Subscribe to our Shop TEOT newsletter
Subscribe to receive TEOT blog posts via email
Email Address

Grout Cottage

Grout Cottage: Checking in Upstairs

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

While Apartment A (downstairs) of the Grout Cottage is getting the finishing touches, Apartment B (upstairs) is getting new frame work and a new layout.

It doesn’t look like much now but this is the current state of Apartment B after demo is complete and re-framing is well underway,

grout cathedralThis is what the living area looks like now,

Grout Living Room BThe future site of the bathroom and kitchen,

Grout Kitchen B

And those bedrooms now have real closets with average size doors.

Grout closet frame BSo we’re getting there, you have to get through the important structural stuff to get to the fun stuff.


Grout Cottage: A Kitchen Plan

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

Beginning at the early stages of planning the kitchen for the Grout Cottage project I knew I wanted to do gray lower cabinets and white upper cabinets. These were the images I often referenced.

grout dove grey cabs

grout grey island2grout grey cabinets

grout grey island

But before those finish decisions are made I needed to layout the kitchen and with the help of my cabinet maker, Quality Cabinet Company we got it done.

BP Grout kitchen plan

I tried to turn the corner with the cabinets and build the fridge in next to the window but we just couldn’t make it work. This was the kitchen in Apartment A after it was all primed.

Grout kitchen corner

Although we have a small pantry, we were really only working with the back wall of cabinets.  The appliances and a double sink took up most of the counter space there so we needed an island for both counter space and additional cabinet and drawer storage. We needed a functional island and I think we got just that. I doodled those goofy bin pulls on there. The end caps and the other side of the island have shaker panels much like the dark grey island in the inspirational photo above.

BP grout island

Of course I would love to do a quartz countertop that mimics carrera marble but this is an apartment and I needed to remain mindful of costs. First, I priced out granite tiles with custom bullnose at my local tile showroom and found that by the time I paid for the material and labor I was pretty close to a solid surface granite. So I opted for Level 1 granite, a nice River White slab.

grout river white

Initially I had my heart set on a brick floor in a herringbone pattern. I priced out the thin brick pavers for indoor application and it wasn’t outlandish but again adding the labor in was outside of the budget so I decided on some affordable 12×12 tiles in a neutral cream hue from Lowe’s with light grey grout to pick up the grey lower cabinets. For a bit of interest I asked the installer to lay the tiles in a brick pattern so it doesn’t look so much like a 12×12 grid. I always make a point to use TEC Power Grout especially in apartments/rentals because it’s stain resistant and you don’t have to seal the grout, trying to keep the grout looking fresher longer.

grout brick floor

grout brick wheat

I really like Pottery Barn’s classic pendant collection and I like the price point and I thought it would be fitting to use the Edison bulb because of the age of the house. I wanted a bit of an industrial look and for a while I bounced back and forth between the white shade and a silver shade but finally purchased two of the Easton pendants to mount over the island. I chose the bronze cord as shown in the picture for some contrast in the white kitchen.

grout pb pendant

Because its a rental we can’t exactly install a Rohl bridge faucet so I opted for something a little unique, the Portland faucet at a great price from Overstock. Rounding out the details are classic bin pulls and knobs from Lowe’s and stainless appliances.

In the kitchen window above the sink was some stained glass in a 1980s replacement window that may or may not have been original to the house. Whether or not it was original it had been there with the house for many years so we decided to preserve it. After some discussion about creative ways to mount it to look as if it was part of the window, we decided the best/easiest thing to do was to re-frame it and suspend it in front of the top half of the window on a small chain.

grout stained glass

Stay tuned…the painters are there today doing their final touch up. The downstairs apartment is about a week away from being photo ready.



