Porch House Kitchen // The Island Butcherblock


As I mentioned last week, I love the look and feel of natural materials in a kitchen.  Not only do they seem more historically-appropriate in old homes, but natural elements add warmth, character, and a timeless appeal that you just can’t get with the man-made stuff.

When it came time to pick out the Porch House kitchen countertops, I knew right away that I wanted to use wood on the island.  Garrett and I went back and forth with whether to go with something basic and fairly inexpensive (like a classic edge grain butcherblock) or splurge on a custom design.  In the end, we decided to splurge.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Butcherblock Close

The white oak, end-grain butcherblock on the Porch House’s kitchen island is a custom design we did with Hardwood Industries, my brother-in-law’s family business.  You may remember that Uncle Dougie always provides flooring and/or butcherblock for our renovations (like at the Bryant House, Ravenna House, and the Dexter House) and this renovation was no different. Once Garrett talked me into splurging on the kitchen island, I immediately called Doug to start the design process.  Over a few days and a dozen or so emails, Doug and I settled on a 2 1/2″-thick butcherblock in an end-grain pattern (which is reminiscent of a real butcher’s cutting block) in white oak to match the floors.

Over the following weeks, the butcherblock was crafted by Juan, a long-time employee at Hardwood Industries.  I can’t imagine how many hours he put into this piece – cutting, gluing, and sanding it over and over again – but when he finished, it weighted more than 250lbs and was pure beauty.

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Butcherblock Close

With such a short timeline to complete this kitchen renovation (the 16-day schedule was set by the producers of our HGTV pilot), we didn’t get a finish on the butcher block before we had to film the reveal.  But we will eventually seal it with a food grade wax before we put the house on the market.

Thank you to the talented folks at Hardwood Industries for making such a stunning addition to the kitchen (and for giving us the family discount ;)!



p.s. more about butcherblocks

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Porch House Kitchen // Before + Inspiration


It’s been awhile since I talked about the Porch House here on the blog, and it’s high time we get back to it. As a quick reminder, Garrett and I bought this 1900 home early this year as a flip project.  We quickly got down to the business of renovating, tackling the kitchen, sunroom, living room, master bedroom, and exterior, which were filmed by HGTV as a pilot for a new show, ‘Rehab Crazy’ (more about that experience here and here).  The pilot is still in post-production and I don’t want to give away too much until we hear if it will air or not, so we won’t be getting around to the reveals for a little bit.  But that won’t stop me from sharing the kitchen design and inspiration today.

The kitchen at the Porch House is one of my favorite rooms that we’ve ever renovated.  I’m pretty sure I say that about every kitchen we do, but this project was definitely special.  Not only did we complete the transformation in 16 days (a timeline required by our production company), but we had some great help in the form of talented contractors, learned some new DIY skills, and put in a lot of my dream kitchen finishes.  It’s a good one guys, and I can’t wait to show you the finished space!

But let’s start at the beginning.  Here’s what the kitchen looked like before we got out the sledge hammer.

The Grit and Polish - Flip House Kitchen Before 2The Grit and Polish - Flip House Kitchen 2The Grit and Polish - Porch House Sink BeforeThe Grit and Polish - Flip House Kitchen Before 3

Not awful, but not exactly a chef’s dream.  As with most century-old homes, the Porch House kitchen had been previously renovated.  The ceilings were dropped to 8′ (the rest of the original main floor has 9′), the moldings were stripped, and a back ‘storage’ room was added on behind the kitchen.  The general affect was a blah kitchen that was completely closed off, dark, and anything but inspiring.

Right away we knew this would be a gut remodel because there really wasn’t anything to save.  And that was okay in my book, because kitchen renovations are my favorite.  Plus we intended to flip this property, and kitchens sell homes, so we needed an amazing kitchen.

I will say that for all it’s negatives, this kitchen did have one thing going for itself: it’s size.  For an old house, it was pretty spacious, and right away I saw the potential to enlarge it even more by opening it up to the adjacent storage room (aka future sunroom).  The end result would be a bright and family-friendly kitchen/living space, which would surely be the heart of this home.

Modernizing the kitchen was also a top priority, which would entail new electrical, lighting, gas piping, plumbing, appliances, etc.  But modern amenities didn’t mean I wanted a modern-feeling space; quite the opposite in fact.  I’m a firm believer that renovations should fit the vintage and style of a home, so making this kitchen feel like it belonged inside a 1900 farmhouse (while still having all the luxuries of a 2017 kitchen) was the most important goal of the entire renovation.  Another design goal was to bring back some of the ‘old house charm’ found elsewhere in the Porch House, mainly replicating the original chunky moldings and the 9′ ceilings.

