Progress and Pressure


Well guys I’m officially 31 weeks pregnant, which means I only have 2 months left until my due date.  And despite the fact that I’m so excited to meet this little guy – because both Garrett and I really, really are – I’m starting to feel the pressure.  My burgeoning belly is like a constant reminder that we need to get this house done.  And pronto!  Because we need to be moved in before baby arrives.

Turns out nine weeks is not a ton of time to complete a renovation, especially when you’re working around 9-5 jobs and a toddler.  So I took the week off of work to give us a little extra push on the Dexter House.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Cathy Working on Fireplace

We’ve had a super productive week: we’re getting the plumbing inspected, prepping for the hardwood refinish, finishing the electrical rough-in, building a fireplace, picking up drywall, and hopefully installing some of the kitchen cabinets.  We’ve gotten enough done that I’m actually starting to feel optimistic (dare I say confident) that this renovation really will come together before baby boy gets here!

With all this time spent at Dexter, I have so much awesome stuff to show you guys in the weeks to come.  Until then, check out these cement tiles that came in the mail on Monday.  We’re going to face the fireplace and tile the range backsplash with them…

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Tile

Gorgeous, right?!



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An Old Photo of the Ravenna House


When we first bought the Ravenna House, I tried to learn everything I could about the history of the property.  I’m a sucker for old house history, and I wanted to know who had lived here before us, how they had lived, and what they had done to the house.  The neighbors shared stories – some funny, some pretty sad – about the previous owner, John and long-time resident Josefa.  But when it came to tracking down a historic photo of the property, I turned to the Puget Sounds Regional Archive, our local source for historic records.

I was pretty excited to find out that the archives had multiple photos of the Ravenna House. I purchased the oldest photo, this one from 1937:

The Grit and Polish - Ravenna House Historic 1937 Photo

The Ravenna House was a quaint little tudor in 1937, right?!  I want to ball up that charm and sprinkle it back in 2014.  Because I’m really not fond of the changes that have been made to the exterior of the house since this photo was taken.  Previous owners added vinyl siding (an actual decrease in the house’s value, according to our appraiser) covered the classic stucco detail at the top of the gable with Victorian-inspired vinyl fish scales, replaced the front windows with large vinyl sliders, and generally ignored maintenance on the house for a few decades…or 8 to be more precise.

This is what the house looked like in 2013, two weeks before we closed on the property (this is the picture our realtor took with my iPhone and we included with our offer):

The Ravenna House Front 11-7-13

Look how little Wilder was.  Ahhhhhh so sweet!

But let’s be honest.  The house has lost soooooo much of it’s original charm.  If I had my druthers, we’d return the exterior to its 1937 glory, but sadly we do not have that kind of budget for this house.  The vinyl siding was installed a few years back and it’s in good shape, so we can’t justify the expense of ripping it off and residing with cedar.  We did pony up and replace the windows with vinyl and reconfigured the front windows back to the side-by-side configuration that you see in the 1937 photo.  That, at least, was a real win for the exterior.   But that’s all we’re planning to do.

I’m not going to show you an “after” photo today, because deep down I’m hoping that we’ll change our minds (or win the lottery…!) and replace the front door with a wood version, reside in cedar siding, and free the gable’s hidden stucco.  Plus it’s really, really cold in Seattle right now, and it’s just too cozy in my house to even think about going outside to take a photo.

So tell me, what do you think?  Do you prefer the 1937 version as much as I do…or is the vinyl siding not as bad as I think?



p.s. A few house exteriors I like better than mine.  Much much MUCH better!

p.p.s. I didn’t know this was possible – one of my favorite ice cream shops teamed up with one of my favorite blogs.  And it sounds pretty delicious!

p.p.p.s. I dig this country house!


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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The Second Bathroom: An (Almost) After


Well we still haven’t quite finished the basement bathroom.  But it’s about 99% there, so I’m throwing in the towel.  Some day we’ll get hooks up and hang a mirror.  Maybe even add a little art.  But until then, I’m calling it done enough.

