Porch House Master Suite // Introductions (ORC Week 1)


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!

Without a doubt, the biggest renovation that Garrett and I have taken on to date is the Porch House.  Not only did we renovate a big chunk of the house in 16 days for our HGTV pilot (which should air soon!), but we’ve been tackling the rest of the house ever since.  Every square inch of this house needs work, but one of my favorite projects has been reconfiguring the main floor to accommodate a master suite.  Master suites were a rare commodity in 1900, when the Porch House was built, and adding this feature should make the house a whole lot more relevant in 2017, not to mention help with resale.

Since some of you may be new to the Grit and Polish, let me do a quick introduction.  My husband, Garrett, and I renovate old houses in Washington state, but our start on this path was less than auspicious.  Like many young couples, we bought our first old house with the intent to fix it up and live in it forever. But the recession made quick work of those plans and through a series of unpredictable events, we turned into landlords (you can read more about that here).  Thankfully, we liked being landlords, and as rental income began filling our savings account, we saw a new path forward for ourselves.  Over the next few years, we purchased and renovated 3 more homes, and eventually turned them into rental properties (the Bryant, Ravenna, and Dexter houses) all while working full-time jobs and having babies.  In 2016, it was time to slow down, so we quit our jobs, moved to a Farmhouse in the country, and became full-time parents, landlords, and renovators.  This year, we also picked up our first flip project, filmed a pilot for HGTV, and had our third child, a baby girl named Daphne.  Apparently we’re not that great at slowing down 😉

Okay, back to the One Room Challenge.  Last year I joined in the Fall One Room Challenge as a guest participant for the first time and made over our Farmhouse master bedroom, shown below.  It was a really fun experience as a blogger, and I’ve been eager to join in ever since.


I’m excited that this go around, I get to do a bigger renovation project.  See when we bought the Porch House, it needed a lot of work, and the future master bathroom and closet were no exception.  The space was dark and dull and totally uninspired.  Take a look for yourself:

The Grit and Polish - Porch Bedroom Coversion 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Before Bathroom 2The Grit and Polish - Porch Before BathroomThe Grit and Polish - Porch Before Bedroom to Bathroom 1The Grit and Polish - Porch Before Bedroom to Bathroom 3

That last photo is of the second main-floor bedroom, which we’ll also be working on during the One Room Challenge.  We are planning to convert both the existing bathroom and this second bedroom into the master bathroom and closet plus a powder bathroom.  That may be a bit confusing, so here is what it looks like in plan view.  This is the original layout:

708 E Tacoma_Floor plan3

And here’s what we’re planning:

708 E Tacoma_Floor plan3

Thankfully we are a little ahead of the curve and have already finished demo, framing, drywall, and rough-in plumbing.  So we are ready to hit the ground running with this 6-week makeover!

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Progress Framing 1

That little bit of navy blue wall you see is the master bedroom, which is a darker and moodier bedroom than I’ve ever done before.  That space was made over as part of our HGTV pilot, so you can catch the reveal when the show airs (slated to be this Fall!).

The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Progress Drywall 1The Grit and Polish - Porch Master Bath Progress Framing 2

So let’s talk about my design plans for this master bathroom and closet.  I’m envisioning a bright, classic space that feels at home in an old house, but yet also fresh and relevant.  There will be lots of white, per my usual, plus chrome, wood, marble, and a bit of slate.  Here is the inspiration I’m drawing from.

The Grit and Polish - Porch House Master Suite Inspiration

Inspiration, clockwise from top left: 1 // 2 // 3

The top, left inspiration photo is from a design duo out of Portland called Kaemingk Design.  They create amazing bathrooms (and all spaces, really), and we’ll be using similar tiles in our shower and a long cloth curtain in lieu of a glass enclosure.  I’m planning on laying a slate tile floor in the bathroom just as Studio McGee did in the mudroom image.  And lastly, we’re planning on a custom wood vanity in a similar style to the one shown.

Next week I’ll catch you up on paint and hopefully recap the hardwood floor refinish (we laid hardwoods in the closet).  The refinish is going down right now, so you can catch a peek on my stories. I can’t wait to share our progress with you!

ORC guest

Be sure to check out all the featured designers and the guests designers here!




Our Tiny Master Bathroom: What it Cost


I showed you the finished master bathroom last week, so let’s take a quick look at what it cost.  As you probably remember, this space was originally a dining nook, so we had to buy everything that went into building a bathroom: plumbing, venting, tub, sink, toilet, etc.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation Process Collage

And considering the massive transformation, I was surprised just how little it cost us to build this bathroom!  We kept the budget down a few ways.  First of all, we know an electrician (thanks Papa!) and my husband is a plumber and a framer and a carpenter and a painter and an all around pretty handy guy (when he isn’t busy in the lab being a biochemist…serious!), so we didn’t have to pay for any labor.  I also picked up vintage fixtures, which fit better and cost less than new ones.  We were also able to work with the existing floors so avoided expensive tiles or new hardwoods.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

$250     Plumbing rough-in

$250     Electrical rough-in

$500     Claw foot tub

$630     Tub hardware

$45       Sink

$30       Mirror

$130     Toilet

$180     Vent

$50       Light fixture

$75       Shower curtains

$200     Door

$25       Window film

$230     Demo/Framing

$100     Paint

$100     Floor Finishing

$200    Incidentals

$2,995 Total

Yup, it cost us just under $3,000 to turn the Dexter House master into a suite.  Of course, this doesn’t include house-wide costs, like adding a new electrical panel or taking out permits, but you get the picture.  All in all, pretty darn reasonable.  I’m not a realtor by any stretch of the imagination, but I think one would agree that this was money well spent if we ever went to sell the Dexter House!

