Selling The Ravenna House // The Final Numbers: How We Made $460,000 in 5 Years

THE RAVENNA HOUSE

The Ravenna House closed last month and today we’re running through the final numbers. This house is a great example of our real estate model and while we’ve shared stories and photos from the renovation for years, we’ve never pulled back the curtain on the finances before. So today you’re finally getting the full picture on what exactly it is we do with a property and why. For those thinking about buying a home, taking on a renovation, or becoming landlords, we hope you take something away from this post that’s useful. Read on for how we made $460,000 on the Ravenna House in 5 years.

photo by Meghan Klein for the Grit and Polish

Four-hundred-and-sixty-thousand dollars is a TON of money. Especially considering the bulk of it was tax free (more on that in a moment). And we earned it all in just 5 years from a total investment of $60,000 including renovations, down payment, everything.

Before I dive into the numbers, I wanted to mention that Garrett and I are self-taught DIY-ers in renovation, real estate, and landlording. We fixed up the Ravenna House while working 9-5 jobs and raising our first son. We got our start in real estate with little more than a can-do attitude, helpful families, and visions of renovations dancing in our heads. Ha! While we’ve certainly been lucky along the way (scroll down to the takeaways section for more on that), we’ve also put in loads of hard work and been persistent. You can read more about our background here.

photos by Meghan Klein for the Grit and Polish

The Numbers

We bought the Ravenna House – a 1926 Tudor in Seattle – in 2013 and proceeded to renovate every square inch of the property. Our small family lived in the house for two years while fixing it up and then moved on to our next project and turned Ravenna into a rental. In September of 2018, just 1 month shy of the 5 year mark, we sold Ravenna and walked away with a big fat check. You can read a more detailed timeline of the investment below (including the unique way we financed this property), but first, let’s get to the numbers.

Sale Price $775,000

Net Rental Income (2.5 years) $70,000*

Expenses

Purchase Price $270,000

Initial renovations $50,000

New Roof $7,700

Selling Preparations $2,000

Real estate fees (4%) $31,000

Excise Taxes (King County, WA) $13,800

Closing Expenses $3,231

Total Return $467,267**

* Rental income from ~2.5 years less expenses (mortgage, insurance, utilities, cleanings). 

** At some point while living in Ravenna, we took out a large HELOC against the equity we had built up, which we used to buy the Dexter House, and later the Farmhouse. We counted that expense against those later properties so you don’t see it here, but we did pay it off when we sold Ravenna.

photos by Meghan Klein for the Grit and Polish

Timeline and More Financial Details on Ravenna

There’s a lot to unpack in those numbers, so let’s run through some key moments:

  • Summer 2013: Have our first baby and finish a kitchen and bath remodel on the Bryant House
  • Received an inheritance and Cathy can’t help but look for a fixer upper (well she’s always looking for a fixer…).
  • Sept 2013, find a great opportunity 10 blocks away from Bryant House and it’s right in our sweet spot: built in 1926, ~900sqft 2 bed 1 bath in almost original condition, and an unfinished basement listed for $230k
  • The house smells like animal and has a very scary basement, rats in the attic, and a tiny kitchen with no place for a fridge or dishwasher. There is no heat source, the yard is a jungle, and the detached garage is literally falling down. Only cash offers are being accepted.
  • Our family pretty much thinks we’re crazy but are willing to loan us $210k and we come up with the rest of the cash to put an offer of $270k in. We’re one of 11 offers. The owner likes that we’re a family (the rest of the bids are from developers) and picks our offer even though it’s $16K under the highest bid. We pay $270k for Ravenna and close a couple of weeks later.
  • Weekends and evenings are now spent remodeling the main floor. We replace all the plumbing and electrical, bring gas to the property, add a new furnace, remove the oil tank in the backyard (we hire that out), gut the kitchen and open it up to the living room, renovate the bathroom, and refinish the original oak floors (we also hire that out).
  • After the main floor is done, we turn our attention to the basement and begin finishing the unfinished ~600sf into a family room, bedroom, laundry room and bathroom.
  • Six months after purchasing the home, the main-floor reno is complete and downstairs is framed and roughed-in. We use delayed financing (more on that below) to mortgage the property for $270k and payback family members. We created enough equity in the property with renovations that no cash downpayment is required.
  • After finishing the basement 8+ months after buying the home, we have the home appraised at $550k and apply for a HELOC. At this point, we’ve spent ~$50k in renovations to completely update the house, which is a return of about 460% on our cash investment [($550k-$270k-$50k)/$50k]. Not bad for a couple crazy love birds but it gets better…
  • We decide to use the HELOC to purchase another property and so 2 years after purchasing Ravenna, we move on to Dexter and turn Ravenna into a rental. Over the next ~2.5 years we net just over $70k in rental income.
  • Two months prior to our capital gain exclusion running out (more about that in the tax section below) we give Ravenna a new roof, a master bedroom refresh, and some staging before putting it on the market for $775,000 with Redfin. We receive a full-price, cash offer 5 days later.

