DIY Home Office Reveal

It is the end of the One Room Challenge and we made it…barely!

If you remember, my inspiration were these beautiful Pottery Barn Cabinets, but there is no way I could spend $3,500 on a cabinet x2 to fit the space.

When you can’t afford what you want, you DIY it.

I took stock Easthaven drawer cabinets from Home Depot to create the bases of my built ins.

Using 2 sheets of 3/4″ inch plywood and 2 sheets of shiplap paneling to create the top portion of the built ins. I trimed it out with 1x2s.

Lots of caulk, wood fill, and paint to make it look finished.

Then onto the fun stuff….decorating. I swear to you, it seemed like I had way more business/design books than what it looks like.

I created a reading corner using a chair and a table/lamp. You’ll notice the pillow has the same hexagon shape as the floor.

On the opposite wall, I was able to have my great-grandparent’s ice box brought into the room. This is one of my favorite things and I love that it fit in my office space.

I’m still in disbelief that this is my office!

Check out the other final reveals by clicking here

Office Progress – ORC Week 6

It’s Week 6 of the One Room Challenge…Only 2 weeks to go! Surprisingly, I actually have some office progress to share today…we may just make it after all.

Hexagon Tile Installed and Grouted

It only took 15 hours to install all the hexagon tiles and grout the whole floor. I love how it turned out!

This was the first floor that I’ve ever tiled and I made sure each tile was level with the tiles next to it. This made grouting so much easier and faster!

Office Progress – Final Tiles being installed

Not only did I finish the floor, I was also able to install the two small side cabinets and the countertop in between.

Office Progress – Finished Floors

We painted the walls Sherwin-Williams color Repose Gray and the window trim with Benjamin Moore Advance Paint.

There’s still a ton to do (build the bookcases, paint the built ins, install hardware, hang the curtains, wire the lights, add baseboards, etc), but I couldn’t help myself and had to start styling one of the corners.

Reading Nook

This table, chair, and hexagon pattern pillow creates a perfect little reading nook!

2 weeks to go! Wish me luck and don’t forget to check out the other participants in the One Room Challenge.

Hexagon Tile Floor – ORC Week 4

We are officially half way done with the Fall One Room Challenge! Based on that fact, you would think I would have the major components of the room done…or even started. But if you’ve been here a while, you know better.

At the end of last week, my only progress was cutting my countertop down and adding the Ditra XL to the floors in preparation of tiling.

Week 3 Progress – Ditra Install

While this week’s progress isn’t amazing, it still is forward momentum, especially considering that I’ve never installed a tile floor before. Most of it was done after the kids went to bed by the glow of a work light and warmth of a ceramic heater as we didn’t have power or heat.

To get started, I dry fitted some tiles to see where I wanted the cuts to be. I had been debating on where the tile should end, but once I marked where the doors would go, I realized I could have a full tile when I walked in and on the opposite back wall.

Dry Fitting the Hexagon Tile Floor

Once I figured out the placement from entry to the back wall, I found the center of the back wall and the the doorway and marked them. I also marked the center of my first tile and laid it. I used my laser to make sure that my first tiles were lining up straight with the doorway.

Installing the First Hexagon Floor Tiles

You wouldn’t believe how long these six tile took me to lay. I utilized the QEP LASH Flat Floor Leveling System (it’s two parts and a tool) to make sure my tile were evenly spaced and level which I verified with my small level.

Installing the Hexagon Floor Tiles

I decided to install all the whole tiles and fill in the cuts later on. I completely lucked out and a whole tile fit perfectly in front of the cabinets. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get that lucky again.

Between the construction crew working on the nearby basement stairs and the front porch, I wasn’t able to work on the floor as much as I would have liked. I made it about 2/3s of the way done with the whole tiles and will be wrapping up the rest of the floor this upcoming week.

End of Week 4 Tile Progress – Installed Hexagon Floor Tiles

If you also follow along on Instagram (@boxwoodathome), you saw that I also made some purchases for the room! I’ll show you those next week!

