ispydiy_barnhouse_livingroom11 Last week our Barnhouse was photographed for a magazine which was an AMAZING experience! To see the house we have been renovating for the last couple years come to life in photographs was surreal. I can’t share which magazine yet, and the story won’t be out until 2020, but in the meantime I snapped some pics of the house and wanted to show you some before and afters, starting with the livingroom! Heads up, a lot of the room is vintage finds, but all the sources of non-antique finds are at the bottom of the post. We actually had an amazing thread going on my IG this week when I asked readers if they get frustrated or inspired when a lot of the decor in a room makeover is thrifted. Mostly, you all LOVE second-hand finds (with some linkable items mixed in)! And agreed that it brings a uniqueness to a space, which made me so happy because I LOVE thrifting!  Now time for the before…and afters!

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This original archway was one of the selling factors of this 1875 built house, I just LOVE this view into the livingroom (and the reverse view of the kitchen!) I get asked most commonly, what are the paint colors?? Wall Paint Color: Behr Swiss Coffee
Trim Paint Color: Behr Cotton Knit. It is a little hard to tell in this photo but the trim is a shade darker then the trim, and the both colors are whites with some warmth to them. I  absolutely love Swiss Coffee, the whole house is painted this color, and I am using it in our new renovation, AND I have recommended it to others….every person/room loves it!!

Fireplace: I knew from day one of the renovation that I wanted to build a fireplace on this wall. It would be the grounding focal point of the room (check out the DIY here!), and we were able to customize it so the box for the TV (yes that art is a TV!) would be housed in a cubby in the fireplace. The Frame TV by Samsung is a game changer, because it looks like art when it’s off and you can change the art every day if you want! It’s seriously fooled half our guests. We got it on Black Friday on Amazon heavily discounted, so if you can wait a few months I highly recommend it!
Layout: One other thing I will say about this room is that there is usually a sectional where that couch on the left is, we moved it out for the photoshoot, and used this West Elm one that used to live in the Airbnb because the magazine wanted to get a shot of the whole room, and the staircase on the opposite side. The sectional blocked both shoots…so in full disclosure, the sectional will probably go back in the room, or I will find a lower profile one for the room because we need a spot for the hub, me and the two pups to cuddle when we watch movies. Since this room is our livingroom AND den/familyroom, plus it’s the first room you see when you walk in the house, it’s been a challenge tying to balance style and function. I don’t actually think I have achieved it yet, but wanted to show you the space in every stage!

Lighting: Right before the shoot we installed new lighting (the old ones will be reused in our new duplex renovation) and WOW did it elevate the space! Fun tip: There is no hardwiring on the wall so we just mounted them on the wall and use puck lights with a remote to turn them on and off (check my HACK highlight on IG). The chandiler also has beautiful shades but was feeling like it was shade heavy with the sconces so took them off, and now I love how they work together! Oh, and the sconces are only $125 for the double light, which considering the quality, I was amazed at that price!
Curtains: The other addition that really elevated the room was removing the blinds and hanging curtains, the brass rod from Annie Selke is the PERFECT gold, and I feel so fancy every time I walk into this room, ha! We hung them so the 108″ curtains just pool about two inches on the ground, and probably could have hung them a little lower to even out the space above and below the rod and then hemmed the curtains, but I love the height it brings to the room!
Thrifted Finds: The barrel side table and the end tables by the couch where acquired from my in-laws. The coffee table was a $40 Antique market find that I painted the top with Behr Black Onyx Chalk paint, I still need to seal with a chalk paint topcoat because I am already seeing some drinks rings. I picked up the wood caddy (for the *real* fire, ha!) for $20 at an antique store. And the little accessories like books, bowls candle sticks are all Goodwill finds!