photos by Cathy Poshusta

Why Most of our Profits are Tax Free

Our net rental profits from Ravenna were not tax free, but our sale profits are. Sellers are required to pay capital gains taxes on real estate profits to the tune of around 15%. But there’s an exemption for primary residences as long as you live in the home for 2 of the last 5 years. Our exemption was coming up in October of 2018 and that’s why we started to consider selling the home in the first place (you can read more about that here). If we had sold Ravenna after our 2-in-5 exclusion ran out we would have owed over $60,000 to the federal government.

What is Delayed Financing

We bought the Ravenna House for cash and then financed it within the first 6-months, a process called delayed financing. There are some specific requirements for delayed financing (you can read more about that here), but we love that it allows you to make an appealing cash offer and still finance quickly. Plus, if you’re doing renovations like we did on Ravenna, you can use the equity you’ve built in the property as the down payment so you limit the amount of cash you have tied up in the property.


TAKEAWAYS from the Ravenna House Sale

There are a lot of reasons why we believe we made so much money on Ravenna and we wanted to distill those today for anybody getting into real estate, renovating, and/or landloring.

Location // The Ravenna House is located in a desirable, close-in neighborhood of Seattle (called Ravenna). There are great schools here, parks, community centers, restaurants, and easy access to downtown. All that adds up to expensive home prices. And of course Seattle has had one of the hottest real estate markets in the nation for the past 5 years. Taking a step back and looking nationally, I have to say that this kind of profit would not likely have been possible outside of a few large urban centers, mostly located on the coasts. Of course there’s money to be made in residential real estate most everywhere, but just not as much. We were really lucky to have landed in Seattle, but we stayed for as long as we did in large part because we saw the income potential. It’s much easier to make money in a big city and retire to a small town and that’s what we did in 2016.

Timing // Buy Low, Sell High. We bought Ravenna in 2013, which was basically the low of the recession, and sold it in 2018, which feels near a high (at least for a bit). Timing is everything and we were lucky to have been able to buy a home in 2013 and even luckier that we were able to hold on to the property for as long as we wanted. If we had sold Ravenna after one or two or even three years we would not have made nearly as much money. We’re really partial to the buy-and-hold model.

Luck // We were luuuucky. The only reason we got this house to begin with was because the previous owner took a shine to us (more here). We probably, tipped fate a bit by submitting a heartfelt letter (with a picture of us and our newborn son standing on his front steps, which you can see at the bottom of this post), but even so, there’s an element of luck in everything…timing, being in Seattle, having family that could loan us cash. Lots of luck everywhere.

Fixer // buying a fixer is one of our core principles in real estate. If it doesn’t need work, we’re not interested. Sweat equity is our thing.

Make Smart Upgrades // Every dollar you have has the potential to make money for you. Here at the Grit and Polish we’re always talking about being financially-responsible with renovations, but what exactly does that mean? Well it means $460,000 payouts instead of a Pinterest dream kitchen. It means buying a second property (and eventually a 3rd and 4th…)  instead of putting $50,000 more into our beloved Wallingford house. We don’t talk a lot about the Wallingford House here on the Grit and Polish – mostly because we bought it long before I started this blog or got a good camera – but it’s our favorite Seattle property by a long shot. We would have enjoyed creating a second story master retreat and expanding the kitchen and living a block from the park on a quiet side street in Seattle’s best neighborhood (yes, best ;). But rather than retire at 34, we would have worked for decades longer. Rather than film an HGTV pilot and help our families and friends with renovations, we’d be dealing with commutes and spending every day in a cubicle. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad road to take (and if that’s your dream, more power to you!), it just wasn’t the road for us. We took the house hacking and early retirement road and we’re glad we did. The lesson here is be smart about the money you put into a property. Think about the return you’ll get on that money and if a renovation is worth delaying retirement for or skipping vacations or missing out on the fixer down the road. Every dollar you have has the potential to make money for you.

