Porch House Mudroom // A mudroom sink (with Elkay)

THE PORCH HOUSE

this post is sponsored by Elkay.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Elkay Sink CleaningThe Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Elkay Sink Looking In 2

sink (ricotta) // faucet (lustrous steel)

The mudroom at the Porch House is one of those multi-functional, utility spaces.  It serves as the laundry room, storage room, and because of the large sink we installed, it’s also the spot to wash muddy boots, rinse stains out of clothes, and clean out paint brushes.  Having a sink in a mudroom is definitely a luxury – we’ve never had room to put one in any of our houses before – but it’s a luxury that will surely be used on a daily basis.  Anyone who has raised a child (or dog), has had all manner of unpleasant washing tasks to deal with, and it’s a real blessing to keep those out of the kitchen sink.

With Elkay on board as a partner at the Porch House, I picked out their ricotta-colored quartz undermount sink for the mudroom.  I wanted to leave the front of the sink exposed beneath the countertop to give this beautiful space a bit of a utility feel.  The quartz provided a clean look for that.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Elkay Sink Front

We have the prettiest bridge-style faucet in the kitchen, so I picked the coordinating single hole version for the mudroom.  I like that the finishes in the kitchen and mudroom speak to each other but are not identical.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Sink Faucet

We’ve been really impressed with Elkay’s products. They’re well-made, sturdy, and beautiful!  The endlessly-deep, stainless steel sink in the kitchen has been a real pleasure to use and the attached bridge-style faucet is one of my all-time favorites.

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Kitchen Sink small

 sink / faucet (in lustrous steel)

We’re equally impressed with the mudroom sink and faucet!  They are sturdy, beautiful, and so convenient for washing out paint brushes while we finish up construction at the Porch House.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Elkay Sink Looking In 3

We installed this undermount sink ourselves after fabricating this 8′-long marble countertop (stay tuned for a ‘how-to’ post on countertop fabrication).  We glued the sink (using Liquid Nails “fuze-it”) and held it in place with a lifting jack while the glue dried overnight.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Sink G InstallThe Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Faucet Install C

The faucet hole was cut next (using a diamond core bit on the angle grinder) and then Garrett plumbed the whole thing.  We’ve been using this sink ever since!

Thank you, Elkay, for making such beautiful, sturdy products and for sponsoring this post!

xoxo

-Cathy

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Porch House // the Floor plan Before and After Renovation

THE PORCH HOUSE

I’ve gotten a few question about the Porch House floor plan lately, especially where the mudroom sits in relation to the kitchen.  So today I wanted to show you guys how this house is laid out.  I’ll be focusing on the first floor, because the second floor – which houses 3 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a sun porch – required such few changes to the layout that we didn’t draw plans.

Here’s what the first level floorplan looked like when we bought the house.  I imagine it’s similar to what the home looked like in 1900 although there were some additions later on (like the sunroom and attached garage).

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Floor Plan BEFORE

And here’s what the layout looks now:The Grit and Polish - Porch House Floor Plan AFTER

UPDATE: a few readers caught an error in the dining room on the AFTER plan.  We didn’t take out the original window. I’ve fixed the floor plan to reflect reality.  

We made quite a few changes to the floor plan.  First, to create a master suite on the main floor, we divided the front bedroom into a master bathroom (you can see more about that space here) and a brand new powder bathroom. What was once a kids bedroom is now a large en-suite bathroom with heated floors plus a quaint powder bathroom, accessed off of the entry.  Here’s the view of what’s now the master bathroom, pre and post renovation.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Before and After

rug / bench / turkish towel (similar) / art (except vintage and bird postcard) / basket (similar) / slate tile

The original main floor bathroom was previously a jack-and-jill bathroom between the bedrooms, and is now the master closet.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Before and After

basket (similar) / stool

The other major changes to the floor plan came at the back of the house, near the kitchen.  We removed the wall between the old storage room and the kitchen, making for a more modern/open-concept layout. It was easily the biggest layout change we made to this house, and easily the single best thing we did during the remodel.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Sunroom Before and After

rug / pillow (similar color) /

We also closed off the original door of the master bedroom’s tiny closet and moved it to the mudroom.  This added some much needed storage by the back door.  Finding original wood shiplap behind wallpaper in the closet was just a cherry on top.

