Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Kitchen Makeover

Well, we did it. We spent one whole week completely transforming Briee’s kitchen with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and the result is incredible.

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Low Budget Pantry Makeover with Leftover Paint and $20 of Organization Supplies

Hi, everyone! Today, I have a quick and easy, low-budget pantry makeover to share with you. I see gorgeous walk-in pantries all the time on social media and in magazines, and I have to admit they usually make me jealous. The beautifully organized and meticulously labeled containers have previously seemed like a reality that only exists in my pantry dreams. We have this closet-like cabinet as a pantry, and it has been a source of frustration for me. It is dark, deep, and food seems to disappear, never to be seen again (until I inevitably discover it long after it expired, where it then takes a one-way trip to the garbage). I didn’t have smart organization for our tricky pantry, and it was causing me to be wasteful.

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How-to Repurpose an Antique Table as a Kitchen Island: Thrift Shop Challenge

Hi, everyone! I’m writing today to share about my latest project as part of a Thrift Shop Challenge with a few other bloggers. The goal of the challenge is to breathe new life into a secondhand treasure, and to share the process with our followers. I chose to restore an antique wooden table to use as a kitchen island. I’ll walk you through the process I used to restore the wood and make this piece more functional with a set of caster wheels.

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Basement Demo and Waterproofing with Drylok: One Room Challenge Week 2

If you’re finding me through the One Room Challenge, welcome to my home on the internet! I’m Avery and I live in a charming 1910 Craftsman style parsonage in rural Iowa with my husband, Ben. You can learn more about me here, and see some of my previous design work in my kitchen, my High Style, Low Budget Sunroom from the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge, and my Cozy Eclectic Master Bedroom from the Fall 2018 One Room Challenge. My design style is warm, whimsical, and collected. I love sharing real-life home inspiration for people like me who want big style with a tiny budget. You can follow along with my homemaking adventures and thrifting trips & tips on the Holland Avenue Home Instagram.


For this round of the One Room Challenge, I will be finishing our unfinished basement to create a cozy family game room. You can catch up on my design plan through the link below!

Basement on a Budget: One Room Challenge Week One

Week two is finished and I am so proud of the progress we have made so far. It never felt like we were making much progress this week because we didn’t start drywall until today. But when I look at the progress photos and think about how much we’ve already done, it makes sense that I am so, so tired. Finishing a basement is no joke, and it takes an incredible amount of preparation to ensure that your work will stand the test of time.

Before I walk you through the progress we made this week, here is a reminder of where we started.


And here is that same view today!


Here is the “before” of the other direction.


And a view of that same corner from today!

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The pictures tell the truth: we accomplished a lot this week. We started by tearing down the wall that separated the two rooms, and removed the drop ceiling that was in half of the space. All of my HGTV-Chip-Gaines-Demo-Day dreams came true.


Here is a time lapse for part of the wall removal! Hauling the debris to the dump trailer took longer than actually ripping it all out. We started by whacking it with a sledgehammer, then ripped out all of the drywall and insulation. The insulation is itchy, so make sure to wear long sleeves. To remove the framing, we used a Sawsall to cut the lumber in half. After it was cut down the middle, we had leverage to pull out the frame.

Because I know you’ll probably ask, this was not a load bearing wall. Our church bought this house in 1990, and the wall was installed sometime since then. I don’t know how to find out if a wall in your home is load bearing, but do some investigating before destroying it with a sledgehammer!

Knocking out the wall was way more fun, way more messy, and way more impactful than I expected.



After we cleaned up the mess from demo, we were ready to make a different mess. (I’m convinced that renovating is just cleaning up one mess so that you can make a different one.)

The next step was to prepare our cinderblock walls for drywall by waterproofing with Drylok Extreme Latex Masonry Waterproofer. This product is created by United Gilsonite Laboratories, and is GUARANTEED to stop water. According to the product description, “Unlike ordinary paint that simply adheres to a surface and can be forced off by incoming water pressure, DRYLOK Extreme Masonry Waterproofer actually penetrates the pores in that surface, bonding to the masonry and creating an impenetrable barrier.”

In all of the research I did before starting this project, this is the product that people recommend over and over to waterproof cinderblock walls. While we’ve never had standing water in the basement, there was clearly a moisture problem due to the condition of the cinderblock.

Before using Drylok, it is vitally important that you prep your walls by removing any failing paint. If you have unpainted cinderblock, you should be good to go. Our walls were covered in multiple layers of old paint, which was chipping and peeling off in most places. We tediously scraped off all of the peeling paint, which took a long time but was absolutely necessary to ensure the quality of the application.

Before scraping, Ben cleaned off all of the spots that appeared to be covered in mold and mildew. If you need to clean mold off of your basement walls, be sure to have the proper safety equipment consisting of a respirator mask, eye glasses, and rubber gloves. People disagree on whether or not to use bleach to kill mold. After doing our own research, we used both diluted bleach in a spray bottle and a special mold cleaner that I found at Ace Hardware. Do your own research and choose the products that you feel the most comfortable using.

After cleaning the mold, we scrubbed all of the walls with a rigid bristle brush and a spray bottle of water to remove the chalky layer of dust. Then we were ready to scrape the failing paint.

Here is where we started before prepping the cinderblock. See the multiple layers of paint and grime?


It looks worse in a way, but this is what our walls looked like after we thoroughly prepped them. After scrubbing the walls with water and scraping the paint, we allowed them to dry overnight.