Dont forget to check out the other amazing transformations here.

Minor Office Progress – Week 3 ORC

I promise I have a lot of ideas for my office, but actually accomplishing them was a definite problem this week. Minor progress may even be an overstatement.

As a reminder, last week ended with the drywall finished and the base cabinetry counters installed.

Week 2 Progress

And, here it is at the end of week 3…

Ditra XL Installed

Tons of progress, right?

To be honest, I did get a few things checked off my list. I was able to get the electrical figured out for my printer drawer which consisted of cutting a hole in the side of my cabinet and plugging in this recessed power strip.

I also vacuumed and wiped the floor then applied mortar to adhere the Ditra XL uncoupling membrane to the subfloor so that it is ready for tile.

I also was able to cut down the other portion of the countertop. It will be ready to be installed as soon as the floor is finished and I’ve painted the walls.

Countertop cut to size

Lastly, I was able to dry fit the tile. I’m super excited for how it fits as I was nervous to attempt a hexagon floor tile.

My hope for this week is to install the tile floor and to get it grouted. I would also love to get the ceiling and walls painted so that I can work on the built ins the following week. However, we still have limited power in the house and no heat so it is slowing down the progress with the temperatures in the 40s and 50s.

To follow along with other participants (who actually made progress!), visit the ORC website.

Budget Friendly Home Office – ORC Week 1-2

I am so excited to be participating in the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge. The challenge encourages participants to renovate a space in 8 weeks. You can follow along with other participants here.

When I signed up originally, I was planning to do our new laundry room, but we are several weeks away from the framing and inspections being complete.

So, what room did I choose instead?

Empty Home Office

I opted to renovate my new home office which is a blank slate. I have been running my own businesses for over 15 years and this is my first ever home office.

The space itself isn’t huge (it’s 8.5 feet deep by 14.5 feet wide), but I’m thankful for every square inch. The office is located right off of our main entry so one of my goals was to create enough storage to keep it clean and manage all my design samples, client files, reference books and more.

Budget Friendly Home Office Design

The design includes built-ins on the back wall, a desk floating in the middle, and an accent chair in the corner. While creating my moodboard for the challenge, I realized that I couldn’t afford most of the items that I love. We will be finding alternatives to create a designer office on a small budget.

Easthaven Drawer Bases

To create budget friendly built-ins, I purchased 4 unfinished Easthaven Drawer Bases from Home Depot. I originally planned to use butcherblock for the counters, but then found a faux marble countertop at Lowes that was perfect for my vision.

I started installing the cabinets by screwing two of them together and using shims to level them. I then attached them to the studs with 3 inch screws.

Cabinets and Counters installed

I then cut and installed the countertops leaving a small overhang. At the last moment, I decided to add a small 12” upper cabinet on the inside of the other cabinets to help support the long stretch of countertop.

Budget Friendly Home Office Base Cabinets Installed

Next week, we will be working on the built in shelves and adding lighting as well as picking up the tile for the floor.

Thanks for following along!

How to Customize Faux Brick Panels

The Finishe Faux Brick Panels

We knew that we wanted brick in our new entertaining space, but honestly, it wasn’t in the budget for real brick. But, the thought of the red brick panels made me cringe.

I did a ton of research on whitewashing or applying a schmear to the panels, but in all of the up close pictures, you could see the red brick through and in some cases it created a pink tint.

So, through some trial and error, I figured out a way to create a custom brick look.

The Faux Brick Panels – Before


Our paint on a plate

Prepping the Panels:

Once the caulk dries, paint your entire panels your base coat color. We chose a charcoal color to complement the colors of our shed and our stained concrete floor. Don’t worry about the grout lines, just paint the entire panels with a solid coat of your base color.

Base Coat of Paint on the Faux Brick Panels

Customizing the Faux Brick Panels

After your base coat has time to dry, you’re ready to get creative.

