6 Day Kitchen Reno // Reveal


Well the day is finally here. I get to show you the finished kitchen renovation for our #6daykitchenreno project! And if you have no idea what I’m taking about, you can get caught up on the design here and construction here. Or just watch this 11 second clip for the cliff note version.


That’s us up there, and you can see how happy and exhausted we are after a week of non-stop renovating. Even with the help of the homeowners (our friends Julia and Garrett), we barely finished this project in 7 days. But the experience was as fun as it was hard, and I can’t wait to tackle our next quickie project!

With or without the short timeline, I’m really proud of this renovation. We turned a dark and dated kitchen into a bright and beautiful space.


Let’s talk about the navy! The color is Naval by Sherwin Williams (stay tuned for all the kitchen resources next week), and I love it. We had originally planned on gray base cabinets and than switched to white.  At the last minute, Julia decided that in her heart of hearts, navy was what she wanted, and I was 100% in. The navy color was a bit controversial with lookie loos during the renovation, but hopefully the finished kitchen sways them. What about you guys? Do you like the navy?


Obviously, there’s a lot that I love about this kitchen, but at the top of that list is the sconce that we hung above the sink. It’s from Rejuvenation and just So. Darn. Pretty! This is actually the first kitchen I’ve done using brass hardware (I know! where have I been?!), and you can consider me firmly on that band wagon from here on out. Brass is just so warm and pretty and I can’t wait to use it all over the farmhouse!


The floors were another last minute change that I’m so happy we made! We had originally planned to use 12″x24″ tiles on the floors in here, but when we laid them out with the countertops and backsplash, they just looked flat. So on day 3 of the remodel, Julia and I ran around Seattle in rush-hour traffic to find pre-finished red oak floors. And it was totally worth the hassle, because these floors are stunning. Sometimes game day changes are the best decisions you make all renovation long!


Another big feature in this kitchen is the subway tiles. We were absolutely crazy to tile every wall surface during a week-long kitchen remodel, but I’m so glad we did.  The tiles bounce the light around the room and the white on white tile/grout/cabinets combination gives the space a really polished look.


Garrett and I are thrilled with how this quick kitchen renovation turned out, and even more importantly, the homeowners are too! It’s amazing what you can get done in 7 days with the right planning and a whole lot of elbow grease.


Stay tuned for resources next week.  Anything else you want to know about this quick kitchen reno? Leave me a note in the comments.



p.s. About that fast timeline… Veronica puts us to shame. She’s designed 300+ homes and most of them were constructed from the ground up in 7 days (!!!). Consider me blown away!

p.p.s. A few home tours to peruse instead of being productive during nap-time: 1, 2, 3. You’re welcome.

p.p.p.s. Bringing more joy into your home. Isn’t that what design is all about?!


6 Day Kitchen Reno // Construction


We renovated a whole kitchen in 7 days. Seven days! It feels like quite a feat considering what a major remodel project a kitchen is. And yes, it took us one more day than we anticipated, but who’s counting…right?!

So how exactly did we renovate the #6daykitchenreno in 7 days?  The simple answer is: a lot of late nights, early mornings, upfront planning (check out the design plan here), and a whole lotta hustling. The homeowners, Julia and Garrett, who happen to be some of our very best friends (and yes, Julia and I both married Garretts, which is totally confusing), worked along side us for the entire renovation. Plus they called in favors with family and friends so we had even more help during the weekend. For the record, it’s totally true what they say. Many hands make for short kitchen remodels!


As I mentioned last week, the homeowners demo’d the kitchen before we arrived, which was awesome because I hate demo. Plus it saved us at least a day in the schedule. A win-win!


We purchased most of the finish materials ahead of time and stored them at Julia and Garrett’s house so they’d be onsite when construction started. This included the cabinets, the Rejuvenation sconce, tile flooring (which we ended up not using), appliances, and the french door. Another advanced planning item were the Quartz countertops, which Julia and Garrett picked out and scheduled for install on day 3 of construction.

Julia and Garrett also decided not to mess with the ceiling lighting, which kept our renovation scope trimmed down. They’ll have to go back and add some more ceiling lights at some point, but it wasn’t in the budget right now.


Construction followed a pretty traditional sequence: demo (done by the homeowners), subfloor, door install, electrical and plumbing repairs, drywall/hardiboard, lower cabinets, countertops, upper cabinets, wall tile, grout, finish lighting and electrical, floors, trim, caulk, and then appliances. More or less. I’ve included a day-by-day schedule at the end of this post in case you want to know more.

