Our Guest Room Has New Floors! (Kind of)

Yesterday, Ben and I took on a project we are now very familiar with. We removed the carpet from our large guest room! The process took about two hours from start to finish. (I’ve thought about writing a post with instructions and tips for removing carpet, but it is so simple and there are already tons of resources out there. My only tips are to wear thick soled tennis shoes (in case you step on a staple), and to remove any and all carpet anywhere (show no mercy).

I’ve already written a “Before and After” about this guest room, but the only things we did then were paint and install a new light fixture. We bought the white Ikea bedding and yellow curtains specifically for this room, but everything else was randomly collected.

I knew I wanted to take the carpet out of this room, which led to more design dreaming about what this room¬†could look like. I had this vision in my head of a vintage bed and breakfast, but with modern flair. I didn’t know how to describe it well, but I could picture the vibe. Turns out, all we needed to do to achieve the modern b&b vibe was take out the carpet! The collection of vintage pieces in this room felt a little odd with the beige carpet and black wall. But now, the hardwood floors really tie the whole vintage vision together. I’m in love!

Here are some before photos and progress shots.



The hardwoods in this room are in the best condition of the three rooms we have uncovered. The living room and office are also in good “condition” but will need to be refinished because of the dark spots in the middle of each room. I was relieved to see that the guest room didn’t have a dark spot! There is a little variation in color throughout the room, but I love the added character that shows they’re original to the house! We’re planning to refinish the living room, office, and stairs in the summer because of the dark spots. We might also refinish this room down the road for the sake of future people in this house, but it really doesn’t look like it needs it.

Now for some photos of the room after I re-styled it!





(The Star Wars string art was a gift that Ben’s best friend, Tim, and Tim’s wife, Jenn, made for us!)

And now my favorite view…


I need to buy some hardwood cleaner to get the floors and trim looking cleaner and overall better, but they look incredible for only sweeping a few times!



I love how the vintage cane chair, Turkish kilim pillow, bird print, and shelf accessories are very vintage and muted. The black frame, sage shelf with clean lines, and white walls add the modern flair. The hardwood floors provide the combination vintage-yet-modern element that ties everything together.


I bought this chair last week at Goodwill for $5! I knew it needed a home on top of hardwood floors and in front of a white wall so the cane detail could be clearly seen. (Very specific, I know, but when I get an idea I try to make it happen!). I loved the way the vintage kilim pillow looked with the chair, and thought that the pair would look even better next to something that sage color. The next logical step was to paint something sage! I love how this shelf turned out. It used to be a cherry laminate with a frosted glass door on the bottom half. It was in Ben’s childhood room. We decided to take off the door and paint it sage (using paint I already had). I love the clean contrast it provides to the muted, natural tones of the cane chair and kilim pillow. This shelf is stocked with guest room goods, like extra blankets, a fan, and a box of “just in case” toiletries.

(There used to be a yellow armchair where the peach stool is, but it took up a lot of floor space. I wanted to provide empty floor space that wasn’t right in front of the door where guests can keep suitcases. When you’re styling a guest room, just remember to leave a space for guests to keep their things!)

Here are some waaayyy “before” photos of what the room looked like when we moved in two years ago. (It used to be a kids room. The paint and fan were cute for kids, just not for our grown-up guest room! I had a fan just like that in my room at my grandparents’ house! You can’t see them very well in this photo, but there are glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. Those are still there, because we think they’re really cool. ūüôā )

guest room before 1guest room before 2guest room before 3


So there it is! It is my new favorite room in the house. I love the vintage “Schoolhouse-esque” elements like the chalkboard, vintage fan, gold alarm clock, and gingham pillow. The vintage rug, art, and other vintage accessories bring in the bed and breakfast vibe I was hoping for. The black accent wall, white bedding, and clean lines of the frame and shelf provide the modern ingredient that keeps things feeling fresh. In every space that we have uncovered the original hardwood floors, I’m amazed that the room instantly feels like it has always been that way.