The Grit and Polish - Mudroom trim and paint 2

Updating an old home’s floor plan to modernize it and make it more efficient is probably my favorite part of renovating.  Well that and kitchens.  I see layout changes – whether it’s opening up the kitchen, improving flow, or adding a master suite – as an essential part of ushering these old homes into the new century.

Next up, I’ll be sharing more on the mudroom!  Any thoughts about our layout changes?

xoxo

-Cathy

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Porch House Mudroom // Design

THE PORCH HOUSE

Now that we finished the Porch House’s master suite, I wanted to introduce you to the next space we’ll be focusing on: the mudroom.

Mudrooms and laundry rooms are so often the red-headed step child.  They’re last on the priority list to design and they’re last to renovate.  For the Porch House, we imagined something different.  We wanted this space to be just as beautiful as the adjacent kitchen, only with laundry, storage, and a sink tucked in too.  So that means white, marble, and a beautiful ELKAY steel faucet and quartz undermount sink to match the kitchen’s.

Porch House Mudroom Mood Board 2

To get this room ready for it’s lovely finishes, we first had to do a little space rearranging.  The original master bedroom closet was next to this room, so we walled off the closet in the bedroom and created an opening here in the mudroom.  One of my favorite surprises of this renovation, was finding original wood shiplap behind the wallpaper in the closet.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Shiplap

We decided to use a wall-mounted, instant hot water heater, which will tuck in the nook next to the sink.  Those cabinets, by the way, will get a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware and stay put.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Sink Corner Progress

We decided to lay hardwood floors in this space because we had enough leftover after laying new white oak floors throughout the rest of the main floor.  I think stone tile would have been wonderful in here too, but I like the consistent flooring from mudroom through kitchen and you can’t beat free.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Mudroom Ship Lap with W

We sanded the shiplap, but otherwise are going to leave it unfinished.  You can see this wall all the way across the kitchen, so it is a perfect focal point for the end of the space.  This room gets great natural light, so it should make folding laundry (nobodys favorite chore) a little more pleasant for it’s future tenants!

Next up, we’ll be fabricating the marble and installing the sink and faucet.

xoxo

-Cathy

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Porch House Master Suite // The Reveal! (ORC Week 7)

THE PORCH HOUSE

This post is part of a 6-week series for the One Room Challenge, a blogger makeover challenge hosted by Calling it Home every Fall and Spring. We’re tackling the Porch House’s master bathroom and closet this go around.  Thanks for following along! You can get caught up on previous posts here: part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5, part 6

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Bench in Doorway

We did it!  We finished the Porch House master bathroom and closet, and today I get to show you the finished space!  But before we get to that, let’s look back at where we started.  Back when we bought the Porch House, this space was dated, dingy, and small.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Before Bathroom

Ugh.  Before we could tackle the cosmetics, we first had to rearrange the space to create a functional, modern master en suite.  The new bathroom is half of an adjacent bedroom and the bathroom shown above is now the closet.  Here is the original layout in plan view.

708 E Tacoma_Floor plan3

And here’s what it looks like now.

708 E Tacoma_Floor plan3

This master suite is anchored by the custom white oak vanity made by our talented neighbor.  Garrett fabricated the marble top and just yesterday we installed the mirror and pendant lights.  The end result is both traditional and modern, and goodness, I love it so!  If you’re new to the Grit and Polish, I should mention that the Porch House isn’t our home.  It’s a flip project that Garrett and I bought with the intention of renovating and reselling. We filmed our HGTV pilot here, a whirlwind 16 days of renovating 3 spaces (update: our show’s new name is MASTERPLAN and will air later this Fall), and ever since then we’ve been slowly working away on the rest of the house.  When we finally get around to selling the Porch House, the vanity is one of the things I’ll miss most.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Vanity BigThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Vanity AllThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom and vanity 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Vanity Shelf

I debated about the hardware for all 6 weeks of this challenge, and even bought a few options only to return them. On Monday we were in Seattle to turn one of our Airbnb properties, so I ducked into Rejuvenation, one of my favorite home stores.  Wouldn’t you know it, after two minutes of looking, I had these stunners picked out.  Ha!  I guess sometimes you really do need to see things in person.