The Grit and Polish - Basement Bathroom Remodel

We originally envisioned this space as more of a utility bathroom with a large, deep sink and taller faucet.  A place to bathe a baby or throw your shoes after a rainy run.  But a series of events – mainly the budget and our intense desire to wrap this project up – left us with the materials at hand.  The mahogany door is original to the house (although refinished) and the vanity was a $100 Craigslist find that we painted and put a new top on.

Unfortunately this room gets like zero natural daylight, so the photos have an eerie glow.  But ignore that.  In person, it’s a warm and comfortable space.

The Grit and Polish - Basement Bathroom VanityThe Grit and Polish - Basement Bathroom Remodel 2

This space has heated floors, which is amazing.  But even without these, this room would be pretty popular.  Garrett and I both shower down here despite the fact that our room is upstairs next to the main bathroom.

The Grit and Polish - Basement Shower Renovation.jpg

The faux-wood tiles run seamlessly between the bathroom and laundry room.  I had Garrett lay these in a herringbone pattern, to tie in with the kitchen backsplash.  I’m pretty into these tiles – they are inexpensive and look great.

The Grit and Polish - Bathroom and Mudroom Herringbone Floors

It’s amazing how much work we’ve put into this little space.  When we bought the The Ravenna House, there was no bathroom in the basement.  There was actually nothing in the basement besides a sketchy black-painted room and an old non-functional furnace.  Here’s a pic after we finished demo but before we finished framing.  To orient you, the new window on the back wall is the window in the bathroom over the toilet.

Ravenna House Basement Bathroom Photo 1 1-31-14

After we finished framing, we plumbed and sheet-rocked and tiled and painted.  We even had to pour a partial slab back where we had to dig up the ground to install the new drain line.

photo-1-25281-2529blogger-image-17315300IMG_8229Basement BathroomBathroom shower tile 2 Masking for Basement Paint 3

And because I like to leave things on a good note, here’s one more pic of the done-deal:

The Grit and Polish - Basement Bathroom Remodel 1

Vanity: Craigslist | Marble Countertop and Sink: GS Cabinet | Door and Hardware: Original to house | Floor Tiles: Home Depot | Shower Floor Tiles: Home Depot | Shower Wall Tiles: Home Depot | Wall Paint: Sherwin Williams White Duck | Trim Paint: BM Simply White | Mirror: 10+ years old, from Michaels | Sconces: Amazon

More on the bathroom inspiration here, renovation here and tiling the shower here.

What do you guys think?  Anything you’d do differently?


p.s. This apartment is ah-mazing!  Although I disagree with the author – 1000sf isn’t that small.

p.p.s. Two of my favorite people chat: Martha Stewart and Kai Ryssdal (of Marketplace).

p.p.p.s. I say yes to Greece.  Yes, yes yes!


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


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!


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).


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?


Backyard Horrors and Optimistic Plans


Oh the horror of our backyard…

Ravenna House Backyard 2Ravenna House Backyard at House

It’s like a scene from The Walking Dead, but worse.  Much, much worse!  A falling down garage, a wood pile, the chain link fence, a trash pile.  And dog poo everywhere.  Scary!

On the plus side, I hope you guys are getting a good dose of my-backyard-looks-amazing compared to this one right now.  I mean no one’s backyard has ever looked worse, right?  And we haven’t even talked about the garage.

Ravenna House Garage 4Ravenna House Garage 2

You probably noticed that we share a driveway and garage with our neighbors.  Our neighbors are AWESOME but sharing is never ideal – just try to ask for one of Uncle Dougie’s french fries.  As the garages stand (or rather lean) today, they’re both too small to fit cars in, and out of courtesy, we try not to block the driveway, so we both end up on the street, fighting for a spot most nights.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the garages may topple at any second.  The roof literally has more plants growing on it then our yard.  And the joists that aren’t missing are rotted.  Since the neighbors and ourselves share what is essentially one two-car garage, our falling-down-garage problem is really both of our falling-down garage problem.  One we’re hoping to fix with a giant dumpster and a couple sledge hammers this summer.