It is recommended that you apply Drylok with a 3/4″ nap roller. I found that this worked great on the flat parts of the cinderblock, but the cracks required application with a brush. Drylok makes their own brush that is available for $11 on Amazon, and it will make your application a lot more thorough than just using a roller. This is not a detailed job, so using their giant brush will make the process a lot faster.

For the first wall, I ended up using the brush by itself. This short time lapse video represents an hour and a half of work! This was not the best way to do this job.

After trying out a few techniques, I finally found one that allowed me to work quickly yet thoroughly. I found that it was easiest to brush all of the vertical seams, then all of the horizontal seams so that I worked in an even pattern. After that, I used the 3/4″ nap roller to cover the flat cinderblocks.

Drylok recommends applying two coats to cinderblock, and the time in between coats is three hours minimum. Here is what our space looked like after two coats!


Can you believe that this is the same corner?!?! Drylok comes in bright white, but it is also tintable. If you don’t want to completely finish your basement, but want to protect it from moisture and make it look less like a crime scene and more like a clean part of your home, then Drylok-ing the walls is an easy way to do both!

Application is straightforward, but I wouldn’t call it easy. While it only requires the basic skills of brushing and rolling, it took a lot longer to apply than we expected. Overall, I spent almost two full days working on our three walls. Expect to get elbow cramps from pushing the brush and roller into the cinderblock for hours at a time! (And then apply ice and elevate your arm! #iwouldknow)

Overall, I am super happy with the Drylok and I trust that it will do the job of keeping our basement dry and protected.

After we finished the Drylok (around 11pm last night), we woke up today with a blank slate! We decided to install drywall over the walls and ceiling. I won’t go into a thorough explanation of how to install drywall, but I’ll share a brain dump of some basic tips from a beginner’s perspective.

Before I share everything I currently know about drywall, I have a disclaimer. To prepare for this project, I’ve had three different knowledgeable people that I’ve consulted. Sometimes, I’ve gotten three different answers to the same question. Home improvement and construction have some rules that are universal, but a lot of it is based on personal opinion and preference. Do your own research, consult multiple sources, and make the decisions that work for you. (Within reason, obviously.) Don’t ignore what someone says because it may be harder. Get opinions and advice from people you trust to do a good job, and then make the decisions that work for your space.


Drywall typically comes in 4×8 sheets. They are heavy. You typically use 1/2″ thick sheets for walls, and 5/8″ thick sheets for the ceiling. We decided to use 1/2″ sheets for both. In order to install the drywall to the cinderblock, we first had to install furring strips. We used 1×3 lumber for our strips. These strips must be 16″ apart (measuring from the center of the strips) so that four strips can be covered by one sheet of drywall. To attach the strips to the cinderblock, we used a hammer drill with 1 1/4″ Tapcon masonry screws. They are blue, and they are expensive. Each furring strip needs about four screws throughout the length of the strip. Drywall and framing should not sit directly on basement floors, so we used half inch wood spacers during installation to create a gap between the strips and the floor.

It takes two people to install the strips. One person holds the strip in place while the other person drills a hole. After you drill your hole with the hammer drill, you can insert your screw using a normal drill. Here is a time lapse video of Ben and our friend Jimmy installing some strips. (P.S. Thanks for your help, Jimmy! Jimmy is one of our college friends who grew up in this area. He just moved back with his wife, Sara, who is one of my best friends from college! He has construction experience, and taught us all of this stuff today about installing drywall.)

After your furring strips are installed, you can start to hang your sheets of drywall. For this part, you need drywall screws. If you’re using 1x3s and 1/2″ drywall, you’ll want 1 1/4″ drywall screws. Before you begin to hang the drywall, make marks on the floor with a sharpie to remind you where the strips are so that you don’t have to guess (incorrectly) with your drill (Ask me how I know that).

When you screw the drywall into the furring strips, go slowly. You want the screw to JUST BARELY indent into the paper of the drywall. Keyword here is JUST BARELY. I definitely sank more than one screw by going too quickly. “Code” is to attach the drywall in six places on each strip. After you’ve done that, pat yourself on the back because you just hung a sheet of drywall! Now you’ve got the “hang” of it! 😉

If you are installing outlets, you’ll need to attach your outlet boxes and wire to the furring strips before hanging the drywall.

I think that’s everything I know about drywall so far. We finished about half of the installation today, and will finish the rest tomorrow. After that, we will figure out how to put it on the ceiling. And after that, I have to learn all about this mud/tape/sand business. I am the definition of a beginner, and am learning all of these skills as I go.

Readers have asked how I’m learning to do all of these things, and the number one answer is, “Annoying my friends”. Seriously. The internet is great, but if you can get an experienced friend in your basement to show you how to do it, you’ll be in much better shape. No matter what home improvement skill you’re trying to learn, you probably have an acquaintance or friend who knows how to do it. Ask them one million questions, and reward their patience with treats and coffee. If they are willing to help you, feed them and give them coffee. When the job is finished, feed them and give them more coffee. (Are you sensing a pattern here?)

I currently have one day of drywalling experience, but that is 100% more than I had yesterday. If there is a project that you want to tackle in your home but you don’t know how, you can probably learn how to do it. But you won’t learn if you’re too scared to start. Ask around, recruit some help, and just try it.

I don’t know how to do all of the projects that will be necessary to finish our basement, but day by day I intend to learn and grow. Five weeks from now, I WILL know how to drywall and install new flooring and trim. When planning future projects, “I don’t know how” is not a limitation for me. If I don’t know how to do something, I have the internet, books, and talented friends who do. That excuse isn’t good enough anymore! I think it is totally okay to be afraid of learning and trying new things, but don’t allow your fear to keep you from growing.