Grout Cottage: Apartment B

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex that we began remodeling in December 2012. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

Good Friday Morning and welcome to Apartment B. It’s the upstairs apartment at the Grout Cottage.

grout b entry

Let’s hope the stairs can get us safely to the front door.

grout b stairs

We started tearing the place out this week. I got to it with my camera after the crew had already removed the mounds of personal belongings left behind by the previous tenant.

grout b door

The whole place is clad in beadboard, walls and ceilings. There are angles everywhere.

grout b kitchen

Charming kitchen with open shelving

grout b kitchen2

that little shelf below is mounted on a chase that used to house one of the chimneys, you may remember that we have already removed all three chimneys. We had to remove the chimneys that ran from the downstairs all the way up while someone was still living upstairs. Joseph (lead carpenter extraordinaire) was just pleased as punch when they had to remove those chimneys inside a box all while containing the soot. He loves hates me.

grout b chimney

The living room is a good size and cozy but not in a bad way. It needs to be opened to the kitchen and I’m planning on making that happen.

grout b living room

That 1970s firebox is gone now.

grout b living room2

Largest bedroom in the front of the apartment. This was a first for me–the window on the right is actually a pocket window. An antique drive thru window, it actually slides open in to a cavity in the wall. There is one in each bedroom.

grout b bedroom

Closets will be expanded and doors will become standard height

grout b bedroom2

The tear out had already started in the 2nd bedroom, look at those angles.

grout b bedroom3

close up of our sliding window

grout b sliding window

I really saved the best for last–the bathroom. I did not substitute part of the set from the new Evil Dead movie, this is the real bathroom. I tried to turn the light on but it didn’t work.

grout b bath


grout b bath2

The new and improved layout of this apartment will be more of a challenge than the downstairs. We’ll have to be creative but first we meet with the plumber to find out what can be moved if anything.


Grout Cottage: Bathroom Choices

Look what came in the mail, snowflake tile for the Grout Cottage.
I ordered this because I’m about to do this,
snowflake tile MG + BW
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams house in NC
snowflake tile
only in a bathroom sort of way with a painted vanity.
Right now I’ve got my eye on Benjamin Moore’s Stratton Blue or Brewster Gray. They look totally different in the actual bathroom of the Grout Cottage but you get the idea.
stratton blue
brewster gray
images via Pinterest

Grout Cottage: Overhangs & Such

To reviewthe Grout Cottage is a Queen Anne built in 1895. It is a duplex and we are presently remodeling the ground floor apartment. Here’s the introduction post to the house.

The rooms have taken shape, all the sheetrock has been hung and mud applied and sanded. We’re ready for the big trim out.

I spent about an hour + talking about the right overhang for the back door. I should’ve taken some pictures of my carpenter Joseph putting head in hands. I know he loves the special kind of torture that I put him through.

Here is the back door. I know it still looks very sad but don’t worry it will get better. The deeper yellow patch to the left of the door is all new wood lap siding!

grout cottage back door

Going in to the conversation about the overhang, I did the crew the great service of narrowing it down to two different designs.

The first overhang option,

copper overhang


And the second option,

A frame overhang

There were some impediments which made the decision difficult including the placement of my exterior lighting choice (sconce), the highest possible point for the pitch of the overhang and the siding.

In the end we collectively decided that the 2nd option, the a-frame would be best. It echoes the shape of the gables, its not too fancy (it’s the back door) and it can accompany my exterior sconce next to the door.

Check out the Grout Cottage inspiration board on Pinterest!


Grout Cottage: Bathroom Design

The crew began hanging sheetrock at the Grout Cottage late last week, rooms are beginning to form again. I’ve been making some decisions and dragging my feet on making a lot more.

I’ve been working on some choices for the one bathroom in the apartment. Here’s where my inspiration comes from,

grey bath vanity


green bath


black & white bath


flower tile

I’d like to use a flower tile like the bath pictured above but I worry that its too feminine. Overstock has a good one and regular deals if you’re in the O club.

flower tile overstock

If I decide that the flower tile is too gender specific then I might go with something like this,

hex floor tile

I’ve been thinking about a Benjamin Moore color Kentucky Haze since I saw it on a vanity a while back. Not sure if I want to paint the vanity or the wall this color or something entirely different.

kentucky haze