Porch House // Dining Room Before + After


Even though we bought the Porch House a year ago (an entire year!) and have already sold it, there are still a ton of spaces we haven’t gotten to on the blog yet. There’s the living room, the entire upstairs, the kitchen, the exterior, and the dining room.  Phew! I’m chomping at the bit to share these, so today we’re going to look at the dining room.

Believe it or not, this dining room saw quite a bit of renovation work even though we didn’t have to do any major changes. This was one of those rooms that just needed to be cleaned up and left alone as much as possible. Here’s what the dining room looked like when we first bought the Porch House.

This room had great bones: original moldings, hardwood floors, a large window, and a built-in hutch. It was so good that we didn’t need a design plan, we just needed to bring it into the 21st century. And indeed, besides the ceiling fan, baseboard heater, and floors – which were all of the wrong era or in too rough of shape to salvage – we saved everything else.

Even with our small design agenda, there was still a fair amount of work to do: electrical, heating, paint, lighting, fixing up the old hutch, plaster repair, and of course the new hardwood floors.  This room wasn’t part of our 16-day HGTV pilot, Master Plan, so we had the luxury of time to finish this room.

Most of you know that we sold the Porch House to Garrett’s parents so we never had to stage this space, but I did bring in the couch and table from the sunroom to give you a bit of scale. In hindsight I wish I had taken more photos of this room finished, like of the window and the opposite vantage point. Ugh. At the end of an extensive renovation like this one, we’re always so busy with the punch list and super eager to pack up and be done that sometimes (read: almost always) photos are the lowest priority. More often than not, I find myself wishing I had taken more photos when I finally get around to downloading them. But so it goes in the glamorous life of DIY renovators 😉

One thing I love in this dining room is the light fixture. It’s far more modern than I usually select for our spaces, but it’s sculptural, bright, and focal – everything we needed in here. We opted to leave the fixture high instead of dropping it over the table, because we didn’t know where the future owners would put the table or even if they’d use this space as a dining room.

I’d love to know where you stand on the modern-light-in-an-old-house look, championed by Old Home Love among others. It was definitely an uncharacteristic move for me, but I’m surprised by just how much I love it!

Sources: wall paint – BM Simply White // trim paint – C2 Vex // chandelier // velvet pillows // latch on hutch // vase (similar) // table and couch vintage (from Craigslist) //

Related Posts: Porch House hardwood floors // Porch House floor plan // We’re Filming a Pilot for HGTV // Dexter House Backyard //


Our Favorite Kitchen Renovations To Date

We’ll be getting into the Porch House kitchen renovation here on the blog soon, but before we do, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane. Garrett and I have renovated 7 kitchens to date – 5 of which we’ve lived in – and we’ve each liked and disliked different things about them. Functionality, finishes, memories…it all plays a role in the impression we’re left with. So today I thought it would be fun to share which of our previous kitchen renovations Garrett and I liked best and why.


Cathy’s Pick // Bryant House

subway tile, antique hutch, butcher block, kitchen

It’s really hard for me to pick favorites between our homes (because I love them all for different reasons), but the Bryant House kitchen definitely sticks out. I love the simple white and wood color palette, the antique hutch in the corner, and the attached dining nook. But best of all, this kitchen gets the best natural daylight. We tore down an interior wall and aded two sliding doors and now you get light from three sides in here so even when the weather is dreary (which is a quite frequently in Seattle), this space shines.

Favorite memory: We had our first baby, Wilder, in this house and the kid could not be set down. He would just cry and cry so he spent most his time in my arms. I would spend hours sitting in here drinking coffee at the table, catching up on blogs (before this one existed), and just holding my baby. I feel like I really became a mom in this kitchen and I’ll never forget it.

See more: The Bryant kitchen // budget // reveal


Garrett’s Pick: Dexter House

When I asked Garrett why Dexter? He said: “Well, it starts with the Blue Star range and ends with the Blue Star range!” We’ve had 7 different cooking surfaces  including an induction range top and the open, star-pattern burner on the Blue Star is the runaway favorite. “I also like the layout and natural light from the skylights.” We actually shrank the kitchen down during the remodel but that made it so much more efficient. The kitchen is wide and even though it doesn’t have an island, there are a few nice stretches of counter for prep.