Here’s what that the construction looks like as a gif (note: you’ll have to view the video in a web browser, so if you’re reading this post in an email, click through to the Grit and Polish or head over to Instagram for a version with tunes!)

There were a few notable things that slowed construction down. Mainly: the amount of wall tiling, painting the cabinets, shopping trips, and kids. You may have noticed that there is subway tile on every wall. What exactly possessed us to tile every single wall when we were trying to renovate this kitchen in only 6 days, I’ll never know, but at least it looks pretty. Painting the cabinets also added a lot of man hours to the project, but was totally worth it! The original cabinet color was a warm white, which Julia likened to “coffee-stained teeth”. Painting the cabinets bright white and navy blue really took this kitchen from ‘nice’ to ‘great’. Julia, Garrett, and/or I went to a store almost every day, which was a huge time sink. Purchasing the tiles, picking paint, swapping the stone floors for wood, and 6+ trips to Home Depot really slowed us down. But in the end, the single biggest delay on this project was… our kids! Between us and Julia and Garrett, we had 4 young children around, and we were in over our head trying to entertain the bunch.


Now I don’t want to blame our kids for turning the #6daykitchenreno into a #7daykitchenreno, but the kids absolutely turned the #6daykitchenreno into a #7daykitchenreno! Brooks was teething, so he wanted me 24/7, which meant I wore him in a Ergo a lot (even for naps…a heavy load at 11 months). But he wasn’t super happy with the Ergo, or anything really (teething is hard!) and he also just started walking so when I did put him down, he was off into everything! Wilder was easier, but I tell ya, just feeding that kid is a part-time job. Don’t get me wrong though, I love having our kids with us, even while we work. I think they learn a ton from being around their parents and being included and watching us work. But if you’re going for a quick reno, kids will slow you down. Period. We definitely could have left our two at home with grandma, but Brooks is still nursing, and I’ve never left him overnight let alone a week. So along they came. But my advice to anyone looking to renovate quickly is get a babysitter! I am 100% sure that if we had left our kiddos at home or had a babysitter onsite we could have finished this job in 6 days.  But of course, without the kiddos, the pictures would have been a whole lot less cute!


As promised, here’s the rundown of the work we did each day:

Day 1. wall demo and french door install, subfloor install, first of many Home Depot trips + lumber store

Day 2. install base cabinets, sink drain repair, Home Depot trip, pick up backsplash tile

Day 3. countertop install, upper cabinets, start backsplash tile, remove cabinet doors in prep for painting, fix small electrical issues, pick up new flooring, Home Depot trip

Day 4. paint store, finish tiling, first two coats of paint on cabinet boxes, first coat of paint on doors and drawer faces (spray application)

Day 5. grout tiles, second coat of paint on cabinets, replace electrical receptacles and fix a couple issues, hood vent ducting and roof jack install, Home Depot trip

Day 6. hardwood floor install, install cabinet doors and drawers, finish electrical, appliance install, install sconce light, Home Depot trip

Day 7. Trim, open shelves, caulk, paint touchup, cabinet hardware install, french door hardware install, hardwood treads and stair landing install

Can’t wait to share this finished space with you on Thursday!

In the meantime, any tips for renovating with kids?! I’d love to hear them



p.s. this is just so upsetting. amazing what a few lies about sugar can do the health of a nation for half a century.

p.p.s. I really loved seeing Ginny’s dining room. Dark blue is kind of my bag right now and I’m already thinking where I can use it at the farmhouse!

p.p.p.s. a few of my favorite pins this week: an antique map, kitchens and babies (two of my favorite things!), cardamom in a cake (!!!),  I want all the wood-framed couches/day-beds.

p.p.p.p.s. my friend just started an interior design firm in Seattle/Portland and I’m super excited for her! Check Carrie out on IG!


6 Day Kitchen Reno // Design Plan


Well the #6daykitchenreno is done and we’re back at the farmhouse recuperating after a whole lot of late nights working at Julia and Garrett’s house. Over the past week, I shared the renovation in real time on Instagram, but since I have a little more free time now, I’m going to share the entire project, detail by detail, here on the Grit and Polish. If you’re one of those people who reads the last page of a book before getting started, hop on over to Instagram to see a sneak peek of the finished space.  But if you can hold out, I promise to reveal the entire kitchen next week (ish) here on the blog.