Opposite the vanity is the custom closet that we built to match the shelving in the kitchen.  We built these shelves out of finger-jointed-pine boards and the whole system cost around $100.  Obviously the future occupants will need a dresser, but it’s a great start for a closet. Since this isn’t our home, I had the luxury of staging the closet with only a few beautiful items. It’s as if I finally had the capsule wardrobe that I’ve been dreaming of.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Closet Large 3The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Closet Shaker Pegs 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Closet CLothes and Baskets 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Closet ShoesThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Closet Bright Clothes

You may have already noticed, but I have a serious obsession with shaker pegs.  They make the best storage!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Closet Pegs 3

Probably the biggest luxury in this master suite is the shower.  It’s 6’6″ wide and 5′ deep, has two shower heads, and it’s an absolute pleasure to shower in.  I know because I tried it during the impromptu sleepover we had last weekend after starting a wallpaper project at 10pm.  For the record, that was a bad idea.  Starting wallpaper at 10pm, not the shower 😉

The shower and the toilet are the only plumbing fixtures in this bathroom (the vanity is basically part of the closet) making this room really spacious.  I decided to stage it with a bench where the tub would have gone (you can read more about that here) plus a bold rug, towels, and art.  By the way, all the resources are at the bottom of this post.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Bench LargeThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom ShowerThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Shower 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Bench from showerThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom and VanityThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom ToiletThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Bench Day 3The Grit and Polish - Porch Master BasketThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Picture Ledge closeThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Picture Ledge DadThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Picture Ledge ClockThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bench Folded TowelsThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Rug

I picked up the kilim rug from Rejuvenation on Monday, and I’ve already gotten a ton of compliments on it.  I love it!  There’s lots of great art in here too.  The vintage windmills are from my late grandmother and usually reside next to our bed at the Farmhouse.  There’s also a baby picture of my dad and one of his three brothers (I’ll let you guess which one is him).  The other art is from a favorite etsy artist (linked at the bottom of the post) besides the framed bird postcard.

I’ve shared a couple of regrets during the One Room Challenge, the biggest being the lack of a bathtub.  I’m confident this space is adequate without it (giant showers are apparently more popular), but I still would have loved to add one.  But even without the tub, I’m pretty happy with how this room turned out and know that a master suite is a big value add for this 117-year-old house!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Vanity 3The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Long 3The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom Nursing Daphne

Can you believe it?!  That baby girl rolled over from her tummy to her back right here on this very rug last night!  Garrett and I were putting the final touches on this space (read: repairing a plumbing leak) as Daphne played and just like that, she had another first at the Porch House 😉

resources: hardwood floors / vanity, custom by Munson Cabinets / bin pulls / faucets / vanity lights / white towels (similar) / soap bottle c/o / candle / rug / swing arm lights / edison bulbs /  bench / turkish towel (similar) / art (except vintage and bird postcard) / brass clock / basket (similar) / slate tileshower floor tile / subway tile / grout (Delorean gray, non sanded) / shower faucet and handle /

Thanks for following along with this renovation! Tune in on Tuesday to see the next space we’ll be tackling at the Porch House.  As always, you can more timely updates and behind the scenes videos over on Instagram.

Check out more One Room Challenge reveals from the featured bloggers and guest designers.

ORC guest

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. last year’s One Room Challenge reveal

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Porch House Master Suite // The closet + “Where is the Tub?!” (ORC Week 6)

THE PORCH HOUSE

This post is part of a 6-week series for the One Room Challenge, a blogger makeover challenge hosted by Calling it Home every Fall and Spring. We’re tackling the Porch House’s master bathroom and closet this go around.  Thanks for following along! You can get caught up on previous posts here: part 1part 2part 3part 4, part 5

We are in such a mad rush to get the Porch House master suite done (along with the rest of this house) that I just have a short update for you today.  This week was another productive one, and guys, we are soooo close to finishing this renovation!  There’s a hanging rod in the closet, a curb for the shower, and all the little details that finish off a space are starting to come together.  And let me just say, wow, I couldn’t love the space more!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Closet Pegs

