6 Day Kitchen Reno // Construction


We renovated a whole kitchen in 7 days. Seven days! It feels like quite a feat considering what a major remodel project a kitchen is. And yes, it took us one more day than we anticipated, but who’s counting…right?!

So how exactly did we renovate the #6daykitchenreno in 7 days?  The simple answer is: a lot of late nights, early mornings, upfront planning (check out the design plan here), and a whole lotta hustling. The homeowners, Julia and Garrett, who happen to be some of our very best friends (and yes, Julia and I both married Garretts, which is totally confusing), worked along side us for the entire renovation. Plus they called in favors with family and friends so we had even more help during the weekend. For the record, it’s totally true what they say. Many hands make for short kitchen remodels!


As I mentioned last week, the homeowners demo’d the kitchen before we arrived, which was awesome because I hate demo. Plus it saved us at least a day in the schedule. A win-win!


We purchased most of the finish materials ahead of time and stored them at Julia and Garrett’s house so they’d be onsite when construction started. This included the cabinets, the Rejuvenation sconce, tile flooring (which we ended up not using), appliances, and the french door. Another advanced planning item were the Quartz countertops, which Julia and Garrett picked out and scheduled for install on day 3 of construction.

Julia and Garrett also decided not to mess with the ceiling lighting, which kept our renovation scope trimmed down. They’ll have to go back and add some more ceiling lights at some point, but it wasn’t in the budget right now.


Construction followed a pretty traditional sequence: demo (done by the homeowners), subfloor, door install, electrical and plumbing repairs, drywall/hardiboard, lower cabinets, countertops, upper cabinets, wall tile, grout, finish lighting and electrical, floors, trim, caulk, and then appliances. More or less. I’ve included a day-by-day schedule at the end of this post in case you want to know more.

Here’s what that the construction looks like as a gif (note: you’ll have to view the video in a web browser, so if you’re reading this post in an email, click through to the Grit and Polish or head over to Instagram for a version with tunes!)

There were a few notable things that slowed construction down. Mainly: the amount of wall tiling, painting the cabinets, shopping trips, and kids. You may have noticed that there is subway tile on every wall. What exactly possessed us to tile every single wall when we were trying to renovate this kitchen in only 6 days, I’ll never know, but at least it looks pretty. Painting the cabinets also added a lot of man hours to the project, but was totally worth it! The original cabinet color was a warm white, which Julia likened to “coffee-stained teeth”. Painting the cabinets bright white and navy blue really took this kitchen from ‘nice’ to ‘great’. Julia, Garrett, and/or I went to a store almost every day, which was a huge time sink. Purchasing the tiles, picking paint, swapping the stone floors for wood, and 6+ trips to Home Depot really slowed us down. But in the end, the single biggest delay on this project was… our kids! Between us and Julia and Garrett, we had 4 young children around, and we were in over our head trying to entertain the bunch.


Now I don’t want to blame our kids for turning the #6daykitchenreno into a #7daykitchenreno, but the kids absolutely turned the #6daykitchenreno into a #7daykitchenreno! Brooks was teething, so he wanted me 24/7, which meant I wore him in a Ergo a lot (even for naps…a heavy load at 11 months). But he wasn’t super happy with the Ergo, or anything really (teething is hard!) and he also just started walking so when I did put him down, he was off into everything! Wilder was easier, but I tell ya, just feeding that kid is a part-time job. Don’t get me wrong though, I love having our kids with us, even while we work. I think they learn a ton from being around their parents and being included and watching us work. But if you’re going for a quick reno, kids will slow you down. Period. We definitely could have left our two at home with grandma, but Brooks is still nursing, and I’ve never left him overnight let alone a week. So along they came. But my advice to anyone looking to renovate quickly is get a babysitter! I am 100% sure that if we had left our kiddos at home or had a babysitter onsite we could have finished this job in 6 days.  But of course, without the kiddos, the pictures would have been a whole lot less cute!