We don’t own this house, so we are very intentional about which projects we decide to do. My goal with projects in this house is to restore as much of the original charm of this 1910 craftsman, while also seeking to raise the value of the house with modern updates. We’ve painted every room a neutral color. We’ve updated a few light fixtures. We’ve uncovered a lot of hardwood, and plan to refinish it all ourselves. I’ve stripped painted trim and am working on restoring it. I’ve painted trim in rarely used areas of the house where the wood was damaged beyond repair and just needed to look better. None of those are difficult projects, and most can be done for the cost of a can of paint. (Or a can of paint stripper, in some cases ūüôā ) We aren’t planning to go anywhere anytime soon, but I recognize that we are not the last people that will ever live in this home. That’s why we only do projects that will add value to this house. If I owned this house, I might tastefully paint some of the trim. But, that would take away value from this house, so I’m not touching it! Instead, I’m taking paint away in spaces!¬†Even if you own your home, keep that in mind as you work on home-improvement projects. Home-improvement projects are intended to¬†add value to a house, not subtract from it. Do your absolute¬†best work– if not for your standards, then for the people that will come behind you.

Thanks for reading! I’m going to go look at the guest room again, because I’m a little obsessed with that cane chair+bird print combo. Ben and I are about to leave for auditions for our community theater production of Annie. Then we get to see his grandparents, who are visiting Alta! What are you up to this weekend?

avery- signature



I can only source a few things in this room, because almost everything is vintage!

White bedding: Ikea

Striped bedding: Ikea

Black frame: Ikea

Nightstand Lamp: Target

Curtains: Target

White pitcher: Hobby Lobby

Tiny Turkish rug: Won in a giveaway from New England Loom

Everything else is vintage!

Istanbul Apartment Makeover

Last month, Ben and I had the incredible opportunity to visit his parents in Istanbul, Turkey. Ben’s dad, Robert, works for the international division of a construction company based in Colorado Springs. He manages projects overseas on behalf of American contractors. Most of his projects are in Europe and the Middle East, so Robert and Sondra recently moved to Istanbul. We stayed with them in their apartment overlooking the Bosphorus, which is a body of water that separates the Asian and European sides of Istanbul. The city is spread out across both continents, and his parents live on the Asian side. This is the view from their 14th floor apartment and their building is only a few blocks from the coast. Istanbul is an incredibly dense city, so being next to the water was refreshing.


Their apartment was pre-furnished by their landlord. Ben’s mom, Sondra, made the incredibly smart decision to ask for neutral furnishings. This gave us a blank canvas to work with, which made decorating less of a challenge and more of an adventure! We sourced items from IKEA, the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, and their own home. Their living room was our main focus. It receives tons of natural light from the wall of windows that overlook the sea. Here are some “before” shots.

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Since we had a great neutral palette as our background, I knew we needed to introduce color and texture. Turkey is known for their kilim rugs and pillows. “Kilim” is a term that refers to flatweave, no-pile rugs. Kilim rugs are typically woven exclusively with wool, but some kilims can be woven with wool+cotton blends, or wool+silk blends. The fibers used to weave kilims can be dyed with natural vegetable dyes or chemical dyes. The natural dyes are more durable, and less prone to fade over time. Their colors are more muted and earthy, and usually cost more because of the skill and materials required to make them.

We went to The Grand Bazaar to shop for kilim pillows. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is a place unlike anything I’ve ever seen. After entering through a small gate and going through security, you are instantly surrounded by crowds of people and shops of every kind. Turkish shopkeepers sell carpets, pillows, scarves, spices, ceramics, and clothing. The tiny storefronts line a maze of hallways that are easy to get lost in even if you know where you’re going. Everywhere you turn, there are sights and sounds and smells that draw you in.



(Photo credit: Pinterest)

Ben’s mom, Sondra, picked out four beautiful kilim pillow covers. Kilim pillows are made from old kilim rugs. Kilim merchants may have a few pillows that came from the same rug, but each cover is one of a kind. We bought the pillow inserts during our trip to IKEA, where we also found some furniture and art. Before, there was a floor lamp next to the gray wingback chair. We replaced it with an end table and table lamp from IKEA to provide more table space.


Here is a reminder of what this space looked like before, and what it looks like now!



What previously felt like a hotel room now feels like a cozy Turkish-inspired home. When sourcing our decorative pieces, we focused on adding color and layering textures. This helped to give the totally gray space some warmth, coziness, and layers of visual interest. The woven wicker end table brings in a contrasting texture between the two shades of gray velvet. The wicker texture is echoed by the jute placemat on the coffee table. If you look closely, the coffee table and TV stand are the exact same piece of furniture! These were provided by the landlord, but also came from IKEA. We put the placemat, a few books, and a fake plant on the table to set it apart from the TV stand and break up the all-white surface. Sondra and Robert travel for extended periods of time, so adding real plants to this space would not have been a wise move. We added two small fake plants that still bring warmth and an organic quality to the space (and will never die even when they leave!)