DIY // Do everything yourself that you possibly can. I even added the title “DIY real estate investing” to the pin-friendly images in this post because it’s been that important to our success. Doing it yourself saves a ton of money and gives you the opportunity to learn. We’ve become proficient DIY renovators, landlords, property maintainers, plumbers, framers, decorators, stagers, and lots more. I can’t begin to guess what DIY has saved us to date, but it’s certainly in the hundred of thousands.

Playing the Long Game // Garrett and I have always treated real estate as a long game. We are willing to delay the payout on a property for a very long time in favor of rental income. Not only did that make the difference between a small payout and a giant payout at Ravenna, but it meant we could retire at 34 and live off of our rental income. Of course I’m not saying to hold on to an income property that isn’t positive every month (we make sure our’s bring in at least 10%), but being patient can pay off. Real estate is considered a fairly safe investment that increases in value pretty reliably over time.


Those are all of our takeaways, but we’d love to hear any wisdom you may have. Or if you’re just starting out, are there any questions you have? Please add to the conversation in the comments below!

kitchen photo by Cathy Poshusta

Sources

Available here (more updates coming soon)

Related Posts

How to Sell a Home – What we did to Prepare Ravenna for Sale // Why we Decided to Sell One of Our Seattle Rentals // How we Saved $5k on Ravenna’s Roof // What to look for in your first home (House Hacking edition) // Our Story: Old Houses and Early Retirement //

photo by Robin, our first Redfin agent

photo by Cathy Poshusta

23 Comments

Tacoma Converted Garage // DIY Built-In Hood Vent Tutorial

TACOMA CONVERTED GARAGE

This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.

There are few things I love to see in a kitchen remodel more than a built-in hood vent. They’re beautiful, simple, and lend a feeling of old-worldliness that I love. But best of all, they’re easy to build. Even if you’re a novice DIY-er, these custom hood vents are do-able and we’re showing you how today. Read on for the Grit and Polish’s guide to built-in hood vents.

It probably goes without saying that built-in hood vents have become a staple in our kitchen renovations. We’ve built two drywall hoods (here and here) and dreamt about a tile hood (#6daykitchenreno, anyone?), but we haven’t created a paneled hood before. So when it came time to tackle the Tacoma Converted Garage, I tasked Garrett with creating a boxy, oversized hood vent, clad in salvaged tongue-and-grove (t&g) paneling. Boy did he deliver!

Built-in hood vents will naturally vary from project to project, so think of this tutorial as a roadmap. Our steps will guide you through your own project, but the dimensions, placement, and cladding material of your kitchen will determine your destination.

If you do use this tutorial, we’d love to hear about it! Tag us on Instagram or leave a comment below. pssst: check out the video version of this DIY tutorial below.


DIY BUILT-IN HOOD VENT TUTORIAL

Materials

GE Ducted Undercabinet Range Hood Insert

2×4 lumber for the framing

Cladding, we used salvaged tongue-and-grove but drywall and barn wood are common

Construction screws, we used type-17 point

16-gauge finish nails

Construction adhesive, *optional

Caulk

Primer 

Paint

Ducting, we used a 90-deg elbow, short section, and vent cap in 8″ diameter

Aluminum tape

Tools

Dewalt Impact Driver

Dewalt Chop Saw

Porter-Cable Cordless Finish nailer

Irwin Clamps *optional but helpful

Dewalt Reciprocating Saw *optional, necessary only if your exterior wall requires a new hole

Level

Wire strippers

Step 1 // Build a 2X4 Frame

Building a frame is fairly simple once you decide on your design. We opted for an oversized hood that stretches 42″ between the windows, but most people pick a dimensions closer to the width of their range and vent insert (usually ~30″). Once you know your overall dimensions, begin by building a frame out of 2x4s. Start with a box at the bottom of the hood vent, making sure your dimensions account for your cladding material thickness.

One note on dimensions: our vent sits at 36″ above the stove top, which was our manufacturer’s max recommended distance. Make sure you check local code and your manufacturer’s recommendations when deciding where to place the hood. Pro tip: placing your hood on an exterior wall makes venting easier. 

