A Reclaimed-Wood Shed


While Garrett and I are busy working on the plans for the Dexter House, I thought it was a good time to show you the backyard shed we built at the Ravenna House.  If you follow along on Instagram, you know it took us a good 3 months of weekends to build this thing.

The Ravenna House is, like most small old Seattle houses, a little light on storage.  So Garrett and I planned on building a shed from the get go.  We discussed a few different design ideas, but ultimately ended up with a sloping roof with an overhang big enough to leave the stroller under, and salvaged-wood siding (saved from the garage tear-off).

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed

I should mention that we’d still like to finish out the shed’s soffit with some sort of bead board and add a facia piece, so we’re not 100% done.  But I’m really not sure we’ll ever get to it, so we’ll just call the shed done enough.  Did you catch that sneak peak of the fence and grass?  Don’t worry, I’ll get to that in another post!

Here’s what the process of building the shed looked like:

The Grit and Polish - Shed 1The Grit and Polish - Shed 3The Grit and Polish - Shed 4The Grit and Polish - Shed 5The Grit and Polish - Shed 6The Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed Siding

After the siding was complete, we built an oversized (about 40″x8′) door, hung it, and covered it in old fence slats (removed from the Bryant House), which we laid in a herringbone pattern.  I wish I had taken pictures of the chevron-laying process, but we installed it during one of Wilder’s naps, so we were a tad bit rushed.  The door actually turned out to be my favorite part of the whole shed, but really I’m happy with the whole thing.  It’s functional and big and a tad bit whimsical…perfect for a Poshusta backyard shed!

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed

Wilder, as always, was a big help on this project.  He “worked” on the shed, rain or shine, as long as there was a tool for him to hold and a dada to follow around 🙂  Really that kid loves tools and building more than any youngster I’ve ever known.  I’m not sure if building is just something that he loves or it’s how we’re raising him, but I often think that at the ripe old age of not-even-2, Wilder is already destined to become a contractor or an architect or something in the building industry.  Dare I say, it’s in his blood?!

The Grit and Polish - Wilder with Hammer 2

Who needs toys when you’ve got a hammer…!

Here’s a look back at earlier progress on the backyard and even farther back.  What do you think?  Do you like how the shed turned out?  Stay tuned for a full backyard reveal,  including that grass yard and cedar fence!



p.s. loved this eclectic house tour, especially the reclaimed shelves in the kitchen!

p.p.s. What you’ve always wanted to know: why asparagus makes your pee smell.  You did want to know, didn’t you?!

p.p.p.s. Best real estate markets for buyers and sellers in the US.  Seattle ranks 4th as a seller’s market.  Not super surprising, but still pretty crazy!

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New Addition in the Kitchen


I’ve been threatening to hang antlers above our range hood for a long time now.  Well that day finally came!

The Grit and Polish - Ravenna Kitchen Antlers

I wish I could say that these antlers have some personal connection, but they don’t.  We ordered them from Ebay.  Garrett mounted them on a wood panel, which we stained to match the floors (well kinda close to the floors at least) and that was it.

Yes, antlers in the kitchen of an old Seattle home could be considered strange, especially since we don’t hunt.  But I dig it!  Here’s the thing: my design taste tends to the feminine (something I’ve worried about in this kitchen before) and I don’t want our house looking like I’m the only one living here.  Garrett and Wilder and even Bubba get some input, so when Garrett said he wanted antlers, I was 100% in.  The antlers add a little masculine touch and bring in a down-home feel.  Honestly, I love them!

The Grit and Polish - Ravenna Kitchen April 2015 Update The Grit and Polish - Ravenna Kitchen Antler Close Up

Antlers deserve a name.  And I’d like to call these Wanda.  Cool?  Cool.



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What’s on Your…Coffee Table


This post is part of a collaborative series called, “What’s on Your…”.  It’s a real-life glimpse into 9 bloggers homes – the good, the bad, and the messy.  Each month we’ll focus on a new surface like a bedroom nightstand, a kitchen counter, or a bookcase.  And today, we’re looking at a furniture staple in the living room:

Coffee Tbale

Oh the living room.  This space has caused quite a stir over here at the Ravenna House.  We’ve had it arranged every which way, but we’ve finally settled on a layout that’s comfortable and practical.  This includes an old trunk that we use as our coffee table. It was Garrett’s mothers and has been in the family for decades. It’s got an aged patina and it’s big and boxy and the perfect height for lazy feet.  Besides, looking at the well traveled trunk gives me a bit of wanderlust, which is always welcome around this house!

The Grit and Polish - Coffee Table 2

We usually keep the coffee table top pretty simple. Just a tray, some reading materials, a candle, and whatever toys Wilder’s thrown on it.  I really love having fresh flowers up there, but we haven’t quite figured out how to do that without a certain someone tipping over the vase and pulling the flowers off the stem.

