The Ravenna House: One Year Later


Guys, we’ve officially owned the Ravenna House for one year.  One whole year!  Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.  The house has come a long way in that time, especially considering we had two 9-5 jobs and a 4-month-old when we closed.  This house is almost like a second baby to us – an Irish-twin sibling to Wilder – one who slept a little more but took just about as much nourishment, work, and protection as Wilder did in his first year.  Well almost…

To commemorate this momentous anniversary, I thought it’d be fun to look back at all the work we’ve done.  So let’s go back, way back, to the beginning of this journey.  If you’ve been following our renovations, you’ve seen these pictures before, but it’s always fun to see just how far we’ve come.

Let’s start with the kitchen.  This room has seen a huge transformation, and I hope you’ll agree with me when I say it’s for the better:

The Grit and Polish - Kitchen Collage Before and After

The living room:The Grit and Polish - Living Room Collage Before and After

And oh Lordy, here’s the pink bathroom (did you forget just how pink this room used to be?!):The Grit and Polish - Bathroom Collage Before and After   Wilder’s nursery:The Grit and Polish - Nursery Collage Before and AfterAnd the basement:The Grit and Polish - Basement Collage Before and After

How quickly you forget those long nights and the constant dust in-between your toes.  The pure physical exhaustion fades and these memories take on an erily-romantic tone.  Like it was the time of our lives, hammering away at walls until ours arms were too tired to do anymore and waking up at 5am on a Sunday to paint ceilings.  Okay, okay, you’ve got me…so it was pretty fun.

You may have noticed I didn’t show you the exterior of the house. That’s because I have a post about that – and what may or may not have gotten done there – planned for Friday.  So for today, let’s just bask in the glory of what’s been done.

And what’s better to bask in after a year of renovations, than signed off permits?!  That’s right, we passed our electrical, plumbing, and final building inspections last month…and on the first try!  According to the city of Seattle, this house is signed off and officially renovated.  And it feels great!  Seriously, it’s incredible piece of mind to know that the work’s done and it’s been done right.  Okay, so there’s still a tiny bit more to do (such as that giant backyard renovation we’ve been snailing our way through), but you’ve got to take the wins when they come.

All those long nights and dusty-days were so worth it!  Thanks for letting us call you ours, Ravenna House!



p.s. This home has popped up on Pinterest a lot lately and I had to share.  If you haven’t seen it yet, this California home by Amber Interiors is really stunning – I especially love the fireplace!

p.p.s. This house is beyond stunning, even if it is new (okay, I can’t actually tell is it new…is it old…but that’s a good thing in my book)!

p.p.p.s. Very timely renovation lessons from another old-house-renovator and blog buddy of mine.  If I made my own list (and I’m sure I will some day, because how great are lists) these would all be on it!

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Ravenna Marble Kitchen: Before and After


Guys, I’m a little embarrassed.  We’ve been pretty much done with this marble kitchen for a good four months now and I’m just getting around to doing the big reveal.  Of course in order to do a reveal, I had to photograph the kitchen, meaning I had to tidy it up first.  Which really shouldnt be a difficult task, but it kinda was.  See we use this space all the time and finding a time between dish cycles and meals proved tricky.  But I finally, finally got this kitchen shot with the help of my excellent photography assistant, 13-month-old Wilder, and today’s the day.

It’s been so long since we talked about the kitchen last that you may not remember what the space used to look like.  It was teeny and inefficient and completely walled off.  Let me remind you…


That picture was from day 2, just after we removed those nasty, stinky, pink carpets (and before I started this blog).  The kitchen is behind the wall on the left, just beside that cute little dining room nook.  And what we found behind that wall was an original kitchen, mostly untouched since 1926:


We tried to save the cabinets (you know, because I love all things old), but I just couldn’t make the layout work.  So those came out on the big demo weekend.  It turned out to be a good thing because the wall behind the sink was completey rotted out from a leaky pipe and needed to be replaced.  We were also disappointed to find mismatched pine flooring below the kitchen’s original laminate. This too came out and we feathered in oak hardwoods consistent with the rest of the upstairs flooring.

