Guest Suite/Home Office Progress
Progress has been made in the guest room and I’d say its 72% done. It’s certainly habitable, but since I’m trying to make every room in my house/life a portfolio piece it’s not quite there yet. Let’s recap and break it down:
When we bought the house this room was a terrifying mess – totally unfinished, full of storage, with layers of carpet. It’s about 400 square feet and we knew that we wanted to utilize that space.
Before we moved in, we installed flooring, finished the walls, and painted the ceiling. For a while we used it for the EHD studio, until I admitted to myself that it was way too small (and totally weird) for us to work out of everyday. Since then it had been more storage and a makeshift office for Brian. When we got pregnant with Elliot I knew that we needed a proper guest room, since the former guest room would be turned into Elliot’s nursery (have you seen it yet?). This seemed like the perfect space.
The intent of the room, design-wise, was to be a more masculine, simple, full of neutrals, textures and dark finishes. We needed it to function as a really comfortable guest room when family comes (who often stay for a week), but on an every day basis I needed Brian to feel like it was his space that he can be comfortable being creative in. So yes, we went more “dude” although I realize this appeals to many a lady (including myself).
First we needed to make a few major changes:
The ceiling and the walls needed to be addressed. Brian and I disagreed about whether to close off the ceiling. I thought it was architecturally interesting, and he thought it felt like you were hanging out in a garage. He rarely cares enough about something to argue but he did, and I didn’t care enough to fight that battle. The ceiling was already kinda low in there so I was worried that it would feel really clausterphobic. I’m happy to report that Brian was absolutely right, and it’s a much more pleasant room to be in now.
Next up – Do something interesting to the walls.
As much as I love an all white room (in photos) this room felt cold and I wanted to warm it up, but I really didn’t want it to feel too much smaller or busier. I decided to do a lime paint treatment in a light gray that I had just done on another client’s wall and LOVED (I actually used a different brand and a different color but they are remarkably similar – project yet to be revealed). What you see above is the first coat which has more texture to it than the final layer – which was kinda busy and too brush-strokey.
Here’s how it works:
Lime paint is a particular paint you buy at specialty paint store. We used Portola Paints, which is a LA based company that has beautiful colors and excellent service (it’s founded by two brothers and their store is beautiful). It’s not too much more expensive than regular paint – $50 dollars a gallon (my room needed 3 gallons). You do need to take care in how you apply it – either hire someone or watch a ton of youtube videos about how to apply it properly, because it’s all in the application. It’s not rolled on, it’s brushed on in random strokes and it can be a bit persnickity. We hired the recommended painter, which cost $1000 (prices may vary, obviously). It took two days, with two coats. What you get is a really soft, beautiful matte texture. It’s not trying to look old world or even plaster-y. It looks really modern and fresh, but with more texture and movement than regular paint.
It’s obviously not a huge impact design choice, but it really does do something special to the room. It’s so sophisticated, warm, and quiet. In the photos it’s even less noticeable, but that’s what I get for doing something not based on how it photographs for once.
The room is shaping up. There are elements that I love and elements that I’m undecided about. Let’s talk layout first. We divided the room into three sort of quadrants – the “bedroom,” the “office,” and my workout area. We put in an additional entrance that is much easier to access from the main house. So the door you see below is actually unnecessary. We didn’t get rid of it because it’s kinda nice to have (those back stairs go up to the kitchen). I do want to add a seating area (right now that chair is there, but I realize it looks a bit awkward). The built-in bench is actually a soffit that hides AC ducts and I plan on painting it a really dark, almost black green. Above that I may add hooks or a cute entry rod/situation, but then I found that painting at the flea market and loved it in here so I may hang that instead. The paint is so fragile (and impossible to touch up), so I’m leaning everything until it’s D day.
I found that armoire at an antique store for $200, and it’s the perfect make-shift closet for guests and houses all of Brian’s video equipment.