The closet in this space is ‘U’ shaped closet and about 6′ wide so we decided to design a simple closet.  We opted to skip the classic rod-hanger/shelf brackets and install something custom and crafted.  That entailed hanging rods on two of the walls with shelves above and a row of shaker pegs on the third wall.  Garrett built the shelving to match the open shelving in the kitchen, and I love the repeated detail as it helps to tie the house together creating a cohesive and finished space.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Closet Hanging WallThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Closet Far Wall

The pine boards and rods still need caulk, wood fill, primer, and paint, but hopefully you can get a feel for what it’s going to look like.  The closet rods will be white to match the walls.  We added base shoe between the molding and floor boards, after I took these photos, so that will need caulk and pain as well.

This week we also finished the shower curb.  We debated for quite a while on whether the curb should be concrete, tile, or marble, as all three work well in the space.  We ultimately decided on marble.  Besides never being a bad choice, marble ties into the bathroom vanity countertop and ties the space together.  Last time we were in Seattle, we picked up two pieces of 4″ marble backsplash from our supplier, and Garrett cut them to fit the curb with the tile saw.  Here’s a peek at what the marble curb will looks like.  Pretty fantastic, right?!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Marble Shower Curb

One question you might be asking yourself, is ‘where is the bathtub?!‘.  As a bath-lover myself, I’m a little ashamed to say there isn’t one.  Originally we had planned on a large soaker tub against the empty wall with the swing arm lights, but the plumbing inspector informed us that if we wanted a tub there we’d have to put in a tempered glass window.  We had already been having a hard time finding a cast iron tub that fit in the budget, so coupled with the inspector’s news, we decided to bag it.  No tub.  Of course this bathroom already has a 30sf shower so I’m hoping the tub won’t really be missed.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite No Tub Wall

Of course now I have a giant empty wall to deal with.  Stay tuned on what we will do here.  I’m thinking a row of shaker pegs and a bench, but we shall see!

That’s all I have this week.  I can’t wait to see how this room turns out and share it with you in next week’s reveal!

ORC guest

Thanks for following along!  Be sure to check out all the other blogger’s spaces here.

xoxo

-Cathy

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Porch House Master Suite // DIY Marble Vanity Top & Other Finishes (ORC Week 5)

THE PORCH HOUSE

This post is part of a 6-week series for the One Room Challenge, a blogger makeover challenge hosted by Calling it Home every Fall and Spring. We’re tackling the Porch House’s master bathroom and closet this go around.  Thanks for following along! You can get caught up on previous posts here: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

We’re five weeks into this renovation, and I wish that I could say there’s only a few things left to do, but I’m pretty sure we still have ALL THE THINGS left to do!  Not that I’m stressed.  Cool as a cucumber over here 😉  In actuality, we’re in a good spot to finish up in two weeks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a really long to-do list.

This week we put the marble vanity top on the custom vanity we commissioned from our neighbor, Aaron of Munson Cabinetry.  And oh my is it stunning!  I just decided that honed marble and white oak is my new favorite combination.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Vanity Sink 4.2

It’s just so pretty!  Are you surprised to hear that we fabricated the marble vanity top ourselves?  Over the last year, Garrett has honed his stone fabrication skills (see what I did there?), and thank goodness he has because I love natural stone, but I definately don’t love the price tag of natural stone fabrication/installation.  I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone there!  I’ll share a how-to post soon.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Vanity Sink Large .2The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Vanity Sink close 3The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Vanity Sink close 5

We installed the faucets yesterday afternoon.  I went with chrome, wall-mount faucets that have a traditional feel.  The porcelain knobs are pretty fantastic with the oak and marble.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Vanity Sink GThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Vanity Sink 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Vanity Faucets

We continued the chrome into the shower too.  In the picture below, we’re flushing out the supply lines, but you can see the shower head in my hand.  You can also see that we went with the Delorean Gray grout in the shower, which we carried to the slate floor as well.  By the way, thanks for all your feedback on grout colors.  You guys overwhelmingly steered me towards gray!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Shower G and C