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation All

Want to know more about this bathroom?  Here are posts on demodesign/layoutthe sinkfloor paintwall paintprogress and the reveal.



p.s. Check out this really lovely Christmas home tour on Lark and Linen!

p.p.s. I love decorating for the holidays, but with a two-year-old and a toddler, this year is all about simple.  As in we-bought-a-Christmas-tree-in-the-Fred-Meyer-parking-lot simple.  So no DIY wreaths for me.  But if I did happen to find myself with two free hands and a couple of hours, I would try to make something like this or this!

p.p.p.s. Some of my favorite holiday decor.


Our Tiny Master Bathroom: Before and After


Our master bathroom is done!  It may only be 36 square feet, but it’s one of the hardest working rooms in the house.  Not to mention, one of my favorites!

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation Plant Wide

At 36 square feet, this bathroom is only sized for one person, but it has everything you need.  Lots of light, storage, a vintage sink, and a great claw foot tub for soaking.  At least that’s my list of bathroom necessities!

This space has come a long way in the seven months we’ve owned the Dexter House.  Originally the room was a dining nook attached to the kitchen.  Though the dining nook had great character, it had awkward geometry which really limited the adjacent kitchen design, so the decision to annex the nook to a bathroom was an easy one (see more on the floor plan here).

photo 15

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation Progress Collage

Early during the Dexter House renovation, we closed off that archway between the dining nook and the kitchen, removed the terra-cotta tile from the floors, and then added a doorway between the dining nook and our master bedroom.  In the months that followed, we roughed in for electrical and plumbing, framed in the doorway, painted the floors black, painted the walls and trim white, and then installed the claw foot tub, sink, and toilet.  Thankfully we finished the room right around the time I hit my due date. And since Brooks was nine days late, I managed to fit in quite a few baths before losing all my free time to diaper changes and nursings 😉

Okay, now for the good stuff.  Here’s what our master bathroom looks like now:

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation AllThe Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation from door 2The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation Details CollageThe Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation sink and mirror

The antique claw foot tub was an awful shade of hunter green when I found it at a local salvage shop.  I achieved this unique shade of gray using paint stripper and an angle grinder.  After an hour of trying to get down to the original cast iron, I gave up.  Happily I was left with a nice gray patina, which I LOVED, so I sealed the tub with a thin coat of tung oil and called it good.  We put the tub in place, installed the faucet and hardware, hung three shower liners and two cheerily-patterned curtains (which I found on mega sale at Serena and Lily)) and I had a bathtub.

After all that effort, thank goodness I am really smitten with this tub!

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation claw foot tub 2

I’ll be honest, the fern doesn’t always hang in our shower.  I’m having a bit of trouble keeping the leaves from drying out (I am cursed with a black thumb, I even killed an ivy last week!) so have been experimenting with ways to get a little humidity to the poor guys.  I’d be thrilled to hear any other suggestions you may have before I kill these plants too!

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation Plant

I picked a wall-mount sink for this bathroom, mostly because it saves on space and I love the vintage character.  The sink was an inexpensive find at a local salvage shop along with the VG fir door, which Garrett hung.  We covered the glass with vision-obscuring film since it opens to the bedroom (we added the same film to the window).  The mirror above the sink came from Craigslist.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation Sink

I’ve had a couple questions from readers about where I store all my bathroom stuff.  Luckily this tiny room came with built-in drawers, a cabinet, and shelves, which were original to the dining nook.  It’s not a ton of space, but it’s proven to be enough for all of my and Garrett’s bathroom stuff. This bank of storage is actually (sadly…?) about the most storage we’ve ever had in a bathroom.  You could say my standards are low but all this storage feels pretty luxurious!

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation StorageThe Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation Storage Close

So what do you guys think of our tiny, vintage-inspired bathroom?  Pretty amazing what you can fit in 36 square feet, right?!

Want to know more about this bathroom?  Here are posts on demo, design/layout, the sink, floor paint, wall paint, and progress.

The Grit and Polish - Master Bathroom Renovation claw foot tub

Resources: Claw foot tub, vintage | Tub hardware, Signature Hardware | curtains, Serena and Lily (color no longer available) | Sink, vintage | Stool, Serena and Lily | Woven plant hanger (fern), Amazon | Hanging pot and hanger, Anthropologie (no longer carried) | Rug, Ikea

Paint colors: Walls, BM Simply White | Trim, BM Simply White | Floors, BM Onyx



p.s. Check out this lovely California farmhouse and this vintage Seattle house!

p.p.s. Did you guys see Mandi’s baby boy nursery reveal. I’m dying over those plywood animal cutouts!

p.p.p.s. How to harness your inner grit and be successful!

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