We used a basic kitchen sponge cut to the height of a brick and some acrylic paint. On a paper plate, we added some white, black and some of our base color paint. You could pick to any color or even add more white for a whitewashed appearance.

Sponge with minimal paint on it

We started by dipping the sponge in the paint lightly and dry brushing it on with the sponge (blot on a paper towel if necessary to remove excess paint).

On some bricks we worked side to side, others we worked up and down, while on others we swirled the sponge. The goal was to apply the paint lightly so that it highlighted the texture of the bricks.

Lightly apply the paint in different directions highlighting the texture

To make the brick look more textured with varying color, we added in lighter bricks and darker bricks emphasizing the natural texture.

If you accidentally get some paint on the grout lines, just use your base paint color to touch it up.

Close Up of the Finished Faux Brick Panels

It took two of us about 2.5 hours to paint the top halves of 6 panels of brick.

It was such a fun project and I love how it out. We have gotten so many compliments on it from family and friends.

Before and After – Faux Brick Panels

See other ways we’ve used the faux brick panels here.

How to paint furniture to last!

Dresser updated with black paint and light distressing (handles are coming)

We’ve all seen the posts claiming that you don’t have to prep furniture before you paint it. The truth is, you can, but you may be disappointed in how the finish lasts. Knots can bleed through, it may chip or peel, or it may discolor over time.

I’m a firm believer that prep work is key. I’m not suggesting you sand for hours to remove the original finish, but instead use the proper products to work smarter, not harder.

Supplies to paint furniture and cabinets
***Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.***

To get started, you will need:

Once you have your materials, it’s time to get painting! Actually, it is time for the dreaded prep work that I mentioned, but I promise it won’t be too painful.

The honey oak dresser was in need of a new finish

Step 1) – Clean

To get started, take any doors, drawers, and hardware off. Next use your TSP and a clean rag to wipe all the pieces down. Make sure to follow the directions on your bottle of TSP (there is no rinse TSP and TSP that you need to rinse). Allow the pieces to dry.

Prepping for paint by removing the doors, drawers, and hardware

Step 2) – Degloss

After the grease and grime is off of your piece, it is time to tackle the finish. You do not need to sand the entire finish off, instead you can use the liquid sandpaper or deglosser to break down the finish.

Step 3) – Repair

Now that the piece is clean and the finish is not shiny or slippery, you can see if there are any knicks, scratches, or imperfections that need to be repaired. Apply the wood fill to any imperfections and slightly overfill it. Allow the wood fill to dry and then sand smooth using your sandpaper. If you notice any rough patches, sand with your 120 grit sandpaper and then finish sanding with 220 grit until smooth. You may need to do a second coat and resand if it shrinks a little when it dries.

After cleaning and deglossing, it is time to prime the furniture

Step 4) – Prime

At this point, your piece should be clean, deglossed, and repaired. It is finally time to bust out your paint brush, roller, tray, and primer. When you’re applying primer, it doesn’t need to be perfect and 100% solid coverage. Instead, the piece just needs to be fully covered with a thin smooth layer.

To achieve a smooth finish, work in sections using the brush to get into corners, crevices, etc. Then follow with the roller to smooth out the finish. Allow to fully dry.

**If you are painting over a knotty wood, you may want to seal the knots with shellac before you prime to prevent bleed through. Follow with a stainblocking primer like Kilz 3.**

Step 5) – Sand

If you want a professional finish, do not skip this step. Use your 220 grit sand paper to lightly sand any brushstrokes or raised primer on your furniture piece. After sanding, use a shop vac, air blower, or tack cloth to make sure you have all of the dust and debris off.

Reminder: The primer doesn’t need to look pretty, it just needs to be covering the existing finish and it needs to be smooth.

First coat of paint

Step 6) – Paint your furniture!

Let’s paint! You will use the same process as Step 4. Use your paint brush to cut it, get in grooves and crevices, then immediately follow with your roller to smooth out any brushstrokes. A high quality cabinet/furniture paint like Benjamin Moore Advance is slow drying so that the brushstokes will self-level and smooth out. Allow the first coat to completely dry according to the paint instructions.