Currently, this book is my coffee table reading material of choice along with a stack of current This Old House, House Beautiful and Country Living magazines for those free moments of reading.  Okay, so free moments may be wishful thinking when you’ve got a wild toddler on your hands, but a girl can dream!  I top my coffee table off with my favorite Anthropologie candle and one of Wilder’s animal figures, which I tend to find in unexpected spots all over the house.

Check out these other ladies coffee tables!




Outside Projects


We’ve been really lucky to have 4 straight sunny weekends here in Seattle.  With so much of the nation experiencing record-cold-and-snowy-and-just-plain-awful winters, it doesn’t seem right that Seattle – a city known for wet and gray winters – should be having such lovely weather.  But there you have it.  I’m certainly not complaining!

Needless to say, we’ve been doing a lot of work outside lately.  First we built a shed and then a fence and now we’re planning landscaping.  I promise you guys more updates as our outdoor space comes together.  But for now, here’s a picture from Sunday’s gate-building project.

The Grit and Polish - gate construction

Yes, Wilder’s wearing snow boots.  He’s only been in snow one time this winter, so at least we’re getting some use out of them!

Hope you’re staying warm!!!



p.s. I am literally drooling over this salvaged house!

p.p.s. How to make your kid smarter.  Sure, why not.

p.p.p.s. I always love reading about real estate in Manhattan.  It’s just so old and lovely and expensive!

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What’s On Your…Kitchen Counter


This post is part of a collaborative series called, “What’s on Your…”.  It’s a real-life glimpse into 9 bloggers homes – the good, the bad, and the messy.  Each month we’ll focus on a new surface like a bedroom nightstand, a kitchen counter, or a bookcase.  And today, we’re looking at another hard working surface in the house:

Kitchen COunterOur kitchen is truly the heart of our home.  We spend a ton of time in here cooking, eating, playing, petting the dog, and everything in between.  And it often looks like it.  Usually there’s a stack of dishes drying next to the sink, apple slices on the counter, and a half-finished art project or two by the window.  Last week our countertop was full of baking supplies as I whipped up a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread.  This cinnamon swirl bread to be precise.  And yes, it was delicious!

The Grit and Polish - What's On Your Kitchen Counter 4The Grit and Polish - What's On Your Kitchen Counter 6

Later that night, Wilder and I hung out in the kitchen and enjoyed hot-from-the-oven cinnamon swirl bread.  It was glorious.  One quick look at our kitchen counter after all was cleaned up, because who doesn’t love a clean countertop (especially because this seems to only happen when company comes over…)?

The Grit and Polish - What's On Your Kitchen Counter 1

Don’t forget to check out these other ladies’ kitchen counters!

More on our DIY kitchen renovation and resources here.  Did you catch our Q&A about the renovation over at Bob Vila?



p.s. Do you follow Andy and Candis on Instagram?  Do it!  Get the back story on their old house renovations before their new show breaks on HGTV!

p.p.s. A beautiful new old farmhouse in Connecticut.

p.p.p.s. Here is some serious kitchen eye candy to get you through your day.  You’re welcome.


Bob Vila and the Ravenna House


Guys, the Ravenna House kitchen remodel is on Bob Vila today!  Yes, that Bob Vila!  His awesome editor, Kathleen Corlett, tracked me down for a Q&A and you can read about it here.

The Grit and Polish - Marble Herringbone Backsplash and Industrial Faucet xoxo


p.s. Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?  These brunch ideas are sweet and easy!

p.p.s. I’m pretty obsessed with this Maui plantation.  I could live with sun and warm weather every day.

p.p.p.s. Have you guys watched Carl Segan’s Cosmos mini-series?  Blew my mind!


What’s on Your…Bathroom Vanity


This week marks the first post of a new collaborative series called, “What’s on Your…”.  It’s a real-life glimpse into 9 bloggers homes – the good, the bad, and the messy.  Each month we’ll focus on a new surface like a bedroom nightstand, a kitchen counter, or a bookcase.  And to start things off today, we’re looking at one of the hardest working surfaces in the house:

What's on Your Bathroom VanityLike so many old houses, our little bathroom vanity is a pedestal sink.  We don’t keep a lot on it, just a bar of soap, a towel, and occasionally some fresh cut flowers (or evergreen trimmings in the winter).  And since 19-month-old Wilder just started potty training, including washing his own hands, he is often on, in, and under the vanity.