I don’t want to give too much away, so stay tuned for the reveal.  In the meantime, there’s lots left to do.  Over the next two weeks we’ll be building the closet, finding mirrors, installing lighting, sealing grout, and hanging a shower curtain.  Phew!  Wish us luck.  And in the mean time, check out my Instagram Stories for a few sneak peeks.

xoxo

-Cathy

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Porch House // Lessons Learned from Finishing the Hardwood Floors Ourselves

THE PORCH HOUSE

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we made some mistakes while finishing the Porch House hardwood floors.  Three mistakes to be exact, and it led to some stress-filled days and extra work for Garrett.  In an effort to prevent you from making the same mistakes, I wanted to share exactly what it is that we did wrong.  OR, if you like how our floors turned out (because, honestly I do!), what it is exactly that we did right 😉

All is well that ends well, as you can see from the photo below.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Soup G tasting FLOORS

Before we talk about the finish, let’s talk about floors.  A few months ago, we laid white oak hardwood floors throughout the main floor (minus the master bathroom).  If you’ve been following the Grit and Polish for long, you know that we usually save the original flooring in our old houses – for character, economic, and environmental reasons – but sadly the Porch House’s 117-year-old fir floors were too far gone for a refinish.  So, we called up Uncle Dougie and placed an order for 1100sf of 2 1/4″ wide, grade #2, white oak flooring.

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Living Rm ProgressThe Grit and Polish - Porch House Floors and belly

We selected white oak because it’s timeless (though it seems to be having a moment in the design world right now) and inexpensive, and that goes for the 2 1/4″ width as well.  We selected #2 grade, which meant lots of color variation and imperfections, a look that fits the bill in our rural community, but was also the least expensive option.  We wanted to stretch our dollars as far as we could since we’re reselling the Porch House and any way you shake it, hardwood flooring will cost more than other options like vinyl or laminate.

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Living Rm 1

We laid the white oak flooring right over top of the existing hardwoods with a layer of tar paper in between. The new hardwood floors sat unfinished for a couple of months while we worked on the rest of the house. And then it was time to finish the floors, and that’s where things went south

LESSON ONE // avoid drum sanders (or use one you’re comfortable with)

The finishing process began with renting a drum sander, an aggressive sander that removes the top layer of wood.  The only drum sander I could find locally was a Silverline.  I’m not sure if anyone’s had good luck with this type of drum sander, but Garrett didn’t like it and he ended up with some ‘drum marks’ or ‘chatter marks’ in the floor.  The marks aren’t horribly obvious and not too big of a deal, but nonetheless, they’re there.  Sorry, they’re tough to catch with a camera, so I don’t have a picture to show you.  FYI, Garrett prefers any of the drum sanders that don’t rely on velcro to attach the paper.

Along with the drum sander, we rented an edger and sanded the floors with both sanders using 36, 60, and 80 grit paper.  Next Garrett filled holes/gaps/seams with wood filler and let that set overnight.  An orbiting floor sander was next with 80 and 100 grit paper.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Hardwood Refinish G in Closet 1

At this point the floors were reasonably smooth and ready for their finish.  So we cleaned up the dust and then cleaned again (because man there’s a lot of wood dust and it gets everywhere!) and picked out a finish product.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Hardwood Refinish me mudroom

LESSON TWO // Watch out for non-clear sealers called ‘Natural’

We opted to find a different finish than what we used at the Farmhouse last year, because those turned out a bit slippery.  Garrett did some google research and landed on a water-based Bona system that had great reviews.  Bona recommends that a foundation be applied prior to the finish to seal the grain and they offer several sealer color options. He picked out the Bona NaturalSeal sealer and the Bona Mega Clear HD finish in Satin.  Garrett picked the ‘Natural’ sealer since the name and description implied a natural-looking finish.  But wouldn’t you know it.  Natural isn’t ‘natural’.  It’s a cloudy sealer that leaves the wood looking slightly white-washed.