We were lucky that our walls and ceiling are covered in thick fir boards because we could attach our frame directly to that with screws. But absent thick wood on your walls, you’ll want to find studs to attach your 2x4s at the walls and ceiling. The hood vent will be heavy when complete and requires a strong attachment.

Keep building your frame to the ceiling using 2x4s and make plenty of attachments with screws.

Before you can move on to the next step, all of the outside edges of your frame need to be on the same plane in order to attach cladding. See how our vertical members were sitting inside of the 2x4s at the bottom of our frame in the photo above? That won’t work. S we added additional 2x4s to fur them out.

Before moving on to the next step, verify that your frame is secure by pulling on (or hanging from) the frame.

Step 2 // Add Cladding

Once the framing is in place, you can clad the exterior. We started this process at the corners. Since we used tongue-and-grove and not drywall, we opted to install a corner piece of trim so we could butt the t&g edge up to it. This would not be necessary if using drywall. After the corner members are secured, attach your cladding using brad nails and construction glue (or drywall screws if you’re using drywall or tile backer).

It’s good to keep the final vent insert installation in mind before completing your cladding. Garrett opted to create an access panel on one side of our hood in order to connect ducting and electrical later on. He created the access panel by securing a small section of t&g with screws rather than nails. This way we can remove the small panel with a screwdriver to access the vent and then screw it back into place afterwards. If an access panel doesn’t work with your design, make sure to install the vent insert (and make electrical and ducting connections) prior to finishing the cladding. 

Cladding the bottom of the hood is best done with your insert on hand. Cut a rectangle from a piece of your cladding the size of the insert and then attach it to the underside of the framing. pssst: Since our hood was significantly larger than our vent insert, Garrett added two 2×4 supports across the bottom of the frame to attach the vent insert and cladding to. 

Step 3 // Caulk, Prime and Paint

This step is pretty self explanatory. Put the finishing touches on your hood with whatever finish you have dreamed up. For us, that meant caulk and then primer and paint, but it could also involve drywall mud, plaster, tile, or polyurethane.

Step 4 // Install Insert and Hook up Electrical and Ducting

Now that the hood is built, it’s time to install your vent insert and hook it up. Start by addressing the venting. All the seams in the ducting need to be sealed with aluminum tape. Since we’re working on an exterior wall, we cut an 8″ hole through the wall behind the hood in preparation for venting.

Next install the vent insert by holding the insert in place and screwing it to your 2×4 frame. This is a job best done with 2 people. Make sure the vent insert is securely attached to the frame of your hood before removing your hands.

Now you’re ready to hook up the power and ducting to the unit (this is where the access panel comes in handy!). Make sure to consult your insert’s manufacturer instructions before hooking up your unit. To power our GE unit, we brought a dedicated circuit from the panel using 12-2 wire. Make sure the breaker is turned off when you make the electrical connection to the unit. Next we ducted the insert through the hole in the back wall using (1) 90-degree elbow, a short transition piece, and a vent cap.

Pro Tip: the larger your ducting and the shorter the run, the quieter your fan will be. 

Turn your breaker back on and confirm the insert works. Once it’s booted up, you can place your access panel back on. You’re done! I hope you love your new vent hood as much as I love this one! Thanks Garrett 🙂


*This post is sponsored by Lowe’s. All content, ideas, and words are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support the Grit and Polish!

1 Comment

Daphne’s Nursery // DIY Glider

THE FARMHOUSE

It’s been awhile since we talked about the Farmhouse here on the blog, but we’ve made a few changes recently and I wanted to show you one of my favorites: a DIY glider chair for Daphne’s nursery.  Daphne’s space is far from finished, but we recently moved her into the crib in her nursery for sleeping, meaning I’m stumbling in here at least once a night to nurse.  Having a cozy spot to curl up together has been a life saver!

The Grit and Polish - DIY nursery glider final close .2

sources: armchair // pink striped pillow // strawberry stuffie

I’m going to walk you through how we made this DIY glider, but first let me back up and explain why we decided to DIY this nursery staple.

