for palm and belt sanders (for edging)

$30 Wood putty

$40 Orbital sander rental (1 day)

$40 Orbital sander pads (8 @ $5/each)

$150 Polyurethane Finish (3 gallons @$50/each)

$20 Incidentals

$600 Total

In the past, we’ve paid $3.50/sf for a professional refinish, which would have added up to $2,100 for this project.  So we saved about $1,500 by doing this job ourselves, which for us, was totally worth it!  I just hope the finish holds up to our wild boys and the dog’s nails…fingers crossed!


The finished room photos are of our farmhouse master bedroom, which we redid for the One Room Challenge.  Check out that room reveal here.



p.s. Krystal recommended this book for the holiday season. I ordered it last week and can’t wait to read it with the boys!

p.p.s. I’m all about baking this holiday season!  This tart looks delicious and I want to recreate these cookies plus there will probably be a cake or galette and I’m still figuring out what to do with the rest of our apples (maybe this!).  Any favorite holiday baking traditions?!

p.p.p.s. I’m really not elaborate when it comes to holiday decor – stockings, garlands, and a real tree is about all you’ll see at our farmhouse – and this roundup of holiday spaces is full of amazing inspiration!


Refinishing our 104-year-old Hardwood Floors Ourselves


If you followed along on the One Room Challenge, you already know that we refinished our hardwood floors.  And oh what a difference it made!  We went from paint-splattered hardwoods hidden under stained, rust-colored carpets


to these lovely hardwood floors…


You might be surprised to hear that despite being hardcore DIYers, Garrett and I rarely refinish our own hardwood floors.  The first time that we tackled refinishing floors ourselves, we found it to be timely, labor intensive, and super disruptive to our lives since we were living in the house.  Plus the finish didn’t seem to hold up nearly as well as a professional finish.  After that experience, we hung up our belt sanders and called in the pros to finish our hardwood floors (like at Ravenna and Dexter) and they turned out beautifully!

For some reason we decided to try our hand at refinishing the upstairs farmhouse floors ourselves this time, which totaled about 600sf.  It came down to a matter of schedule (it had to be right away so I could finish the One Room Challenge on time), money (we didn’t have thousands to spend on a professional refinish), and the fact that we just moved to town and don’t know any floor refinishers here.  Plus refinishers usually require a minimum hardwood area, and I’m not sure our 600SF would have been enough for a professional refinisher to bother with.  For all these reasons, we got busy and did the job ourselves.

In the end it was a biiiig job, but totally doable.  It was just as disruptive and labor-intensive as we remembered, but I think we ended up with a much more durable finish this time.  And because we were dealing with time and money constraints, doing a DIY refinish on the floors was absolutely the right choice for this project.

Here’s what we used:

// Materials

Drum sander (rental)

Orbital finishing sander (rental)

Palm sander

Belt sander

Wood filler

Polyurethane, satin finish

Putty Knife

Pad applicator

Dry rags and Vacuum

Safety equipment: ear plugs, glasses, respirator mask

Here’s what we did:

Step 1 // empty the room and prepare for dust onslaught.  Because there will be So. Much. Dust!  I recommend removing everything from the room and then hanging two layers of painters plastic on the doorways.  Dust will still leak out, but these precautions will keep most of it contained.  (Tip: it’s best to paint walls/ceilings before refinishing floors so you don’t get paint splatters on your brand new floor!)


Step 2 // we started sanding with a drum sander because our floors had a lot of layers to remove.  Our 104-year-old floors are covered with layers of paint splattered on top of a thick coat of finish.  Drum sanders can take some serious wood off your floors, so I’d only recommend using one if you have a similar situation, otherwise skip to step 4.  We used our palm sander and belt sander to get the edges and corners of the floor where the drum sander couldn’t reach.  We used 36, 60, 80, 100 grit paper for this step.  In all, this step took us about 18 hours for 3 bedrooms.


Step 3 // we cleaned all the dust off of the floors using a vacuum and then dry rags.  Make sure rags are bone dry (make sure the rags are bone dry or you’ll raise the grain on your hardwood floors and have to sand again).

Step 4 // Once the floors were free of dust, we filled cracks with wood putty and let it dry overnight.  We filled the seams between boards that had seperated a little and any large gouges or cracks.  Again our floors are 104-years-old so there were quite a few of these spots!


