DIY DUPLEX Before & After| Affordable Airbnb Kitchen Makeover


I’m excited to share the kitchen makeover at the DIY Duplex! This is my favorite space in the downstairs unit. We were on a tight budget for this DIY renovation, and found a bunch of cost savings ways to make a fun and functional kitchen for our Airbnb guests!


During the process of picking out supplies for this kitchen (see more on the “DUPLEX KITCHEN” highlight on @ISPYDIY Instagram) you all were most interested in the cabinets. We designed kitchens at both Ikea and Menards using their online kitchen design programs – check out the Menards Kitchen Designer here and the Ikea one here. You can also go into the store and work with a designer (which can be a lot quicker then learning the program). The price was pretty comparable between the two, with Menards being a little better of a deal if you order during Menards 11% rebate event, which amounted to a couple hundred dollars in store credit back. The big reason we went with the Menards kitchen is that the cabinet bases come already assembled, whereas the Ikea ones come in flat boxes and need to be built from scratch. Having the cabinets delivered already put together is a HUGE time saver. Mr. Yolo could just set them in place, and then just add the doors and base. Unfortunately, Menards stores are not everywhere in the US, but I asked if they would deliver, and they said to contact the nearest store and ask for shipping options. We are really happy with the quality! I picked the KLËARVŪE Cabinetry in Varsta Canyon, which is a wood laminate finish. They have not got a ton of use yet (the real test will be after the Summer season of Airbnb guests), but they seem solid so we feel confident they will withstand heavy use. 

Cabinets/trim = $1400 and then took advantage of the 11% rebate at Menards.


I bought this antique table awhile back, and when we were looking for an island for this kitchen, this ended up being the exact size needed to fit the space! Just had to do a couple clear coats on the top to seal it, and add casters on the bottom of each leg. Now guests can roll it around the space and use it as a table or prep space for cooking. Best thing is that we repurposed things we already had so the cost was minimal!


Durning demo, we uncovered a stairway to nowhere behind the kitchen wall! We turned the unused space into a pantry and put a stacked washer/dryer on the back wall. We installed shelves for all the cleaning supplies, plus another peg rail for coat storage. Bonus space well used!

Peg rail

We saved a bunch of money by not doing upper cabinets which works great for an Airbnb because short-term guests do not need the storage. Stay tuned, because later this week I will have a tutorial for the peg rail!


When I got a sneak peek at this tile by Annie Selke for The Tile Shop, I knew I wanted to use it in my next project! You all know that I have put The Tile Shop tile in all my home renovations, so I was so excited when they agreed to sponsor the tile in this kitchen. I love putting statement tile in our houses, because they stand out to potential renters on Airbnb. This tile is not “budget”, but as a designer I love the opportunity to show you all how it looks in a space, so you know if a statement tile is right for you! I am so in love with the floor tile, and can see it in a mudroom or laundry room if it is too bold for a kitchen. And this subway tile has a handmade look, with aging around the edges and a crackle finish, giving it a softer feel than traditional subway tile. I love it so much that we used it in the bathroom and the upstairs kitchen, and have plans to use it for the backsplash in another house.

Backsplash Tile: Annie Selke Artisanal Pearl Grey Wall Tile $11.99/sq. ft
Floor Tile:  Annie Selke Ikat Blue Ceramic Wall and Floor Tile – 20 x 20 in. $8.99/sq. ft

Butcher Block

To save money on countertops, we chose butcher block, and only spent $220! In general, you sacrifice durability for the low cost, and add some routine maintenance that the higher cost countertops, like Quartz, do not require. But, we have butcher block countertops in another house where the kitchen gets used a ton, and have not had any major problems. For any stains, scuffs, or water marks we buff out with 220 grit sandpaper and recoat with butcher block oil. Since the cabinets are wood color in this kitchen, we tried something new, and perhaps a little risky, and white washed the countertops with 3 coats of Antique White stain and then used a Butcher Block Oil & Finish to seal them. So far, this combo has repelled stains, but we have not done any major cooking (or wine pouring) in the kitchen. The nice thing is, we can always sand them down and re-stain darker if the upkeep of the white is too tough. I’ll do a follow-up on these countertops once we have more guests cooking in the kitchen!