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That’s all of the progress we have for this week, and I feel like we’re in good shape to keep moving. After we finish hanging the drywall, we will be ready to mud, tape, and sand. I will feel really, really good when that is finished.

Here’s our list of things to accomplish this week:

  • Finish hanging drywall on walls
  • Have electrician install wiring for recessed lights
  • Hang drywall on ceiling
  • Mud, tape, sand x3
  • Pick up paint from Sherwin Williams
  • Prime fresh drywall
  • Paint, paint, paint

I hope to share a freshly painted space with you next Wednesday, but that is dependent on how quickly we can finish up this drywall and lighting installation!

Thank you, United Gilsonite Laboratories, for sponsoring this post!

You can follow Holland Avenue Home on Instagram for plenty of behind-the-scenes progress before it comes to the blog each Wednesday.

Check out the other Guest Participants’ and Featured Designers’ posts for Week Two of the One Room Challenge!


Thanks for reading!




Before & After High Style, Low Budget Sunroom: One Room Challenge Week 6

If you’re finding me through the One Room Challenge, welcome to my home on the internet! I’m Avery and I live in a charming 1910 Craftsman style home in rural Iowa with my husband. You can learn more about me here, and see some of my previous design work in my kitchen, and my Fall 2018 One Room Challenge: Cozy Eclectic Master Bedroom Reveal. My design style is cozy, whimsical, and collected. You can follow along with my homemaking adventures on the Holland Avenue Home Instagram.


Need a quick recap of my One Room Challenge progress so far?

Catch up on all six weeks of my Spring 2019 One Room Challenge:

Week 1: High Style, Low Budget Sunroom Transformation

Week 2: DIY Tree Stump Coffee Tables

Week 3: The Power of Paint

Week 4: DIY $150 Bed Swing and Painted Concrete Floors

Week 5: Finishing Touches

Friends, we made it to the finish line. Six weeks of painting, building, creating, sewing, cleaning, styling, shooting, writing, editing, posting, and cheerleading have come to an end. I would like to thank Linda and the whole One Room Challenge team for hosting this inspiring event, and for creating a community of encouraging designers and refreshing designs.

This round of the One Room Challenge has given me incredible confidence not only in my design vision, but in my ability to execute that vision through a fiery ambition to “do it myself”. I have grown so much as a designer, blogger, photographer, creator, and nailgun-wielder in the last six weeks, and am very proud of the work I’ve done. I can’t wait to share my transformation with you. Now let’s get on with it!

The “Before”

This is where we started six weeks ago. Our front porch sunroom looked like a crime scene. The crime? Sadness, darkness, neglect, and all-around grossness. I see people complain about “before & after” type posts by saying that, “The before photos are edited to make it look worse. The biggest ‘transformation’ is the photography improvement.” When you look at these “before” photos, keep in mind that I used the exact same camera and the exact same editing tools to make this “before” look as good as it could in a photo. It really was that sad.

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The walls are partially painted white because I spent hours out here with a paint brush (due to the siding and wall texture) and never finished. Which left us with a partially painted, freckled concrete floor, yellow-ceiling room.

The Process

Over the last six weeks, I have painted every square inch of this space.

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We started by spraying the walls and ceiling with Sherwin Williams Extra White. I painted an accent wall with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Aubusson Blue. Then I painted both doors with Early Riser by Magnolia Home Paints. The window trim is pre-tinted semigloss black by Rustoleum.

These photos prove that paint is the easiest and cheapest way to completely transform a space. The wrong paint color costs just as much per ounce as the right paint color, and making smart paint decisions can really create a “wow” factor.

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Painting the epoxy floors was terrifying and amazing. I’d never used paint thinner, epoxy paint, or a respirator before this project. But with determination to “do it scared”, leftover epoxy paint from a friend, and two hours on a Tuesday afternoon, I was able to make this sunroom look brand new. Screen Shot 2019-04-24 at 6.25.31 PMScreen Shot 2019-04-24 at 6.26.05 PMIMG_8996

The other big project for this space was building a bed swing. My brother-in-law, Kirk, is incredibly skilled in woodworking, and taught me the basics of building and power tools. We built this DIY $150 Bed Swing on a Saturday afternoon, and it is now the coveted napping location.


The first project I completed for this challenge was creating DIY Tree Stump Coffee Tables from free stumps.


The project that turned this space from a normal sunroom into a high-style, cozy, textured, dreamy wonderland was dyeing my basic Ikea curtains with Rit Dye, and creating a hand-sewn Euro pleat. I will write a full tutorial for this project soon!


The After

I bet you’re probably getting antsy to see the “after” photos. I’ve talked for long enough, and now it’s time to let the photos speak for themselves.

Here’s a reminder of what I started with six weeks ago.


And the “after”—my favorite space I’ve ever created (that I still can’t believe is the same room or in MY HOUSE!).




(I picked up this 1935 issue of Better Homes & Gardens at the same antique store that gave me the stumps for free!)






I already had that darling mid-century gingham set. It was $100 on Facebook marketplace last year, and yes, I do feel like the luckiest woman in the world.


Fun fact: That loveseat is actually a pull-out bed! I couldn’t resist styling this space as a guest room.



Here’s one more visual for the complete transformation of this room.

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I estimate that we spent about $650 in this space. Here is a rough budget breakdown of the things we purchased specifically for this transformation. We already had some of the furniture, art, and decor, and a few of the elements were sponsored by brands. Some of these links are affiliate links, which means that I will make a small percent commission (at no extra cost to you) if you decide to purchase anything through one of my links.