Step 5 // Using an orbital finishing sander, we sanded the floors using 100 grit. This machine is square and was able to get right up to the edges, so no need to pull out the palm and belt sanders to sand the corners.

Step 6 // we cleaned up the floors again using dry rags and a vacuum (see Step 3).  At this point, it’s important to make sure every last spec of dust is up, otherwise it’ll be permanently captured in the finish.  If we weren’t 100% sure, we vacummed twice.

Step 7 // If you want to darken your floors, this is where you would add stain, but we skipped this in favor of a natural floor.

Step 8 // Now that the floors were sanded and clean, we applied a thin coat of polyurethane using a pad applicator.  We poured a little of the polyurethane on the floor and then pushed it around, following the direction of the grain, with the pad.  We followed our products drying instructions, which was 2+ hours.

Step 9 // Once the floors were dry, we gave them a light sand using 100 grit sandpaper on the orbital finishing sander.  You don’t want to scuff up the floors or remove much finish, so keep a light sand.  This step is just to get rid of any imperfections.

Step 10 // We cleaned again…urgh, I hate dust! (see step 3)

Step 11 // Next we added 3 more thin coats of polyurethane (for a total of 4), letting each coat dry completely before adding the next.


Step 12 // the last step was to clean…again!  This time we vacummed the floors, walls, and ceiling to get rid of all lingering dust.  Honestly, you’ll probably find dust everywhere, even outside the room!  We also gave the floors a quick mop with water before moving furniture back in.

All-in-all the process took us about a week of work, drying time, and supply runs.  With kids in the mix, moving out of the upstairs for that long was definitely inconvenient, but on the plus side, we saved a bundle.  I’ll tallly up the cost and share that on Thursday.

I’d love to hear from you guys.  Have you ever refinished your own floors?  Any tips or different methods you used?




DIY Hanging Brass Light

Hanging lightbulb fixtures are nothing new.  Scroll through Pinterest (or take a look at Wilder’s bedroom for that matter) and you’re bound to see a ton of examples.  But when I started shopping for a simple hanging brass light fixture for the guest bedroom redo, I couldn’t find one.  At least not in my price range.  So I decided to make one myself!

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom 8

Luckily, I had just completed this DIY for coco+kelley so had a pretty good idea where to find the parts for this light.  I went with twisted cotton wire because I love the look and picked out a brass socket because it feels really current.

Truth time: I haven’t done a lot of wiring before – that’s what Papa’s for, after all 😉 – but even for a novice electriction like me, this DIY was easy.  It took a couple of hours at max.  And best of all, the materials can be ordered online (I used this retailer) and cost less than $30.

The Grit and Polish - DIY Brass Hanging Light labeled


  • Scissors
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Wire Cutters
  • Small screwdriver


  • Socket
  • Strain Relief
  • Wire
  • Plug
  • Wall/ceiling hook

The Grit and Polish - DIY brass light parts labeled 2

Step 1. Remove the cotton off of 1/2″ of the end of your wire using sharp scissors.  Strip the black and white wire cover away from the copper with wire cutters.  Disassemble the socket so that the cap and threaded washer are separate from the main part of the socket.  Slip on the strain relief, socket cap, and threaded washer onto the wire and slide them out of the way.

Step 2. Wire the socket by wrapping the copper from the black wire around the gold screw and the copper from the white wire around the silver screw.  Make sure the wires are secured tightly around the screws and then tighten the screws down.  Reassemble all parts of your socket, including the cap and threaded washer that are already on your wire.

Step 3. Pull the strain relief to the socket, thread it onto the socket, and then tighten down all screws.  The socket should now be securely attached to the wire.

The Grit and Polish - DIY brass light 2

Step 4. To wire the plug, start by disassembling the plug from it’s cover.  Slip the cover onto the other end of your wire and push it out of the way.  Strip the cotton from 1/2″ of the end of the wire.  Strip the black and white plastic from the copper wire.  Wrap the copper from the black wire around the gold screw on the plug and then wrap the copper from the white wire around the silver screw.  Once the wire is wrapped tightly, tighten down both screws.  Attach the cap back onto the plug.

Step 5. Screw the light bulb into the socket.  Before installing the light, I recommend testing it.  Plug it into an outlet and flip the switch.  If you’ve wired everything correctly the light should go on.  Wiring a light isn’t complex, but if you have any questions (any at all!), make sure to discuss it with an electrician.  Faulty wiring is dangerous.