Here’s what the kitchen looked like after all that demo:


And after we started to put it back together:


Notice the pine plank ceiling is in (is that what you call it…plank, clapboard, bead board?) along with the lighting rough-in, plumbing rough-in, and drywall.  I know it doesn’t look like much, but we’re about halfway done here – no joke!

So let’s jump to the final product:

Kitchen from Living RoomKitchen Bench and FridgeKitchen - Wilder in the Middle

We did a lot of work to this kitchen.  New cabinets, electrical, heat, plumbing, appliances, lighting, countertops, ceiling, crown molding, backsplash, hardware, sink and faucet, flooring, open shelves, and framing and drywall where needed.  If it sounds like a lot of work that’s because it really was!  We did everything ourselves except the plumbing, countertops, and refinishing the hardwoods. And it took us the better part of six months.

That’s six long months of pizza delivery and gas station beer.  It was a rough one, I tell you.  Thank goodness the God of all pizza places, Zeeks Pizza, is in Seattle (get the Kitchen Sink pizza–you won’t be sorry)!  And that Seattle gas stations sell local microbrews.  I should put up a sign like: “this kitchen fueled by Zeeks Pizza and Two Beers Brewing Co“.  

Kitchen Open Shelves on Marble Backsplash

Our kitchen is still small at 120sf (the dimensions are 8′ x 15′).  It has limited counter and storage space but so far it’s working for us.  I find myself grocery shopping a little more frequently for food that’s a little fresher and eating out more.  Plus we still order a lot of pizza…

Kitchen Window ViewKitchen Details CollageKitchen Cabinet Hardware

One thing I get asked about a lot are the marble countertops.  Yes, we love them, and no, they’re not high maintenance…at least not yet.  It’s a little embarrassing how often I find coffee, tomato sauce, or butter sitting on the counter.  But so far, no stains.  We definitely have mild scratching and one chip near the bench, but none of it is obvious unless you’re looking closely.  Besides I’m one of those “a little scratch adds character” people, so it really doesn’t bother me.

The marble herringbone backsplash was a DIY special by your’s truly.  It was a big project.  It took two days to tile and that’s with Garrett’s help.  It was a lot of cutting, sore fingers and hard thinking, made a bit easier with tips from Young House Love.  I love how it turned out, but I’m not sure I’d tackle this big of an area again.

Before we talk about the little kitchen bench (by the refrigerator), let me warn you that there’s a preponderance of Wilder photos coming.  When I said he was my photography assistant, what I really meant was that he likes to walk in front of the camera.  And good luck keeping him out of the shot.  Some would say he’s stubborn, but I say he’s just like his dada🙂

Wilder at Bench Collage

The little bench/window-seat is my favorite spot in the kitchen.  Wilder and I trade off using it.  I like to work there.  And he likes to read or put up stickers (removable) on the window or cook alongside dad, “mixing” his ingredients with a wooden spoon.  He really is the sweetest, so I don’t mind sharing.

Kitchen - Wilder and his stickers on his bench

Kitchen Resources: Cabinets: custom // Marble: GS Cabinet // Large cutting board: Hardwood Industries | Range: American, Albert LeeWarehouse Sale | Vent: Viking, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Dishwasher: Viking, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Fridge: KitchenAid, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Backsplash: marble laid in herringbone pattern, Home Depot | Chandelier: West Elm | Ceiling Lights: Home Depot | Blinds: Home Depot | Sink: Amazon (similar) | Faucet: Katom | Table: Crate and Barrel(discontinued) | Chairs: Industry West | Oak floors: Hardwood Industries | Blue printed bowl (with cherries), West Elm | Mercury Glass Candle: Anthropologie | Drawer pulls: Home Depot | Cabinet latch hardware: Home Depot |

You may have noticed that I started this post by saying the kitchen was “pretty much done”.  Well I’d still like to install molding below the kitchen windows and there’s a giant empty white spot over the vent calling for a pair of antlers.  But even so, this room is 99% done and that feels pretty damn good.


p.s. What an amazing tent for overflow house guests.  Who wouldn’t like to stay here?  I’m pretty sure Wilder would like to move in!
p.p.s. Best beach house ever.  Really!

p.p.p.s. Fifty cities to see before you die.  I’ve been to 7, how about you?

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