Emily Henderson

One Step at a Time

Guest Suite/Home Office Progress

Emily Henderson Guest Office Suite 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.

Emily Henderson Guest Bedroom Update Start To Finish

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:

Emily Henderson Ceiling Insullation And Drywall

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.

Emily Henderson Guest Bedroom Update Lime Washing

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.

Dapper Portrait Oil Painting Vintage Built In Bench

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.

Emily Henderson Neutral Guest Suite

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.

Simple Organic Neutral Bedroom

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.

Emily Henderson Neutral Masculine Bedroom

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:

Nuetral Masculine Indigo Bedroom

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.

Emily Henderson Progress Guest Suite

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”:

Guest Suite Home Office Makeover Emily Henderson

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.

Emily Henderson Guest Suite Progress

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:

Emily Henderson Guest Room And Office Progress

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.

Navy Neutral Guest Bedroom

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 :)

See the guest room from the beginning: The New Guest Bed | Projects In My Own Home

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  1. Really enjoy these in progress posts and hear how you deal with some more practical issues as well.

    I’m team queen bed in the guest room, people are comfy but not TOO comfy, if you know what I’m sayin’. But I’m maybe a jerk, so….
    Plus, we can use my old queen size bed, with beautiful organic sheets I purchased for it when I slept in it and since we have moved a lot as of late it’s easier to fit a queen bed into most non master bedrooms than an additional King.

    Desk sounds awesome….can’t wait to see it finished! If you do find a white elliptical, please post where you got it!

    1. I agree… Team Queen. The room is doing so many duties. It’s not like you can get a third guest in with a king. Some guests later might need a porta-crib or small kids beds added to come stay. I’d leave room.

      I feel much better about paying someone $2100 next month to paint my house exterior knowing you paid $1150 for one room. ; )

      1. Oh man, I’m in New England and I paid $2100 to have HALF of one side of my house painted – and it was a terrible job because the paint is peeling 3 months later. I hate the color of my house but it’s just too big of an expense to tackle.

  2. It’s lovely. Maybe you could hang a big canvas on chains from the ceiling? (For the area above the bed.) Then you wouldn’t need to mess up the beautiful paint on the walls. Even a large canvas is pretty lightweight.

  3. Very practical room! One issue I am having, and that you may have since you have two rugs in here, is how to have two rugs in a room that are different but go together. Any tips?

    1. Ha. We are doing a blog post about that now – how to mix two different rugs in one room because it is so tricky. I don’t think the small one is staying (I don’t remember if I said that or not).

  4. Huge fan and daily reader – just wanted to say thank you for sharing your projects in limbo! These are my very favorite posts of yours!

    Well, these and your nurseries :)

    I can’t WAIT to see that desk! And I’m with Brian on the TV! You’ve got to be able to see the details of your reality tv!

  5. I love the plaid rug! Is it navy or black? On the Dash & Albert website it describes it as black/ecru but it looks more blue to me in these photos.

    I am a fairly new reader of your blog and I love it! Thank you for all of the great content!

  6. This might be a dumb question, but could you have your elliptical powder coated by an auto body shop? I have a friend who has small things like restored kid’s bikes powder coated for under 100 bucks.

    1. If you have a powder coating resource, can you please share? I’m in Burbank and have a patio set that needs recoating. I keep leaving messages at random auto body places and no one ever calls me back. :( Also, if you know how much this should cost, that would be helpful. 4 chairs and a square table.

      Also, I know it’s’ a masculine room, but maybe consider a flashier ceiling light? I’m loving this one: http://www.cb2.com/vega-flush-mount-lamp/s446132. It doesn’t hang down much.

  7. (1) room is shaping up great! almost more of a studio apartment than a guest bedroom
    (2) instead of a rug, what about if you tried a patterned floor protector (like those clear plastic ones but with a pattern/opaque). here are some examples (not the best patterns but you get the point): http://chair-mats.officechairs.com
    (3) could I ask where you purchased the elliptical machine? perhaps you could try some sort of room divider to cover it up?

  8. Regarding the workout area – could you get a pretty folding screen that you could set up in front of the elliptical when guests are in town? It wouldn’t really cover the window if you moved it forward.

    1. I maybe shouldn’t admit this, but anyone who pulls a bed from Costco and it’s amazing is my kind of girl! I love, love design blogs, but for someone with 5 kids, budget is tight, so when I see something like this, I get all giddy!

  9. I LOVE limbo posts. Makes me feel so much better about my projects in progress/limbo! Reminds me that even Emily Henderson doesn’t have a magic wand! It takes more time and energy and thought than a final post perhaps reveals. Makes me energized to see through to my own final mental “post”. Thanks! Looks amazing, I can’t wait to see the whole shebag!

    1. I second the progress/limbo post! I appreciate the educational aspect to see what problems arise and how they are dealt with. I honestly find it more engaging than the final result.

    2. ^^ totally agree with elyse. These posts are so fun to read and they give me insight into how you look at things and work. Love it!

      1. Thanks guys! I’ve decided that i’m not holding my personal house posts anymore for another outlet (in other words unable to show you guys so they get the full reveal). So we’ll have more ‘in process’ over here. Although i’m running out of projects ….

        1. I agree everyone else the house updates are awesome!! Maybe you’ll have to buy an investment property for moe “projects”? ?

        2. Thank you so much for this!! It made me sad to think about rooms that you’d done but we “weren’t able” to see.

          This room is looking very nice! I’ll be anxious to see the final styling – it seems like it could handle a lot more dark color? I have to admit I was really looking forward to seeing a LOT more green. The soffitt/bench will look great painted out in a dark color and will bring in that color – so looking forward to it!