Garrett’s favorite memory: walking down to the farmers market for fresh ingredients and then cooking summer dinner with a glass of wine.

See more: kitchen reveal / resources / construction


Those are our favorites to date. Are you surprised?

Related posts

Ravenna kitchen / 6 Day Kitchen / 6 Day Kitchen Resources /


Porch House // What the Powder Bathroom Cost + Budget Tips


The powder bathroom budget is part 5 of our Porch House powder bath series. You can read more here: designwhy we added a powder bathroom8 great wallpapers, and the reveal

Last week I showed you one of my all-time favorite renovations, the powder bathroom at the Porch House. This little space is a beautiful jewel box within this simple home, which was built in 1900, long before powder bathrooms were popular. It’s the finishes that set this room apart: bold wallpaper, brass accents, and board and batten painted in the warmest neutral. And I think it’s all just so pretty, but can you believe it was also done on a small budget?

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom sink 3 CLEAN

The finishes for this new bathroom rang in at just over $1200.  Here’s where the dollars went:

Powder Bathroom Finishes Budget

$480 wallpaper (2 rolls)

$100 board and batten materials

$50 paint

$225 pedestal sink

$64 faucet (from ebay)

$50 brass sconce

$150 toilet

$100 plumbing, caulk, misc

$0 framing/drywall/flooring (not included, see below)*

$1219 TOTAL

*framing, drywall, and flooring costs are not included in this budget since those costs are almost impossible to pull out of the whole-house renovation we completed at the same time as this bathroom. If you had to throw a dart at those materials costs, they’d be in the realm of $300-$500. Again, that’s materials only.

It’s also important to note that this bathroom is brand new to the house. We carved the space out of an existing bedroom. The powder bathroom is about 34sf. You can see the floor plan here.

Budgeting is an art form that not everyone possess and it’s so easy to spend a small fortune on renovating. So today I wanted to include a few insights and tips on how we kept the powder bathroom budget so low. These tips are relevant to any renovation and could help maximize your dollars on your next project.

Tips on How we got a High-End Look on a Budget

One // Splurge on one High Impact Item, Save on the Rest. In this room we splurged on the wallpaper, which is the single most defining design feature. The wallpaper range in at $480, which is over 1/3 of our overall materials budget for this space. But that was our only splurge.

Two // Inexpensive Wall Treatments that Look Expensive. We designed and built the board and batten wainscot in this room for $100. It’s constructed entirely of mdf trim, a little caulk, and some paint. And the finished product looks way more expensive than it actually cost.

Three // Plan Ahead! Planning ahead can save you a ton of money in shipping fees, rush order, sale prices, and it turns out extra rolls of wallpaper too. Before we got to work on the board and batten, we ran the numbers on the wallpaper’s pattern repeat, width, and length and figured out that if we brought the wainscot up to 5′ we’d only need two rolls of the expensive wallpaper. In the end there was hardly two feet of wallpaper to spare, but planning ahead saved us from spending another $240 in wallpaper.

Four // Search for second-hand, Refurbished, or Out-of-Box Items. We found the brass faucet, an out-of-box item, on Ebay. It rang in at a good half of what it would sell for new. And while we weren’t able to reuse an existing toilet or repurpose an old sink in this bathroom, we almost always do.

Five // Keep the Design Simple. This tip is pretty intuitive: having less things in your space means spending less money. Simple, minimal spaces simply cost less to build. We stuck with just the necessities in here and that went for paint colors too.  We used the same color on the trim and ceiling in here as we did through the main floor of the Porch House – C2 Vex and BM Simply White – so we didn’t need to buy extra paint. And bonus, the simple color palette helps the house flow from one room to the next, giving it that pulled-together feel.