Our lot is less then 3000sf, so we aren’t expecting some expansive yard, but there are a few things we want out of our limited outdoor space:

  • Off-street parking: this is a must in our busy, parking-restricted location.  We hope to get 2 off-street spots when we demo the garage.  Not exactly sure how yet, but that’s why they call it a goal.
  • A fully-fenced backyard: this isn’t too tricky since 2 of the 3 sides are already fenced.  But Bubba will be so thankful for a spot to bask in the sun.
  • An urban-oasis/brownstone-yard feel: this is where a little pinterest inspiration comes in.  I gathered a few photos of backyards that call to me.  One or more elements or maybe just the feel seem to fit the Ravenna House yard.  Anyway, here’s what we’re I’m thinking:

Backyard Inspiration collage 7-14-14

All pictures via Pinterest. Top row: Decor 8, viva Full House, Sulia | Center row: Design Spounge, Lonny Magazine, Unknown | Bottom Row: Unknown, Coco+KellyUnknown

Wouldn’t that be nice?!  As you can see, I’m a little heavy on inspiration and a little light on progress right now.  But that too shall come…as long as we don’t buy another house;)  I plan to draw up our space with 2 parking spots, a patio, outdoor dining, and a little patch of grass, any day now.  Wish me luck.

I will be SO excited to have an outdoor space to relax and bbq and eat outdoors.  And I’ll be more then a little excited if our place turns out one-sixteeth as nice as those inspiration images.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that these two are excited to do some bird-watching from outside:

Wilder and Bubba at the Window


p.s. This 1700’s Connecticut house takes the prize of the most amazing country house. Ever.

p.p.s. If you’re in Seattle and have a spare $3 million (and the exterior paint doesn’t bug you), this Victorian may just suit your fancy.

p.p.p.s. I’m stalking some great renovations lately.  Check out Sarah’s beautiful foyer and stair transformation and Nicole’s exciting hallway progress.

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Building A Wedding Arbor


My sister-in-law is getting married later this summer and she requested a homemade arbor for the outdoor ceremony.  So Garrett and I packed up the baby and the tools and headed east to gramma’s farm for a Fourth of July wedding-work-weekend.

Dayne's Wedding Homemade Arbor

Garrett and I have never built a stand-alone arbor before and it was definitely one of those collaborative, design-as-the-go type projects.  Garrett would hold up one weathered 4×4 and Auntie Dayne and I would stand back and him-and-haw “three inches to the left”, “one-sixteenth-inch down”, “flip it around” before giving our stamp of approval.  Garrett managed to survive the weekend with his patience intact and we all had a blast.  It was a really fun process that got the whole family involved.

Building a Wedding Arbor 2Building a Wedding Arbor 1

We moved the arbor in the back garden for safe keeping and pulled the top members off to weather some more in the sun.  We trained some hop vines up the side of the arbor which will hopefully look beautiful come the end of August.  To temporarily shore the arbor up (it’s a little wobbly without all the top members), we put it in CMU footings and braced it with wood.

Dayne's Wedding Homemade Arbor

Isn’t the patina of the wood perfect?!  Gramma and Papa have a giant wood pile where they’ve been organically weathering wood for some 10-odd-years.  Okay, maybe it’s more like a pile of forgotten wood that gets beat on by the sun and warped by the rain, but it looks really beautiful and we didn’t have to buy a stitch of wood for the project.

I am so happy with how the arbor turned out, and more importantly, so are the bride and groom.  I’m a little sad the arbor isn’t coming home with us, but I already made Garrett promise that he’d build me one for the backyard of our next house!

I can’t leave you guys today without showing you a couple photos from around gramma’s farm.  I keep calling it a farm, but really it’s more like a hobby farm – they raise chickens, pigs, turkeys, a couple of horses, and a rotating door of grand-puppies.  The farm is located on a quiet 20 acres, miles away from any city.  On a cloudless night you can see every star in the sky and on a sunny day you can see clear across the valley.