Paint: $130

  • 5 gallons of white paint: $120 from Sherwin Williams, but we only used 3 of the 5 gallons
  • Epoxy floor paint: free from a friend’s project leftovers
  • Annie Sloan Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint: Sponsored ($35 to purchase)
  • Magnolia Early Riser paint: Leftover from another project
  • Rustoleum black paint for window trim: $10

Bed Swing: $200ish for swing and bedding

  • Lumber, rope, and hardware from Menards: $150
  • Twin mattress: already owned
  • Sheets: $2 at a local thrift store
  • Striped pillow shams: $40 from Anthropologie
  • Down pillow inserts: $4 for 4 at my local thrift store

Drapes: $125

Stump Tables: $20

Rugs: $115

Other Decor & Accessories: $60

  • Sewing table: $10 thrifted
  • Black metal lamp: $2.50 thrifted
  • Wood bead garland: $0.10 thrifted
  • House numbers: $40 from Hearth and Hand at Target
  • Gold vase: $14 from Target

Labor: $0 (I didn’t hire out anything for this project. I either did it myself, or utilized the generous help of some talented friends!)

Time: Technically, it is a 6 week challenge. I tweaked my design plan many times, and don’t have a good gauge of how long it took me to design the space. I worked on it occasionally for a few weeks leading up to the challenge. It took two afternoons to finish the stump tables (About 6 hours). About 3 hours to prep and paint the white, and a few hours to paint the accent wall, doors, and trim. Kirk and I spent about 8 hours building and installing the bed swing. I spent two hours painting the epoxy floors, and then let them cure for a whole week before placing any furniture or rugs. Dyeing, pleating, and installing the curtains took about 6-8 hours. My sister-in-law, Sarah, spent a few hours hand sewing pillow covers for the bed swing while Kirk and I built the swing (Thanks, Sarah!). I spent an afternoon (about 3-4 hours) placing the furniture, styling the space with artwork and accessories, and installing the house numbers. I spent around 3-4 hours photographing and editing the final images, and about 2 hours writing the final post. Each week, I spent about an hour writing the posts for weeks 1-5. My husband, Ben, helped me with a few of the projects including prepping the room for paint, installing the curtains, and moving furniture. My friend, Tessa, helped me prep the room for paint. My friend, JJ, did the white paint with a sprayer (in just 30 minutes!). My friend, Sara, helped me tie up loose ends on a few projects one afternoon. My brother-in-law, Kirk, led the bed swing construction all day on a Saturday while my sister-in-law, Sarah, sewed pillows and kept us fed!

I estimate that I spent about 45-50 hours total to complete and document this project, and anywhere from 10-15 hours designing and preparing the space (emptying of furniture and cleaning). 

The cost added up to about $650, which is what comparable custom drapes would’ve cost if I purchased them new. Buying a pre-made bed swing runs about $1,000. A similar black metal lamp sells for $200 at Schoolhouse Electric (instead of $2.50 at Goodwill). Half of that $650 budget was just for painting and building a swing, and the rest of the styling was completed for $300 and repurposing things I already had.

That is still a very large amount for us to spend, and we don’t spend that kind of money like it’s nothing. So while the $650 price tag does not feel “low budget” to me, I’ve realized that furniture and projects just cost money. I transformed a neglected, dreary porch into a very high-end space for a percentage of what a similar style would cost if we didn’t have to be resourceful and thoughtful with every purchase. 

(The sponsored rug, chalk paint, and curtain dye would’ve added to the budget, so if you wanted to buy everything you see brand new, it would’ve cost a bit more. Still, $1,000ish for a brand new room is less than what you would spend on a designer sofa alone.

My goal with this challenge was to learn new skills and encourage you to have the confidence to learn something new as well. If I can do it, anyone can do it. I wanted to share as much of my process as possible to show that you don’t have to have a ton of money or expertise to make a vision come to life. This space represents resourcefulness, overcoming DIY fears, and a commitment to doing what I love instead of just following what is trendy. I’m not sure if my final space is trendy or not, but I’ve never seen another look quite like it, and it makes me proud of all of the things I created over the last six weeks.

I don’t have any interior design or photography training, but the last 3 years have been full of self-educating and experimenting in my own home. I learned SO much during this One Room Challenge. I learned how to use an electric sander, circular saw, nail gun, and paint sprayer. How to use epoxy paint and a respirator, and how to mask off a room for spraying. How to dye fabric in my washing machine, do a whip stitch to seamlessly finish pillow covers, to use pleating hooks, and how to stitch euro pleats into basic curtains. I discovered that I need a tripod to shoot interiors, and I learned how to use my camera in a whole new way. I learned how to make sure your interior editing doesn’t over-expose your windows. I’ve been studying editorial styling and photography, so I incorporated those skills in this shoot.

If you don’t know how to do something, put on your learning hat and DO IT SCARED. All of those things were intimidating until I decided to learn and do them myself. Reference the internet, books, and your talented friends to learn a new skill, and then get out there and just try it!

I couldn’t have completed this transformation without the help and support of my family and friends. I’d like to thank my husband, Ben, for listening to my constant ramblings and thinking-out-loud, and for supporting my love for design. Ben’s sister, Sarah, and her husband, Kirk, visited for a weekend to help with this space. Kirk designed the plans and led the bed swing project, and Sarah sewed pillow covers. My friends Kyle and JJ from Rent-All in Storm Lake provided tools, assistance, advice, and the epoxy paint. My friend, Sara, came over one afternoon to help me pleat the curtains. My friends Briee, Stephanie, Sydney, and my Mom offered their design opinions throughout the whole process, and collectively responded to approximately two million “What about this?” texts from me.