Six // Inexpensive Art.  The single art print in this bathroom was a free download from one of my favorite blogs, the Faux Martha. I printed it at Costco and framed it in a Target frame for a total cost of under $15. Talk about budget! You can check out more inexpensive art ideas here.

Seven // Do the Work Yourself! You knew this one was coming. We’re big advocates of doing work ourselves because it saves money, teaches valuable skills, and controls the end product. Plus it can be hard to recoup your investment when you hire out entire projects, at least in a small-town real estate market like Ellensburg (Seattle is a whooole different ball game). And that may not be a huge deal for someone who plans to stay in the home forever and just really wants a pretty powder bathroom, but it is a huge deal for Garrett and I who tackled this renovation as an investment. I’m guessing if you asked a contractor to build this bathroom, you’d be looking at upwards of $10k in materials, design, and labor (plumber, electrician, general labor, wallpaper-er, etc), so doing all that ourselves saved a ton of money.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom GW print 2

Porch House Powder Bathroom Sources:

You can find all the resources for this bathroom here.

Related posts:

Powder bath design // Why we added a powder bathroom // 8 great powder bathroom wallpapers // the Porch House powder bathroom reveal // Porch House floor plan // Porch House master suite // Ideas for Inexpensive art // A 36sf master bathroom // A 36sf master bathroom budget


Our HGTV Pilot “Master Plan” Aired! (and here’s how to watch it)

If you missed our quick media blitz on Saturday, our HGTV pilot, Master Plan, aired!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Family in Kitchen 2

Our Porch House renovation // project featured on HGTV’s master plan

I woke up from a nap on Saturday (a weekend luxury for this tired mama) to find a text message from a friend saying that our show had already aired in California and would air in Washington later that afternoon. Thanks Christine! A quick peek at blog comments and sure enough people from around the US had already tuned in. At that point, we had about 2 hours before the show was going to air locally so we shot out some messages and scrambled to find somewhere to watch it ourselves (we don’t have cable at the Farmhouse). We ended up at the local brewery who thankfully let us take over their TV for 30 minutes, while 2 of our kids took their afternoon naps on our laps. So our first time seeing the show – hours after many of you had already seen it – was with a bunch of locals over beers at Whipsaw. It was perfect.

How to watch now (updated 2/7): For those of you who missed it, Master Plan will re-air on HGTV soon. And if you don’t have cable, we’ll let you know how else you can watch it. Once we hear an air date, we’ll get the word out on Instagram and Facebook.

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Front ExteriorThe Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Shelves and Cabs 3.2

It was a trip watching ourselves on national television but less so than I would have thought. Probably because we were still in shock that today was “the day” and out of breath from all the scrambling. I will say that Wilder loved seeing himself on the big screen (Brooks slept through his cameos) and it was really fun seeing myself pregnant again, while holding a now 6-month-old baby Daphne. Seeing our hometown, Ellensburg WA, on HGTV was a huge highlight for Garrett and I as well. But the biggest trip had to be for family, friends, and locals who missed our media blitz and just happened to be sitting at home watching HGTV on a Saturday afternoon when our faces popped up. Ha!

For those of you who watched Master Plan, wanted to watch it, follow this blog, or have supported us along this journey… THANK YOU! We’ve been working on “show stuff” in bits and pieces for 3 years now and it was fun to see it culminate in this pilot (you can read about our first sizzle here and our eventual pilot here and here). We thought the show turned out great thanks to all the hard work of our construction crew (notably Tyler Lee of 3rd Gen and Ryan Frye), Scott Sternberg Productions, Brenton our affable show runner and his awesome crew, Shawn at HGTV, and our neighbor Aaron who let us film in his backyard and fixed that beautiful pocket door overnight. Also, I apologize to any brick masons who had to watch us butcher their craft on national television 😉 DIY for life! 

If you’ve been a long time follower of the Grit and Polish you know that all of our projects receive a huge helping hand from friends and family and the Porch House renovation and Master Plan pilot were no exceptions. Without these lovely, supportive people in our lives none of this would be possible. Love you all!

