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The Lighthouse: Kitchen


If you’ve been following along with our journey from San Diego to Seattle here on the blog or on Instagram, you know we’ve been having quite an adventure and have purchased our first home that West affectionately dubbed The Lighthouse.

We passed on okay house after okay house and then were introduced to and purchased the ugliest and most dilapidated house we saw – part visionary, part crazy. We bid farewell to our gypsy existence and moved our 3 children and puppy in with some sleeping bags and a suitcase on the concrete basement floor.

We knew the place needed a massive facelift. “It’s all cosmetic,” the inspector said over and over and over again as he puzzled his way through the hot mess that was this house. So we dove in.

He was so, so, so wrong.

We’re doing the whole house at once, (and doing it all ourselves – DIY style – on a very humble budget) but I’m going to break it down by room for simplicity. We begin our story with the kitchen.

The kitchen cabinetry had been half demo’d and the kitchen then hacked back together to be habitable. So we knew we would be removing the cabinetry and lighting, taking down the piece meal paneling and putting up drywall, and then installing new cabinetry and fixtures.


Demo day was fun for all and a supreme workout. I felt like a mix of She-Ra and Hulk. It was pretty much every kid’s dream. The day after we moved in, a big storm knocked the power out so headlamps on, and the demo continued. Harvesting parts for future creative creations was a big bonus for this master builder.


So. much. demo. It continued around the corner.


There was a kitchen the day prior. Then I showed up with my guns and this was all that remained (okay, Joshua may have helped too).


Then we start to realize the extend of the work that is actually needed. All new plumbing. All new electrical. We did have to call in a couple professionals to help us out with the hardest parts.

Did I mention the wasp nest behind the kitchen wall?

I have to say, this whole experience has provided an unschooling treasure trove. So much new real life experience and valuable learning!


It was stressful for sure. There were some dark times (figuratively and literally, and times with no heat, no hot water . . . ). We weren’t even sure we would end up with something livable. The fact that the level of renovation was not anticipated was a big part of it. But I have to say, our sense of humor and strong bond saw us through. I sure do love my people. I’ve read elsewhere that home renovation is a marriage killer but it only brought us closer. We weren’t fighting through it. We were laughing and hugging through it.

And now, look what we have made for the heart of our home.


New electrical, new plumbing, new insulation, new walls, new paint, new molding, new lights from West Elm and Lowe’s, new cabinetry from Ikea, new appliances, new quartz countertops, new backsplash from Wayfair, new open shelving from World Market, new under mount sink, new faucet, new fixtures and hardware, new subfloor, new driftwood flooring (we had some great help with that), new baseboards. In other words, new everything – Joshua and I tore it down and we built it up – the entire house in about 10 weeks, while living here, and working, with 3 homeschooled kids. We knew nothing about anything beforehand so it has been quite a learning and bonding experience that is now so rewarding. Thanks to my PhD from HGTV and his from YouTube.


Open shelving from World Market, snowball garland (it’s the holiday season) from Target, glass mosaic hexagon tile from Wayfair installed with organic edge and sterling gray grout, gray symphony quartz – swoon.

I know most people put dishes on their open shelving but we have so much storage in our island (where the children can easily reach and is easily accessible from the dining room or kitchen) so I went to my pantry for shelf decor. Our smoothie and juicing ingredients like shredded coconut, slivered almonds, wheat grass, hemp, chia along with regular things like salts and sugars look and function so well in some simple mason jars – I use them everyday.

We worked our tails off and were able to finish the kitchen in time for Christmas! It was our best Christmas yet, cooking in the kitchen we built, in our home, overlooking Puget Sound and the snowy mountains. Sigh. Love.

Next up, the rest of the great room (dining, living, and entry).



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I work from an island in the Pacific Northwest, where I live wild and free in connection with my hilarious husband and three growing sailors in our fixer upper on the beach. I authentically live this healing work out loud raising my own neurodivergent family (inner child included) and draw on my decades of education and experience (I've done all the nerdy work so you don't have to) to guide a revolution of overwhelmed parents just like you to feeling at peace within yourself, consciously connected with your children, embraced by a supportive community, and enjoying a values-aligned life you love.

Gentle parenting, natural homeschooling, & simple living mentor

I'm Rachel Rainbolt

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