This project was sponsored by a few great companies that were generous enough to send me products to make my vision come to life. Loloi Rugs and Rugs Direct provided the beautiful Loren rug. Rit Dye provided the dye for my Ikea curtains. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint provided the paint for my accent wall.

Don’t forget to check out the final reveals of the Featured Designers and other Guest Designers on the One Room Challenge Blog. 

If you enjoyed following this project, I would greatly appreciate if you shared it with a friend! You can follow along on the Holland Avenue Home Instagram and Instagram Stories for interior styling tips, daily encouragement towards thoughtful and resourceful decorating, and future projects!

Join the Holland Avenue Home- Thoughtful Homemakers Community on Facebook for an inspiring and encouraging community where you can share your projects, ask decor questions, and see behind the scenes of Holland Avenue!

Thank you so much for following my transformation. I hope you leave my blog encouraged and empowered to tackle projects in your own home.

Want to see a few more of my favorite DIY projects?


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High style low budget cozy and colorful sunroom




DIY $150 Bed Swing and Painted Concrete Floors: One Room Challenge Week 4

If you’re finding me through the One Room Challenge, welcome to my home on the internet! I’m Avery and I live in a charming 1910 Craftsman style home in rural Iowa with my husband. You can learn more about me here, and see some of my previous design work in my kitchen, and my Fall 2018 One Room Challenge: Cozy Eclectic Master Bedroom Reveal. My design style is cozy, whimsical, and collected. You can follow along with my homemaking adventures on the Holland Avenue Home Instagram.

Catch up on all of my progress for the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge:

Week 1: High Style, Low Budget Sunroom Transformation

Week 2: DIY Tree Stump Coffee Tables

Week 3: The Power of Paint

This week, I’ll be sharing about my two biggest projects- the DIY bed swing and the painted concrete floors!

$150 DIY Bed Swing

Last weekend, Ben’s sister and her family came to stay with us. Sarah and her husband, Kirk, have two little boys, and live just a few hours away in Des Moines. Kirk is an incredibly talented woodworker, and graciously agreed to help me build a bed swing. By “help me”, I mean that he did all of the difficult stuff like designing the plans, leading the construction, and teaching me how to use tools! I sent him a photo of a bed swing I liked, and gave some general instructions about how I wanted it to look. I wanted simple, clean lines, an “X” detail in the back, and thick rope for hanging from the ceiling.

Kirk designed a plan that uses dimensional lumber (aka 2×4’s and other sizes that you can buy precut, and just need to cut to length). I already had an extra twin mattress, so the plans are designed for the mattress to rest on a sheet of plywood.

The plans for this bed swing will be available to purchase on Etsy for $10.

Plans will include a detailed, measured drawing and a list of materials. Like I mentioned before, I already had the twin mattress, which saved money in my final cost.

I will send out a link (through my newsletter) to the plans on Etsy when they are finished. If you want to purchase the plans, make sure you’re signed up for the Holland Avenue Home newsletter to be notified when they are available! (I only send a few emails a year- nothing spammy!)

It took us one Saturday and about $150 in materials for the swing!

We used 40 feet of 1″ rope from Menards ($40) and spent $110 on the lumber (including a 4’x8’x1/2″ sheet of plywood).


Here is the swing in our freshly painted porch. Seriously every single square inch of this porch has been painted over the last two weeks! I’ll address the floor painting later.

We set up shop in the front yard, just outside of the front porch.

This blog post won’t be a step-by-step tutorial, because it is realistically a more advanced project. If you have a friend or family member that is at least somewhat familiar with building things, you should be able to combine this rough outline with the detailed plans in order to build your own swing! We used a combination of screws, kreg-jig screws, wood glue, and a nail gun to assemble the frame.


The first step was to create the base for the outside of the frame and the plywood. After that, Kirk drilled 1″ holes in each of the 4×4″ corner posts, and attached the posts.


The back is on a 10 degree angle, which is very subtle but makes a big difference in comfort! After the corner posts, we built the back support and X detail. The last step was to attach the armrests, which also had 1″ holes that aligned with the holes in the corner posts.

We waited to attach the plywood until the swing was hung so that we could place the ladder inside of the frame for easier hanging.

To hang the swing, we first threaded the rope through the corner posts and armrests. We used 10 feet of rope on each corner to hang from an 8.5 foot ceiling. The triple knots at the top take up quite a bit of material.

We had 1″ holes for 1″ rope, and threading the rope created a lot of friction. I had the idea to cover the bottom few inches of the rope in painter’s tape to create a smoother surface. It worked great! After the rope was threaded, we tied a single knot on the bottom of each rope.


Kirk demonstrating his strength before we tackled the actual hanging part! I was nervous for this, but it was a breeze!


The most important part of hanging your bed swing is to make sure that you screw your eye hooks into ceiling joists.

You can find the joists with a magnetic stud finder. Our ceiling joists run horizontally across the width of the porch. We were pretty limited by the amount of ceiling joists, and chose to hang from the second and third joists so that there would be plenty of room for the swing to move back and forth. (The back of the swing is about 2 feet from the wall. Your ceiling joists may be closer or further away from your wall, but they are typically the same distance apart from one another.) It was about 40″ between holes on the armrests, and about 28″ between joists, meaning that the ropes come in about 6″ on each side to be 28″ apart on the ceiling.

Once we determined where the ceiling joists were, and marked where the hooks needed to be installed, Kirk drilled holes in the joists. He screwed in the lag eye screws by hand. We bought the kind that had attached hoops on the bottom, so that the rope had plenty of space to thread through. Lag eye screws will have a weight limit. Ours are 350lbs.