Butcher Block Top 25″ Wide x 96″ Long x 1.5″ Thick = $220 
Watco® Butcher Block Oil & Finish = $13
1 qt. Antique White Premium Fast Dry Interior Wood Stain = $9


We made sure to shop for appliances during the Labor Day sales at Home Depot, and got great deals on Frigidaire! (Fun tip: If Menards is running their 11% rebate, Home Depot also honors it. So use that as a time to shop the prices of each store, knowing that you’ll get 11% store credit with whichever one you choose. With a Home Depot receipt in hand, go to One caveat is that we are not sure the geographical restrictions that Home Depot, since they are national and Menards is midwest.)

Fridge =  $998 
Dishwasher =  $298
Range = $300 (purchased from a friend)

Exposed Brick

We were so excited when we found the original chimney behind the drywall. It’s Cream City Brick, which is native to Milwaukee. To clean the brick we sprayed it with diluted vinegar and scrubbed with a firm bristle brush, cleaned off with a sponge, and repeat. We thought about sealing it, but were super happy with how it cleaned up! 




BARNHOUSE | Baby Girl’s Schoolhouse Nursery Reveal!


We finished the nursery just in time for Baby Girls Yolo’s arrival!!! And I am excited to share it with you! We actually had 3/4 of it finished this Summer for a photoshoot with Country Living Magazine’s March 2020 issue (on newsstands now). I knew the angle they wanted to shoot, so we painted and wallpapered it, and set up the crib…but got busy so the other side of the room was left unfinished, ha! Since Baby Girl was 12 days late, we thankfully had a bunch of time to finish up! 

The key with this space is efficiency. The room is not all that big (9 x 10.5 ft plus a 5×2 closet) and I wanted to make sure we fit in a crib, a changing station, storage for clothing, and a comfy slider for nursing. I am happy to say that after a couple weeks of having Baby Girl home, the nursery is functioning amazingly, and there is just enough floor space for the pups to lay around the chair during each feeding!

The Concept

Let’s start with the concept for the room. After thrifting the big chalkboard, I knew I wanted a schoolhouse vibe in the nursery. And remember a while back when I was wallpapering the downstairs bathroom?  I had gotten the “Around Campus” school building wallpaper from Chasing Paper for the bathroom, but it did not quite fit the vibe, so I switched to a tree wallpaper. When I was brainstorming the nursery, I measured the room, and had the exact amount of Around Campus paper needed to cover the top half of the nursery! Meant to be!

Color Palette

Even though we knew Baby Girl’s sex early on, I wanted the room to be neutral colors. If you have been following for a while, you know my love for Behr’s Silver Celadon. Note: Silver Celadon is chalk paint color that I ask to have turned into a matte paint. All the doors on the second level are painted this color, so I could get a little sense of what it would look like in the room. It is just prettiest, most calming color, so it was a no brainer to continue it on the bottom half of the walls. It reads a lot more sage in this room compared to the hallway, which I really liked, because it feels like a different color in the room (reminder, make sure to test paint in the room you are painting because light can really affect the color!)

The Trim

I knew I wanted a chair rail to separate the bottom paint from the top wall paper. So we measured the height of one wall paper panel, marked that distance from the ceiling, and set our trim to that elevation. We used two pieces of wood for the chair rail; a standard chair rail profile for the top and a decorative band below. By combining two standard pieces, you essentially create your own, custom trim. It’s such a simple DIY; just cut the trim with a 45 degree angle at the corners, and use a brad nailer to tack it to the wall. Use a little caulk and wood filler to infill seams and cover nail holes, then paint. It’s a big impact upgrade for a low cost! Once the chair rail was up, we painted the base, wall, and chair rail with Behr’s Silver Celadon in a matte finish. Once dry, I hung Chasing Paper’s “Around Campus”  wallpaper above.

The Crib

The moment I saw this crib, I knew it was perfect for the room! The brass frame was exactly what I was looking for, plus it converts into a toddler bed so we can use it for a few years!

The Chair

I am SO in love with the slider! When DucDuc reached out and offered to make me a custom piece for the nursery, I was so excited, because this linen buffalo check is gorgeous and perfect for the room. Yes, the Sully slider is pricey, but if it’s in your budget, the quality is impeccable. The pattern lines up perfectly from piece to piece, the craftsmanship is stunning, and the chair is beyond comfortable. Baby Girl and I have spent hours sitting in the slider and we just melt right in. The ottoman slides as well, which I wonderful when you need to put your feet up! Plus, it doubles as storage, so I can put my pump in there, so it’s out of sight, but within arm’s reach.