Painting the Stairs: This stair case transformation makes be SO darn happy, my insane brain was considering replacing this original railing, but painting it Behr Satin Black gave it the updated look I wanted, LOVE!!! We went through a whole process of attempting to strip the original stain, which was a huge headache and ended up using a deglosser, then sanding, then using a Kilz primer (tinted Gray) so the paint would stick, then using the Satin Black in an exterior paint, and I am blown away how well the paint is holding up. Before the runner the pups ran up and down and even their claws did not chip or scratch it!
Runner: My design assistant, Hannah, was installing the runner the day the stylist showed up for the shoot, so everyone was stepping over the poor girl as she worked. But she still did an amazing job! We used the Dash & Albert Samson Black Indoor/Outdoor Runner, actually 3 of them that we pieced together using their tutorial. It took a couple hours, and a whole lot of staples, but walking up and down these stairs is a million times nicer, and we used a thick carpet pad under each step so it’s a squishy dream on the feet!
Art: I was not quite sure what to do for art on the stairs, and when the magazine came to photograph the house, the stylist asked if I had a few paintings I could group together, and I ran around the house and gathered these, we arranged them, and they look pretty darn perfect! I have to admit that I stole them from other rooms, so the question now is, do I find new ones for the other rooms? Or put these back and find new ones for the stairs? I think I would like to replace the floral ones with landscapes…but this is the now! All these were thrifted for between $3 and $40!

Gallery Wall: Ok, let’s talk gallery walls. I did a poll on my IG, and a bunch of you still love them. I am torn, but saw a few with neutral colors, so gathered up all my thifted frames and put this together…I’ll admit, I don’t love it. I think there needs to be more variation in the size of frames and I think it needs to fill more of the wall.  I also think, that in general, it’s really busy for the room that we relax in and watch movies…so it might move. Maybe to the stairs.  I also need to find some larger pieces. My home is always a work in progress, ha! What do you all think?!?
Thrifted Finds: Everything in this shot (except the soft goods, like rugs and the chair) is thrifted! Included the door in the background!

SHOPPING LINKS! (if I missed anything, ask in the comments!)
Wall Paint Color:
Behr Swiss Coffee
Trim Paint Color: Behr Cotton Knit
Stair Color: 
Rug: Dash & Albert Harwich Natural Woven Jute Rug 
Stair Runer: Dash & Albert Samson Black Indoor/Outdoor Runner
Entry Runner: Loloi Layla Runner Olive/Charcoal 
Curtain Rod: Brass Pine Cone Hill Rod 102″-144″
Finials: Brass Pine Cone Hill Pineapple Satin Finial Set of 2
Curtains: Pine Cone Hill Lush Linen Natural Curtain Panel
Sofa: West Elm Andes Sofa 
Sconce: CraftMade Ella Brass Wall Sconce
Chandelier: Craftmade Parker 6 Light Chandelier
Entry Light: Patriot Lighting Annika Black & Natural Brass Pendant
ART/TV: Samsung The Frame Smart TV 55″ 
CHAIR: Article (no longer available)




BarnHouse Backyard | Installing + Maintaining a Sod Lawn


We have been documenting our DIY backyard renovation on Instagram (check out the highlight here!), and one thing we keep getting questions about is the sod: What is the DIY process? What’s the cost? How do you maintain it? Was it worth it? I am going to cover all that today! Plus, I partnered with BLACK+DECKER to show you the Outdoor Powered Equipment we are using to maintain the yard and keep it lookin’ great all Summer!
First up! Why did you pick to sod instead of seed?
I weighed the pro’s and con’s, and even though the sod cost more, me and the hub plus the pups would be able to enjoy the yard much sooner with sod. It was still snowing here in Wisconsin at the end of April, so we got a late start on the backyard, getting an “insta-backyard” with sod was totally worth the extra cost because we only have a couple months of good weather here!

What is the process?
We really had to start from the beginning because the yard was in such bad condition, there was a ton of gravel, glass, and trash mixed in with the dirt, so we rented a Bobcat and dumpster to skim off the top 4-5 inches of dirt and get rid of it.ispydiy_backyard_sod11
Hopefully, you can skip that part and just lay topsoil because it added another $1,000 to the process 🙁  While we had the Bobcat, my hub leveled out the backyard, and then graded it so water would drain towards the driveway. 

After the bad dirt was cleared we had 12 linear ft of topsoil delivered, and spread on the yard 3 inches thick.
Once all the topsoil is down, spread fertilizer on it, and then roll the dirt with a Lawn Roller (pictured above).

Next, the sod was delivered! They suggested laying it within 24 hours of receiving it, which was no problem because it only took us about 2 hours to lay 1000 square feet.