Once the eye screws were inserted, we propped up the swing on two 5-gallon buckets, and threaded the rope through the eye screws. Kirk tied triple knots on each of the ropes.


The hanging part was a lot easier than I expected it to be! Here we are, enjoying our work after a long day! I learned how to use a lot of different tools, and really enjoyed seeing a project come together. My first comment after we kicked out the buckets was, “This wasn’t here this morning!” It was very satisfying and rewarding to build something from scratch. It was fun to spend time with Kirk, too! We both have really strange senses of humor, so the construction puns were rolling all day. (Examples: “Don’t screw it up”, “Did you go to the hardware store and get board?”, “You saw it here first”)

While we were building the swing, my sister-in-law, Sarah, sewed pillow covers! I found four down insert pillows at our local thrift store for $1 each, and a set of L.L.Bean flannel sheets for $2. The fitted sheet covers the mattress, and Sarah used the flat sheet on the backs of the four pillows. Two of the fronts are covered in Annie Sloan linen, and two are covered in pillowcases I found on clearance at Target. The fabric was a little too pink, so Sarah tea-dyed the fabric before sewing them to give it a more muted, peachy, vintage feel!


Like I said, I know that I didn’t give a step-by-step “then you screw this piece to this piece” tutorial. But if you want to build a swing of your own, you’ll need a few different power tools and a knowledge of how to use them, which will probably include either a handy friend or your own understanding of how to work from a detailed plan! If you have any other specific questions about the bed swing that I didn’t answer, please feel free to reach out through my Contact page.

The other big progress I made this week was painting the concrete floors!

Painting the Floors

Here is a reminder of what the concrete floors looked like before. They were a strange, freckled concrete that just looked dirty. I wanted to give them a fresh look, and needed to use heavy-duty epoxy paint since this is our main entrance for guests. We live in Northwest Iowa where it is basically winter for half of the year, so this porch sees a lot of snowy boots. My friend had leftover epoxy floor paint from his business, and gave it to me for this project!


I used a Sherwin Williams two-part epoxy paint. Epoxy has a part A and part B, and it activates when they are mixed together. It is incredibly toxic, and you absolutely need to wear a respirator and only use it in a well-ventilated space. I had to keep checking our weather forecast to make sure I could paint on a warm day (with no rain for 2 days) so I could keep the windows and door open.

For my 300 square foot porch, I used a 5 gallon bucket to mix half a gallon of A and half a gallon of B, and about a quart of lacquer thinner. (You mix parts A and B on a 1:1 ratio, and will need a quart of lacquer thinner per gallon of epoxy. I started with half a gallon of both A and B, and had some left over.) It is important to mix them really well, and whatever you mix needs to be used within 3ish hours. I opened all of the windows and door, donned my respirator, and finished the painting in about two hours.

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After cutting in the edges with a brush, I used a 3/8 nap roller on a pole to roll the rest of the floors. I did the sections to the right and the left first, then painted myself out the center. I locked the door behind me, and left the floors to dry for at least 24 hours before coming out to close the windows! We put a towel under the front door that opens to our living room to help with the smell, but it is already gone the next day.

I invented some interesting yoga moves in the process. My favorite was the “One-Legged-Painter”, which is what I became when I stood behind the bed swing on one foot, pushing the swing as far away as I could with my other foot so that I could roll the floor underneath. There was also the “Hunchback of Holland Avenue”, which is pictured above as I applied pressure to the just-barely-too-short-for-comfort roller handle.

Here is a before and after of the floors! I knew it would make a huge difference, but WOW!!! It feels so fresh and clean compared to the freckled concrete.


They need to cure for 7 days before I bring our furniture and rugs back out. They currently look a tiny bit streaky from the roller, and I’m wondering if it is because they are still curing. Even if they do have subtle roller marks, it is still a drastic improvement over the previous floors. Looking back, I maybe could’ve applied the paint a little thicker, but epoxy is pretty thick and I didn’t want to over-apply.

This week was full of the biggest progress yet, and I’m getting pretty close to the finish line! The only things I have left to do are pleat and hang my curtains, create my floral artwork for above the bed swing, and paint the window trim. After that, it will just be final styling and shooting the space! Ben and I are absolutely thrilled with the progress so far, and I am giddy when I think about how much we will love the finished space! We’ve already had a lazy day on the bed swing, which consisted of a Game of Thrones marathon to catch up before the new season’s second episode premiered. Monday was Ben’s day off (and the day before floor painting), so we spent our afternoon curled up on the bed swing with Louie while it rained. I can’t wait to host friends on this porch all summer!

I’ve learned a lot during this round of the One Room Challenge, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is to just “do it scared”. I’ve tackled a lot of new projects and new tools that scare me before I just jump in and decide to learn. It seems like everything I’ve done so far required overcoming fear and intentionally embracing new skills. I learned how to use an electric sander and worked with polycrylic for the first time for my DIY Tree Stump Coffee Tables in week 2. In week 3, I learned how to mask off a room for paint spraying, and even learned how to use the sprayer! This week, I learned how to use a saw, a nail gun, a krek-jig, and epoxy floor paint. I won’t be blogging about them until next week, but today I used Rit Dye to dye my Ikea curtains. It scared me, too, but they look great and I have a new skill in my arsenal! Every one of those projects scared me before I started, but so far they have all turned out wonderfully and have given me a sense of accomplishment.

If you have a DIY project that scares you, just do it scared! You may make mistakes, but don’t let that hold you back from learning new things. And who knows- maybe you’ll invent some new yoga poses in the process!

