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Grout Cottage

Grout Cottage: Interior Paint Colors

Grout Interior PaintI stayed relatively neutral with all of my choices because it’s not my living space– it was made to be attractive to all sorts of prospective tenants. I got to try out some new grays, Classic Gray and Moonshine. I especially loved Moonshine. Simply White is my new go to trim color and Woodlawn Blue was great for the bath in Apartment B. If you’re looking for a “greige” I’d test Classic Gray. If you’re curious about which colors went where, they will all be labeled on the posts about the individual rooms.


Grout Cottage: Apt B Bath & Bedrooms

Grout AptB Day 2 Head

This is the bathroom in Apartment B before the demo and expansion. It leaves umm…much to be desired.

grout apt b bath before

This was in use and although a sight for sore eyes it was operational. The biggest changes to this bathroom were 1) the addition of a window and the gain of natural light and 2) the creation and installation of a custom storage cabinet with glass doors to fill an awkward nook.

grout apt b bath before2


grout apt b bath vanity


grout apt b bath light

The wall color in this bath is Benjamin Moore Woodlawn Blue, I’m 99% certain that this color would perform well any where.

bm woodlawn blue

The best place to install our towel bar was here,

grout apt b toilet

One of the best parts about this bathroom renovation was the addition of a custom cabinet to fill this nook next to the shower. We put a vintage styled latch on the glass doors not long after this photo was taken.

grout apt b cabinet

The bedrooms were a relatively easy fix. Once we knew where we were going to put the bathroom and we knew that the apartment would remain a two bedroom, we got to work carving out proper closets for each of the bedrooms. Some sheetrock, trim and new maple hardwood flooring and someone could rest easy in these equally sized bedrooms.

grout apt b bedroom1


grout apt b bedroom2


And that folks concludes our tour of the Grout Cottage. The house has two apartments and a complete exterior renovation so in case you missed everything prior to this post, go back to the beginning here. The whole project reveal can be found in the “Renovation Projects section at the top of our page.

If you want to read about the decisions and the design process when it was happening simply type in the word “Grout” in to our search block.

Tomorrow we’ll have the color palette up for the house.


Grout Cottage: Apartment B

Grout AptB Day 6 HeadThis was the only entrance to the upstairs dwelling, Apartment B.


Scary exterior stairwell on the side of the house,


There was already an existing porch up there but the stairwell was literally sitting next to the porch, it wobbled when you stepped on to the landing and then if you made it up the stairs of death you were met with a small porch that could’ve fallen through on any given day. The entire porch and the stairs were completely torn off and rebuilt.


When looking at any of the before images of Apartment B, keep in mind someone was living here not long before the demolition began.

grout B entry before

grout b entry after

It was fun to re-configure the living area, kitchen and bath in this space. We had the bath in a couple of different spots initially but ultimately kept it in the same place but enlarged it.

Grout Apartment B kitchen before

After the Indiana project was posted, some readers commented that they wanted to see the same before and after angles and of course you do. Whether it looks like it or not this is the same angle.

Grout Apartment B living kitchen after

There are parts of the renovation process that some times have to be pretty fluid. When we framed up the cathedral ceiling in the living area, the plan was to install exposed, decorative collar ties–which are basically horizontal beams connecting the cathedral ceiling. They stayed up during the entire framing process and then before sheetrock installation we opted to remove them and enjoy the unobstructed view of our new cathedral ceiling.

Grout Apt B collar ties


Grout Apt B collar ties2

A shot during floor installation,

grout b progress floor install

And after the walls were painted Benjamin Moore Moonshine,

grout b progress paint

Apartment B is smaller than Apartment A but for this space the kitchen lives pretty large. I was skeptical about the actual space in the kitchen we planned for but it actually turned out great and a bit generous. The over-sized bar that separates the kitchen from the living area is a trade-off for the lack of space for a dining table.




I tried hard here to maximize storage space in this kitchen and I think I accomplished that goal. Apartment B’s kitchen would give my kitchen a run for it’s money in the storage department (I have a small kitchen!)

grout apt b kitchen cabinet


Grout Apt B kitchen before


grout apt b kitchen after counter

We even squeezed in a washer and dryer in this apartment!

grout apt B W&D

Come check out the custom bath cabinet tomorrow when we take a look at the bedrooms and the bathroom.

If you missed the beginning of the Grout Cottage reveal, go back to Day 1.


Grout Cottage: Apt. A Bath

Grout AptA Day 5 HeadWe started with a shell of a bathroom. When I say shell I mean just framed walls with plywood because the previous owner had at some point demolished the entire bathroom and was in the beginning stages of putting it back in. The shell of a bathroom that we had to work with was not quite big enough so we widened it and gained a few more feet. I also added a window in the bathroom because I just don’t like bathrooms without windows–that really goes for any room, natural light is always a good thing.