If you have any drips or brushstrokes, lightly sand them with the 220 grit sandpaper and clean up the debris before adding your next coat. Apply the second coat the same way as the first coat. Allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours. Two coats of paint is always required, however, if you are painting white or a really dark color, you may want to apply a third coat to make sure the color is consistent.

Benjamin Moore Advance is an alkyd paint so it will dry to a hard, durable finish, so no top coat required.

The final coat of paint is on the drawers and are drying

You did it!!! You just refinished a piece of furniture and the finish will be durable and last a long time! This process can also be used on cabinets, furniture, and other items.

Here are some of the other paint projects we’ve done:

Kitchen painted with this same method and products
Nightstands updated with primer and paint
Makeover using paint and wallpaper

How to make DIY String Light Metal Posts

DIY Poles to hang String Lights

At our last house, we had a great poured patio that needed some lighting.

So, I grabbed some 4×4 posts, quikcrete post mix, some cup hooks, string lights and resin planters from the local hardware store.

Wooden String Light Poles
The patio lit up with string lights

They worked well for years, but over time the posts started to warp and twist. We ended up leaving them at our old house when we moved.

We are still building and working on our new yard, but I couldn’t resist my first outdoor DIY…lighting!

This time I decided to use galvanized pipes for a sleeker look and no warping.

Supplies for string light poles

Materials (per Light Post):


To get started, I screwed a flange to the each end of the pipe.

On the end where the lights will attach, I screwed the cap to the nipple and then screwed it into one of the flanges. I added a carabiner through one of the flange holes.

Top of the pole assembled

I attached the flange on the bottom to a scrap piece of wood with deck screws and set it in the planter.

Scrap wood helps to stabilize the poles before the Quikrete is added

I added a 50 lb bag of Quikrete to each planter and added a gallon of water to each one.

Light Pole ready to go

I made sure the poles were plumb as they set. Once the concrete was set, I gave the poles two light coats of spray paint.

Hanging the lights was as simple as threading the lights through the carabiner.

Finished String Light Post with Planter

We opted for solar lights since the area these are going doesn’t have power, but plug in lights would work great too. We currently have the solar panels on the pipe but can also attach them to the flange at the top.

It is still cold in Michigan, but flowers will be planted in the planters

There is room in the planters to add rocks and then soil for plants. You could also add small solar ground lights too.

I hope you enjoy this project! Follow my blog for more projects! New patio area coming soon!

How to make a simple Ladder Trellis

Easy Decorative Ladder Trellis

Two years ago, I purchased a building, but I wasn’t in love with the exterior. Not only did it lack curb appeal, it was poorly insulated and the single pane glass windows leaked air and water.

L: The building when we purchased it
R: with the new front

We couldn’t center the new windows the way that I would have liked and I was limited on size due to structural supports. I thought a modern ladder trellis would be perfect to balance the negative space on each side of the windows.

Materials Needed:

  • (4) 2x2x8 pressure treated boards
  • (5) 1x2x8 pressure treated boards
  • wood glue
  • 2″ brad nails

Tools Needed:

  • Saw
  • Nail gun
  • Spacers
(4) 2x2x8 boards and (5) 2x1x8 boards


The trellis were super easy to make. It only took 20 minutes to make two of them.

I determined that they needed to be 7ft tall to fit the area where I wanted to place them. Then I cut my (4) 2x2s down to 7 ft and I decided to cut 18 cross pieces out of the 1x2s at a width 23.75″.

I wanted a more modern ladder look, so I decided to do three sections of three boards. I started by lining up my two uprights and putting spacer blocks between them to keep them square.

Use a spacer to keep spacing even

I then put the cross pieces over top of my uprights. I used a second set of spacer blocks to make sure they were evenly spaced.

Nailing the cross pieces in place

I added wood glue and then nailed the pieces in place using my brad nailer.

