Dexter House Kitchen // 'Before and Afters' + a video


In January, we shared the “100% reveal” of the Dexter House kitchen after finally tackling our 3-year-old punch list and some maintenance. And today I wanted to take a step back and share more of the home’s story, a video, and lots of ‘before and afters’. Because who doesn’t love a good ‘before and after?! I think they might just by my favorite part of a renovation! 😉

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After Sink.jpg

Lots of our ‘before’ photos were actually taken during demo. I wish I had gotten more true ‘befores’ but I guess I was a bad blogger back then 😉 Hopefully you can still get a good feel for the changes we made to the space.

a video transformation

Garrett put together a 3-minute video that shows the transformation of this kitchen. If you’re into these videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel (pretty please!) to catch videos early. Garrett usually drops them a few days (or weeks) before I get them up on the blog.

a short sale and squatters

The Dexter House sat vacant for the better part of a year while it was on the market and then during our long closing period. The previous owner had two mortgages on the property, totaling somewhere around $250k above what the house was listed for. So it was a short sale. This was back in 2014 and home prices in Seattle were still significantly below their pre-recession heights.

If you’ve never bought a short sale, let me save you the trouble. They are a pain in the ass! The closing process took us around 6 months and I just wrote an entire post bout what a frustrating and lengthy process it was on Monday. Quite honestly, we didn’t know what we were in for. And when our realtor finally handed us the keys all those months later, we were equal parts surprised (that it actually happened) and relieved (that it was over).

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After Range.jpg

The Dexter House is close to downtown Seattle and a few squatters had settled in during the extended vacancy. Looking back, they were relatively respectful squatters, but squatters nonetheless. And the house was left in ‘fine’ shape, but felt dirty and tired when we finally took possession.

first, we renovated

We didn’t move into the Dexter House for a few months after closing. First, we renovated. The kitchen saw the bulk of the action, and our work was as much about ‘adding to’ the space as it was about ‘subtracting from’ it. You can read more about the project HERE. In the end, we made this kitchen smaller, but much more functional.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After Fridge.jpg


We closed on the Dexter House in 2015 and welcomed our second son a couple of weeks after completing the renovation. It was actually quite the race to the finish because we were planning a home birth, and I wasn’t about to have that baby until the countertops were installed. Ha!

But really, I’ll never forget welcoming our midwives to the Dexter House for our 36-week “home visit”. We sat on boxes and stared around at the sheets of plastic hanging about everywhere (in preparation for paint). Goodness, the look on their faces! Thankfully they were good sports and we promised to have house ready for the baby’s arrival. Garrett made good on that, and I had Brooks 9 days after his due date.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After Corner.jpg

living at Dexter

We ended up living at Dexter for a year. We have a lot of fond memories of this property and all the walking/running/bussing/adventuring we did around it with the kids. This was definitely the most urban home we have ever lived in, and one of our all-time favorites. Thankfully we get to visit frequently since it’s now an Airbnb.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Before and After All 2.jpg


You can find all kitchen sources here.