  10. First time, long time. I love that flushmount. Question: When it’s on, especially at night, do you see the profiles of the bulbs within the fixture, or are the sockets placed such that the bottom and side linen panels just glow? I don’t like it when the profiles of the bulbs are visible through the shade. Know what I mean? Thanks!

  11. I’ve been eyeing that Rujuvenation flushmount for a while now (why, oh why, don’t companies make more options for lovely, fresh flushmounts?!) and am so glad to see it in these photos to get a better sense of it. Looks slightly off-white to me rather than a true white, but still beautiful! I just might be convinced to pull the trigger on it…

  12. wow, girl, you are getting sublime. i’m just grooving on how the card catalog brass trim is actually a brass plaid. like the rug. the antique wardrobe is also sublime.
    i will be very interested to see how you integrate the office and the elliptical. if they vibe with the bedroom space as well as the card catalogs do with the rug, this may turn out to be your masterpiece. can’t wait.

  13. I LOVE this. One of the things that keeps me coming back to your blog every day is that you share the “non-portfolio-worthy,” and give us the goods on real life, practical living. This room is beautiful, but I don’t know if I would have appreciated it as much without the exercise corner and the work-in-progress notes. Thank you for sharing the full picture!

  14. This is so Em Henderson! The perfect mix of vintage and modern and of course you have to have some royal blue in there!

    Can’t wait to see it totally finished!

  15. What I really want to know is what happened to the giant dinosaur painting on the wall in the unfinished space?!
    But seriously, what a difference!

  16. great work Emily. I love the rug – really gives the space some pop. Artwork I love. I really like how you balance out the design process with the boring reality of how we have to use our homes on a day to day basis. We too have a guest room/study and as my partner is untidy I put it behind a built in with concertina doors so I could close it off. It can then be turned into a lovely big wardrobe should it be required for the next owner. I works well. Exercise equipment is ugly wherever you put it. Problem is, if you hide it away you won’t use it!

  17. How about a folding screen for the elliptical?.. and why not spray paint it? you can leave the wheel grey, and shower cap the seat!? I have to say, I adore the sconces but the ceiling fixture really bugs me.. hanging basket lamp?

  18. I’m Team King. There is something so luxurious about sleeping in a king if one is usually relegated to a smaller bed, and if a guest is accustomed to a king, it can be troublesome for a couple to adjust (I’m imagining my parents – they could never make it a week sharing a king – they wouldn’t be sleeping well – we would all be on edge after two days.) If the room can take it, go for it. They will thank you.

  19. I also am curious about the color of the rug. I love it in navy and white but on the Dash & Albert site it is black and off white. Did it sell out already thanks to your beautiful room?!

  20. I love the look of the room & those lamps are pretty! Along that train of thought, didn’t you recently mention changing out the lamps in your master? (I have vague recollections). When I looked at these pictures, in spite of LOVING those circle lamps, I couldn’t help but picture your bedroom lamps there instead. Both are winners. But, it was such an instant thought that I wanted to share.

    That rug is wonderful! I also love tasking my husband with things (like brian and the tv) and just enjoying the fact that it’s DONE and who cares how it works out.

  21. This sounds weird, but I seem to never be able to take my eyes off of your floors whenever they are in pictures. Will you please give details on them? They are gorgeous and I would love them in my own home! Thanks so much for the work you and your team put into the blog!! It’s so fun to read and so helpful! Take care!

  22. I love all the Emily blues and esp. the armoire with it. Maybe you mentioned and I didn’t read it (you did mention plaid rugs/no art on walls) but IS art going above the bed? I can visualize that dude going above it. Or something similar.

    I agree these are some of my favorite posts :)

  23. I think the window is getting overlooked as focal point. Rather that the double desks/ computers facing the wall that will get sunshine glare at some points of the day, have the desks under that amazing window. Take the black sconces off the wall where they are and use them as bed side lamps. A room divider / low bookcase at the end of the bed would sepearate the two spaces without blocking out the light. The elipical machine unfortunatley, never looks good anywhere but a gym. I sold mine, and decided to make the great outdoors my treadmill.

  24. Oh Emily, I just saw something (a sofa) that I think belongs in your Guest Suite/Home Office. I don’t know if you were sofa shopping, but you did say you “needed some indigo and darker greens” to satisfy your inner color lover. This sofa emerald sofa does just that, it shouts, “I will satisfy your dark green inner color lover!” Just like that. It is the new CB2 Avec sofa in green emerald plush poly-velvet fabric, It has lovely brass legs with a single, straight row of tufting that creates some cool, clean, geometric lines on the back. This talking couch would also say/yell, “I will look amazing with Brian’s custom green desk!”

    (It comes in both apartment and regular size, I prefer the scale of the apartment size.) If you have time to check it out, I don’t think it will let you down.

  25. I get wanting every room in your house to be a portfolio piece given your profession, but maybe give yourself a bit of a break on that front? This is your *home* where you live and function, and sometimes the stuff of living isn’t portfolio pretty. Which isn’t to say you won’t find a way to make all of these various areas amazing, but there’s only so much you can do to a functional workout area, you know? I’m sure whatever you do will be instructive to those who read, even if Lonny or Domino ultimately wouldn’t feature the whole of this room. I hope this doesn’t sound like a criticism, because it’s not. I just can’t imagine the pressure of feeling like every room in one’s personal home must be magazine ready. Sometimes you get to do what works for you, even if that means an exposed, gray elliptical trainer in your multifunctional guest space!