The Rug

You know how much I love Loloi rugs! And this one was perfect for the nursery. Its so soft, and the colors tie together the room, while adding just a dash of peachy pink. I also love that the pattern plays well with the patten on the chair!

All Baby Girl’s books are in my “Schoolhouse Nursery” Amazon shop!

The Chalkboard

I can’t wait for Baby Girl to get creative drawing on this thrifted chalkboard!  In the meantime, I chalked some of her stats on the board for her to sleepily pose in front of 🙂

Closet Changing Station

We maximized space by turning the closet into a changing station. Mr. Yolo and I were looking for a dresser at Goodwill to paint and convert into a changing table, and then we spotted this actual changing table for $25! It’s not an antique, but it was the perfect size so we could not pass it up. I covered up the faux mahogany “wood” by painting it with chalk paint (I mixed a few colors to get this dark blue/gray), then changed out the hardware to these brass handles. The changing basket I got fit perfectly in the top.

Hanging rack 

The Hanging rack was a quick DIY using a galvanized pipe and hanging brackets. Before hanging I used Rub & Buff to turn them gold! Supplies are in my Amazon Nursery Shop!  

Sponged Alphabet Wall

Baby Girl came 12 days after her due date, so I was filling my days with random projects while we waited. I was walking around the hardware store one afternoon, and the idea hit me to cut the letters of the alphabet out of sponges, dip them in paint, and sponge the ABC’s onto the closet wall. It was the perfect busy work to channel my nesting energy into. It definitely took longer than I thought, ha! First, I cut out one letter per sponge. I just freehanded it, but you could use a Sharpie to draw the letter on the sponge before cutting it. Then, set aside a chunk of time for the painting part. Once you start, you are going to want to finish because you will need to reuse each letter, and you don’t want the paint to dry on the sponge. I dipped each letter in paint, blotted it off, and then pressed it on the wall.

More after the break!




PAINT COLOR ROUND-UP | Bayview Barnhouse + Paint Picking Tips!


The question I get most often is “what paint color is that!?”

Paint is one of the best ways to incorporate color and personality into a space. But, walking into the paint store staring at the wall of tiny paint squares can feel like the most daunting choice you make in your home! Paint colors are one of the questions I get asked most because they can be so hard to choose. Filters, lighting, and time of day all affect how colors will look.

Typically Mr. Yolo and I are renovating an entire house from top-to-bottom, so we have a blank slate. It can be super overwhelming to know what color you want in EVERY room during the renovation process. To combat this, we start by painting the entire house some type of white before adding accent colors. In the Barnhouse, we painted the whole house Behr’s Swiss Coffee — including the ceilings. This is a very approachable white with some warmth to it, because I did not want the house to feel too stark. It’s a really cozy white, that I love and use in every house now.

Pro Tip: We use a sprayer, which makes the process so much quicker. And I could write an entire post on paint sprayers (which I might just do!) because I get a ton of questions whenever we use one. In short: Spraying takes ALOT more prep time, but the actual painting is super quick. I would recommend a sprayer if you are painting a whole empty room. If you are only painting your walls or an accent wall, rolling it is the way to go! 

I went a shade darker than the walls on the trim, Behr’s Cotton Knit, so there would be a little dimension. In most of my photos the trim and wall read the same, but in real life it’s a subtle difference that is really pretty. It’s SO FUN to see a bunch of you use this same combo and love it! We use a different paint sheen on the trim than on the walls. This also helps add dimension to the room. Typically I choose an eggshell finish on the walls and satin on the trim — but not always depending on the look I am trying to achieve.

Paint with a sheen tends to repel fingerprints and wipes easier than a flat paint on trim. So it’s often recommended to use a semi-gloss on trim, but I am not a huge fan of gloss, so I stick to a flatter sheen. Behr also recently came out with ULTRA Scuff Defense that has the look of a flat, but the durability of gloss, which we tried in the Duplex. So far so good, but I will follow-up in a future Duplex paint picks post to let you know how it holds up. 


With hundreds of shades of white, how do you choose? 

Pick a white paint, easy, right!? Nope! There are SO many whites!

At I SPY Abode I used HGTV Home’s Pure White, which really is one of the purest whites I’ve ever seen. It worked with the design of that house, but it wouldn’t have worked at the Barnhouse because I wanted a more cozy, inviting feel. Behr’s Swiss Coffee is my go-to. It’s white, but it has a little bit of warmth that doesn’t feel too stark. After using it in The Barnhouse, I became obsessed with it. I’ve recommended it to friends and fam that are looking for a white, and it’s looked SO GOOD in ALL of their homes! We also used it in our Duplex renovation, which has more blue accents in the tile and accent walls, and it still looks fantastic!