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom light bulb

Step 6. To mount the light, place a hook in your ceiling about 10″ out from the wall (or however far away you want it to hang).  Place a second hook next to the wall.  Drape the wire over both hooks.  I slid the braided cord onto the hooks (so one strand was on either side of the hook) to hold it in place, but you could also use a clamp.

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom hook

So there you have it.  An inexpensive, easy light fixture.  If you’re like me, and have monkeys for kids and a rowdy dog, you may want to consider throwing on a shade or one of these cool guards onto your light.  I’m thinking we’ll probably end up with a guard on our light!

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom lightThe Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom nightstand

Now that I have a little wiring experience under my belt, I’d definitely like to try to make more lights.  Like maybe these wall scones!



p.s. here’s a guest space I love!  And here’s to wishing that some day we have a bigger space for family and friends!

p.p.s. Guys, it’s all about black this season.  At least that’s what Apartment Therapy says about kitchens.  Love hearing that we made the right choice with our kitchen cabinets!

p.p.p.s. I love hearing about how people who are downsizing/paying off their mortgage/or figuring out other ways to retire young.  Here’s the House Tweaking story.

Leave a Comment

Guest Bedroom: Striking Craigslist Gold


When I’m in the market for a bed frame, I like to buy vintage.  As in used-on-Craigslist vintage, not the I-paid-a-fortune-for-it-at-an-antique-store vintage.  There’s such a wealth of beautiful old pieces on Craigslist, it would be a shame not to at least look.  Well, that’s what I tell Garrett when he catches me under the covers at 10pm scrolling through craigslist furniture ads ;).

So, as you probably already figured out, when we started this little guest bedroom redo, I hopped onto Craigslist for a bed frame.  I had two things going for me: I’m in a CL-rich location (Seattle) and I was looking for a full-size frame, something not a lot of other people are looking for, but a common size in antiques.  Not surprisingly, I found two gems, which were being sold together for $120 (!!!).  I was in love.

Bedframe CL Ad 3-9-16 page 1 copy

The only problem was that the beds were located a good hour and a half away from Seattle.  But have I mentioned that I have an awesome husband (I do!)?  Garett volunteered to pick up the beds up and take the boys with him.  He actually made a whole day out of it, taking a picnic lunch and stopping at the beach and an aquarium.  By the time they made it home, Brooks had taken two solid naps and Wilder couldn’t stop yammering on about crabs and seagulls.  And almost as exciting as all that, were the two bedframes sitting in the back of our car.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Guest Bedroom Bed 2The Grit and Polish - Dexter Guest Bedroom Bed 1 two

Let me just start by saying that these frames are gorgeous and in really great condition.  I found out from Mary, the seller (who I struck up an email conversation with), that both beds had been in her family for many years.  The dark wood rope bed dates back to the 1800s and was a wedding gift to Mary from her mom, an antiques dealer in Wisconsin.  The lighter maple bed (Mary called it birdseye maple; my go-to wood guy, Uncle Dougie, called it figured curly maple) dates back to the 1920s.  Mary’s grandparents received the bed in 1927, assumedly for their wedding.  Her grandfather had come to the United States as a 13-year-old runaway from Canada.  He went to medical school and later became mayor of their town in Wisconsin.  Mary’s grandmother was a botanist and “something of a tyrant…but hilarious”.  Mary’s grandmother took a teaching job at a seminary after her wedding.  Because of her job, she had to hide her marriage and live apart from her husband for a time.  She eventually switched careers and worked in the office of her husband’s doctor practice, which meant they got to share this beautiful bed again.  They kept the frame until 1999.  72 years!  A good omen, if I do say so myself!

Now that you’ve seen the beds, I should show you the progress we’ve made on the space we’re going to put them in.  These photos aren’t too great, but at least you can see what the wainscoting looks like:

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Guest Bedroom Wainscot ProgressThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Guest Bedroom Wainscot Progress 2

Up next is painting the walls.  Like I said on Tuesday, I’m planning to go black.

I’m curious, which bed frame would you use?  I’m planning to keep both of them (hopefully the boys will get to use them when they’re a little older), but of course, only one will fit in this tiny guest bedroom!



p.s. my DIY on coco+kelley this week is my favorite project to date.  The shelf/light concept was all Cassandra’s, but I sure loved building it!
p.p.s. I’ve been crushing on antique wood headboards for a long time.  In addition to the gems I found, this one and this one are a couple of my favorites
p.p.p.s. Pinterest’s biggest trends of the year (looks like I’m on-point with the dark walls!).

