The Boathouse Project

We are in Summer’s home stretch, and the Iowa heat and humidity have certainly been oppressive at times! That, combined with a tornado, made this outdoor client project particularly challenging, so we were really excited to finish it last week. Here are some of the pictures and details of “The Boathouse”.


The details:

-14ft by 26 ft building

-364 sq feet

-10ft 2x4 walls with active dormer

-200 amp electrical service

-8/12 pitch roof with asphalt shingles

We have had several comments that this building looks like it could be a tiny home, and plumbing aside it really could be! The poured concrete walls and polished floors make this building bug and critter free…not just your typical back yard shed! Here’s a peek inside at all the lofted space.


The 10 foot walls provide a lot of extra space for storage racks or shelving in the future. And the 9 ft tall garage door helps with backing in a large boat full of lake accessories. For the below picture, keep in mind that Adam is 6ft 4in tall!


We have a couple more outdoor client projects lined up for the late Summer/early Fall, however they are not as labor intensive as this was. It’s always exciting to see a project come together, and this one was no exception! For now, we are on to the next as we need to squeeze out every last day of Summer that we can…( Maybe someday I could have something similar to this boathouse as my very own she shed! A girl can dream! haha).

Unitl next time friends!

Rachael & Adam

Collaboration with Glyn-Mawr Winery

Today is the day! I can finally reveal my latest project, and I am so very excited!

Recently, I had a local business reach out and request some of my personalized book sets for their winery and tasting room that has a small merchandise area stocked with items from nearby artisans. Prior to this meeting I had never been to Glyn-Mawr Winery or their tasting room/storefront ‘the local’, but I quickly fell in love with their farmhouse and country style decor (and might have picked up something for my laundry room remodel). I snapped a few quick photos, and you will see what I’m talking about!


Here are a couple examples of the book sets I made for their shop…

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The entire town has a 4th of July antique festival, full of vendors and food trucks and the like, and if you are local to eastern Iowa it’s definitely worth the drive. Weather permitting, I will be there myself tomorrow, so feel free to stop by and say hello!

Thank you for stopping by the blog today, and have a safe 4th of July!


My (No-Cost) Holiday Front Porch!

Last week I wrapped up my decorating for the year by completing my front porch, and it was a challenge! If you follow me on Instagram (@aps_design) you already know that I posted the whole process on stories that day, attempting to do the entire porch with items I already had at home, no purchases!

This was a personal challenge I came up with because I know I have a ton of items at home that I should be creative with and use for decorating, but I usually forget to do that and just purchase what I need instead. But, in the spirit of budget friendly, I went with a no-cost front porch this year! Now I will admit, I have a large collection of random items that helped make this task possible, but I did have to get creative in using them and some of these methods could inspire you as well!

Lets get to it!

I worked on the right side of the porch first, collecting items and putting them in a wagon that I found in my garage. I had made some ‘presents’ out of blocks of wood earlier this season and decided they would go well together in the wagon. The crock that is also in the wagon could probably use some greenery but in the spirit of not buying anything for this porch decor, it remains empty.

The large rusted milk jug is a staple piece for my front steps, so it always stays out there in some capacity. This season I gave it some height by positioning it on top of an overturned wooden apple box.

I piled the wood slices up in front of the wagon to add more of a woodsy/rustic/tree farm feel to the picture.

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The left side of my porch was a bit more challenging, as I did not have any Christmas lights on green wire, but in the evening hours when the tree is lit it’s not as noticeable. I simply put the tree in an old wash bin and stacked some wood slices in front of it.

During my scavenger hunt in the garage, I found this beautiful vintage sled and half barn door that I had previously forgotten about. I grabbed a little greenery and tied it to the sled. Ideally, I would find some old ice skates to pair with the sled, if I wasn’t doing a no-cost challenge!

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Here’s the final look!

Again, I would have done things a little bit differently if I wasn’t doing this little personal challenge of not purchasing anything for the front porch, but this did force me to look through things I already had and be creative in using them. I hope this can provide some inspiration with your own budget friendly decorating! Merry Christmas!

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My Entryway Sawhorse Table

Hi Friends! I’m slowly getting my home ready to go for Christmas, and I love decorating this fun sawhorse table in my entryway each and every season. My husband made it several years ago, and it continues to be a focal point in our home. I thought I would share what I did with it this year so you can get some ideas or inspiration for your own home!

I had these random steel buckets from a thrift store, a DIY Christmas garland that I made, and some jingle bells and other random items that I wanted to incorporate.

I love this old spool and jingle bells!

I love this old spool and jingle bells!

DIY Fabric Garland, click for instructions!

DIY Fabric Garland, click for instructions!

Here is how it all turned out, I love all of the different textures (metal, fabric, etc) along with the black and white and plaid holiday colors. Can you tell I am loving buffalo check this year??