The Grit and Polish - Hardwood finish sealer

The Grit and Polish - Master Closet Floors 1

Thankfully, the ‘natural’ finish is actually really beautiful and works well in this house.  But it wasn’t what we were planning on.  Our original goal was a clear finish similar to the floors at my sister’s old house, shown below.

The Grit and Polish - Sissy's Living Room Chair

The walls in both rooms are the same color (BM Simply White) and both floors are white oak. But you can see that the Porch House floors have a slightly white-washed look with less grain showing while my sister’s floors are warmer and have a lot of grain showing through.  For the record, my sister’s white oak floors are wider and a *little* nicer grade than the Porch House’s floors (#floorgoals). Here’s a side by side comparison:

Hardwood finish comparison

Garrett was initially really bummed with the Porch House floor finish. After a week of sanding the floors and dreaming about warm wood tones and grains, he couldn’t quite stomach the cloudy finish. But if he wanted the finish of his dreams, he’d have to start from square one with the drum sander. Honestly, he considered doing just that, but I strongly suggested he reconsider (that’s wife talk for I told him not to do it).  I assured him that the finish really was beautiful and I really liked that it evened out the high-variation in color of our grade #2 floors.  Eventually he wrapped his mind around it and we moved on.

LESSON THREE // buff at your own risk (and if you risk it, do it evenly)

Because the oak grain raised a bit when we sealed the floors, we decided to rent a buffer with a 220-grit screen to knock it down prior to applying the finish coats. The dangerous part about buffing after the sealer is already applied, is that you have to buff the entire floor completely evenly.  If you don’t, or if you have any unevenness in the hardwoods due to say, chatter marks leftover from the drum sander, than the buffing is going to create an uneven finish.  And that’s just what happened to our floors.  There were small areas where you could see more of the wood color and small spots where the sealer was a thicker.  Based on our experience, a tip is that buffing after applying a non-clear finish should be done with the utmost care, super light and evenly.  Our unevenness was fixed, at least mostly so, by Garrett applying another coat of sealer to the light areas and he feathered it into the already-coated areas.  After it dried, he applied two coats of finish to the entire floor.  In the end, the finish isn’t perfect, but after all that work, it looks good.

Hopefully sharing this process helps someone else from making the same mistakes.  And if you’re wondering if finishing your own hardwoods is worth the headache, I will say, it’s not a task we like to do.  But, and this is a big but, the total cost of finishing the Porch House’s 1100sf of hardwoods ourselves rang in around $1200 for sander, rentals, and product.  That’s a savings of over $4,000 from the professional quote we got.

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. What the Farmhouse floor refinish cost us

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Happy Friday + Links 10/27/17

Happy Friday!  How was your week?  We spent most of our’s over at the Porch House, as a family, alternating between tiling the master bathroom, playing with the kiddos, and counting down the minutes until Nana is back in town to take these wild boys off of our hands for a few hours 😉  For the record, that’s not until Sunday (#nanacomehome !).  Ha!  It really was a great and productive week!  One of my favorite things about working on the Porch House is that the kitchen is already done, meaning we get to cook and eat and have a finished space to hang out in while we finish up the rest of the house – a real luxury when you’re renovating an entire home.  Garrett brought over veggies and beans and all sorts of other ingredients to make soup this week.  The whole house smelled like Fall and it was pretty special getting to share a meal here, as a family, before we sell the house.  But in the meantime, we’ve got A LOT of work to do!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Kitchen Soup long

Well it’s Friday again, meaning I’ve found all sorts of great links from around the web.  Grab a cup of coffee and jump in!

Emily just bought a mountain home and I can’t wait to see what she does with it!  Also, love how much she appreciates nature.

Have you seen Ashley’s mural that she’s painting for her home office during the One Room Challenge?  I am obsessed!  My house next please, Ashley!

Brooks’ nursery is on the Boo and the Boy, my favorite source for kids room inspiration.

Speaking of nurseries, I finally pulled the trigger on this wallpaper mural for Daphne’s nursery during their 25% off sale.   Goodness I can’t wait to put it up (after we finish the Porch House)!

Thinking that this might be the perfect way to use up the last of our sausage from last year’s pig.

A beautiful Farmhouse renovation, which started, like so many things…on Instagram.