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Living Rm 16.2The Grit and Polish - Porch House Kitchen Flowers on IslandThe Grit and Polish - Porch House Sunroom sunThe Grit and Polish - Porch House Master Bed Nightstand close

All photos from our Porch House, renovation featured on HGTV’s Master Plan pilot episode


related posts

Porch House page // The Porch House’s kitchen butcherblock // adding vintage charm to the kitchen // Porch House kitchen before + inspiration // we’re filming a pilot for HGTV // we’re STILL filming a pilot for HGTV // Porch House powder bathroom // Porch House master suite


-Garrett and Cathy


Porch House // A Beautiful and Budget-Friendly Powder Bathroom


This is part 4 of our Porch House powder bath series. You can read more here: designwhy we added a powder bathroom, 8 great wallpapers. We’ll share the budget next week. 

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom GW print 2

Today’s the day I get to show you the finished Porch House powder bathroom! This room is one of my all time favorite renovations we’ve done, but before we get into it let’s take a look back at where we came from. A true ‘before’ is tough for this space since this is a brand new bathroom in the Porch House, carved out from 34sf of an old bedroom. You can see how we altered the original floor plan to gain this powder bathroom here.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Framing 2

The old bedroom had one window, which we left on the other side of the wall (in the space we converted into the master bathroom), leaving this powder bathroom with zero natural light. With such a dark, small room on my hands, I was excited to create a jewel box of a space within this simple, historic home.  And after many months of work, I’m happy to say this bathroom is just that: a beautiful jewel box.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom sink 3 CLEAN

We stuck with classic finishes in here: board and batten painted in C2 Vex, beautiful wallpaper (but only 2 rolls…because hello budget), a brass faucet, delicate sconce, and a simple white pedestal sink. And believe it or not, this renovation was completed on a tight budget, which I’ll share next week.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom sink low CLEAN

Let’s address the biggest issue with this room: the lack of mirror above the sink.  Goodness did we try to put one there! But that ledge at the top of the board and batten is 5′ high and 10″ deep (the lower wall is that thick to house plumbing) making mirror placement super difficult. My mother-in-law ended up setting a stand mirror on the adjacent shelf, which works perfectly, and then I propped this whimsical George Washington print above the sink. I love that George Washington is silently watching you (through Warby Parkers) like he’s appraising your hand washing abilities and not-so-secretly judging you. Nothing like a little whimsy to keep a room from feeling too serious. By the way, this print is a free download from Melissa, and I printed it at Costco for a couple bucks and framed it in an inexpensive Target frame.  Budget art at it’s best!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom GW Print CLEANThe Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom mirrorThe Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom wallpaper

I can’t say enough good things about this beautiful wallpaper from Farrow and Ball – it’s textured and thick and beautifully colored – although I would say that wallpaper install is tough. Garrett and I decided to tackle this wallpaper one night at about 10pm because the boys were at Nana’s so why not?! Famous last words. I was cursing that decision all the way until 2am, when we called it quits at about half way done. I’m certain that I swore we’d never wallpaper again, but alas, it’s too darn pretty to make that kind of promise.

This is the view from the bathroom door, which is just off of the front entry (see the floor plan here).

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom wainscot

The toilet is located across from the sink in this rectangular-shaped room. And we placed a cabinet (original to the house, but from a different room) above it for some storage.  Excuse the odd angles of these photographs – this small, window-less bathroom is hard to shoot!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom toilet CLEANThe Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Bathroom cabinet

Goodness, I really do love this room! But we’d love to hear what you think. Would you ever do dark wallpaper like this in a window-less room?

Porch House Powder Bathroom Sources

wallpaper / paint (C2 Vex) / floors / sconce / pedestal sink / faucet (similar style) / toilet / George Washington print (free download from thefauxmartha.com) / picture frame / cabinet hardware /

Related Posts

Powder bath design / Why we added a powder bathroom / 8 great powder bathroom wallpapers / Porch House floor plan Porch House master suite / Ideas for Inexpensive art / A 36sf master bathroom / A 36sf master bathroom budget


Porch House // Why we added A Powder Bathroom + Tips for Adding Your Own


This is part 2 of our Porch House powder bath renovation series. You can read part 1 here

We’re going to return to the powder bathroom renovation here on the blog, so I thought I’d begin with why we decided to add a powder bathroom in the first place.