Julia and Garrett’s #6daykitchenreno actually took us 7 days to complete.  Seven looonnnnggg days. What can I say, some things just can’t be rushed. Especially if you don’t want to cut any corners. One thing that actually helped the project stay on track, was having the homeowners demo the existing kitchen before we arrived. Julia and Garrett tackled all the demo in one day while their kiddos went to the zoo with grandma. Here’s what the kitchen looked like as they prepped for demo:

the-grit-and-polish-6-day-kitchen-before-1the-grit-and-polish-6-day-kitchen-before-2 the-grit-and-polish-6-day-kitchen-before-3the-grit-and-polish-6-day-kitchen-before-4

Julia and Garrett’s kitchen was original to their 1940’s home, measuring only 10’x10′.  With a staircase behind one wall of the kitchen and a fireplace behind another, we were unable to enlarge the kitchen or open up any walls for better flow.  So we made due with the existing layout.  We were, however, able to add a pair of french doors where the south facing windows originally stood, bringing more natural light into the space and improving access to Julia and Garrett’s amazing backyard.

I worked on the design plan with Julia and Garrett earlier in the summer. They wanted a traditional kitchen that would feel like it belonged in their 1940s home but were hesitant to incorporate anything too trendy into the design for fear it would look dated in only a few years. Julia and I have similar tastes in kitchens (and for men named Garrett, apparently) so that made this kitchen extra fun to collaborate on. After a little Pinterest research, I put together three design schemes for the homeowners to pick from:

Option 1

Julia's Kitchen: White, Gray, and Brass Kitchen
Option 1 wraps a little modern country into a traditional design.  I suggested two-tone cabinets (white on top and gray on the bottom), brass hardware and open wood shelves to warm up the design.  Julia didn’t like the apron-front sink and she was worried that two-tone cabinets would date too quickly, so I came up with a second design option.

Option 2

Julia's Kitchen: White, Gray, and Brass Kitchen

Option 2 has a lot of the same components as Option 1 (shaker cabinets, large-format gray tile floors, subway backsplash, brass faucet and hardware, stainless steel appliances) but it’s all-white.  I also removed the wood from the design and switched out the hardware for long pulls from Etsy.

Option 3

Julia's Kitchen 3: white and wood

Lastly I did a budget option, which utilized Julia and Garrett’s existing cabinets and paired inexpensive butcher block with the same large-format stone floors. I brought back the less-expensive cabinet hardware by Martha Stewart into this design as well.

After some back and forth, Julia and Garrett went for Option 1 with a few modifications. First, I really wanted to build in a hood vent and tile it (similar to the one shown in Option 1) but it was nixed because it added time and money to the design and just wasn’t a priority for the homeowners. We also switched out the lower cabinet color to navy when Julia decided she was up for a bolder color combination (yay!). Lastly, we switched out the stone floors for 2 1/4″ pre-finished red oak floors because the stone just felt kinda flat when we laid it out in place. The cabinet paint and the floors were game-day decisions which was a big reason why this six day kitchen reno bled into day 7. But I’m so thankful we made the swaps because the end result is stunning!

Stay tuned next week for more on the construction process and a look at how we built this kitchen in such a short amount of time.

Resources: sconce, Rejuvenation | stove, Bluestar | cabinet pull, Martha Stewart | cabinet knob, Martha Stewart | faucet, Delta | tiles, Home Depot | ceiling light, Rejuvenation | floor tile, Home Depot | bar pulls, Etsy | Option 1 top kitchen, Option 1 bottom kitchen, Option 2 bottom kitchen, Option 3 top kitchen, Option 3 bottom kitchen



p.s. this is one of the most impactful articles that I’ve read in a long time. It’s all about food and respect and not wasting. It’s all of our responsibility. Also: take your damn leftovers.

p.p.s. here are a few of my current favorite kitchens on Pinterest: black and white, green office kitchen, rustic, and wood and white.

p.p.p.s. Love these hanging pots in Julia’s kitchen. I’m definitely going to need some of these!


Features and Mother’s Day


The Dexter House kitchen was featured on Apartment Therapy this week!  It was so fun seeing our little space on their site!  I am really proud of what we accomplished in this kitchen on a limited budget (limited by gut-kitchen-renovation standards, at least).  More on the kitchen renovation, reveal, and budget and resources if you’re interested.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen

I can’t let today go by without saying happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas, grandmas, aunts, sisters, girlfriends, and mamas-to-be out there.  Somehow, amazingly, this is my third Mother’s Day since becoming a mom myself.  Just saying that makes my heart swell, because being a mama is the best!  Totally challenging and exhausting, but still the best.  And I feel just so damn honored to get to be Wilder and Brooks’ mama.  I don’t want to get too sappy on you guys, but goodness I just want to dig my heels into the dirt and slow this life down.  Because, guys, this is it.  These are the days.  And I know that there will come a time when Wilder won’t ask me for kisses as a cure to all ailments and someday those pitter-pattering feet in the middle of the night won’t belong to a toddler about to slip into bed with us.  Someday Brooks’ face won’t light up like a Christmas tree when I come home and he won’t giggle like a fool when I play peek-a-boo or blow raspberries on his tummy.  So…this Mother’s Day, I’m going to sneak in a few extra cuddles and breathe it all in.