Have a great weekend!

xoxo

-Cathy

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Porch House Master Suite // Tiles, Tiles, and MORE Tiles (ORC Week 4)

THE PORCH HOUSE

This post is part of a 6-week series for the One Room Challenge, a blogger makeover challenge hosted by Calling it Home every Fall and Spring. We’re tackling the Porch House’s master bathroom and closet this go around.  Thanks for following along! You can get caught up on previous posts here: part 1, part 2, and part 3

Well, we did it!  We tiled the entire master shower and the bathroom floors.  It was a whirlwind week of tiling, and now my fingers are so chapped that my iPhone can’t even recognize my fingerprint…ha!  But I couldn’t be happier with the results.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Tiles Slate DoneThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Tile Shower

tile sources: slate // mosaic // subway

*Ignore the tiny, unfinished spots at the bottom of the subway wall.  We finished those up shortly after taking photos.  And don’t worry, the white streaks on the slate tiles will come off with a good scrub when we’re done.

I opted for classic subway tiles on the shower walls, because they’re, well, classic.  And inexpensive. With 120sf of subway, the price point couldn’t be beat.  However, selecting subway tile also meant that each of these 3″x6″ tiles had to be laid individually.  I definitely cursed Daltile’s name a few times during this project for not offering these tiles on a mesh-mounted backing!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Tiles me in shower

The subway tile alone took us three days to lay, though for the record one whole day was spent on the corners and borders, and another day could be chalked up to the fact we brought all 3 kiddos with us for the entire project and entertaining/feeding/caring for them took precedence.  If you’re new to the Grit and Polish, I should probably mention that we don’t live in the Porch House.  We’re renovating this 1900 house to re-sale (aka flip) later this fall.  Keeping kids entertained and fed at a job site can be tricky, but thankfully the Porch House’s kitchen is functional, and we showed up with a teepee, novel toys, books, and a plethora of Land Before Time movies downloaded on Garrett’s phone.  So far, it’s done the trick!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Tiles WThe Grit and Polish - Porch House Boys in TPThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bathroom mosaic shower floor

On the floors, we used a simple mosaic in the shower, which worked well with the pan slope.  And on the bathroom floor, we laid 12″x24″ slate tiles.  The natural slate is something we haven’t used before but I must say, it’s pretty phenomenal.  I love the natural variation and finish of these tiles.  We laid them in a herringbone pattern, which takes some thinking, but is actually pretty easy to lay when done at a right angle to the wall.  The slate floors are heated too, so they should be pretty comfortable year round.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Tiles Me Tiling Slate

The slate works really well with the white subway and mosaic from a design perspective.  The overall look of the space is classic and timeless and fits in well with the 1900 home.  I’m also hoping that the large-format slate tiles lend a garden-y feel to the space.  And did I mention that not one of these tiles is more than $3.50/sf?  Phew!

Porch Master Bathroom Tiles

Although we’ve tiled plenty of shower surrounds with subway tile in the past, this was our first time capping the top with chair rail.  The tile profile is reminiscent of the picture rail that runs throughout much of the main floor of this house near the same elevation, which is a detail I’ve been dreaming about recreating with tile since first seeing these chair rail tiles at Home Depot.  I love that it gives the shower surround a more traditional feel.

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Top CThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Subway DoneThe Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Corner Tiles G

Next up we need to grout these tiles, but we’re still debating on the color.  We picked up both grey (Delorean Gray from HD) and an epoxy white.  I posed the question on Instagram and got lots of great feedback, which pretty much scared me away from ever using white grout in a shower.  But white would look so pretty on the subway tiles.  I know, not as practical as gray, but it would be beautiful.  Oh well.  As of yesterday, I was thinking we’d use Delorean Gray on all the tiles, including the slate, but we’ll see what we decide in the end.