Finished Trellis

Once all 9 cross pieces were attached, I let the glue dry and then stained it with Briarsmoke stain and sealed it with spar urethane.

The trellis with the planter in front

I left a bigger space towards the bottom so that I could put a planter I front of the trellis.

The front of the building with the trellis

This project was super easy, but really helped to balance the negative space on each side of the windows and I can’t wait to add some solar lights and to vines to them!

Before & After

I hope you’ll try to make one too!

How to build a DIY Stone Fireplace

From a blank wall…to a beautiful focal point

Have you ever looked at a blank space and thought that it needed something more? That was this wall. It was somewhat small with two windows and was the only place for the television to go in the room. So, naturally it seemed like the perfect place to add a fireplace.

The wall before…

The thought of building a fireplace might be intimidating, but if you can build a box, you can build this fireplace!

To get started, you will need:


  • (1) 2″ x 12″ x 10′ for the hearth
  • (11) 2″ x 4″ x 10′ for framing
  • 1.5 sheets of 1/2″ thick 4′ x 8′ plywood
  • Silver Travertine Tile (enough to cover your size surface)
  • (9) tubes of Liquid Mortar
  • Oak beam for the mantle
  • Salvaged wood for the hearth
  • Electric Fireplace Insert


  • Drill
  • Level
  • Speed Square
  • Circular Saw
  • Tile Saw
  • Caulk Gun for Liquid Mortar


Building the base:

To begin, we figured out how much space we wanted between the windows and the new fireplace. In our case, we wanted our fireplace to be 74″ wide (this will vary depending on your space and insert). We subtracted seven inches for the sides to be build out of 2x4s as well as 2 inches for the substrate and tile.

First, we cut two 2x4s down to 64″ long. Then we attached one board horizontally to the wall studs making sure it was level and was at the height that we wanted the mantel to sit on. Next, we attached the second board to the base of the wall making sure it was in line with the first board.

We had mounted our first 2x4s to the wall

Then, we used 2x4s to create two identical rectangles for the sides. We made sure that they were exactly the height of our mounted board. Also, we made sure that the fireplace insert had enough clearance per the instructions. Then, the rectangle boxes were attached to wall and the existing boards to create the sides.

The sides are just rectangles made out of 2×4s

We then built another square out of 2x4s to fit inbetween the sides as a front. Make sure it is square before attaching it.

You should have 3 boxes attached together to form the base frame.

Building the Upper Frame:

The homeowners wanted their fireplace to go all the way to the ceiling. So, we created another box using 2x4s making sure it was securely attached in the ceiling and to the wall studs.

The upper frame

Next, we added some extra supports to make hanging the television easy and solid.

Supports for the television

Framing the Insert:

Finally, it was time to frame in the fireplace insert. Be sure to follow your instructions for your fireplace. We simply attached some 2x4s to create the width we needed. Next, we added cross pieces for the insert to sit on top of.

We added 2x4s to support the fireplace insert on all sides.

Building the Hearth:

We were able to use just one 2×12 to create the hearth. One piece was attached on each end and then the front piece was attached.

The hearth was constructed out of a 2×12

Once the framing was done, it was finally starting to look like a fireplace.

Finished Framing


Now, the next steps really depend on what you want your finished fireplace to look like. At this point you could add shiplap, paneling, etc.

We had to add a backer board since we were using tile. Our particular tile allowed plywood as a substrate. Make sure to follow the recommendations for whichever product you use.

Plywood Wrapped Fireplace

Note: We did not wrap the hearth with plywood since the stone could adhere directly to the 2×12 frame.

We used a tile saw to cut the tile to the lengths we needed and used the caulk gun to apply the liquid mortar to the backs of the tile. This process was faster, cleaner and easier than having to use traditional mortar.

The Stone Tiling Going Up

We sat an old barn beam on the base frame to create a mantle and the hearth top was some reclaimed barnwood that we sanded and stained. They were attached with glue and screws.

Finished Fireplace
Before and After

I love the transformation!!! I hope this gives you the confidence to try it too!

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