The Dexter House Kitchen Renovation

Hi there, it’s Cathy from the Grit and Polish and Sarah invited me to share our most recent kitchen renovation with you guys. (Sarah featured our last kitchen renovation here.)

My husband and I have been fixing up old houses in Seattle for 8 years now and our most recent project, a 1905 Spanish-style fixer was in rough shape when we bought it last year.  Every room needed updating, but none more than the kitchen.  It had a horrendous layout, black mold, and no room for a dishwasher, which added up to one thing: a complete gut job.  And that was a-okay with this renovation-loving gal.  Kitchens are my favorite!


Here we go!

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel - Before

We started demoing the kitchen the minute we closed on the house.  At first, we tried to save all of the original cabinets (because I like to make my husband’s life harder then it has to be ;) ), but it quickly became apparent that most of the cabinets had to go, with the exception of a floor-to-ceiling pie safe and one upper.  Yes you read that right, this house came with a built-in pie safe!

The Grit and Polish - kitchen demo complete The Grit and Polish - Kitchen Cabinet demo 2 The Grit and Polish - Kitchen Demo

As strange as this may seem, the floor plan I put together included removing square footage from the kitchen in order to improve the workflow of the space.  I know, I know, it sounds crazy, but hear me out.  As I mentioned, the layout was horrendous.  There were four doorways into the kitchen, which left no wall space for cabinets or modern appliances.  To remedy that, we walled off the doorway to the hallway, a small closet, and the 36sf attached breakfast nook (don’t worry, that breakfast nook was put to good work as a master bathroom…!).  This gave us the wall space necessary to bring in more cabinets and create an efficient workflow.  Oh, and did I mention that even while closing off doorways, we were able to expand the opening between the kitchen and dining room to create a more open floor plan. Pretty awesome for an old house!

After all that rearranging and dust filled demo, we began building the kitchen back step by step.  The ‘after’ pictures are below but for those of you interested in the nitty gritty, here’s what our renovation process was like: first we framed-in the old entrances to the hallway and dining nook, enlarged the opening to the dining room, exposed the brick chimney, laid a new hardwood floor, roughed in electrical and plumbing, had the floors refinished, cut in skylights, drywalled and installed cabinets, vented the hood, tiled the backsplash, added butcher block countertops, installed the sink and faucets, painted everything, brought gas service to the house and then to the range, removed the door to the mudroom, added lights, brought the appliances in, built a dishwasher panel, hung the open shelves, and installed the cabinet hardware.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Renovation Progress Collage SM

Phew! That was a lot of work.  We finished the project at the end of September, which happened to be about a week before our second son was due. Good thing, because moving with a new born is no fun!

Here’s what our efficient 10′ x 11′ kitchen looks like today:

The Grit and Polish - Dexter KitchenThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel north

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel south

I usually take a white-is-better approach to kitchens (like at our previous remodels, the Bryant House and the Ravenna House), but this time around I wanted to do something different.  After hours spent scouring Pinterest, I settled on a ‘tuxedo’ design plan that called for black lower cabinets, wood countertops, white upper cabinets, open shelves, and chrome hardware.  I wanted the kitchen to feel welcoming and approachable without taking away from the 1905 architecture of the house.

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Renovaiton Open ShelvesThe Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen After

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen Remodel mudroom

The Grit and Polish - Dexter Kitchen After Backsplash

I hope you guys enjoyed our kitchen renovation as much as I do.  I’ll tell you what, renovating old houses is a dusty job, but I’m really glad we get to do it!

Here’s a recap of all the Dexter kitchen posts in case you’re interested… Cost and Resourcesthe Reveal the Renovation Process Recap | Campaign hardware | Butcher Block Countertops | Tuxedo Kitchen Progress | Cement Tile Backsplash | Tuxedo kitchen plan | Drywall and Cabinets | Rough In | Dexter Kitchen Plan | Framing and Final Demo | and all about the Mudroom


(Visited 933 time, 1 visit today)

6 comments on “The Dexter House Kitchen Renovation

  1. There are so many things to love about this kitchen: that awesome sink, the water faucet over the stove and the open mudroom. The old fashioned drawer pulls on the black lower cabinets are perfect. Also the open shelving – I hate upper cabinets where everything gets shoved to the back and lost forever. It is obvious you really know what you are doing.
    Maralyn Woods recently posted…The Dexter House Kitchen RenovationMy Profile

  2. That was such a wonderful transformation. The kitchen is my favorite place and seeing something so cute like the final reno that you have shared makes me want to live in there :) That was some really nice work done there. Thanks for sharing this great inspiration.


  3. Hi Sarah

    Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful post!

    Love this transformation. What a fabulous difference the cabinet make. Such a nice change from what I’ve been seeing out there but still functional. My husband and I was thinking to remodel our old kitchen and for this we have decided to hire a professional remodeling contractor to sort things out in an easy way.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge