The Guest Room Reveal

Many, many months ago (nine to be precise) when we first moved into our house, I had the naive ambition to finish our guest room first. I was so excited to finally have a space for friends and families to stay that I didn’t think through the practicalities: there’s a ton of stuff to do when you first move in, and a guest room is not exactly a priority when you don’t have any upcoming visitors…

So alas, we demolished the built-in bookshelf that was killing the layout and then the room sat for months. Now, the room is finally complete.

You can read up on the process here.

And because no reveal is complete without before photos, here goes:

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And now, for the after photos. By far, the highest impact improvement was the panel moulding on the walls and the epic grey paint (Worsted by Farrow and Ball).

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We were stumped when we went to find a pair of nightstands that were narrow enough for this small space but also airy enough not to weigh down this wall. I love the contrast of the lightness of these vintage plant stands against the solid masculine bedframe.

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The sconces were a great Craigslist find for a fraction of their retail price. And thank you to my husband for figuring out how to wire up all the electrical (ceiling light included!).

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The federal mirror used to hang in our bedroom (and before that over a bench in our apartment) and it helps to create a light focal point on this wall.

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Because it’s infinitely easier to match paint to fabric than the reverse, the initial starting point for this room were these luxe crushed velvet curtains, and about 7 paint samples later we found a near perfect match in Worsted by Farrow and Ball.

We had originally planned on building a radiator box for this 1970’s radiator, but once we got a coat of paint on it, you barely even notice it.

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I searched for months for a dresser for this room and all my inspiration photos were of burl dressers or the Witco tiki ocean dresser. I finally found this one on Facebook marketplaces and it was easily worth the drive to Jersey to retrieve it. Then, two weeks later I stumbled upon another burl wood dresser, also for a steal, at a church tag sale. So now I’m the proud owner of two vintage burl dressers (no complaints over here).

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I was worried that this Serge Mouille reproduction light fixture was going to drop too low into the room, but my husband had a friend at work shorten the vertical poles, so it’s a perfect fit. I love that we now can get light into the corners of the room.

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While I know we removed built-ins from this room because it was a layout killer, I didn’t feel so guilty because we have this little nook on the other side of the room. Painted grey and with upgraded door hardware that actually allows the door to close fully AND that cute little mirrored knob from Anthropologie and this corner shines.

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I love using round mirrors over dressers to contrast the shapes, even more when there’s a rectangle of panel moulding surrounding the mirror. I didn’t want a wood mirror or to replicate the huge brass mirror downstairs, so this Anthropologie mirror lends the right amount of worldly eclectisism to the space.

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Sources

Paint: Farrow & Ball Worsted

Ceiling Light: Stilnovo Hostebro

Headboard: West Elm (we diy-ed the bedframe after finding the headboard at the West Elm outlet)

Sheets: Target

Coverlet: John Robshaw

Nightstands: Vintage

Sconces: House of Troy

Curtains: West Elm

Curtain Rod: West Elm

Art: Vintage

Dresser: Vintage Henredon Scene Two in Olive Wood

Mirror: Anthropologie

Cabinet knob: Anthropologie

Rug: eBay

 

How to make your walls look two feet taller

In our house the walls are standard height, so I’m constantly looking for ways to visually elongate them in hopes that when friends come to visit they remark on our high ceilings. It’s only happened once, but I’m employing every trick I’ve got to make it a recurring comment.

In our guest bedroom, (lots of details here, here and here), I found the magic combination:

  1. Paint your baseboards and crown molding the same color as your walls. You’re visually extending the wall by several inches on both the top and bottom, space which is ordinarily white, instantly tricking your eye into thinking the walls are 8-12 inches taller than normal walls.
  2. Add picture frame molding in conjunction with a chair rail. Make sure that the boxes above the chair rail are much taller than those below the chair rail. Here, you’re drawing the eye up, way higher than you’d ordinarily look and creating dimension and contrast well above your eye level.
  3. Paint your doorframes and window trim the same color to keep from breaking up the height.

There are other tricks out there, including painting your ceiling the same color as your walls that absolutely work (I used that trick in my bathroom refresh), but so far, nothing has been quite as dramatic as the above combination.

And in case you don’t believe me, here’s a before and after:

BEFORE

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AFTER (Still in progress, ignore the totally messy closet, headboard still in plastic, and yes, we ripped out that built-in)

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In person, we can’t stop looking up when standing in the room because it feels like we boosted the ceiling by several feet. I’m obsessed with the effect and can’t wait to replicate the same approach in the other upstairs rooms. Also, the trim work is not that hard to do and makes your space feel so custom and dimensional – it’s a total win-win.

And because our room is just one of many that’s used this magic combo, some of my favourites from the web:

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Kelly Wearstler

pale blue fabrics atlanta homes mag

Suzanne Kasler in Atlanta Homes

 

 

The Guest Bedroom: Design Plan

The guest bedroom is the room we’ve started twice and have yet to finish (for various legitimate reasons). But, over the past two weeks we’ve made some big progress:

  • roughed out holes in the walls and ceiling for two sconces and an overhead light
  • we (but really, cory) figured out the electrical for the three new light fixtures
  • picked up a serge mouille reproduction ceiling light off craigslist
  • ordered curtains (these from west elm)
  • decided on paint colors
  • we painted the ceiling
  • planned out the picture frame moulding
  • replaced the existing closet door with a narrower door to create more wall space for the bed

All of the above things made it look like we were creating a lot of mess in the room and not so much positive progress. BUT, today we cleared out the room for the painting and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

On to the design plan. The vibe is crisp, chic and eclectic retreat. I want this room to feel like a getaway, with a mix of vintage and modern pieces, crisp linens and an enveloping feel. The textiles and layers should feel collected and surprisingly cohesive.

I’ve ordered a good deal of these pieces but there are some that will take longer for me to source and may change by the time they make it into the room (e.g. that tiki ocean dresser is a bit of a pipe dream that I will probably spend months hunting down and still maybe not find it for less than $3k). Regardless, I’m SO excited about the direction of this room and can’t wait to see it become real. Our deadline for this room is June 1st, so we’ve got to keep cranking on it.

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What we still have left to do:

  • Sand and refinish the 2″x 8″ strip of wood floor that was under the old built-ins
  • Patch a few holes in the drywall
  • Paint the walls
  • Paint and install crown moulding, baseboard trim and picture frame moulding
  • Install the light fixtures
  • Build the bed (we have a headboard and need to build the rest of the frame)
  • Source very narrow nightstands (waiting until we have the bed in to make a final call)
  • Hang the curtains
  • Build a radiator box
  • Source a dresser, armchair, a rug and accessories

And that’s it. It’s a lot, but it’s manageable and everything we have left to do will make the room look incrementally better, unlike our past more destructive projects.