The Grit and Polish - Whats on My bathroom vanity 3

The potty-training thing often involves no pants (to Wilder’s complete joy).  So you’re welcome for those sweats 😉

For the moments that this bathroom is sans kiddo, our vanity looks more like this:

The Grit and Polish - What on Your Bathroom Vanity 7The Grit and Polish - What on Your Bathroom Vanity 8

So tell me, what (or who) is on your bathroom vanity?!  And check out what’s on these other ladies’ vanities:

Brittany at Brittany French
Kristy at Design Chic
Brenna at Domestic Charm
Elizabeth at Little Black Door
Mary Keller and Heath at Southland Avenue

More info on the Ravenna House bathroom resources and renovation herehere and here.



p.s. Check out all these other awesome bathrooms I’m drooling over!

p.p.s. What it’s like to have four kids.  Looks like I owe my mother a big ol’ apology for being her fourth.  *sorry mom*

p.p.p.s. A lovely updated old farmhouse in Maine.


DIY: How to Build a Play Teepee (for $22)!


Hey guys!  I hope you’re not sick of teepees yet, because I’ve got a lot of teepee to show you today.  Wilder and I built one over break and I’m obsessed!

I’ve actually had a play teepee on my mama to-do list for a good few months now (as many of you do too…right?!!!), so I couldn’t be happier to share the results with you.  The good news: it was inexpensive and really easy to build with my little guy.  And if you’re waiting for the bad news to drop, you can stop.  It’s all golden light and fairy dust here in teepee land!

The Grit and Polish - How to build a teepee

If you find yourself in need of a little teepee action, here’s a rundown of the materials you’ll need:

  • six 2″x2″x8′ posts (we used inexpensive white wood, but any wood should do; you can also do taller or shorter posts depending upon your space)
  • at least 1o feet of rope
  • 3 quilts (we used 1 double-sized and 2 full-sized quilts)
  • a well-rested helper and an hour and a half of free time…still waiting on that rested helper myself, but here’s to hoping…!

The Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee materials

You’ll also need the following tools:

  • cordless drill outfitted with a drill bit that’s slightly larger than your rope (we used a 3/8″ bit)
  • tape measure and pencil (or a ruler stick and purple crayon if you happen to building it in a kid’s room)

Now for the fun part, building a teepee (!!!):

Step 1. Start by marking your 2″x2″ posts about 10″ from one side.

Step 2. Drill out a hole at the center of each post at the marks you just made.

The Grit and Polish - building a teepee collage

Step 3. Set the posts (with the hole you drilled on top) one at a time in the spot you want the teepee and thread the rope through the holes after each post is set.  Keep 6″ of rope before the first post and pull the rope tight between each post.

The Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee drill and chord

Step 4. Once you have the posts set in the shape you want and the rope threaded through all the holes, pull the rope tight and tie a knot using the 6″ at the start of the rope and the section after the last post. The tighter the rope and knot, the less wiggly the teepee will be.

Step 5. Now the fun part…hanging the quilts! Since I didn’t have a full-sized helper to assist with this part, I hung one quilts one at a time.  After placing the first quilt, I wrapped the rope around the quilt at the top (where the rope is threaded through the holes) and tied a knot.  I repeated this with each quilt, making a circle with the rope after each quilt, until all three were secured at the top of the teepee.

The Grit and Polish - building a teepee with quilts collageThe Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee finished

Step 6. Any excess rope can be cut or wrapped around the exterior of the quilts and tied.

The Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee top

Step 7. To create a door (and hopefully keep sticky fingers from handling the antique quilt too much), I pulled the corner of the last quilt back and secured it with a clip.

Then it was game on…for Wilder and Bubba!

The Grit and Polish - Teepee play with Bubba 4The Grit and Polish - Teepee play with Bubba 7

I love that last picture.  It’s like they both know they’re in trouble, but Wilder’s playing it off like, “who, me?! No, no, no it was Bubba!” But then he feels bad, so he gives Bubba a kiss…

The Grit and Polish - Teepee play with Bubba

Hopefully you can see that teepee land is amazing!  It’s somewhere between Oz and Neverland but without all the scary stuff.  Wilder, Bubba, and I spent the first evening in there cuddling and reading story after story with Otto the bear, Moo the pig and Fox the fox (Wilder is great at naming stuffies!).  And Wilder was jumping up and down with excitement to give dada a tour when he got home from work.

The Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee with Antique Quilts

Oh and did I mention how cheap this project was?  $22.  That’s right, $22!  Of course we only had to buy the posts since we had the antique quilts and rope sitting around.  But still, it seems crazy cheap compared with the $150-$250 teepees I found at Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod.  Plus I’m 100% sure we have already got a whole lot more than $22 of fun out of this teepee!

This was a really fun, inexpensive, and painless project to build with the little guy.  In fact it was so fun, that I’m itching to do another DIY project with Wilder…any suggestions?!

Resources: Large stuffed bear, Pottery Barn Kids | teepee quilts, antiques | quilt on floor, made by my mom | all other room resources, here and here.