When laying the sod, stagger the seams (photo above) and make sure seems fit tightly together, so it can grow together and not leave gaps.
After all the sod is down, roll it once more.
The most important part: Water! Make sure to water 3 times a day for 15 min. We did this everyday for 1.5 months, and will keep it up on super hot days. And stay off the grass! We tried super hard to stay off for a full month…but made it about 3 weeks before letting the dogs play on it, but waited a month before heavily using it.

What’s the cost for 1000 square foot lawn?
We bought 2 pallets of BlueGrass sod from Home Depot, each pallet was 500 square ft, and the total was $1000, which included the delivery.
The Lawn Roller rental =  $20.
Premium TopSoil = $690 for 12 linear yards (two dump trucks full were delivered)
Fertilizer = $20 for a bag that covers 5,000 sq ft
= $1,730

How do you maintain a sod yard?
Wait to mow the yard for one month after you lay the sod, so it has time to root itself into the topsoil. I have been using my BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX* Lithium 3-in-1 Cordless Mower non-stop at the Airbnbs, so was excited to start using it on our lawn! I set it to the highest blade setting: 7 so I would not shock the grass and gave the lawn it’s first cut after a month of growing. After the first cut, I will drop the blade down to 4. 

Sidenote: If you are not using a battery powered lawn mower, I suggest getting this one ASAP! I’ve had gas and electric, and both are a pain compared to this battery powered one. It’s super light, so I can transport it from house to house easily, and in my experience a yard this size only takes one charge on the 40v battery (I always keep a second charged battery in the storage compartment on the mower for larger lawns).

After mowing, I use BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Lithium Easy Feed String Trimmer/Edger, which easily toggles from edger to trimmer,  so I can use the edger between the patio and grass, and the trimmer along the fence. The rolling guide makes it SUPER easy, plus you just press a button to feed the string.



I SPY ABODE | Master Bedroom Bedding Refresh

Home DIY

Another bedroom refresh!!! This time I am over at my Airbnb, in the Master bedroom giving this room a much need upgrade in the bedding department. Thing were looking a little sad, so when Spoonflower reached out about their new bedding I was super excited to give it a try!! A little bit about Spoonflower for those that have not heard about them: you can shop from over 750,000 designs from independent artist in the Spoonflower Marketplace or upload your own pattern, and have it printed on fabric and wallpaper, and now sheets, pillows, duvets and more! Bonus: everything is printed and sewn in the USA 🙂  Now onto my pattern picks… 

The team at Spoonflower challenged me to mix patterns, and think outside of traditional stripes. Which was super fun, but I will admit, that I changed my mind about 100 times before coming up with this final combination, ha! Once I started putting the room together, I started getting really excited seeing the different pattens play off each other.

The key was picking a color palette and then playing with larger and small prints using those colors. I wanted to keep the rug in the room, so pulled out the pink, orange, gray and cream for my color palette.  Then, I searched for patterns with those colors. Mixing pillows with a darker background and lighter pillows to create a little depth and break up the smaller patterns.

I wanted all the patterns to have an organic feel, and was a little nervous bringing in the stripe sheets, but it really tied all the colors together, and ended up being a great compliment to the more natural patterns!  ispydiy_spoonflower

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I just love how it turned out and think it’s such a fun idea to be able to customize your space! Next up, I want to design some curtains for this room! Check out the links to my product picks below, and have fun picking out your own combinations on Spoonflower! 

King Sheets – EARTHEN WOVEN STRIPE SIENNA PINK By holli_zollinger
King Duvet – ATLANTIS FLEET (Mustard) By nouveau_bohemian
Lumbar Pillow – EARTHEN PALM by holli_zollinger
Throw Pillow – Night Forest (burnt umber) by nouveau_bohemian
Minky Throw – LINEN SOLID blushy by ivieclothco





  • » DIY DESIGN | Guest Bathroom Makeover
  • » MY DIY | Gold-Dipped Side Table Stump
  • » I SPY AIRBNB | Backyard Refresh!
  • » I SPY AIRBNB | Backyard Refresh!
  • » BAYVIEW BARNHOUSE | Mudroom Renovation Before & After
  • » BAYVIEW BARNHOUSE | LOFT Before + After with DIY painted wall


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