Tractor on FarmGramma's Chicken Pen DoorFourth of JulyDelicious the PigAntique Tractor on Gramma's Farm

Isn’t it beautiful?!


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The Tub that’s Old is New Again


I mentioned awhile back that we had the original bathtub refinished in the upstairs bathroom.  Well, it turned out amazing.  Like ah-mazing amazing!  Serious, have a look:

Wilder at Refinished Antique TubSide of Antique Tub After RefinishAntique Tub Refinished

Why is Wilder’s pant leg up?  I don’t know.  That look was big in the 90’s right?  That and sagging your pants to your knees (you know who you are, Uncle C).  Ahem.

Anyway, here’s the tub “before” – it’s not a complete before picture since we had already finished the tile surround, but you get the idea.  

Bathtub Refinish - Before 2

The tub is gross right?!  It looks like someone embalmed a cat in there or something.

Well as crazy as it sounds, Garrett wasn’t sold on getting the tub refinished.  According to him, it was functional and why spend money where we didn’t have to?  And while I appreciate the sentiment, I put my foot down on that one.  The tub was getting refinished, come hell or high water.  Because it was nasty, embarrassing, and kind of scary.  And I wasn’t about to bathe my baby boy in there any longer then necessary.

So I called in the professionals, the Seattle Bathtub Guys.  They came out to give me a quote last winter.  And by the time I got around to calling, their next available appointment was in May.  But once they got here, it went super fast.  I picked out the white color (I went with the not-too-cold-but-not-too-cream option, as opposed to white-white and creamy-like-a-chocolate-milkshake-creamy-white) and then took Wilder over to my parent’s for the afternoon.  A little relaxing (for me) and a nap (for him) later and we came home to find the tub looking like this:

Antique Bathtub Refinish 2Bathtub Refinish

The tub looks brand new, right?!  Except it’s better then brand-new, it’s 88-years new!  Oh how this tub makes my heart full!  And proving Garrett wrong was just an added bonus. 

Seattle Bathtub Guys charged me $395 + tax.  I didn’t shop around so don’t know how this price compares, but I was really happy with the end product.  Sure, I probably could have bought a new tub for the same price – well at least half a tub – but that’s just one of those things about an old house.  Sometimes you have to pay the cat-embalmer.  Or something like that. Anyway, why rip out a perfectly good tub that’s proven itself worthy and beautiful for 88 years, when you can just get it refinished.

So a few things you should know about refinishing an old tub:

  1. The guys at Seattle Bathtub Guys are great!
  2. Remove all your loose items from the bathroom (scales, lotions, shower curtain, etc) or else they will before covering the room with a tarp.
  3. You’ll want to leave the house while they’re working.  Probably somewhere around 4 hours – at least that’s how long it took Nic.
  4. It takes 12 hours for the finish to dry.  That meant no showers at night.  And bathtime was in the kitchen sink for Wilder.

Wilder in the Sink 2

He didn’t seem to mind.

So you’re probably thinking about maintenance.  Good for you!  Always thinking one step ahead.  Well here are a few tips for cleaning and extending the life of the refinish:

  1. Clean regularly with a non-abrasive product such as Scrubbing Bubbles.  What’s regularly?  I say when it looks dirty or at least monthly.  Avoid products with a lot of bleach as it will discolor the finish.  And make sure to rinse tub thoroughly after using any cleaning product.
  2. Standing or dripping water will damage the finish.  So keep your beau busy on Saturdays by repairing any drips or drain clogs.
  3. Don’t use anything with suction such as toys or non-slip pads that could pull up the finish.  It took Wilder a good week of bathing in the newly-refinished tub before he stopped slipping, so make sure to keep a hand on your kid until they get used to it.
  4. Don’t store anything on the ledge of the tub like shampoo containers or a rubber ducky.  Water will get trapped below the container and eat away at the finish.
  5. Never bathe dogs in the tub (sorry Bubba) as they can scratch the finish.
  6. The Seattle Tub Guys recommended liquid car wax to keep the refinish looking fresh.  I haven’t tried it yet, but you can apply it as soon as 7 days after refinishing.  To avoid slipping in the tub, do not put wax on the bottom of the tub or anywhere you stand!