Dexter Kitchen Renovation Part 2: the Reveal


This is part 2 of a series on the Dexter House kitchen renovation.  Part 1 (the Renovation Process) can be found here.

After months of hard work, it’s finally time to share the renovated Dexter House kitchen with you.  And let me just say that no one is more excited about the finished space than me!  I love this kitchen – it is simple, elegant, efficient, and totally approachable.  And best of all, it’s 100% done!  Well 95%, but who’s counting…

I already told you guys about the renovation process in part 1, so lets get down to the main attraction.  The ‘after’ photos of the Dexter kitchen…

The Grit and Polish - Dexter KitchenThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel northThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel south

Early in the design process, I decided to go with a ‘decidedly-not-white’ approach for this space, opting instead for a tuxedo plan that called for black lower cabinets.  The look is quite a bit different then our previous all-white kitchens (like the kitchens at the Ravenna and Bryant houses), but one that we really like.  In fact, this is both Garrett and my favorite kitchen renovation to date.

It took us a good 5 months to complete this room in tandem with the rest of the Dexter House renovation.  We did all of the work ourselves with some help from family and friends.  And by ‘family’ I mean mostly Papa, my father-in-law, and by ‘some’ I mean all of his nights and all of his weekends for the better part of half a year.  I know, you’re wondering where to get yourself a Papa right about now…what can I say, you’ve got to marry in 😉

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel open shelvesThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen AfterThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen After Sink BigThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Renovation Details Collage 2

There’s a lot that I love about this kitchen.  I love the warmth of the wood, the sleekness of the stove, and vintage-feel of the sink.  I love that we can fit two adults plus a sweet baby and a toddler nicknamed “the tornado” in here and still manage to cook dinner.  I love that the kitchen is open enough to the dining room that you can sit and have a conversation with the chef (aka Garrett) but it’s not open so much that it feels like your whole house is a mess if there’s a bowl left out on the counter.  There’s also something not too precious about this space (as opposed to the Ravenna kitchen, which always felt a bit on the precious side), like you could render a duck in here and that’d be cool.  But what I love the most is that the kitchen feels cohesive with the rest of our 1905 Spanish-style house, which was my number one goal.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel AllThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Renovation Shelf Details CollageThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel mudroom

At the end of every renovation, I like to take a look at the before and afters.  It really puts into perspective just how much work we’ve done.  So without further ado, here’s a look back to the Dexter House in May 2015 compared with how it looks today.

The Grit and Polish - Before and After Collage EastThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After South The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After North Wall

Back in June, I wrote this description of what I wanted this kitchen renovation to turn out like:

“…I’m going for something a bit more cozy and rustic and old world.  A space that may look a bit more chaotic, but always feels like the heart of our family.  Basically I want the Dexter kitchen to feel like the kitchen of a 50-year-old Italian/Spanish/French mother of six, where you roll out biscuits right on the countertop, stir boiling pots of homemade marinara with your kids (your great grandmother’s recipe, obviously), and wear a cotton apron all day long.  Or perhaps an efficient, newer version of that.  Do you feel me?”

I summed it up as a “warm European feel” in August.  And while I think we achieved that generally, along the way, we also drifted off the mark a bit (like painting the lowers in high-gloss and installing an pro-style range).  But ultimately, we ended up with what we wanted.  Something efficient, welcoming, and ‘decidedly not-white’.  And most importantly, we ended up with a kitchen that we love!

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel W and Mama

And in case you’re wondering why I said we’re only 95% done, well there’s still some paint touchup and caulking left to do.  But if you didn’t notice, I’m not going to point it out! 😉

Here’s a recap of all the Dexter kitchen posts… Campaign hardware | Butcher Block Countertops | Tuxedo Kitchen Progress | Cement Tile Backsplash | Tuxedo kitchen plan | Drywall and Cabinets | Rough In | Dexter Kitchen Plan | Framing and Final Demo | and all about the Mudroom

Next up is the budget and resources for this renovation.  But in the meantime, lay it on me.  What do you guys think about our tuxedo kitchen renovation?  I’d love to hear it…the good, the bad, and the I-would-never-ever-EVER-do-that!



p.s. I’ve been pretty obsessed with “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having” lately.  Not that obsession is a bad thing.  Have you seen it?  In another life, I think I might have married Phil and weighed 300 pounds and laughed so hard every day that I had a wrinkly face and killer abs.  ps It’s on Netflix!

