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Emily Bowser’s BEAUTIFUL Hardworking, Multipurpose Room Reveal (+ Get Ready For Her DIYS)

HI EVERYONE!! It’s been a minute. I am so excited to talk to you about this random room that has taken me So. Dang. Long. to figure out. We are going to talk about its evolution from Psycho Parkway to The Bad Boi Room to The Foster Room to Andrew’s Dungeon to my Recovery Space to its present, multipurpose, hardworking, 100 square foot room everyone (including the cats) want to be in 24/7.

Let’s start at square one, the day we closed on the house:

And now you know why we called it Psycho Parkway.

The footprint of this room has remained pretty much the same. We removed the closet, seen here on the left, in order to make space for a bed in the primary bedroom (my headboard is on the other side of this wall). We also lowered the left window to even them out and replaced them. Other than the living room, this was the only other room with original wood floors and as you can see, not in the best condition (Water damage! Termites! Woohoo!). The drywall had to be removed throughout the house in order to replace all the electrical and install AC/heat.

my husband, andrew, a monster you’ll hear about later
shooting towards the room from the front door/living room

If you haven’t read the financially insane saga of buying this house, you can read it here. The short story is that we were almost completely financially ruined by the “end” of the reno (is it ever really over?). The point is, by the time we were living in the house, we didn’t have ANY money to do, well, anything. Before living here we actually have lived in bigger apartments (square footage wise) but never in a 2 bedroom. We simply didn’t have anything to put in this space. I couldn’t even find a picture of it finished because what ended up happening is, they fixed the floors, closed up the walls, painted them the same color as the rest of the house (Polar Bear by Bher) and we shoved a dresser we owned previously that didn’t fit anywhere else and everything that we didn’t want our cat Puck to get into. This is when the room was dubbed “The Bad Boi Room”. Puck is our difficult baby that we love dearly. He has a lot of…quirks? He’s gotten a bit better with age, but when we moved here he was still pretty young and if he can find even the tiniest piece of plastic, he will eat it, vomit and then pee in/on it. Also he generally will treat anything he can get inside of like a litter box (ask my friend Ashlee who had her suitcase used as one). ALSO any pile of things. Vague, I know. But if it resembles a pile, he would pee on it (ask my friend Jenna, her jacket was tossed on a chair and sort of was like a pile?) 

They are super fun quirks and only a mother could love him. Truly. Good thing when you move to a new place and nothing can go into your garage that’s flooding, you definitely don’t have any plastic or boxes or piles. You also have a TON of patience when said garage is flooding and you owe your contractor $80,000 and have zero dollars. It was also November of 2016. It was a dark timeline.

So, this room became the room we were able to put sh%t in and shut the door – which of course made Puck all the more obsessed with it and he would sneak in whenever possible, all he wanted to do was go in there and be BAD. This lasted…a year? I don’t know, time is weird. Eventually we were able to get one of those pull out couch situations from IKEA and it was a pretty sad, but completely fine guest room. And by guest room, I mean cat room. Cats were the main guests. In fact, we were fostering the best cat in the world in February of 2019 when we used the space (because it was basically an empty room) to shoot a removable wallpaper project for Target.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: a home office makeover with threshold removable wallpaper by target

(Sherman pictured in window. He was “the one who got away”. Not literally. He’s happy in a home, just not mine, which is sad, for me.)

This wallpaper isn’t exactly my personal style vibe, but shooting in this space made me realize a few things: 1. The more stuff that was in the space, the bigger it somehow felt. I don’t know if I mean literally bigger, but I was surprised by how much could fit in there which made it FEEL bigger, if that makes sense (?). It definitely felt cozier and more welcoming. I wanted to be in it. 2. I really liked that high shelf moment and wanted to incorporate that into my design. 3. I wanted the walls to make a statement like this wallpaper.

About a month after the shoot, my husband went freelance and needed a proper office. I had our friend Shade paint the room Laurel Woods by Sherwin Williams which is an INTENSELY dark green. I didn’t know it at the time but it’s also the color of the exterior of the Mountain House. I went. for. it. I had him paint the trim, the inside of the door and the ceiling. My dream was to turn this into a guest room/office/workout space/TV room and it was all in my head. I wanted it DARK for lots of reasons, Andrew likes it dark when he edits videos (he’s not an editor but has to do edit passes regularly), for TV watching, and also I prefer a dark room when I work out (cardio specifically because it makes me zone in).