The Porch House, built in 1900, had 2 bathrooms when we bought it (and I suspect it had only one when it was built), one upstairs and one on the main floor. The upstairs bathroom serves the 3 bedrooms up there, and the main floor bathroom was a jack-and-jill style between two bedrooms. We knew right away that we wanted to turn those main floor rooms into a master suite, which we did that as part of the Fall One Room Challenge.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom and Vanity

our Porch House master bathroom renovation (rug, bench)

You can see the floor plan changes here, but the one problem with adding the master suite is that it left us without a main floor bathroom for visitors and what not. This is not an uncommon problem in old homes. I’ve often had to trek up narrow squeaky staircases to use a bathroom in an old home and there’s something really nostalgic and lovely about that (also a *bit* tiring too). But with the Porch House earmarked for resale, we didn’t want to have this particular issue looming over our heads. So the natural choice was to add a small powder bathroom (aka a half bathroom) on the main floor.

Finding space for a powder bathroom in this house took a little thinking, but ended up being pretty easy since we were already rearranging walls and extending plumbing for the master suite. We carved out about 32sf from the front bedroom (now master bathroom), which is located just off of the front entry. At 32sf, it turned out to be a fairly spacious powder bathroom and is only 4sf shy of the entire master bathroom we added at the Dexter House. Ha!

Finding space for a powder bathroom is not always that easy so we’ve put together a few tips for creating your own powder bathroom in case you too are tired of trekking up narrow squeaky staircases in search of the bathroom.

Tips for creating a powder bathroom in a small space 

One // Powder bathrooms can fit almost anywhere! With only about 18 square feet needed (depending on the layout, of course), think about transforming a closet, the space under stairs, or an unused pantry into a powder bathroom. If you can get plumbing there, it’s a possibility!

Two // Think pocket door. Efficiency is key in small spaces and a pocket door removes the need to plan for a door swing.

Three // Pedestal or wall-mounted sinks are great space savers.

Four // Rounded-front toilets are an inch or two shorter than elongated ones and those extra inches could make all the difference.

Five // Use vertical space wisely. Think about adding storage above the toilet or place a medicine cabinet above the sink.

Jessica Helgerson Powder Bathroom big

design Jessica Helgerson

Have any more tips about finding space for a powder bathroom? Share them with us in the comments!

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

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

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

our Porch House kitchen renovation (via Instagram)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[show_boutique_widget id=”681826″]


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

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

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




Porch House // A (Finished!) White and Wood Mudroom


The Porch House mudroom is finished (!!!), but I suppose that’s obvious since we sold the house last month 😉 The mudroom – which doubles as a laundry, storage, and wash room – gets the best natural light and is conveniently located next to the kitchen and back door.  But probably my favorite feature about this room is the original wood shiplap wall.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Reveal shoes

Swoon!  Can you believe that Garrett found that wood shiplap underneath layers of peeling wallpaper?! He just kept peeling and peeling and the wood kept on coming. Goodness, I love old houses! We chose to leave the wood unfinished but did give the rough boards a good sanding so they’re smooth to the touch.

The other finishes in the mudroom are designed to compliment the adjacent kitchen: a marble countertop, white paint, an Elkay sink and faucet, and continuous white oak flooring.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Reveal from sunroomThe Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Wood Shiplap and Hats smallThe Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Reveal sink 2.2

I did a whole post about the Elkay sink and faucet late last year, but for the record, I love them.  The sink is deep and the attractive faucet extends, which is super useful for cleaning out paint brushes and washing questionable substances off kiddo’s shoes (hypothetically of course ;).

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Washer and Dryer

The primary function of this room is laundry so we bought a GE front-loading washer and dryer from our local appliance store.  The marble shelf above the laundry should help with sorting and folding.

This space also houses the hot water heater.  Remember when we needed an entire utility room for a hot water heater?  In 2018, we need no such thing.  The hot water source for the entire 2000sf Porch House is tucked into a nook next to the sink.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Reveal Hot Water Heater

Bam. It’s certainly not the prettiest part of the mudroom, but there’s something kind of lovely about it’s utilitarian-ness too.  The entire room is under the watchful eyes of George Washington (a free download from Melissa). I printed a couple sizes of this whimsical print and have already used them at the Porch House and at the Farmhouse.  Love it!

As much as I love this mudroom, I’m anticipating helping the new owners of the Porch House (aka, Nana and Papa) with a couple of future changes.  Mainly adding open shelving or a shoe-changing bench in front of the shiplap wall, depending on what they need.  And if the washer and dryer are too loud, we could also add a glass door at the mudroom entrance.The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Reveal 2.2

Mudroom sources

paint: BM Simply White / rug / sink (ricotta) / faucet (lustrous steel)/ George Washington print (free download) / picture frame / green rain boots / leather boots / women’s hat (similar) /

Other Mudroom Posts

Design PlanThe mudroom sink




We Sold the Porch House! + Links 12/22/17

Happy Friday (and almost Christmas)!  I hadn’t planned on posting today, but this was such a big week, I had to.  I mean, aliens!  Plus, a little closer to home, we sold the Porch House. That’s right, after 10 months of renovating, we officially closed on Monday.  While it would be natural to feel a little sad parting with such a beautiful home after putting in All. The. Work!, we aren’t sad one bit.  Because the new owners are…Garrett’s parents!  A couple of months ago, Nana and Papa realized that the Porch House would be a good fit for them (they currently live in a 3000sf house on 20 acres in the country) so we changed gears and instead of putting the home on the market, we sold it to them off market, at cost.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Before Pic on After

There’s so much I could say about the Porch House.  What a big project it was.  Our experience “flipping”.  Off-market sales.  Budgets.  But for now, I’ll just say that we are SO glad to be done.  We’re happy for the Porch House.  Happy for Nana and Papa.  And happy to have more time back on our hands.  It’s a great end to 2017!

Speaking of the year end, in the past few years, I’ve rounded up our year with a highlights post.  But this year I decided to do that on Instagram.  So check over there for all of my favorite photos/renovations/moments of 2017.  To say that we’re excited about 2018 is an understatement.  Garrett and I have big plans for the Grit and Polish, and we couldn’t do any of it without your support.  Thank you for being here!

Well it’s Friday again, so grab a cup of coffee and jump in.

Aliens, guys.  For real!

Trends for 2018: warmer tones (I’m on board!) plus terrazzo, statement doors, and berets according to Pinterest.

An 1830s Farmhouse that is well-worn and stunning!

For Christmas this year, Garrett and I wanted to work towards one of our goals: make a great loaf of sourdough bread. I just ordered this cookbook and this beauty of a kitchen scale (both on Prime) for under the tree.

Jenna Lyons has a new apartment and it doesn’t disappoint.  Especially her bathroom.

Actress Niecy Nash on making it in Hollywood with 3 simple words: “No matter what.”

Travel goals.

Now that Christmas decorations are on sale, I’m picking up a few festive items for next year.  I bought these hand-carved wood animals, a tree skirt (LOVED this one too) and two brass-bell garlands.  Here are a few more awesome deals from one of my favorite retailers:

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A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!  We’ll be back in 2018.




Porch House // Holiday Decor (and Sneak Peeks)


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

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

The Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Hutch and Table

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Grit and Polish - Porch Fireplace Fire XmasThe Grit and Polish - Porch Fireplace Xmas 1The Grit and Polish - Porch Fireplace to KitchenThe Grit and Polish - Porch Dining Room Xmas 1

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

The Grit and Polish - Porch Living Rm Xmas Peek

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

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



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