My Saw Horse Entryway Table

My Saw Horse Entryway Table

Repurposing old items is one of my favorite decorating hacks! These hooks that hold up the lanterns on either side of the table are from an old carriage house/barn that had to be torn down due to storm damage. Just think of all of the horse and carriage equipment that hung on these hooks for decades, now they are continuing their work in my home! (I’m a history nerd, I know!)

Well that is all I have for you for now, stay tuned for the rest of my décor in my personal home as I get it completed!



PS. I put together a simple (budget friendly!) guide to adding buffalo check to your home’s décor, and if you are stumped or need ideas feel free to check it out by clicking here!

(Note: The above link contains affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure here)

Coffee, Tree Trimming, and Christmas Decorating

Hi! Can you believe next week is already Thanksgiving? I still cannot wrap my brain around it. Either way, Christmas decorating is in full swing at my house and while I’m not quite ready to share what I have done so far, I did help a dear friend decorate her home yesterday over some much needed Starbucks, and wanted to quickly share what we did in case some of you are planning on whipping out your holiday items on Thursday night.

You all know I love everything budget friendly, and holiday decorating is no exception. While I do often buy a small item here or there, I reserve most of my décor shopping for after the holiday (or season) to take advantage of those steep discounts. As a result, I often forget what I have from the year before when it’s time to dig it all out of storage again, and this is why I prefer to get all decorations spread out in one place before beginning to place them throughout my home. I often reuse items in a new way than the year prior, or simply put them in a different room to give the illusion of ‘new’, without going over budget.

Ok, lets get to it!

Having an infant on the move, my friend wanted to utilize some higher spaces in her home to place décor that her baby could not get into. She had two shelves on either side of her fireplace/tv area that she wanted to fill, and we also needed to figure out something for her tree to make it somewhat baby friendly.

We tackled the shelving first, and to do so we needed to paint a few mason jars white to go along with her Christmas theme this year. If you need a DIY tutorial on how we did it, click here.

Next, we needed to figure out how to keep the little one out of the Christmas tree. To do this, we used a smaller, 'planter’ style tree that would normally be used on a front porch or as an accent tree. I trimmed most of the red ‘berries’ off of it, since red wasn't really in the color scheme this year. We snagged a $3 tree skirt from the Target dollar spot, an old metal tub that I had laying around, and got to work!

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The tree base looked a bit ‘empty’ in the large wash bin by itself, so we gathered up other items (ornaments, stocking holders, random things) and filled the wash bin until the base of the tree was no longer visible.

We placed the whole thing on top of an end table, out of reach of little hands.

We finished the look with a metal Christmas tree sign, which was another Target dollar spot deal.

The dollar spot is on point this season!

We had a great time decorating while catching up and spending some time with each other, after all, that's what this season is all about!

Here are some pictures of our finished products! Happy decorating!

6 Low Cost Tips to Decorate Your Farmhouse for Fall

Fall is upon us here in the Midwest and that means it’s time to spruce up the front porch and put out décor! Here are my 6 totally EASY and budget friendly tips :

  1. Get a bale of straw from your local farm store, these are usually around $5 and you can re-use for future years if stored in a cool/dry place

This one is from Theisens!

This one is from Theisens!


2. Grab a couple items around your house that you can repurpose, maybe an old milk can or crate, a bird cage, or wooden tray you were using for something else. Gather all these items together to make it easy to see what you have to work with. REMEMBER: If you are putting items outside make sure they won’t be damaged by the weather or sun!

Old milk can that I found at a flea market, stuffed with some dried grass!

Old milk can that I found at a flea market, stuffed with some dried grass!


3. Buy re-useable décor at the end of the season and save it for next year! My favorite locations for discounts on décor are Hobby Lobby and Target, often items will be up to 90% off after the holiday!

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4. Take advantage of what nature has provided! Pine cones, dried flowers, dried grasses, branches…the possibilities are endless, and FREE!

Wood slices from a wedding!

Wood slices from a wedding!


5. Rummage/Estate sales: I am always surprised at what people are parting with at rummage, garage, or estate sales. Check your local facebook groups or craigslist!

This apple crate was less than $5 at a local estate sale!

This apple crate was less than $5 at a local estate sale!


6. FREE Printable Décor! Join APS Design’s mailing list for your free FARMHOUSE printable, take it to your local print shop for larger sizes or just print it at home!

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No time for thrift shopping or scavenging your woods?

No problem! Check out these budget friendly fall items that can be shipped right to your door!

Boom! Done!

Take me to the online things! <——

Disclaimer: the above link contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if an item is purchased, however this never results in an increased cost of the product. The commission earned from affiliate links help pay the fees to keep this blog running.

Now, lets put it all together!


Welcome to APS Design's official website!  We are Adam and Rachael and we live in Iowa, America's Heartland, where we spend our free time designing, building, and constructing all kinds of things.  From concrete outdoor fire pits to dining room tables, we enjoy putting our unique touch into everything we make.  Join us on Instagram @aps_design to see all of our rustic, modern farmhouse, and industrial style items!  

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