Grout AptA Bath Before After

I had a little fun and tried out a vanity in a color other than white in this bath. I waffled for a while about doing a gray vanity or a camo green vanity but finally settled on blue. The vanity is Benjamin Moore’s Stratton Blue mixed in Pittsburgh Paint’s Breakthrough paint line.

stratton blue



Apt A bath vanity after


Grout AptA Bath Vanity detail

I also had been itching to try a patterned tile and a Victorian age home like this was the perfect opportunity. I loved the black and white floral patterns but didn’t want to make it too feminine so I used this starburst SomerTile from Overstock. Along with the blue vanity, the tile gives this small bathroom a little interest and character.

Apt A bath tile closeupAnd to finish it off, we used a standard fiberglass shower/tub surround because its a rental property but if this was a private residence we would certainly go with tiled shower surround.



Grout Cottage: Apt. A Hall & 2nd Bedroom

Grout AptA Day 4 Head

When we began this project, the hallway in this apartment was a dark corridor with some wood paneled closets and some dirty and old beadboard wainscoting. The hallway is worth mentioning and taking a gander at because it’s no longer a hallway straight out of a horror movie.

Peeling back some of the layers in the old hallway,

grout apt a old wall


Again we salvaged the little stained glass window that was existing to add some character in our revamped hall. But we enlarged the window and had it made to match with the dimensions of the stained glass window to make it appear as though it was all one window but in fact it’s two separate pieces trimmed together to look like one. We also salvaged all of the old doors but in order to make a custom door for our linen closet, the carpenter cut down one of the old paneled doors to create a slim door for the closet. We added some great schoolhouse flushmounts and bronze hardware and refinished those heart pine floors and things are looking up.

grout apt a hall after


The trim is painted a non-traditional satin finish, most would use semi-gloss. The satin still has a pretty sheen. All the trim throughout the apartment is Benjamin Moore Simply White.

grout apt a hall trim detail


grout Apt A hall linen closet

We leave the hall and move in to Bedroom Two in the apartment. Bedroom Two is the smaller of the two bedrooms but to compensate for less space we went bigger with the closet. We left the single window in it’s original spot and doubled the size of the tiny closet to make it a walk-in. Refinished the floors, new everything and you have Bedroom Two.

Before, always scary-

grout apt a bedroom 2 before

More door salvage happening in here, we matched up two equally sized doors existing in the house and made a set of double doors for our new expanded closet.

grout apt a bedroom 2 closet after


grout apt a bedroom 2 closet after2

Tomorrow we are headed in to the bath complete with blue vanity and retro snowflake tile.


Grout Cottage: Apt. A Kitchen & Laundry


Grout AptA Day 3 Head

I created a new appliance and cabinet layout, added an island, a small pantry and took the opportunity to work in the two-color cabinet paint scheme that everyone is so wild about complete with a Farrow & Ball gray hue, Lamp Room Gray.

Grout Kitchen Before-After


We began with a kitchen that the previous owner had started to re-work but it wasn’t something that I wanted to continue with. So I went my own way and I went in to designing this kitchen knowing that I wanted to try gray cabinets and I wanted to try the two-color scheme. This is the color plan that emerged,

Grout Kitchen Color

We left the windows in the position that they were originally in and salvaged the stain glass window that was there because it would later add a bit of character in our finished kitchen. We removed the last bit of a chimney that ran all the way up through Apartment B. The floor had to be reconstructed in several places in the kitchen and the walls finally got some necessary insulation. We removed some doors, added a pantry with a custom shaker style door, all new electrical and new plumbing, built a new laundry and mudroom area–you know just a few small things. Let’s take a look!


grout apt a kitchen after



grout apt a kitchen after2

Grout kitchen island detail


With the counter top I wanted a marble look but without the price tag of quartz or marble. I think we came pretty close with River White granite. The only thing I don’t love about River White slabs is the occasional burgundy spotting.




We had to rebuild and restructure the back of the house. We needed a laundry area and a rear entrance off the deck so we carved out some space off the kitchen for those spaces. I designed a built-in storage bench with a beadboard back to create a coat rack and a place to sit down to take your shoes off. Our carpenter expertly cut a flush handle out of the bench to open it up to reveal some cedar lined storage.

Grout laundry

Grout laundry bench detail

Grout laundry bench

The Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer were a great score on Craigslist, almost perfect condition!

Grout laundry

grout apt a kitchen after3