If I had to wrap up the kitchen design in a few words, I’d call it a subtle, current, and welcoming space.  This room is all about craft, simplicity, and understated elegance, much like these inspiration images:

The Grit and Polish - Flip Kitchen Inspo

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

Pretty, right?  Everything feels simple, muted, and vintage, but also well-crafted, fresh, and clean.  I decided pretty early on in the design process to nix tiles from this kitchen, opting instead for a marble slab backsplash behind the range and a short 4″ marble backsplash everywhere else.  There were two reasons for this.  First, I wanted to keep the shine and gloss to a minimum so that the crafted elements would stand out.  And secondly, with only 16 days to complete the renovation for the cameras, setting and grouting tiles just wasn’t in the schedule.

Another major element of the kitchen design, was the use of natural materials.  Not only do I always gravitate towards natural materials, but they also lend an authentic and character-rich feel to old spaces that the man-made alternatives just can’t compete with.  Thus I relied heavily on marble, wood, and brass.

This is what all of that looks like:

The Grit and Polish - Flip House Kitchen Elements

I put this board together even before we started demo, and while a couple things changed during the course of construction, it still holds pretty true to the end product.  Goodness, I’m dying to show you the ‘after’ photos!  Soon enough.  In the meantime, I’ll be sharing more about the butcher block countertop and the appliances we picked (with a few sneak peeks of the finished space thrown in)!




Porch House // Powder Bath Design


You were probably expecting to see the ‘after’ photos of the Porch House exterior today, but I’ve been asked to wait on publishing photos until after our pilot airs, so that you can see the transformation first on HGTV!  In the meantime, I’ll be sharing my inspiration for the designs you’ll get to see on HGTV as well as the spaces that we’re still renovating at the Porch House and a few going ons at the Farmhouse.  Thanks for your patience!

The Porch House is getting a powder bathroom, and I’m pretty darn excited about it!  Powder rooms are a great place to go a little darker, take a bigger risk, and be a little bolder – at least that’s my philosophy – so I’ll be doing just that.  Within the confines of a 1900s home, anyway.

We carved out 40sf for the powder room from the original front bedroom, accessed off the front entry.  I should mention that this house had 5 bedrooms (2 down, 3 up) and 2 bathrooms when we bought it, and seeing as it’s only 2,000sf, we felt confident that swapping a bedroom to create a master suite and a powder room would be a win for the home’s future owners.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Framing 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Powder Room Framing

In the picture above, the new powder room is in front of the 2×4 wall, and everything behind it will be a future master bathroom (another project I’m REALLY excited about and will share soon!).  The powder bathroom is long and narrow – essentially a 4’x10′ rectangle – so we were limited with the layout, but I was very careful to position the toilet and sink outside of the sightline of the front door since the powder room is visible from it.  Like very visible…

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Powder from Front Door The Grit and Polish - Porch House Powder from Front Door 2

If the powder bathroom door is open like in that second picture, you will only see the beautiful wallpaper and board and wainscot I have planned.  The toilet will be hidden behind the door to the right and the sink will be to the left.  Admittedly the location of the powder bathroom door is not ideal, but hopefully the fact that you can’t see any plumbing fixtures from outside of the bathroom mitigates the issue.

One other ‘issue’ with this room is that there is no natural light.  The one window in the original bedroom that we’re carving up will be located in the new master bath, but I suppose that if I had to pick one room to be windowless, it would definitely be the powder room.  To deal with the lack of natural light, I’ve designed a space that is darker, cozier, and glitzier than the bright, historic farmhouse vibe going on in the rest of the house.  I want this room to feel like a little jewel box and make the low light feel intentional.

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Powder Bath Design text

wallpaper // paint color // mirror // white oak floors // accent light // toilet // faucet // pedestal sink // basket

The wallpaper is definitely the main design element in this space and a big splurge at $230/roll.  It’s from Farrow & Ball and a pattern that I’ve been eyeing for quite some time.  I only managed to sneak the wallpaper into the budget by adding board and batten wainscot on the bottom 5′ of wall.  This means we should only need 2 rolls of wallpaper instead of 4.  I’m planning to paint the board and batten in C2’s Vex, the same color as on the trim in the entry and living room.  This should help the spaces feel more cohesive and give the bathroom a warmer look.  The navy background of the wallpaper should also play nicely off of the exterior color of the home, BM Hale Navy.