You can follow along on the Holland Avenue Home Instagram and Instagram Stories for behind-the-scenes progress before it comes to the blog. I’ll be sharing weekly updates here on my blog, and you can get reminders every time a post goes live through entering your email into the “brighten my inbox” tab to the right of this post.

Don’t forget to check out the design plans of the Featured Designers and other Guest Designers on the One Room Challenge Blog. 

Thanks for following along, and stay tuned for next week’s project- making Ikea curtains look high-end with Rit dye and pleating, and the final styling touches!

Catch up on all six weeks of my Spring 2019 One Room Challenge:

Week 1: High Style, Low Budget Sunroom Transformation

Week 2: DIY Tree Stump Coffee Tables

Week 3: The Power of Paint

Week 4: DIY $150 Bed Swing and Painted Concrete Floors

Week 5: Finishing Touches

Week 6: Before & After High Style, Low Budget Sunroom

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DIY Tree Stump Coffee Tables: One Room Challenge Week 2

If you’re finding me through the One Room Challenge, welcome to my home on the internet! I’m Avery and I live in a charming 1910 Craftsman style home in rural Iowa with my husband. You can learn more about me here, and see some of my previous design work in my kitchen, and my Fall 2018 One Room Challenge: Cozy Eclectic Master Bedroom Reveal. My design style is cozy, whimsical, and collected. You can follow along with my homemaking adventures on the Holland Avenue Home Instagram.

Welcome to week two of my One Room Challenge! Last week, I revealed my High Style, Low Budget Sunroom Design Plan.  Here is a quick recap of my moodboard.

One Room Challenge Final Design Plan

I’m planning to tackle quite a few DIY projects for this space, and I finished the first one yesterday! I originally planned to make a coffee table with wood and strips of leather, but that was before I saw these stumps in the lobby of an antique store.


I frequent Celia’s Antiques in Storm Lake, Iowa. The owner, Celia, is a cheerful and welcoming woman who is always sporting a pair of oversized overalls, and has a gift for styling her unique collection of antiques. These two stumps were in the lobby, and I “went out on a limb” to ask her how much she wanted for them. Her exact, surprised response was, “You want the stumps?!?!” I told her that, yes, I very much “wanted the stumps” and would like to buy them. She told me that if I wanted them, I could just take them! I couldn’t be-leaf it!

I came back later with my husband and our Honda CRV, ready to load them up and make some magic. Celia gave me a small cart to get them into the car, and sent me home with it so I could get them out, too!


On the way home, we stopped by Rent-All in Storm Lake so that I could rent a sander. (I actually don’t own any tools, but I am hoping to pick up a few now that I have discovered a love for projects galore!)

Rent-All is a magical place where you can rent anything from a hand sander to a bouncy house to a forklift! Our friend from church is the manager, and he always hooks us up with tools for projects and inflatables for church parties.


I asked him if he knew how I could level out the uneven stump, and he went out to the car to take a look. He said it would be easy enough with a chainsaw, and they had it leveled that afternoon!

I made a quick trip to Ace Hardware for my supplies before heading home.


If you want to do this project, you’ll only need a few supplies. (Some of these links are Amazon affiliate links, which means I will make a small percent commission at no extra cost to you if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon through my links.)

DIY Stump Coffee Table Supplies



  1. Choose your stumps. If your stumps are freshly cut, they will need time to dry out completely. (These stumps were inside the store lobby for a few years, so this step was already finished!) Make sure that your stump is not rotten or infested with bugs. If you are choosing two stumps and you have options, try to pick two that aren’t exactly the same height. You can look around on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for people getting rid of stumps, or contact a local lumber yard or tree removal service. You might get lucky!
  2. Remove the bark. This step was also already finished when I got my stumps. If your stump has bark, you will need to remove all of it with a hammer and chisel or pry-bar.
  3. Sand top and sides with 80 grit sandpaper. I sanded the top very thoroughly, and sanded the sides where it was possible with the electric sander. I wanted the smooth parts of the stump to be a little smoother, but didn’t worry about smoothing out every nook and cranny. They are trees, after all, and I didn’t want them to look like a bowling alley.
  4. Sand top and sides with 100 grit sandpaper. The lower the “grit”, the more abrasive the sandpaper will be. Always start with the lower number, and move up to the higher grit.
  5. When you are content with the smoothness, sand lightly with 220 grit for a reeeally smooth finish before coating. 
  6. Wipe away dust. You can use a wet rag- just allow to dry completely before moving on.
  7. If you want to stain the stumps, do that before the clear coat. I chose not to stain my stumps because I like the natural look of the unfinished wood. (And definitely not because it was just less work! 😉 )
  8. Apply first coat of poly. This step makes a huge difference. I used clear, semi-gloss polycrylic, which darkened the stumps just a bit. Watch for drips around the top and out of any cracks down the sides.
  9. After poly is dry, sand with 220 grit sanding block. Repeat this poly/sand process until you’ve done three or four coats of poly with a light sanding in between.
  10. Cut out felt for the bottom of the stump. I flipped my stump upside down after the poly was completely dry, and draped the bottom with my yard of felt. I roughly cut out a piece of felt that was about an inch smaller in circumference than the stump.
  11. Nail in the furniture glides. I tried to space them out evenly around the stump. (I’ll share a photo of this step later.)
  12. Secure the edges of the felt with tiny nails.
  13. Admire your new fancy coffee table and laugh at all of the places that sell them for $1,000+
  14. Take some ibuprofen because your back will probably KILL in the morning (especially if you had to move the stumps around by yourself!)

Here are some photos of my process. This is a beginner level project, and using this hand sander is actually the first time I’ve used a power tool by myself!