p.p.s. Need a home tour fix?  Here’s another great Amber Interiors project, and check out how these newlyweds redid Grandpa’s Hollywood home.  And for something a little more sophisticated, check out this Brooklyn townhouse!

p.p.p.s. Planet 9.  The never seen, newly discovered planet in our solar system.  And shucks, they want to name it after one of my favorite nephews! 😉

p.p.p.p.s. I’m going on 30 days of clean eating and I’m loving it!  Actually the whole family has been loving it…our 2-year-old included!  Have any meal suggestions or tips for sticking with it?  I’ve got a small collection on Pinterest but would love more recipies!


Dexter Kitchen: Butcher Block Countertops


If you’ve followed the Grit and Polish for long, you know that we love using butcher blocks for kitchen countertops (like this one).  They’re inexpensive, timeless and easy to install yourself, making them the perfect material for DIYers like ourselves.  At the Dexter House, we decided to upgrade our usual butcher block countertops to red oak (from Uncle Dougie of course) to match the new floors we laid.

Red oak cost a bit more than basic beech or maple – I think we paid around $26/sf for these – but the final result is stunning!  If I do say so myself.  These countertops are warm, approachable, and down right beautiful.  Here’s a sneak peak at the finished product.  I promise more “after” photos of the kitchen renovation soon…

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Progress stove and potfiller

Installing the butcher block countertops took some time and precision, but overall, the process was fairly easy.  First, I measured the kitchen and ordered the countertops in four pieces, each 26″ deep and a couple inches longer than the length I measured.  I added the extra length to the order to account for the ‘old house factor’.  You know, the nothing-is-ever-square-or-level-and-something-unexpected-always-seems-to-come-up factor.  It’s better to have too much and cut it down to size than to start with too little.

When the butcher block arrived, we laid them out on top of the cabinets, marked the exact layout, and then cut them down to the precise size we needed.  To cut the countertops, we used a circular saw with a new blade on it to assure really clean cuts.  Then we sanded each section with 100 grit, 150 grit and 220 grit sandpaper.  (Please please pretend you never saw this mess of a garbage dump backyard!)

The Grit and Polish - Butcher Block Countertop cutting The Grit and Polish - Butcher Block Countertop sanding

Once they were smooth, I sealed the butcher blocks using Waterlox.  We decided to go with Waterlox this time because we wanted something that sealed the butcher blocks instead of just conditioning them.  This product is pretty popular with DIYers and I found lots of positive reviews online.  (We’ve only lived with the butcher blocks for a couple months but so far I’m happy with the finish.)

After the first coat dried, I gave the butcher blocks a quick sand with the 220 grit to cut down the raised grain, and then put on a second coat.  Then I brought the butcher blocks inside to dry overnight.

The Grit and Polish - Butcher Block Countertop sealing The Grit and Polish - Butcher Block Countertop staging

After they dried, we installed the butcher blocks.  There was a little more minor trimming involved in order to make sure each section fit snuggly and then we secured them to the cabinets using screws from the underside.  Then we cleaned all of the butcher blocks thoroughly, sanded them again with 220 grit sandpaper, vacuumed up the dust, and sealed them with a third coat of Waterlox.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter butcher block counter clean  The Grit and Polish - Dexter Butcher Block Install Seal 2 The Grit and Polish - Dexter Butcher Block Install Sealed The Grit and Polish - Dexter Butcher Block Install Sink 2

Since we have kids in the house, I rounded all of the corners with the palm sander.  We haven’t had any bonked noggins yet, but when we do, hopefully they’ll be minor.

You may remember that we painted our lower cabinets black (you can read about that here), so we covered the countertops with thick paper to protect them from overspray.  When we uncovered everything, the kitchen looked like this.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Progress 6

The countertops look good with those floors, right?!  Would you use butcher block as a countertop?  If not, what material would you use in a kitchen like this?

I promise to show you the entire kitchen renovation soon!



p.s. 1880 never looked so good!  Check out this gorgeous Australian renovation.

p.p.s. My latest rug crush.  I love how Julia used it in her minimalist playroom!

p.p.p.s. I’m on day 11 of clean eating and I have to say, it feels goooood!  Definitely motivated to stay off sugar after watching this documentary.  Watch it!  This film will blow your mind!


