The Bryant House Kitchen: Before and After


I want to take you guys back…wayyyyy back…to 2012.  Back before Wilder was more than a little bean in my belly and we were just embarking on the renovation of our second old house. I’ve told you about the Bryant House before – how we moved into it on a whim and how leaving it was really sentimental for me – and now I want to show you one room in more detail: the kitchen.

The Grit and Polish - White and Bright Kitchen Renovation at the Bryant house.jpg

Back when we bought the Bryant house in November of 2012, the kitchen was dark, closed off, and inefficient.  Since we had earmarked the house as a rental, I had no intention of spending the money on a remodel.  So this is what the room looked like when we moved in January of 2013:

Original Kitchen PhotoOriginal Dining Photo

Not awful, but it sure wasn’t great (as you can tell from my disappointed expression).

Once we lived in the house for a couple of months we realized the closed-off space just didn’t work for us.  So the kitchen had to go.  We had the foresight to wait until I was really pregnant to tackle this renovation, which meant I sat out of the demo and all the heavy lifting – not a bad deal for me.

We gutted all but a small bank of original cabinets, removed the wall that closed off the dining space, and sold all the appliances on Craigslist. We added two sliding doors to capture the light and the territorial views.  Then we began putting the kitchen together – cabinets, backsplash, plumbing, electrical, appliances, and so on.  Once again, we did all the work ourselves.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant House White Kitchen Renovaiton.jpgthe Grit and Polish - kitchen renovation with stainless steel cart.jpgThe Grit and Polish  Bryant House Kitchen Renovation with Subway Backsplash Floor to Ceiling.jpgthe Grit and Polish - White kitchen renovation with classic hardware.jpgThe Grit and Polish - Original 1926 Cabinets with New Clamshell Pulls.jpg.jpgthe Grit and Polish - kitchen renovation with apron front sink and industrial faucet.jpg

These subway tile backsplash was a lot easier to install than the Ravenna Houses’s marble herringbone backsplash.  Mostly because they came on 12″x12″ sheets and didn’t require any diagonal cuts.

The Bryant House’s kitchen has new, custom cabinets with the exception of the the original bank of drawers and glass uppers that were in good enough shape to keep.  We selected maple butcher block countertops because it’s classic-looking, easy to DIY, and Uncle Dougie hooked us up with a good deal.  To keep the traditional look going, I used Martha Stewart hardware (here and here).

For the dining nook, we built in a storage bench with a cushioned top to maximize seating.  There was originally a cabinet over the bench, but we removed it to make space for open shelves.  The dining nook has windows or doors on three sides, making it the brightest spot in the house.

The Grit and Polish  Kitchen Renovation with 2 Sliding New Doors.jpgthe Grit and Polish - kitchen renovation with built-in dining nook featuring West Elm lighting.jpgThe Grit and Polish  Cozy Dining Nook with Pillows and West Elm Light.jpg

That chandelier is from West Elm – I have a thing for their lighting!  All the furniture is vintage except the armless chairs from Restoration Hardware Outlet.  The stainless steel cart can be found here and the industrial faucet here.

The Bryant House’s kitchen is probably my favorite renovation we’ve ever done, especially the dining nook.  It’s the brightest, coziest spot to relax in the morning with a cup of coffee or in the evening with a roudy crew for beer.  And I have a real sentimental attachment to this space since I spent so much time here with Wilder when he was just a wee-guy.  Oh I miss that kitchen.

What do you guys think?  Love it, hate it, over it…?  I’d love to hear 🙂


p.s. I’m pretty obsessed with adaptive reuse and this army-administration-building-turned-home is a perfect example!  Bonus: it’s for sale!

p.p.s. What eating ice cream for the first time looks like.

p.p.p.s. We’ve been working on our backyard remodel at the Ravenna House.  I’m dreaming that our space turns out something like these…any one of them!


Ravenna Marble Kitchen: Before and After


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

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


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


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

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


And after we started to put it back together:


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

So let’s jump to the final product:

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

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

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

Kitchen Open Shelves on Marble Backsplash

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

Kitchen Window ViewKitchen Details CollageKitchen Cabinet Hardware

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

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

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

Wilder at Bench Collage

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

Kitchen - Wilder and his stickers on his bench

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

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


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

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

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