The rug: I thought about a million neutral rugs and even tried a few out, but they were looking pretty boring what with nothing on the walls and no bright color. I wanted the space to feel like “Brian” but it still needed to look like “Emily.” Luckily no one loves a plaid more than Brian and Emily Henderson (we used to have to call dibs on “plaid” before we went out so that we didn’t match on a daily basis). I found this one from Dash and Albert and love it in the space.
We brought the bed down from the old guest room and dyed it a darker slate (DIY in this post). I constantly debate whether we should sell it and go for a king in here, because as a guest it’s so nice to sleep in a king sized bed. But once we go king we’d have to get a larger rug, so it opens up a can of worms. The room, however, can handle it so I’m still debating.
I love those nightstands. They are old card catalog drawers that I bought at the flea market. They are highly unfunctional because those drawers are tiny and kinda hard to open, which is why they are the perfect guest room nightstands. The lamps that sit on top of them are the perfect “modern” to the nightstands “ye oldie” vibe. I’m obsessed with those lamps. Just look at what they do to the symmetry of the room:
The sheets are from Target and that quilt is from Parachute Home, which is amazing as it is linen on the outside and cotton on the inside. It’s so soft and pretty, and adds some much needed color to this black and beige world. I thought I could handle this stark black/beige/white/gray, but I needed some indigo and darker greens to satisfy my inner color-lover.
The bench and flush mounts are from Rejuvenation, the chair from Target, the pouf from Lulu and Georgia. The pillows are mostly custom made by me, with the large dotty one from Lost and Found and the small stripe from Jillian Rene.
Now, for the less attractive part of the room that still needs a lot of work – Brian’s “office”:
Against that wall will be Brian’s 9′ desk that I’ve designed and is being fabricated right now. It’s green carerra marble and black iron, and I’m hoping it’s going to be as beautiful as it is in my mind. It’s going along that wall, underneath the sconces and will fit both him and his business partner when he’s working from here.
I may add a long skinny corkboard or a series of photographs . . . Not sure, but I would like something underneath the sconces to help engage that wall. Not sure what to do about the rug, or if we even need one over there. The wheels function better without a rug but it might look sad. So stay tuned on that (sconces are from Rejuvenation, black task lamp from Target, chairs and gray lamp from Target, rug is vintage).
Then there is the less photogenic part of the room. It’s like the swimsuit model with the weird pinky that she can hide in virtually every shot but she knows it’s there, and yah, its embarrassing:
This is my workout area which I wish visually wasn’t here, but physically I need it. I bought the elliptical machine last year and guess what? I actually use it. I hate it but it does solve some “how do I work out while being tethered to a nursing baby” solution (there are strangely no gyms within 20 minutes of my house either). So I need that area in the room. We mounted the TV for guests, and for me to work out while watching Real Housewives or The Bach. I tasked Brian with ordering the TV. I told him to measure and get one that fit the wall – so he got one that really fit the wall. It’s huge and weird, but it’s done and non-returnable so, oh well. It’s on a long arm so that it can angle towards me, or the bed for the guests. The door you see there is where we enter, and has a little deck outside which I’ll address at some point. There is a tiny bathroom with a shower so guests don’t have to go outside in the middle of the night (or day).
The curtains are from Loom Decor and they are super pretty and really helped make the space feel more homey, less garage-y. This area of the room is certainly less appealing – between the elliptical, fridge, and TV I’m not totally sure what to do. I may mount my weights on the wall. I would kill for a white elliptical trainer, and I’ll switch out the fridge for a smaller one and put a small piece of furniture there instead.
The room is almost done. The things up in the air are 1.) the desk that is being made, 2.) art above the bed, 3.) switch to king or just leave as queen since it’s pretty (but what if I had a big dark green chunky upholstered bed made since none exist out there?), 4. paint the soffitt, and 4.) style it out.
There’s the update on the guest suite, folks. I was supposed to save this room for a magazine pitch but I’ve realized that having my own personal house project stuck in press limbo, where I can’t talk about them at all for months and months is doing a disservice to y’all, so I’m blogging more about the process here instead of waiting to reveal the end. The end is coming soon because I’m super motivated and I love how this room is coming together . . . and so would Brian :)