December Progress on the Backyard


I sure hope you are all have a great start to 2015!  But before we delve into the new year, I want to get you caught up on all the work we did last month on the backyard of the Ravenna House.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Work Wilder 1

Despite the rainy weather, we made some good progress on the backyard.  And yes, by we I mean Wilder and his “hammer”.  Plus a little help from Dada 😉

In December we poured a concrete curb at the patio, laid the foundation for a shed, and installed pipping for a future hose-bib.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Patio Edge 1

That’s a picture of the concrete curb on the edge of the patio.  We put this in to keep the pavers from settling over time.  Unfortunately we poured the concrete just before a massive downpour and we didn’t get a chance to finish the top of the concrete.  So yes, it will always be this rough. But since it’s outside I really don’t care.  Besides with a little landscaping and the right outdoor furniture on the patio, I’m hoping you’ll never even notice the concrete!

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Work Wilder and DadaThe Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed Form

Someday there will be a shed in this corner of the backyard, which will provide some much needed storage.  The picture above was taken while Garrett was forming the concrete pad that will sit beneath the shed.  He used 3/8″ rebar (on the edges) and mats (in the interior) for strength.  We poured the concrete the next day, just as the elusive winter sun was passing overhead.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed Garrett pouring concreteThe Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed PourThe Grit and Polish - Backyard Shed Handprints in Concrete

We all managed to get our handprints in the wet concrete as it was drying…a first for Wilder!

The pictures above also give you a good shot of the fencing at the Ravenna House.  We plan to replace the green falling-down fence at the back of the shots with a new cedar fence and continue it in front of the chain link fence at right. And with Wilder’s skills with a “hammer”, that fence will be up in no time!

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Work Wilder 2

Oh and one more photo, because I just don’t know when to quit.  These are Garrett’s shoes after pouring the shed’s concrete pad.

The Grit and Polish - Backyard Concrete on Shoes

Up next, a shed!  And a potty-trained toddler.  Okay, I’ll settle for either one of those…

More on the patio here and backyard inspiration here.



p.s. I’ve been trying to feed my Serial addiction with other podcasts and this Ira Glass piece is the trick!

p.p.s. Who knew Richard Gere had such good taste in real estate?!

p.p.p.s. This Cape Dutch renovation does not disappoint.  I am loving all that white…of course I am!


An Antique-Quilt Teepee for the Little Guy


Happy 2015 everyone! We had a great holiday full of food, kiddos, and celebrating in the mountains of Oregon with my sis and her fam.  It was a great start to the new year!

But before we left town for the mountains, Wilder and I got to spend a couple of days hanging out between Christmas and New Years.  And with extra time on our hands, I wanted to do something special for the two of us during the holiday break.  So I planned out a DIY project that we could build together.  DIY is extra special, right?  Right.

So this holiday break, Wilder and I built an antique-quilt teepee in his bedroom!

The Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee with Antique Quilts

I’ve wanted to get Wilder a teepee for a long time now, but after seeing the price of some cute options at Land of Nod and Pottery Barn Kids, I decided we’d build our own.  And since I happen to have an abundance of antique quilts laying around (thanks Mom!), I decided our DIY version would be an antique-quilt teepee.  I’ll share a DIY tutorial next week, but for now, here are some pics of our new favorite play space:

The Grit and Polish - Antique Quilt Teepee with WilderThe Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee Inside

And how about those antique quilts…aren’t they beautiful?  Here’s a closer look:

The Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee antique quilt The Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee antique quilt 2

The first quilt, a hand-stiched double-wedding-pattern quilt, I bought off Craigslist for $50 a few years back.  And my mom, an avid quilter herself, scored the red-white-and-blue lovely from a quilting retreat she attends every year.  It was a real battle with my sis to see who would end up with it, but I guess mom just likes me better! Just kidding of course…;)  But I did promise my sis joint custody of the quilt…so I may need to part with it for a few weeks every year.

The Grit and Polish - DIY Teepee with Wilder 3

Building this teepee turned out to be a really fun and easy project for Wilder and I.  He is really proud of it, and I’m really happy to have a special little nook all our own.  Plus I’m already excited about the other places we can set this teepee up, especially this summer.  Like maybe outside, with an animal skin floor, hanging lights and a garland.  But that’s getting a little ahead of myself!  For the time being, you know where this little family will be hanging out!

Resources: Large stuffed bear, Pottery Barn Kids | teepee quilts, antiques | quilt on floor, made by my mom | all other room resources, here and here



p.s. Loving the sink in this classic meets utility meets old house bathroom!  Okay and their entry is pretty awesome too!

p.p.s. I bought this William Wegman kid’s book for my dog-loving niece,Winnie.  It’s awesome!  And yes, William Wegman really does kids books.

p.p.p.s. In case you missed it over the holidays, I posted about my favorite projects from 2014 and a by-the-numbers year end recap.  Writing those posts sure made me feel like 2014 was a productive year for us at the Ravenna House!  Thanks for following along!

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