As promised, here’s the rundown of the work we did each day:

Day 1. wall demo and french door install, subfloor install, first of many Home Depot trips + lumber store

Day 2. install base cabinets, sink drain repair, Home Depot trip, pick up backsplash tile

Day 3. countertop install, upper cabinets, start backsplash tile, remove cabinet doors in prep for painting, fix small electrical issues, pick up new flooring, Home Depot trip

Day 4. paint store, finish tiling, first two coats of paint on cabinet boxes, first coat of paint on doors and drawer faces (spray application)

Day 5. grout tiles, second coat of paint on cabinets, replace electrical receptacles and fix a couple issues, hood vent ducting and roof jack install, Home Depot trip

Day 6. hardwood floor install, install cabinet doors and drawers, finish electrical, appliance install, install sconce light, Home Depot trip

Day 7. Trim, open shelves, caulk, paint touchup, cabinet hardware install, french door hardware install, hardwood treads and stair landing install

Can’t wait to share this finished space with you on Thursday!

In the meantime, any tips for renovating with kids?! I’d love to hear them



p.s. this is just so upsetting. amazing what a few lies about sugar can do the health of a nation for half a century.

p.p.s. I really loved seeing Ginny’s dining room. Dark blue is kind of my bag right now and I’m already thinking where I can use it at the farmhouse!

p.p.p.s. a few of my favorite pins this week: an antique map, kitchens and babies (two of my favorite things!), cardamom in a cake (!!!),  I want all the wood-framed couches/day-beds.

p.p.p.p.s. my friend just started an interior design firm in Seattle/Portland and I’m super excited for her! Check Carrie out on IG!


Dexter Kitchen: Campaign Hardware


Well, I can finally say that I like the look of the campaign hardware as much as I had hoped.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Campaign Hardware

There are also more issues with the hardware than I expected (did you notice the booboo on the lower right drawer?), but I’ll get to that in a minute. First up, let’s talk about where we found this undeniably beautiful cabinet hardware and the installation process.

After searching high and low for recessed pulls for the kitchen drawers, I found the perfect campaign-style pulls on Etsy.  They’re handcrafted to by a group down in LA.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.25.29 AM

Installation was tricky at best even for an experienced DIY-er (or maybe not even then…see aforementioned booboo).  We had 13 pulls to put in and it took three of us a solid 6 hours.

Since campaign hardware is recessed below the face of the drawer, you have to use a router for installation.  You need a template of the recessed area that will serve as a guide for the router blade.  Garrett made us one by tracing the back of the pull on a small piece of mdf and then cutting it out with a jigsaw.  Let me apologize in advance for the slew of bad iPhone pictures coming your way…

The Grit and Polish - Campaign Hardware Install template

The Grit and Polish - Campaign Hardware Install 2

We clamped the template to the drawer face, checking that it was tight and centered, so the pulls would end up in the middle of the drawer – obviously this is super important for function and form.  Next we drilled two holes for the screws before cutting out the recessed area with the router.  Routers are messy, so we had the shop vac on hand.

The Grit and Polish - Campaign Hardware Install 3 The Grit and Polish - Campaign Hardware Install 4 The Grit and Polish - Campaign Hardware Install 1The Grit and Polish - Campaign Hardware Install 6

We attached the pulls with screws from the inside of the drawer and voila!

The Grit and Polish - Campaign Hardware Install 7

Oh, but this bottom drawer.  The template wasn’t on securely when we began to router, so the template shifted, causing a large hole in the drawer face.  We filled the hole with putty, but haven’t gotten around to painting it.  Super frustrating!

The Grit and Polish - Campaign Hardware Install 8

So, what do I think about the campaign hardware as pulls?  They’re beautiful!  And unique.  Kind of like our shop vac operator 😉

On the flip side, the pulls are hard to use.  Since the recess isn’t very deep, it is difficult to grab the pull unless you have toddler-sized fingers.  Really this hardware is pretty much the opposite of child-safety latches: hard for adults to use but easy for toddlers.  And that is not a good thing in our home these days!

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Campaign Hardware and Wilder

My other complaints are that these cabinet pulls were expensive – like $25 apiece – and they’re on the ‘very difficult’ side of the hardware-install scale, probably best left to a professional.  So while I love them, I probably wouldn’t use them again in a kitchen.  Maybe on a furniture piece or some rarely-used storage but not in a heavy use area like the kitchen.

What do you guys think about the look of the campaign hardware?  I’d love to hear it!



p.s. did you see Chip and Joanna’s “barndominium” project?  I dig it!

p.p.s. Speaking of barns, check out this barn house.  I would have lightened the interiors up a bit, but I love the concept!  In fact, I’ve got a whole Pinterest board dedicated to barn houses, cause that’s just how I roll.

p.p.p.s. More “after” photos of the Dexter kitchen are coming next week!  But in the meantime, I’ve been posting a few peaks on my Instagram page.