Since about the time I found out I was pregnant with Daphne, I’ve been looking for the perfect glider or rocking chair.  But I couldn’t find one that I loved and was a reasonable price.  Awhile ago, I was lamenting this fact to a friend when she suggested, “why not DIY one”?  She pointed me in the direction of glider bases and got my brain turning. These bases are technically designed as replacements for existing gliding chairs, but they work perfectly for a new DIY glider too.  I picked out this slipcovered armchair at IKEA, which just so happens to have have a striking resemblance to a $2,000 glider that I was eyeing at Restoration Hardware.  Next, I ordered the base and then on a Saturday morning, with Daphne napping in the other room, Garrett and I put together this glider in less than an hour.   Better yet, the grand total for this DIY rang in at $460 (we had the plywood and screws already), so way cheaper than most gliders on the market.  And honestly, I am thrilled with the end product!

Here’s how we made the glider:

The Grit and Polish - DIY Nursery Glider

Materials //

Armchair – I chose a slipcovered armchair because babies are messy, but a chair with a skirt would work too.  Just make sure you select a chair with a hidden bottom so you can’t see the glider base when finished. tip: look in the “as-is” section for a chair without legs

Base (we selected the adjustable swivel rocker, item #3540)

3/4″ plywood, cut to dimension of the bottom of your chair (for the Farlov, we cut ours at 32″ x 36″)

1 3/4″ screws to attach plywood to chair (we used about 10)

1″ screws to attach base to plywood (we used 4 screws, but depending on the base you pick, you may need more)

Tools //

Cordless drill

Measuring taple

pencil

Step 1 // take the legs off of your chair.

The Grit and Polish - DIY nursery glider step 1

Step 2 // attach plywood to the bottom of your chair using 1 3/4″ screws (or longer).  Make sure the screws go into the wood frame of the chair.  We used about 10 screws.

The Grit and Polish - DIY nursery glider drill

Step 3 // attach base to plywood using 1″ screws.  Positioning the base is the trickiest part of this whole DIY.  We first attached the base to the center of the chair, but ended up moving it farther towards the back of the chair.  You can move the base until you’re happy with how the chair rocks.

The Grit and Polish - DIY nursery glider step 3

And that’s it! Pretty easy, I know. This DIY has definitely been done before, but I wanted to share it anyway in case you are looking for a nice glider without the crazy price tag too.

The Grit and Polish - DIY nursery glider final 2.2

Oh goodness, I’m excited for all the cozy story times we’re going to have in this chair in the coming years!

And as for Daphne’s nursery…I have lots of ideas on how I want this room to look.  So stay tuned for more as we work on this room (probably after the Porch House reno is done).

The Grit and Polish - DIY nursery glider final text 2

xoxo

-Cathy

p.s. Daphne’s arrival and a few things I’ve bought for this space

8 Comments

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

THE RAVENNA HOUSE

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.

xoxo

-Cathy

4 Comments

An Antique-Quilt Teepee for the Little Guy

THE RAVENNA HOUSE

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

xoxo

-Cathy

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!

3 Comments

If At First You Don’t Succeed…A Shower Floor Tale

THE RAVENNA HOUSE

Here’s what our new basement bathroom looked like about a month ago.  It only took the gestational period of a baby (42 weeks in Wilder’s case) to get it looking like this, so we are proud of our DIY efforts.

The Grit and Polish - bathroom remodel completion

And here’s what the room looked like a couple of weeks later:

The Grit and Polish - bathroom remodel progress

Confused?  You should be!  Saws and masks don’t belong in a room that has just been renovated!  But so this tale goes.  And here’s the part where I pull out that well-used saying…if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

And that’s just what we did.

See we didn’t slope the shower floor properly, so water ran away from the drain instead of into it.  But only in one small-ish area.  When we took that first, long-awaited shower it was with about one inch of standing water on the floor.

Frustrating to say the least.

Turns out there’s nothing much to be done about an improperly-draining shower floor besides re-doing it.  So we ripped it out and try, tried again.  Let’s walk through the process from start to finish.

Step 1: Rip up the tiles on the offending area.  Oh my this was a lot harder to do then it sounds…I just couldn’t help but think, why didn’t we do this right the first time?!

The Grit and Polish - Bathroom floor tile fix for improper slopping

Ugly, isn’t it?!

Step 2: Re-slope the sub-floor with mortar

The Grit and Polish - bathroom shower floor redo

Step 3: Re-tile the shower floor.

The Grit and Polish - bathroom shower floor re-tile

Step 4: Rip up more area and re-tile to make double, triple, quadruple sure that we had the right slope.