The wicker table, gold lamp, and peachy tones of the pillow bring warmth to the gray chair and white walls. Because the room itself contained primarily cooler colors, I introduced warmer colors in the decorative pieces to bring balance.


Robert and Sondra already owned the books that I used in this room. The tiny floral book is a wedding photo album from me and Ben!



After adding the main pieces that we sourced from IKEA and the Grand Bazaar, I walked around their home looking for other ordinary pieces that could be used decoratively. Their many language books made a great base for this plant. Sondra bought the navy cream pitcher on a trip to Romania. We filled it with pink flowers from a flower stand down the street from their house.




Sondra chose kilim covers that look beautiful on their own, but look even better together!


The large blank wall over the couch needed a large scale piece of art. Putting a tiny canvas on that large wall would have looked odd. Robert and Sondra chose the wall art from IKEA. It is a large canvas with a photo of Amsterdam, which they have visited many times! Most people put photos of foreign cities in their homes because they like the way they look. But Ben’s parents have photos of foreign cities in their home because they have travelled to all of those places! Instead of looking at the photo and saying “Wow, that place looks neat!”, Ben’s parents can look at this photo and say, “Remember when we went there on our honeymoon and were robbed?!?” Sondra said that they “have always loved¬†water and the canals of Amsterdam. Bicycles and The Netherlands go together so having the bicycle be the one point of color seems perfect. We were robbed in Amsterdam but obviously that hasn’t left us with bad memories of it!”

The small series of turquoise maps under the clock echo the turquoise pots for the plants. Instead of being “matchy matchy”, tying similar colors and textures across one room provides a sense of unity. Robert had the great idea to add two more identical clocks to this corner and set each time to the different time zones they live in (Istanbul, Des Moines, and Colorado Springs).

We also added the round mirror above the TV. They had a lot of wall space, and using a mirror was a great way to fill the blank space without being overwhelming.


(Ben’s cute parents!)


What previously felt like a hotel room now feels like a cozy Turkish-inspired home. We also brought in some new pieces for the connected dining room. Sondra picked out simple and minimal white dishes. We added more jute placemats and a minimal gray tablecloth.


The trivet under the flower vase and the bowl full of candy are both Turkish ceramics from The Grand Bazaar! When decorating a space, I love to source the client’s own home and surrounding areas. Decorating is an opportunity to reflect the family that lives in the home and the environment in which they live. Instead of just looking to what is trendy, I love to look for what is personal and unique to the family. For Robert and Sondra’s Istanbul apartment, this meant Turkish textiles and unique pieces from their adventures around the world.

Nothing beats shopping the Grand Bazaar, but if you would like to introduce some Cozy Turkish Mod to your home, here is a round-up of kilim pillows you can purchase without buying a plane ticket first.

cozy turkish mod

1. $52 + 2. $30

3. $40  + 4. $40 + 5. $20

6. $18 +  7. $46 + 8. $44

Thanks for reading! This is my favorite design I’ve ever helped with, and I’ve loved including Turkish textiles in my own home! Thank you, Robert and Sondra, for allowing me to help you make your Turkish home a little more homey! I’ll include more photos from our trip at the very end of this post.

If you would like help styling a room in your home, I would love to assist you! You can send me a message through¬†this contact form. We can decide which design package would best fit your needs. (I offer e-styling packages if a home visit isn’t feasible!) Thank you for reading and supporting Holland Avenue Home. Until next time, G√ľle G√ľle! (Goodbye!)

With love, 

cozy turkish mod ad



Here is a slideshow of more pictures from our trip!

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$200 Kitchen Update: Sources and Process

*This post contains affiliate links*

A few weeks ago, I posted the full reveal of our DIY kitchen update. (If you missed it, check it out here!) With $200 and about a week of hard work, our kitchen was transformed from this…


into this!


There were three major changes made in the kitchen, but everything else came from small (and free!) adjustments.