Renovating with Toddler: Work Clothes

When it comes to getting a toddler interested in working with mama and dada, it helps to have special duds for the occasion.  I mean, what kid doesn’t love dress up?!  And Wilder is no exception.  When ever dada puts on his work boots, Wilder dances around, begging to put on his own work boots.  And if we set his Carhartt overalls out, oh man, you had better watch out!  He will drag us out the door to get to work.  Work clothes help get our toddler excited about working, plus they have the added benefit of keeping him dry in the Seattle rain and owee free!  Here’s a rundown of the clothes we’ve found are essential for a work-loving toddler.

Renovating with Toddler: Work Clothes

Carhartt Overalls, Amazon – work pants are essential for a busy toddler, especially when you’re working outside.  These overalls are our favorite – they’re easy on and off and really durable. A good pair of thick jeans would work too.

Rain Coat, K-Way – we found Wilder one of these jackets on clearance at J.Crew last fall.  Since we live in Seattle, a rain coat is an essential kids item, but it really came in handy while we were building the shed this winter.

Flannel Shirt, J.Crew– Wilder has a few flannels he wears while working.  I buy them from J.Crew when I find them on sale because you can’t beat the quality but he also has some handmedowns from his cousin Walty too.  In the summer months, we substitute short sleeve shirts or tank tops for these.

Kids Work Gloves, Home Depot – Wilder loves his work gloves and he shows us by wearing them around the house. All. The. Time!  And when we’re working on projects outside or in, these are perfect for keeping his hands owee free.

Wool Socks, Smartwool – these wool socks are essential when we’re working outside in the rain.  They keep Wilder’s feet dry and warm.  I’ve been wearing (and loving) Smartwools for years, so I was really excited to find they make kids socks too!

Timberland Boots, Zappos – sure, these boots are spendy (I think we paid $65 for them), but they are worth every penny!  These boots keep Wilder’s feet owe free when he’s hanging around the nails, wood, and tools at our construction sites.  We bought the boots extra big so there’s room for Wilder to grow into them plus they’re so durable that they should last for baby #2 too!

Catch part 1 of Renovating with Toddler here.



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Renovating with Toddler: Books

I’ve been asked a lot about renovating with a little one around.  Renovation is hard work and parenting is even harder, so combining the two can be a little confusing, if not downright frustrating at times.  We are still learning how to juggle the two, but we have picked up quite a few tricks during our own renovation journey.  And it is high time I share those tips with you all!  With that in mind, I present to you the Renovating with Toddler series.  This will be a place for me to share tips and products to help get a toddler interested in renovating and keep them safe and entertained while parents get to work.

The Grit and Polish - Wilder in his work boots 22 months 5

Today I’m going to focus on books, since they’re one of Wilder’s favorite things.  We’ve been reading construction books since he was little.  I think books focused on tools and renovating can help foster an interest in kiddos and help them not be afraid of all the loud noises and strange looking tools mom and dad have suddenly gotten excited about.  Books may even help a kiddo get interested in what mama and dada are doing.  Here’s a roundup of some of Wilder’s favorites.

Construction Books for Toddlers

B is for Bulldozer, June Sobel – this is hands down Wilder’s number 1 requested book.  It pairs the alphabet with building a theme park.

The Toolbox, Anne Rockwell, Harlow Rockwell – this is a sweet book about a father’s toolbox.  I’m a sucker for simple, slow books, and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenhel – this classic story probably doesn’t need an introduction.  This one’s all about construction machinery from morning to night and Wilder gobbles it up!

Tap Tap Bang Bang, Emma Garcia – this is the other book Wilder asks to read every night.  It has a run down of tons of common tools and what they’re used for and how they sound.  Wilder LOVES this book!

The Little House, Virginia Lee Burton – okay it might be a stretch to call this one a construction book, but any time you move a house, it’s a pretty big project!  This one is a favorite in our house – it’s a bit slow so we only read it when Wilder is rested and patient, but it’s really sweet!



p.s. Apartment Therapy’s small cool contest is wrapping up!  Here are a few of my favorites: 660 sf of creative, 675sf of historic fun, and 525sf of Scandinavian natural.

p.p.s. A laid back, rustic retreat in Kentucky.  I would love to spend a summer here 🙂

p.p.p.s. Perfect for summer camping season!  Rehabbing an old camper is definitely on my bucket list!!!

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