When we started laying the new tile, we noticed that the new section was quite a bit higher than the old.  I was pretty worried we’d end up with a still-improperty-draining shower floor situation and we’d have to rip it out again.  And that sounded worse and more embarrassing than sweeping the driveway in nothing but your underwear and cowboy boots (see photo below), so Garrett pulled up more tiles and then laid new ones all the way to the wall.  The picture below illustrates the expanded area.  The original fix area is the bold box, and the arrows show the extent of our expansion.  Please forgive the rudimentary drawing – my online photo editing skills are a bit suspect…

The Grit and Polish - expanded shower redo area The Grit and Polish - hexagon tile shower floor re-doStep 5: Grout the new tiles, wash, and seal.

The Grit and Polish - shower floor hexagon tiles groutThe Grit and Polish - tile shower surround and floor

And we’re done.  Again.  It’s not perfect, but it drains properly, so I’m a happy DIY-er.

Moral of the story?  Do it right the first time.  And more specifically, when you’re tiling a shower floor, make sure you get a good slope to your subfloor.  Spending the extra time on this step could save you a whole lot of time and money and frustration down the road.  Especially frustration.  There’s nothing worse then doing the same job twice.  Right?  Except maybe having a mama who let’s you go outside with only a diaper and cowboy boots on (the picture is coming…).  Or being a blogger who finishes a bathroom renovation and doesn’t do a reveal post for two plus months (a situation I totally plan on rectifying soon).  

Have you guys ever messed up a DIY this bad?  Probably not.  But if you have, please share…make me feel better about myself!

xoxo

p.s.  Thank the heavens, Catherine has a new old house to renovate!  Best. News. Ever!

p.p.s. Every year we spend Labor Day at the Ellensburg Rodeo.  It’s a tradition I have every intention of passing down to the next generation.  And I’m pretty sure Wilder is on board.  Well at least he’s excited about his first pair of cowboy boots…an interest that does not extend to clothes, apparently.

Wilder in cowboy boots 8-27-14

p.p.p.s. I just started reading this book.  Sadly it’s my first summer read and we’re at the unofficial end of summer.  I’m already addicted to the TV series (so much so I bought Starz for a year…don’t tell Garrett).

14 Comments

DIY // How To Make Old Wood Drawers Slide Easier

(Post Updated: 1/19/18)

Old wood drawers. We have a lot of them in our old houses. They’re beautiful. They’re solid. They’re full of character and history and I sure do love them.  But they’re not always the easiest to open. They stick and grind and often take two hands to pull.

So what’s an old home lover to do?

The Grit and Polish - Bryant How to Make a Wood Drawer Slide Easier 1

Our Bryant House renovationkitchen (drawer pull / cabinet latch)

Well it turns out that there’s an easy fix. And it costs under $1 and takes only a couple of minutes. Read on for this easy DIY.

DIY // How to Make Old Wood Drawers Slide Easier

STEP ONE // Pull out the drawers and arrange them so you can access the underside.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant DIY How to Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier 4

STEP TWO // Rub a bar of soap (we used a basic Dove bar here) along the tracks on the bottom of the drawer and in the cabinet/dresser. Make sure to get anywhere wood rubs against wood and give it plenty of soap. This is one of those rare quantity over quality situations.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant DIY How to Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier soap on drawerThe Grit and Polish - Bryant DIY How to Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier 6

STEP THREE // After everything is soaped up, slide the drawer back in. That’s it! The drawer should slide easier. Of course they still won’t open like brand-new soft-close drawers, but for $1 and a couple minutes, I’d call it a win!

The Grit and Polish - Bryant DIY How to Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier 7

The pulls and latches are from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot and super inexpensive. I’ve linked to them below.

I’ve heard about this DIY being completed with wax, which I think would work well too. Either way, if you try this DIY, please let us know how it went in the comment section below. And if you want to know more about this kitchen, the Bryant House renovation, or the Grit and Polish, scroll down to the “Related Posts” section.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant How to Make Old Wood Drawers Slide Easier 2

Sources for the Bryant Kitchen

drawer pull / cabinet latch / bar soapmy boots

Related posts

Bryant House kitchen renovation / Bryant House Airbnb makeover / wood butcher block countertops / our favorite cabinet hardware under $7 / about the Grit and Polish / Our Story: old houses and early retirement / We’re filming a pilot for HGTV /

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
post originally published: February 13, 2014
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
34 Comments