Tip: Cooler is more blue tones. Warmer is more yellow tones. 

Both whites and accent colors can take on many different shades. You’ll want to select samples and paint them on your walls. Try them in different spaces of the room and look at them during different times of the day.

My top tips for choosing paint colors are:

  • Start with a couple of inspiration pieces like a pillow, blanket, or art that will hang in that room. Take your inspiration pieces with you to the paint store and select paint swatches that pull from the hues in those items. This is a great place to start when you’re feeling at a loss for what color to use.
  • Never go off of how the tiny paint square looks in the store! I beg you! Choose a few paint swatches you like based on your inspiration pieces and then buy a few tester cans and paint them on your walls. Remember to look at them in different light and on different walls. Or you can try the Peel & Stick samples that you can order online for a couple of bucks. These actually work pretty well because you can move them wall to wall, but nothing works better than painting a swatch on your wall! 
  • Look at paint samples that are a shade lighter and a shade darker than you think you like. That will help you find your true favorite.
  • When rooms are in eyesight of each other, make sure you pick colors that complement each other. Try to achieve an overall cohesive look choosing colors that play well together instead of clash.

Here’s a roundup of all the Barnhouse paint colors:


Walls:  Swiss Coffee Finish: Eggshell
Trim: Cotton Knit Finish: Satin



Walls: Swiss Coffee Finish: Eggshell
Trim/shelves: Silver Celadon Finish: Chalk Paint



Walls:  Swiss Coffee Finish: Eggshell
Trim: Cotton Knit Finish: Satin
Stairs: Satin Black Finish: Satin, Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior Satin Enamel

When we purchased the Barnhouse, the stairs were wood and had varnish on them. I quickly found that stripping and sanding them was going to be a big undertaking. So instead of trying to stain them, I decided to paint them. I used Kilz oil-based primer in a gray tone (if you’re painting with a dark color use gray primer). KILZ primer will stick to anything with a finish (I did do a light sand before priming) and it won’t chip. After the primer, I used exterior paint on the stairs for durability. This paint has been amazing. We didn’t have a stair runner for almost a year, and the paint still looks great even after lots of feet and paws have been up and down thousands of times!


Living Room

Walls:  Swiss Coffee Finish: Eggshell
Trim: Cotton Knit Finish: Satin


Downstairs Bathroom

Walls:  Swiss Coffee Finish: Eggshell
Accent Color: Blue Metal Finish: Matte

Behr’s Blue Metal is one of my absolute favs! I saw this at one of their events and just knew I had to use it somewhere. So in this room, I started with the color and built off of that instead of using an inspiration piece. In the bathroom, I painted to the bottom of the wall and then used Chasing Paper wallpaper on the top, which has become my go-to in bathrooms! If you are using a dark color in a small room, this can be an excellent way to make the room lighter and brighter while still using a dark paint color. And this is definitely one of those colors you want to test. On some walls it looks blue and others greenish/gray. Then I picked decor in that space that would work with both, no matter which way the paint was reading on a wall. I picked landscape paintings that had grays and greens and blues so they would all play together. I chose a matte finish for this paint because I wanted it to look rich and have no sheen. I didn’t want it to look modern, but as though it had been there for years.

Barnhouse_paintcolors_upstairsLanding copy


Walls:  Swiss Coffee Finish: Eggshell
Trim: Cotton Knit Finish: Satin
Door: Silver Celadon Finish: Chalk Paint

Silver Celadon was a happy accident! The walls on the landing are Behr’s Swiss Coffee (you know, like the rest of my house!), and for some reason, the area was reading pink. I couldn’t figure it out because this wasn’t happening in the other rooms. I think it had something to do with our red house reflecting off the neighbors white house and bouncing in through the bay windows. I played around with a ton of different colors to get an accent color on the doors to tone down the pink. and the greenish undertones in Silver Celadon worked! It’s a beautiful soothing gray that I’ve used in a couple of other spaces. In some rooms, it reads more green, and in some, it’s just gray, so just make sure it works with the vibe you are going for. 

Chalk paint on a door!? Yup, I did it. But would I do it again, probably not. You can see fingerprints on the doors, so I would try the matte Scuff Defence next time.  Pro tip: remember you can color match to a matte paint, which will be less expensive than chalk paint.





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