This photo was taken after completing the stump on the left, just before starting on the other stump. The poly gave it a really nice, high-end finish, while maintaining the organic stump-like features.


One finished stump, and one raw stump. Just a little bit of work made a tree-mendous difference!


This is the bottom of the first stump after the poly was dry.


To create the felt base, I draped my yard of felt over the stump and roughly cut a piece that was 1″ in diameter smaller than the edges of the stump.


I nailed in the furniture glides, and then secured the edges of the felt with tiny nails. (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of this step!)


I don’t have a photo of both finished stumps because they are still in my garage, and we’ve had rain today! I can’t wait to see them em-bark on their new journey as coffee tables in my sunroom.

This project took me two afternoons (about 7-8 hours total), and about $35-$40 in supplies. (I bought a $50 gallon of poly, but only used 1/4 of it, averaging about $12)

Cost Breakdown

Stumps: free

Sandpaper: $15

Poly: $12 (would be $20 to buy a quart)

Felt: $2

Nail-in Furniture Glides: $8

Total: About $40

If you want to skip the DIY and just buy a stump coffee table, here are a few options. First, allow me to wish you luck in getting approved for a coffee table loan, and second, allow me to walk away so I don’t accidentally laugh to your face about how expensive these are.

  1. $2,500 Arhaus Clayhill Coffee Table (The top is composed of 1/4 inch slices of petrified wood. The table itself is made from resin. Oh, and shipping is $500.)

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2. $1,499 Arhaus Root Outdoor Bleached Coffee Table (This is made from concrete)


3. $449 Crate & Barrel Teton Natural Solid Wood Table (Okay, at least this one is real wood!)

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4. $287.25 Etsy seller Shefford Woodlands (this is a more affordable option if you really love the look, but don’t think you can find stumps. This listing is for one large stump.)

etsy stump

5. $120 Amazon Teak Reclaimed Stump or Stool (Here is the normal-person option if you really want the look, but take note that it is only 10 inches wide and about 16 inches tall!)

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I documented the whole process of finishing these stumps on my Instagram stories! You can follow along there for behind-the-scenes progress before it comes to the blog. I’ll be sharing weekly updates here on my blog, and you can get reminders every time a post goes live through entering your email into the “brighten my inbox” tab to the right of this post.

Don’t forget to check out the design plans of the Featured Designers and other Guest Designers on the One Room Challenge Blog. 

Thanks for following along, and stay tuned for next week’s project- PAINT!!!

Catch up on all six weeks of my Spring 2019 One Room Challenge:

Week 1: High Style, Low Budget Sunroom Transformation

Week 2: DIY Tree Stump Coffee Tables

Week 3: The Power of Paint

Week 4: DIY $150 Bed Swing and Painted Concrete Floors

Week 5: Finishing Touches

Week 6: Before & After High Style, Low Budget Sunroom

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Don’t forget to save this post on Pinterest!

diy tree stump coffee table pinterest.jpg

Minimal and Whimsical Christmas Decor DIY: Family Photo Santa Hats

A few days ago, I was thinking about how I could incorporate Christmas decor into our home without spending money or accumulating more stuff.

I like to go around the house and subtract some year-round decor before adding in the Christmas decorations so things don’t feel too cluttered. I removed a lot of decorative objects, but I kept all of our artwork and family photos.

Then I had a million dollar idea that I knew I could execute for zero dollars.

Santa hats on family photos.

I used supplies I had around the house to add a whimsical Christmasy touch to the decor we already had. It isn’t more stuff, but it is Christmas decor. Instead of junking up my shelves and flat surfaces with Christmasy things, I decided to add a festive touch to the “decor” we have all year! It was free, so simple, and I think it is pretty hilarious.

This post is less of a “how-to” and more of an “I did this and you can, too!”

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I grabbed a framed wedding photo from our living room shelf, and my favorite vintage bird poster that hangs above our bar cart. (The link to the poster is an Amazon affiliate link, which means I will make a small percent commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase anything on Amazon through my link!)


I remembered I had this pom pom garland that I made with felt balls my Mom gave me. I took the white felt balls off of the garland to use on the hats for the wedding photo.

You can do this however you want, but I used red construction paper, white cardstock, and two felt balls.


I laid the red construction paper over the photo to measure out the width and overall size for the hats.


After cutting out the red part, I put them over the white cardstock to use as a reference for the size of the white trim.


After I had all three pieces, I taped the white trim onto the red hat, the pom pom onto the top, and the whole thing onto the glass frame! I couldn’t find any glue in the house, but if you have glue, I would recommend using it to secure your pom poms.

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Because I only had two white pom poms, I used white cardstock for the birds’ hats.


I don’t know about you, but I think that tiny birds wearing tiny hats is hilarious.

This project was free, easy, and adds a festive and comical Christmas touch to decor we already had! Knock yourself out making Santa hats for family photos, art prints, or anything else inside a glass frame. I have a few pieces of vintage art (without glass) that would be hilarious with Santa hats on the people, but I don’t want to damage the vintage prints.

That’s all I have for today, but I wanted to share my idea with you! I have a few other Christmasy posts coming soon, so stay tuned for those! To be reminded when new posts go live, enter your email in the “brighten your inbox” tab to the right.

If you decide to do this quick project, share a photo on Instagram with the Holland Avenue Home tag, #thoughtfulhomemaking so I can share it on my Instagram story! (Or send me your photos in a direct message!)

Thanks for following along with me here on Holland Avenue Home, and don’t forget to follow my Instagram for your daily invitation to thoughtful homemaking and resourceful decorating. 

With love, 

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