Dexter House Master Bed with Boys

Speaking of Mother’s Day, did you see this easy and fun DIY on coco+kelley?  Or this ode to my own mother on 702 Park Project?

The Grit and Polish - Clean Eating Pancakes 3

What will you be doing on Sunday?  Garrett and the boys are going to make me brunch (hopefully these polenta, oat, and currant pancakes, which sound kinda weird but are soooooo good!) and then we’re back to work on the fence project.



p.s. technically this advice is from a dad and it’s mothers day, but it’s still a good one!

p.p.s. I heard this story about the blind and awesome Daniel Kish last year and I still think about it.  His mother takes ‘amazing’ to a whole new level.  Seriously, you’ve got to listen to it!

p.p.p.s. This Pinterest board kinda sums up what I want for my kids’ childhood.

p.p.p.p.s. And one more for all the young moms out there.  Because Olivia, you are awesome.  And your taste in wallpaper is spot on.


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!


If you Let Your Husband Pick Out the Kitchen Faucet…


Last month I told Garrett that he could pick out the kitchen faucet for the Ravenna House.  Why?  I’m not really sure. But I think it was a combination of frustration (he didn’t like anything I picked out) and a little bit of ego (I said something like, “fine! let’s see if you can do any better”).

Well turns out, if you let your husband pick out the kitchen faucet, this is what you get:

Kitchen Faucet 1 3-6-14

Yup, that’s a commercial faucet in my kitchen.  It’s chrome.  It’s huge.  And here’s the crazy part.  I actually like it.  I might even go so far as to say I really like it. Surprised?  Me too.  Here’s why. The faucet is super functional. You can fill tall pots with the spout and reach the entire sink with the high-pressure sprayer. I like the way the height of the faucet highlights the window molding and the gray handle complements the marble backsplash.   I don’t even mind that it’s chrome despite the fact that everything else in the kitchen in brushed nickel or stainless steel.

Kitchen Faucet and Sink 3 3-6-14

Oh and there’s the apron front sink.  As you may remember, I had designed the sink-base cabinet around the Ikea Domsjo (here), only to find out that it was out of stock.  A last minute Amazon search found us a replacement (here). The new sink is shorter and not as wide as the Domsjo, which meant Hubby had to do some tweaking to the cabinet.  He added filler strips along the bottom and sides of the notch out and then we painted them.  You can hardly tell.  Hubby does good work!

While we’re talking kitchen details, let’s talk cabinet hardware.  This was one of those game time decisions for me.  I ordered a couple of different styles from Home Depot and then tried them out last weekend after the cabinet faces and drawers were installed.  My favorite were by Martha Stewart – boxy pulls for the drawers and classic matchbox catches for the cabinets (we used the same catches in chrome at the Bryant House).

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware 2 3-6-14

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware 3 3-6-14

Kitchen Cabinet Hardware 4 3-6-14

I like the mix of the modern pulls with the classic catches.  The pulls help tone down the overall traditional-ness of the kitchen.  See I’m one of those people that doesn’t like anything to feel too perfect.  I like spaces to feel lived-in and have a touch of the unexpected.   I’m the kind of person that likes to mix black and brown and leave unfolded throws on the back of the couch.  So for me, the juxtapose between the traditional matchbox catches and the modern pulls (and the commercial faucet for that matter) creates balance.   One could even say, a little conflict is a good thing.  At least in kitchen design.

I’m really pleased with how the kitchen is turning out.  So much so, in fact, that I’m sensing another round of “If you let your Husband Pick…” coming soon!

What do you think?  I’d love to hear from you!


p.s. did you notice that we grouted?  I am LOVING the backsplash…femininity be damned.

p.p.s. This is a great blog post about what some people feed their baby’s (hint: pretty much anything).

p.p.p.s. Happy happy happy birthday Sissy!  And though we may be a good number of years away from 40, this article has some great tips on aging!

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