Our Tiny Master Bathroom: What it Cost


I showed you the finished master bathroom last week, so let’s take a quick look at what it cost.  As you probably remember, this space was originally a dining nook, so we had to buy everything that went into building a bathroom: plumbing, venting, tub, sink, toilet, etc.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation Process Collage

And considering the massive transformation, I was surprised just how little it cost us to build this bathroom!  We kept the budget down a few ways.  First of all, we know an electrician (thanks Papa!) and my husband is a plumber and a framer and a carpenter and a painter and an all around pretty handy guy (when he isn’t busy in the lab being a biochemist…serious!), so we didn’t have to pay for any labor.  I also picked up vintage fixtures, which fit better and cost less than new ones.  We were also able to work with the existing floors so avoided expensive tiles or new hardwoods.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

$250     Plumbing rough-in

$250     Electrical rough-in

$500     Claw foot tub

$630     Tub hardware

$45       Sink

$30       Mirror

$130     Toilet

$180     Vent

$50       Light fixture

$75       Shower curtains

$200     Door

$25       Window film

$230     Demo/Framing

$100     Paint

$100     Floor Finishing

$200    Incidentals

$2,995 Total

Yup, it cost us just under $3,000 to turn the Dexter House master into a suite.  Of course, this doesn’t include house-wide costs, like adding a new electrical panel or taking out permits, but you get the picture.  All in all, pretty darn reasonable.  I’m not a realtor by any stretch of the imagination, but I think one would agree that this was money well spent if we ever went to sell the Dexter House!

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation All

Want to know more about this bathroom?  Here are posts on demodesign/layoutthe sinkfloor paintwall paintprogress and the reveal.



p.s. Check out this really lovely Christmas home tour on Lark and Linen!

p.p.s. I love decorating for the holidays, but with a two-year-old and a toddler, this year is all about simple.  As in we-bought-a-Christmas-tree-in-the-Fred-Meyer-parking-lot simple.  So no DIY wreaths for me.  But if I did happen to find myself with two free hands and a couple of hours, I would try to make something like this or this!

p.p.p.s. Some of my favorite holiday decor.


Our Craigslist Headboard


A few months back I scoured this headboard on Craigslist. It was $195 and I was in love.  I sent Garrett to pick it up since I was conveniently out of town visiting my sister.  The headboard went straight into our basement for storage since we were still knee deep in the upstairs remodel and I kind of forgot about it.  Well shortly after the floors were painted, Garrett brought the headboard out of storage and set it in our master bedroom.

The Grit and Polish - Master bed 1

It’s probably difficult to get a sense of the scale of this thing, but suffice it to say, it’s massive.  I’m 5′ 7″ and can barely reach the top of the thing.

The Grit and Polish - Master bed 2

Excuse the massive belly – that picture is obviously a bit outdated 😉

The headboard didn’t come with a frame, so we decided to build one.  We had already ordered one of those ‘comes-in-a-box-and-inflates’ mattresses and knew we didn’t want a box spring, so followed the manufacturer’s recommendations for building the frame.  That meant that we ran 2″x6″‘s every 8.5″ so that we didn’t exceed a 3″ gap.  We surrounded the frame with fir 1″x6″ that match the headboard and set it on 2″x2″ fir legs.  We attached the frame to the headboard with metal brackets so that we can separate the headboard from the frame should we ever decide to move this bed.  The thing weighs a ton, but at least it’s really solid.

The Grit and Polish - Master bed 3

I sealed the headboard and the fir 1″x6″s with orange oil, which smells amazing, and that was it. The materials for the frame cost $150, so we’re into the bed for a total of $345. Seems really reasonable for a solidly-built, unique headboard like this one.

The Grit and Polish - Master bed 4

So that’s our Craigslist headboard.  It’s pretty unique and probably not to everyone’s taste, but I’m curious, do you guys like it?



p.s. Have you guys seen Chip and Joanna’s farmhouse renovation?  Love these guys!

p.p.s. I’m not really into playing favorites, but yeah, this is probably my favorite kitchen ever!

p.p.p.s. With so much of my time these days spent snuggling baby Brooks, I’ve had plenty of time to keep up on Pinterest.  Here’s my favorite kitchen pin, living room pin (that ceiling! that fireplace!), and recipe pin this week!


DIY Contributor: coco+kelley

Guys, I’m excited to tell you that I’m now a DIY contributor for coco+kelley.  I’ve always been inspired by Cassandra’s site and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it.  Hop on over to check out my first DIY, an easy cheese board!