First, paint. I painted all of our cupboards with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint from¬†The Purple Painted Lady. I also painted the backsplash, soffit, window frame, wall trim, and all of the walls with bright white paint that we already had. The second major change was the colorful 9×12 area rug from¬†Wayfair. (We bought it when it was on a really big sale. I check pretty regularly because people keep asking me about it, but the rug has been a lot more expensive recently.) The third change was the new¬†gold hardware¬†from Amazon. I searched for this specific style of hardware for¬†months until finding a solution that was in my price range. (More on that later)

A few people have asked me, “Why chalk paint?”. I had an answer before I actually did the painting, but now that I have seen the results, I have an excited “way more information that you could ever want to know” response! I knew that I wanted to update our kitchen, but¬†a full remodel was never an option (and¬†I didn’t want it to be!). I started looking for creative, affordable solutions to DIY my way to the kitchen in my dreams. I think that painting the cupboards is the cheapest and most dramatic way to completely change the look and feel of your kitchen. The best part is, with a little time and a lot of hard work, you can do it all yourself!

I decided to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint after my mom used it to paint a giant china cabinet. I thought this would be a similar process to painting my cupboards. The traditional method of painting kitchen cabinets requires taking off all of the doors and hardware, sanding the wood, priming, and painting before replacing the doors and hardware. When you use chalk paint, the doors can stay on the hinges, you don’t have to sand or prime, and the process goes much faster! Chalk Paint also requires a sealer wax to protect the paint. I used clear wax for a modern look, but you can use black or white wax for a rustic or distressed vibe. You apply the wax in 2-3 thin coats with a wax brush, and it dries clear and hard. This entire process took about a week of working every day. My husband helped me whenever he could, and we had a few late nights painting just for fun!

I picked out Annie Sloan Pure White for the uppers and Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue for the lowers.¬†The Purple Painted Lady¬†is an excellent online stockist if you don’t live near someone that sells Annie Sloan. They delivered my paint and brushes quickly and safely, and included a ton of informational resources about using the paint.

The chalk paint is more expensive per ounce, but¬†it is¬†more economical because of the coverage it offers. I bought one quart of AS¬†Duck Egg Blue¬†for the lowers ($34.95), and one quart of AS¬†Pure White¬†for the uppers ($34.95). It may seem expensive to pay $35 for a tiny can of paint, but one quart of blue was enough to do two coats of paint on all of my lower cabinets and my hoosier cabinet, with a good amount of paint left over for another project! The quart of white paint was enough for three coats on the uppers (with not much left to spare). I couldn’t believe how far this paint went, and loved how smooth it was to apply. My mom recommended using Purdy brushes to apply the Chalk Paint. I found a pack of three brushes at Lowes for $20. I used the 1 inch and 1.5 inch brushes the most.

I used AS¬†Clear Wax¬†and a¬†Wax Brush¬†from The Purple Painted Lady. The “Ultimate Waxing Brush” is definitely an investment at $25, but it made a huge difference in the waxing process. The wax has an interesting texture that reminded me of Crisco. The large, round wax brush with thick bristles made the application easier. I won’t go into great detail about the waxing process, but you can find great tutorials from¬†The Purple Painted Lady! I keep linking to her site because the information I found there made this project painless and stress-free!

Here is my cost breakdown for the paint and painting supplies:

48 Ultimate Waxing Brush – WHITE HAIR
$25.00 x 1
43 Annie Sloan Clear Wax
$24.95 x 1
21 Duck Egg Blue Chalk Paint¬ģ Quart
$34.95 x 1
40 Pure White Chalk Paint¬ģ Quart
$34.95 x 1

Subtotal: $119.85
Discount: $0.00
Shipping: $15.00
Sales Tax: $0.00
Total: $134.85

My total from The Purple Painted Lady was $134.85, and the Purdy brushes were $20.

Grand Total for Paint and Painting Supplies: $154.85!

The second big update was the hardware. I fell in love with the Kohler Purist 3″ handles, but could NOT believe their price! These handles were $25 a PIECE.


I needed 17 handles for my cupboards and hoosier cabinet. That would have been $175 for these handles, not including¬†buying knobs! That’s more than I spent on the entire project! I searched for¬†months for a similar hardware style, and couldn’t find something similar enough and cheap enough. I found these handles that were a similar style, but still too expensive at $4.20 a piece, and were not available in gold!


I finally found these (that honestly look EXACTLY the same as the Kohler handles) for $1.50 a piece on Amazon! My matching knobs were $1.15 a piece.