It feels like we have a whole lot left to do for this bathroom, but I’m optimistic we’ll have this bathroom done for the ORC reveal, especially since one extra week was added to the timeline (due to the natural disasters and crazy weather that has affected so many of the design bloggers)!  Still to do: grout the tiles, fabricate the marble vanity top, finish plumbing, vanity lighting, vanity mirrors, build the closet, decorate, and I’m sure I’m missing something else, but that’s enough to get my heart rate up so we’ll stop there 😉

ORC guest

Check out all the other featured designers taking part here and the other guests here.

xoxo

-Cathy

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Porch House Master Suite // Commissioning A Custom Vanity (ORC Week 3)

THE PORCH HOUSE

This post is part of a 6-week series for the One Room Challenge, a blogger makeover challenge hosted by Calling it Home every Fall and Spring. We’re tackling the Porch House’s master bathroom and closet this go around.  So happy to have you following along! You can get caught up on previous posts here: part 1, part 2

Well we just finished the hardwood floor finish last night.  Ugh.  After a week of sanding the hardwood floors in preparation for their finish, we made the mistake of applying a sealer that was…colored.  Thankfully not a yellow or red color, but a milky/white color, ironically called ‘natural’. The old house gods were laughing at us, because ‘natural’ is far from natural.  If you caught my Instagram stories, you know that we debated whether to leave the floors lighter, or to sand the sealer off and start over on the floors (a 2-week proposition), but ultimately decided on the former.  The whole ordeal set the schedule back a bit and led to a couple of stressful days, but the floors look good and I’m happy.  Here’s what the floors looked like with the ‘natural’ sealer and 1 coat of clear finish.

The Grit and Polish - Master Closet Floors 1

Now that the wood floors are done, I wanted to chat about a design element that has been in the works for a couple of months: the custom vanity.  Early in the design process for the master bathroom, we decided to commission a custom piece.  The nook where the vanity fits is an odd size (about 70″ wide) so a standard vanity wouldn’t fit.  And while it would have been cheaper to customize some cabinetry to fit ourselves, we really liked the idea of using a local craftsman on this remodel to create something nice.  When we discovered a neighbor had a woodworking shop in his backyard, it seemed serendipitous.  Aaron also repaired a pocket door for us that we found hidden in a wall at the Porch House during filming of our HGTV pilot.  And he did it overnight, which pretty much makes him a rock star in my book 😉

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Living Rm 16

For the design of the vanity, I wanted a furniture look, meaning legs and no toe kick.  I also wanted some of the vanity to have open shelving for a little interest and some drawers for functionality.  And because so much of this room is white, I wanted the vanity to be wood, white oak to be precise, to match the floors.  Well, the unfinished floors at least 😉  Aaron and I tossed around an inspiration photo and quickly nailed down the design.  Then he came by the house and measured.  This was done before the drywall and trim were installed so he took that into account for the final dimensions.  He also checked the level of the floor and planned for slight variation in his fabrication.  Aaron then took all that information, and drew a sketch of the vanity.  I gave him the go ahead, and he got busy building.

Oh man guys, I can’t express just how beautiful this vanity ended up.  When I saw it for the first time, I had a moment of jealousy and told Garrett that we had to take it home to the Farmhouse.  I was just kidding of course, because this piece is perfect for the Porch House master suite!  Well, mostly kidding, at least 😉

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Vanity 3The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Vanity 1The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Vanity Test Fit 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Suite Vanity Test Fit 5

These pictures were taken during a test fit of the vanity before we finished the hardwood floors.  And while the vanity looks beautiful in these pictures, it’s so much better in real life.  The finish and feel of the piece is truly something special and it’s sooo solid.  We moved the vanity out of the way during the floor finishing process and have yet to set it back in place, but we will tomorrow so we can get tiling underway.  The vanity is still going to get a marble top (to be fabricated by Garrett), undermount sinks, and wall-mounted chrome faucets.  The only thing I’m still debating about are mirrors and hardware.  Regarding the later, I’ve been going back and forth between chrome hardware (to match the lighting and faucets) or mixing metals and brining in antique brass, which is prevalent elsewhere on the main floor.  Here are a few I’m considering:

Hardware Roundup - Porch House Master

one // two // three // four // five

Decisions, decisions…  For the record, $29 is a little out of our budget for this bathroom, but I sure wish it weren’t!  Don’t be shy about weighing in on your pick.

Alright, we’re off to tile this temple of a shower.  Wish us luck!

ORC guest

xoxo

-Cathy

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