Although I LOVE the mirror in the design board, I’ll likely use a brass-framed vintage one that I found last month at an antique store.  It’s a little chunkier than the pretty one pictured, but at one-fifth the cost, I’m calling it pretty enough.  I’m really not set on the lighting in here, either.  We’ll probably put a pendant or sconce by the vanity and an overhead fixture.  But this space is so small, I’m not convinced it even needs two lights.  As long as a potty-training toddler can see what they’re doing, I’ll be satisfied it’s bright enough.  Mama standards definitely rule in this case 😉

The inspiration for this powder bathroom is tucked in my head since I haven’t found any images that relay exactly what I’m thinking, but here are two images of the wallpaper in vintage homes that I love!

Jersey Ice Cream Co wallpaper Inspiration


Farrow and Ball wallpaper inspiration


This bathroom won’t be complete for a couple of months, so I’ll be bouncing around on the blog between projects a bit.  In the meantime, we’re hard at work on the other 2 bathrooms, dining room, mudroom, and upstairs bedrooms.  It’s going to be a fun couple of months!




Porch House // Introductions & the Exterior


**update: I got a little ahead of myself in sharing the exterior transformation of the Porch House with you guys.  I’ve been asked to wait to publish the photos until after our pilot airs so that you guys can see the transformation first on HGTV!  Thanks for your patience 🙂

The camera crews have gone home and life has *almost* returned to normal around here.  Even now, we’re still catching up on sleep and family time from all those looong days.  Filming a pilot for HGTV was a whirlwind!  Exciting and exhausting but soooo much fun.  Our whole town seemed to find out about the pilot, and excitement was palpable in the community.  While we felt so lucky to be in the talented hands of our film crew, production company, HGTV exec, and contractor, I wouldn’t have minded a couple more days in our 16-day filming/renovation schedule just to cut down on all the late, late nights and to eat dinner sitting down once or twice.  If this pilot airs and you notice that I look a little disheveled, know that I was in do-makeup-in-the-car mode, was up at night a lot with a sick kiddo, and I fully admit that you’re seeing 8-day hair with plenty of renovation dust in it (don’t worry, I did shower every night).  Ha!

HGTV pilot aside, I wanted to introduce you guys to the Porch House because it is an awesome house in its own right.  I’ll be sharing more of the renovation that we completed in front of the cameras if/once the pilot airs, including the kitchen/sunroom, living room, and master bedroom.  You may have gathered by now that we didn’t actually complete the whole house renovation in those 16 days, so we’ll be continuing the renovation over the next 2 (ish) months at a more reasonable pace while we prepare the house for sale.

The Porch House was an off-market property, meaning it wasn’t listed for sale, but our realtors had an inside scoop that the owner might be interested in selling.  The house had been a rental for many years and was in a bit of disrepair.  Thankfully lots of the original charm was in tact like moldings, windows, tall ceilings (except where they had been dropped), and a wrap-around porch.  The home was built in 1900 but the history is a bit of a mystery.  We’ve heard from previous owners and neighbors that the home was actually built somewhere else in Ellensburg and moved here in the early 1900s by oxen cart.  The house definitely has the look of a farmhouse, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was originally built in the country, but one neighbor thought it was built in the historic district by the university, which is where I grew up.

With this renovaiton, my goal for the exterior was to highlight the farmhouse charm and historic feel of the home.  What that meant was improving the landscaping, replacing anything that had been updated in the 70s (i.e. the front door and the upstairs windows), and giving the color a drastic change.  The original wood siding was in okay shape, but blown-in insulation holes, cracks, and general wear over the years had left it in less than ideal condition.  Garrett had the great idea of painting the body of the house in a dark, matte color to hide some of the wear, which I liked because it would also serve to give the HGTV cameras a big ‘before and after’ transformation without us having to do a ton of big changes.  Turns out the painters and pressure washer did such a nice job prepping the siding for paint that we wouldn’t have needed the dark color, but I’m so glad we did because the end result is stunning (if I do say so myself)!

The landscaping also went through a big change.  We are lucky to have some great friends who are killer landscapers (you may remember Julia and Garrett from their kitchen renovation last year).  Julia and I designed the landscaping to fit in the space and use what was available locally at this time of year.  Julia and Garrett put in some loooong days with us, and by the time they left, the landscaping was done!

Soon I’ll show you guys how the exterior turned out (spoiler: it’s SO good!).  In the meantime, here’s a look at the colors and materials I selected.

the Grit and Polish - Exterior Inspiration Collage

sources: porch light | metal basket | mailbox | corbels (similar to our’s)

I’m planning to be back on my Tuesday/Friday post schedule so stay tuned for that, at least until baby arrives and we’re back to turmoil 😉




We’re STILL Filming a Pilot for HGTV


Sorry for the radio silence around here.  It’s been a busy (and exciting) couple of weeks.  In case you’ve forgotten, we’ve been working away on the Porch House renovation under the watchful eyes of HGTV cameras.