Handles + Knobs

I ordered the pack of 20 knobs, and the pack of 20 handles for a total of $53. I had an Amazon gift card from our wedding for $50, so I only paid $3 for all of the hardware!

The handles I had before were 3 inch handles, so the new 3 inch handles didn’t require any drilling! (Measure the distance between the handle holes on your cabinets if you want to replace your handles! The distance might not be 3 inches. These handles come in a few different lengths.)

The cabinets used to have knobs in the middle of the doors. I filled these holes with wood filler BEFORE painting my cabinets. I applied the wood filler, waited for it to dry completely, and then sanded the area smooth. I gave the rest of the doors a good sanding by hand to remove some of the varnish on the wood. Have your vacuum handy for this step! After the painting and waxing were complete, my husband Ben drilled new holes in the corner of each door for the knobs. We needed to buy new screws from the hardware store because the screws that came with the handles were not deep enough for our thick cabinets.

$154 for paint and painting supplies, plus $53 for hardware puts this project at $207. 

(Though it was only $157 for us¬†because of the Amazon gift card!) I used half a gallon of white paint that we already had in the house for the window frame, the backsplash, soffit, trim, and walls. The church gave us a¬†$1,000 budget, but I wanted to keep the cost as low as possible. We considered replacing the linoleum floors, but that would have been about $350. The floors are in fine condition, so replacing them would have just been a cosmetic update. I was so grateful for the church’s support of this project, and wanted to be as frugal as possible! We decided to spend our own money on the giant rug. This acts as a temporary flooring solution in our kitchen, and is something we can take with us wherever we live in the future. Instead of sinking $350 of the church’s money into floors that didn’t need to be replaced, we spent about $250 of our own money on a rug that we will have forever! I was reluctant to spend that much money, but Ben made the valid point that this rug is acting as a flooring solution AND a decorative element. It was cheaper than replacing the flooring, and is ours to take with us wherever we live in the future.

Now that all of the sources are covered, I will make a list of the exact process we used for anyone that is interested.

  • Bought paint and wax¬†from¬†The Purple Painted Lady
  • Filled knob holes with wood filler. Wait to let dry. Sand well. Give the cabinets a good sanding if they have a shiny varnish. This will help the paint adhere to the surface better.
  • Degreased cabinets with Dawn degreasing soap. This step is very important. If there are any grease spots on your cabinets, they will show through the paint- no matter how many coats you apply! I used a new sponge to apply the soap and scrub the cabinets. We also had to use a razor to scrape black gunk out of some crevices in the cabinets next to the stove. This was grease buildup from¬†years and years of stovetop cooking. I cannot emphasize enough how important the cabinet cleaning is! Chalk paint does not require much surface prep, so make sure to do this one step very, very thoroughly! We scrubbed, rinsed, sanded, and vacuumed our cabinets three times. This took quite a while, but was worth the time and effort! If you do not properly prepare the surface, the quality of your painting won’t matter and they will turn out poorly. Some people recommend using a mineral spirit solution to prepare the cabinets, but the Dawn soap worked well for us.
  • Applied first thin coat of paint. It does not take a lot of paint to cover the surface, and I was amazed at how little paint was necessary to get a good first coat. Apply in thin coats and allow to dry thoroughly between coats.¬†The Purple Painted Lady¬†has great resources for these steps. I should probably note that I only painted the outsides of our cabinets, except for the cabinets with the exposed shelving. I took the doors off of those two cabinets a few months ago because I love the look of exposed shelving.
  • Applied second (and, where¬†necessary,¬†third) coats of paint. I applied two coats of blue, but the white paint needed three coats for good coverage.
  • Applied wax in two to three thin coats. I only did two coats on the frames of the cabinets, but did three coats on the doors and drawer faces because they will receive the most use.
  • Drilled new holes for cabinet handles in the corner of each door.
  • Painted backsplash, soffit, window frame, trim, and walls with bright white paint.
  • We also removed the window screens, which brightened the kitchen quite a bit. We will put them back in the spring when the windows can be opened! The screens popped right out, and will easily pop back in when we need them.




our kitchen rug




That was a lot of information, but I found a few longer posts really helpful throughout the process! If you are about to embark on a DIY adventure of your own, just go for it! It will be a lot of hard work, but painting provides immediate results in the most affordable way! I would be happy to answer any questions you still have about the process. 

Thanks for reading!


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