The Grit and Polish - In the Kitchen with Bubba



p.s. have you caught these sneak peaks of the Dexter House renovation?  We are this close to moving in!!!

Leave a Comment

A Cement Tile Backsplash in the Kitchen


Well guys the big moment finally arrived… I tiled the kitchen backsplash! What did you think I was going to say we had our baby??!  😉

If you remember, I ordered these cement tiles a few weeks ago and was out-of-my-mind excited when they arrived:

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Tile

Leaving those beauties stacked in the corner while Garrett finished drywalling was akin to torture.  Okay, that’s probably a little harsh, but I’m just not a patient person when it comes to finishing a kitchen.  It’s only a hair easier than waiting for your baby to arrive after they’ve been cooking for over 41 weeks (not going to happen this time…right baby?!).

Anyway…back to the tiles.  Garrett really wanted to inset the backsplash into the wall so the edges of the tile would be concealed by the surrounding drywall.  I wasn’t really concerned about seeing the tile edges, but I let him go after it anyway ‘cause marriage is all about compromise.  And I like to compromise on the small stuff ;).  So Garrett put up 1/4″ hardiboard behind the backsplash and 5/8″ drwyall around it.  He pushed out the drywall immediately on either side of the hardiboard with 1/8″ furring strips so I had a solid 3/4″ of depth to work with for laying the mortar and tile.

The Grit and Polish - Kitchen Drywall

Then it was my turn!  This was my first time installing cement tiles and I found it to be…well…pretty easy.  I used an acrylic, pre-mixed tile adhesive (mostly because I’m lazy and HATE mixing up mortar) and a trowel with large teeth.  Per the tile manufacturer’s instructions, I cleaned the back of each tile prior to laying them on the adhesive.  Cement tiles are heavier than any tiles I’ve worked with before, so I put extra care into making sure the backing was evenly applied with large grooves from the trowel.   I don’t want any of these suckers popping off the wall and falling into a pot of stew when I finally get the chance to cook in this kitchen!

What I loved about working with these cement tiles (besides them being fabulous!) is the size.  They’re each 8”x8”, which made the install go fast.  I did the whole kitchen backsplash in about an hour.  After spending two full days laying the marble herringbone backsplash at Ravenna, I was overjoyed by the simplicity of this project.  The only added difficulty I found with these tiles was aligning the pattern.  It’s not rocket science (I’m looking at you, Jamie), but I did spend a little extra time laying them out.  I started by marking a vertical line at the center of the backsplash and then laid the first row beginning with the middle tile and working outwards.  After laying the center three tiles all the way to the top of the backsplash and checking that each row was level, it was time to cut the edge tiles.

The Grit and Polish - Kitchen Tile Backsplash Progress Collage with numbers

Cutting cement tiles takes a bit of extra patience because they’re harder and thicker than the ceramic tiles I’m used to working with.  I found that cutting them face-up allowed for fewer chips on the face of the tile.  When cutting these beauties, you have to be aware of the pattern.  I cut the right and left edges off of 4 tiles.  Then I laid these 3″ strips into the backsplash and called my work done.

The Grit and Polish - Cement Tile Backsplash

Everything I’ve found online recommends an impregnator/penetrating sealer for cement tiles.  Cement tiles are super porous meaning they’ll stain easily, so you have to seal them prior to grouting.  I plan to use this sealer product.  And then I’ll grout them with either a bright white grout or an off-white grout that matches the field color of the tile.  We ended up with 1/4″ grout lines (which is 1/8″ thicker than the manufacturer recommends…oops), so I’ll use a sanded grout.  Stay tuned for that.

So what do I think about the backsplash?  I LOVE it!  It was easy to install and adds big impact.  It’s like a giant Spanish/European moment in this house. Of course at $18/sf, these tiles are not cheap, but I think they’re worth every penny!  What about you guys?  Are you feeling my patterned cement tile backsplash???

Seeing the backsplash done has made me even more eager to finish this kitchen up (see previous comments on patients…)!!!!



p.s. Speaking of patterned tile backsplashes…I really dig this one!  That image was what finally persuaded me to go for broke on cement tiles!

p.p.s. Another stunning kitchen by Jessica Helgerson…she can sure design them!

p.p.p.s. Wilder is into dinosaurs right now and I think it’s amazing!  26 months has got to be my favorite age yet!  Also, yes…he’s running with scissors.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...