Hi there, I’m Cathy the old-house-loving, renovation-crazed blogger behind The Grit and Polish. Nice to meet ya.
My husband and I are serial renovators living the dusty life in Seattle with our dog Bubba, and son Wilder. We’re just wrapping up our third full-house renovation (…if you can ever really be finished with an old house?), a 1926 tudor, which had no heat and a rat colony in the attic when we bought it last year. It’s been a busy 12 months, but there are no more rats. And this giant fixer – we call her ‘The Ravenna House’ – is now our little family’s home.
Sarah was nice enough to lend me her blog for the day so I could share our down-to-the-studs kitchen remodel with you guys. So let’s get to it…the heart of the home. The space where everything happens. The room my husband cooks in a whole lot more than I do. Our kitchen.
When we bought the house last October, this is what the space looked like:
And here’s what was lurking just behind the wall on the left side of the above photo:
The original kitchen space was tiny. The cabinet layout couldn’t actually fit a fridge and a dishwasher – two things we weren’t willing to live without. At least my husband wasn’t. I could probably live without my left foot as long as the rest of my body was in an old house.
But in the name of domestic felicity, the cabinets had to go. I cried. And then I l got over it.
I found a carpenter on Craigslist and had him build us cabinets that could pass as original. Next we enlarged the kitchen footprint by knocking out two walls and expanding into the dining nook. We feathered in oak floors to match the existing, redid all the plumbing and electrical, tiled the backsplash, installed new appliances, laid a tongue-and-grove ceiling, had the floors refinished, upholstered a bench, installed new lighting, and painted. Whew! That was a lot of work. And a really long sentence.
We did all of the work ourselves except the plumbing, countertops, and refinishing the hardwoods. And it took us the better part of six months. But it was all worth it. This is what the kitchen looks like now:
I get a lot of comments on that marble herringbone backsplash, and I’ll tell you what, it was a real pain to install. It took my husband and I two solid days just to lay the thing. Every tile around the cabinets and windows was custom cut and often took two tries. The whole process was painfully slow. So much so, that for our next kitchen, I’m sticking with a classic subway. On mats. Mark my words. Actually don’t, I’ll probably change my mind. Tiling is just like labor – the memories of pain fade. One day you think you can never go through it again and a little while later you think “well why wouldn’t I tile another backsplash from floor to ceiling?”
Our kitchen is by no means big – at least not by today’s standard’s – but it’s enough for our little family. And that’s saying something when you have the most active dog in the world and a 15-month-old son nicknamed ‘the Tornado’.
Thanks for hanging out with me today! I hope you liked this little peak into our house (you did…right?!).