So that’s it.  All I know about refinishing a tub.  So little effort for such a beautiful product.  And goodness, it’s satisfying to hire things out.  Oddly, oddly satisfying.

Bathroom Antique Tub After Refinish


p.s. We still haven’t found a good cover for that pesky shower window (yup, it’s till on the punch list).  I love the natural light that it let’s in but would love a little more privacy (a steamy window just doesn’t feel like a permanent solution).  Any ideas?

p.p.s. This had me salivating.  These guys have me impressed (cause I’m pretty sure traveling anywhere with a toddler is impressive…but especially Paris).  Jo has me excited  to see her new place in Brooklyn (finger’s crossed that Emily decorates again).  And this mood board has me even more excited for summer in the great Northwest.

p.p.p.s. It feels like Garrett and I were fully inducted into parenthood last weekend when we sped Wilder to the ER.  Everyone’s fine, but I’m hoping we don’t have to repeat that one anytime soon…actually, ever.


Another Day at the Office


We don’t have a home office at the Ravenna House.  Frankly there’s just not room for that in 1400sf.  Especially since we actually use our guest bedroom for guests – and on a weekly basis.  So our “office” consists of a MacBook Air and wherever my tush finds a spot.

9 times out of 10, that’s at the kitchen bench:

Small Home Office 2

Our little non-office is cozy, but has everything we need.  In fact, our we-don’t-have-a-home-office situation really works for me.  This is why:

  1. I like to be wherever I can catch the most daylight.  Usually that’s in the kitchen, but sometimes it’s on my bed or on the front stoop.
  2. I like to work whenever and wherever I have a moment’s peace and free arms to get work done.  Isn’t that the cardinal rule of mama-hood?
  3. I don’t want to work in the long-forgotten armpit of the house.  You know what I’m talking about: the leftover nook at the end of the hall or on the dark side of the basement that homeowners ask, “what in the hell will we use this space for?” and some well-meaning friend invariably answers, “make it into a home office”.  Yeah, well I don’t want to work in that space.  I just don’t.  It’s not inspiring, encouraging, or anything else that makes you want to actually work.
  4. It’s really convenient to work right next to the dishwasher.  You clean up breakfast, load the dishwasher, and then sit down and work.  No need to walk in another room.  And say you get thirsty.  Well you just hop on up and pour yourself a glass of water or whatever you’ve got in the fridge.  Very convenient.  Or lazy.  Same diff.
  5. Wilder can play wherever he wants – the living room, the kitchen, his bedroom – and I can get a quick work session in.  Okay, so I might get interrupted every 3 seconds and do more playing then working, but at least I get to be with my babe and occasionally get something done.

Small Home Office with Baby 3

Obviously I like our set up.  But admittedly, I don’t work from home.  I have a job in an office with a desk and the whole shebang (three days a week, anyway).  If I did work from home, I image a little spot at the counter wouldn’t do.  It’s perfect for blogging, photos, surfing the web, and dealing with our houses, but probably not much more then that.

And let me confess that I would totally have a killer home office if I had the room for it and an inspiring place to put it.  Maybe, just maybe, someday I will…  But for now, my little house in Seattle does just fine.


p.s. Okay, so regarding to my future home office, I’d take any of these.

p.p.s.  And speaking of work.  Do you like your job?

p.p.p.s. You can totally call me a lame-o.  I promised you guys a followup on the basement paint (and masking) this week.  And nothing.  Well between the Chicago trip and getting ready for Wilder’s birthday party, I haven’t gotten any good photos taken.  But it will happen soon.  I promise.  So take it back – I’m not a lame-o!

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