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Living Rm Progress

Renovating a house – well the majority of it, at least – in 16 days, is crazy.  Renovating a house in 16 days and filming the process for HGTV is pure insanity.  We have put in some looong, hard days at the Porch House over the past 2 weeks.  We’re renovating, landscaping, and staging this house at light speed all while filming scenes and interviews in front of the cameras.  Yup, insanity!

Luckily, this whole experience has been as fun and rewarding, as it has been exhausting.  We’re fortunate to have a great show runner and crew behind us, who keep things moving smoothly and the mood light and fun.  We also have a great contractor on board who knows old houses and does amazing work. Lots of family and friends have stopped by to lend a hand, which always makes the job site more fun.  Oh and did I mention that the Porch House itself is really amazing and full of hidden gems?!  We found a 5-foot-wide pocket door hidden in a wall two days ago, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been more excited in my entire life.  Garrett may even have referred to the door as my unborn child :0

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Floors and belly

Thankfully, we’re in the final stretch now.  Construction and staging wrap up on Wednesday (or more likely, early Thursday morning) and the reveal will be filmed on Thursday.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how this renovation turns out (and finally getting some sleep!!).  But I’ll definitely miss the folks that we’ve shared this journey with and the excitement this pilot has brought to our community.  I’ll share tons more about this renovation and the whole HGTV pilot experience later this month, but in the meantime check out my Instagram Stories for daily updates.  And wish us luck in this final stretch…we’re going to need it!




We’re Filming a Pilot for HGTV!


We’ve been working on something really big behind the scenes around here and I’m so excited to finally share it with you. We’re filming a pilot for HGTV!

The Grit and Polish - Sizzle Filming 3 10-2016

The pilot is for a 30-minute show currently titled ‘Rehab Crazy’, and if it gets picked up, it will focus on Garrett and I as we renovate old houses in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  The kiddos will make an appearance too, of course. But before I get into more details, let me back up and start at the beginning…

Last year I got an email from an HGTV exec asking if we’d be interested in doing a TV show.  It was totally crazy, but not altogether unprecedented.  We get emails from production companies asking us that same question about once a month or so (and we aren’t the only ones).  We even filmed a sizzle on HGTV’s dime in 2015.  A sizzle is a short, 5-minute clip that gives the network an idea of who you are and what you do and takes 2+ days to film.  The first sizzle was a really fun experience, but didn’t lead anywhere (you can read about that experience here).  It was the type of opportunity that doesn’t usually come around once let alone twice so we never expected to get that email from the HGTV exec last Spring.  But we were sure flattered when we did!  So we happily filmed a little introductory video of ourselves and our projects and sent it to her, which she pitched to her team.  Can’t you just imagine a bunch of HGTV folks sitting around a conference table watching yours truly and my peeps in a self-produced iPhone video?!  Talk about a cringe moment!  Thankfully they liked it and we found ourselves filming another sizzle, which was shot over two days.  During our road trip last Fall, we got the call that HGTV commissioned a 30-minute pilot about us!

The Grit and Polish - Sizzle Filming 2 10-2016.jpg The Grit and Polish - Sizzle Filming 1 10-2016 The Grit and Polish - Sizzle Filming 4 10-2016

Garrett and I were immediately tasked with buying an old house to renovate for the pilot, which was convenient timing since we were already looking for a renovation project in Ellensburg. We closed on the Porch House in February and dug into pre-production for the pilot.  Let me just say, that I had no idea how much work goes into a 30-minute show!  Both the network and our production company have been busy preparing for the shoot and making sure we craft the best show possible. The filming timeline is super tight so Garrett and I have also been deep in construction prep to make sure we can actually pull this whole thing off.

We don’t know if our pilot will air yet or not – I’ve been told that HGTV makes plenty of pilots that never see the light of day – but we hope it does!  Either way, we’re excited to tackle our renovation on the Porch House, put together the best possible pilot, and soak up this crazy experience.

The Grit and Polish - Sizzle Filming 5 10-2016

I’m hoping to share updates during filming over the next couple of weeks via Instagram Stories.  Once the crew goes home and we can take a breath, I’ll share more of the Porch House renovation here on the blog.  In the meantime wish us luck!



p.s. these photos are from the Sizzle filmed last Fall and taken by me and our great onsite Producer, Michael.

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