The Best of 2016 on the Grit and Polish

Happy New Year!  To say that we're excited for 2017 around here is a complete understatement, but before we dig into the new year, I wanted to look back at 2016.  Last year was a big year for my family.  There were big changes and fun renovations and lots time spent together as a family. In no particular order, here are 8 highlights from 2016 on the Grit and Polish:

ONE // The Dexter Kitchen Renovation

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen

The kitchen at the Dexter House is one of my all-time favorite renovations.  We completely transformed a small, awful kitchen into a functional, welcoming space.  And after creating quite a few white kitchens in the past years (like this one and this one), I was happy to make a space that was less precious and a whole lot darker.  I shared the project in three posts at the beginning of the year (construction, reveal, and cost and resources).

TWO // Buying our Forever Home (aka the Farmhouse)

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse 1 7-14-16

This summer we bought our 5th home, an old farmhouse in the country (in Garrett and my hometown of Ellensburg, WA), which we intend to be our forever home.  If you've followed the Grit and Polish for long, you know that in the past we've bought run-down properties, moved in, renovated them, and then rented them out.  We've actually moved so often that my 3-year-old has already had four homes.  So our forever farmhouse is a very welcome change of pace.  Of course we still intend to renovate old houses and rent or sell them, but we'll no longer move into them.  You can read more about the farmhouse introduction, purchase, and tour (part 1, 2, and 3).

THREE // Early *Retirement*


photo by Ryan Flynn

I can't talk about our move to the farmhouse without mentioning the other big change that took place this year: quitting my 9-5 job and making our living as full-time landlords and renovators.  We call it early retirement, but of course, it's anything but.  We're as busy as ever with renters and old houses but now we're on our own schedule, spending time as a family, doing projects that matter to us, and cooking and hiking as much as possible.  You can read all about our path to early *retirement* here.

FOUR // The 6-Day Kitchen Reno


It's no secret that kitchens are my favorite projects, but the Six-Day Kitchen Reno, was extra special because the renovation took place at our friends Julia and Garrett's house.  Somehow with four kids onsite, no baby sitters, and only seven very long days, the four of us completely transformed their dated, inefficient kitchen, into a beautiful, bright space, which they love (and so do we!). I shared all about this quick transformation in September: design plan, construction (aka how the heck we renovated this room in only a week), reveal, and resources.

FIVE // Completing the One Room Challenge (our Master Bedroom)


This past Fall was my first time taking part in the One Room Challenge, a 6-week makeover challenge for home and design bloggers.  We chose to tackle our master bedroom, and the transformation was huge.  You can read more about it here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, and the Reveal.

SIX // Dexter House Guest Bedroom

The Grit and Polish - Guest Bedroom 4 copy

My other favorite bedroom makeover of 2016 was our tiny, Dexter House guest bedroom.  With only one small north-facing window and 77sf to call it's own, I decided to make this room even cozier by painting it black.  I've never painted anything this dark, so it was a nerve-racking choice, but I'm in love with how it turned out. You can see more of the finished room here, plus the plan, finding a bed frame on Craiglist, and paint.

SEVEN // Learning to wallpaper

The Grit and Polish - Farmhouse Nursery Wallpaper 1.2

One of the first projects we tackled after moving into our farmhouse was wallpapering the nursery closet, which we use as Brooks' crib nook.  This was our first time wallpapering and I loved learning a new renovation skill.  The wallpaper is adorable and this little space is now one of my favorite spaces in the house!  You can see more here.

EIGHT // Dexter Backyard

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Backyard Enter

The Dexter House became a short-term Airbnb rental after we moved out in July and the space we get the most guest comments about is the backyard.  This small space is a true oasis from the busy city (the Dexter House is in a busy neighborhood and only a mile from downtown Seattle) and despite having 3 acres at the farmhouse, I find myself missing the coziness of this space.  I admit that the Dexter backyard renovation was not a popular series on the blog, but it was definitely one of Garrett and my favorite projects of 2016!  You can see more of this space here plus the patio door, the beginning, and a sneak peak.

That wraps up my look back at 2016.  I'd love to hear from you.  Did I capture your favorite posts and/or projects?  Did I highlight any projects that you just didn't like?

Hope you all had a great 2016 and are looking forward to 2017 as much as I am!



p.s. Did you catch Studio McGee's trends for 2017.  I'm on board with all of them, especially natural wood.  Okay, so natural wood is an eternal trend for me, but I'm excited to see more of it in the coming years!

p.p.s. Despite being a new build, Melissa's (aka Faux Martha) home is one I really love.  The airiness of the interior, minimalist decor, and classic exterior are truly lovely.  Plus her office is definitely going to be an inspiration when we tackle our own.  Those green walls!

p.p.p.s. A plug for exercising just in time for those New Years resolution.  It's almost like, how can we afford not to exercise?!