We had to trash the IKEA couch. During the wallpaper shoot it rained, no, it POURED – and my trusty-most-floodingest garage (where we were storing the couch) did its thing and flooded, like, A LOT. On the bright side, this made us have to make some decisions about furnishing the space fast, which isn’t really my MO. I had a vision of this custom wrap around desk that incorporated a bed which we did DIY but then, crickets. 2019 was CRAZY. We produced SO much at EHD AND I finally pulled together my primary bedroom, bathroom, living room, and dining room for reveals. THEN in November, I left EHD to work on Orlando’s HGTV show, Build Me Up, and worked on that literally into the beginning of the pandemic. “THE SHOW MUST GO ON, no, literally it must – we can’t just leave these people without houses!” Cut to me, maskless, going into every store as the world was shutting down. “GET OUT OF MY WAY I NEED THROW PILLOWS.” Ironically, by the time I was in quarantine, we didn’t have any toilet paper. Why I couldn’t navigate my 2 carts full of tchotchkes to the toilet paper aisle? I’ll never know.

Suffice to say, the office was pretty low on my priorities. I felt like I was barely home the entire year. Like, I know I slept there just about every night but it really didn’t feel like it. Andrew, however, was home ALL the time and if there’s one thing I’ve learned by being with Andrew since the summer of 2000 (yes, you read that correctly) – Andrew should never, ever, be left to his own devices. No, seriously, forget the before from before and BRACE YOURSELVES.


Y’alllllllllll. This is what happens if you let Andrew loose. He brought WFH to a whole new level. I mean, you could spend a long time finding all the gems in this photo, but my favorites include: 1. the robe being used as a window treatment on the left 2. the monster hands on the ground, and 3. the Elvira pin up on the wall. He never turned off that bat light or the red light so when you got up to pee in the middle of the night (the bathroom is directly across the hall) whatever that thing is that’s wearing a fez would stare at you while you were relieving yourself. TERRIFYING. He is constantly creating so that room was pretty much always in a state of chaos even though I made him “pick up” regularly. But I mean, if you can imagine this picked up, it’s still WILD.

Rewind for just a sec…another fun thing that happened in 2019 (riiiiiight as I was starting the show) was that I found out I had fibroids. Not your run of the mill fibroids (not sure what that means) but a fruit basket of fibroids. Well, I liked to call them that because doctors LOVE describing sizes as fruit like we’ve never heard of a centimeter before 🙄. I had a grapefruit, an orange, a lemon, a kiwi, and a grape. Cute right? (Shoutout to Arlyn for making me go to the doctor!). If you aren’t aware, uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths in or on your uterus. Not much is known about why they occur and I won’t get into it because honestly, this isn’t my field and this post is already long enough, but let’s just say gender and race factors around this particular health condition are very much so WHY we don’t know much. Unfortunately, I was one of the women where a myomectomy was my only option. But fortunately, I was able to pull together enough money to pay for my health insurance out of pocket (as I was now freelance). The doctor was all, “Damn. How’d you NOT know about these? They should come out PRONTO” and I was all “Uh. No. Gotta work. V poor. Paying for insurance out of pocket, bought a house, it’s a long story…ALSO DOCTOR HAVE YOU SEEN I DIDN’T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT???? DON’T @ ME”. And then the pandemic started right before I was supposed to take them out (April) which kinda threw a wrench in things.

I digress. The reason I’m telling you this really personal information is that knowing I had a major surgery coming up as soon as hospitals weren’t completely overrun made me pull the space together a bit more. A myomectomy has an 8 week ~mostly~ bedridden recovery. You are supposed to move around a little bit after a couple of weeks but you have to be crazy careful. It’s like having a c-section but “worse” (according to the doctor) because you have the incision, plus all the other internal incisions. Ugh. I wish it was socially acceptable to post pics of them, you KNOW I made the doctor take pics. Ok, now I’m sharing TMI just for funsies. I wanted my TV room dream for my recovery where I could watch every documentary on NXIVM and Scientology, take edibles, watch everything vampire (missed the bus a decade ago) and fill my glorious museum on Animal Crossing.

Spoiler Alert: I did all those things

In a stroke of luck, our former tenants moved out in August and the newbies that moved in didn’t want/need their side of the garage. The words were barely out of their mouths before I started moving Andrew’s office down there. 

Here he is, living his best, creepy, gross life.

Daffy and I simply cleaned up the space and moved in…

At first, it was nothing crazy. Daffy and I made the bed, Daffy and I patched the walls (the monster had used gaff tape to hang things, you can guess how that turned out), and Daffy and I bought this handy dandy bolster off of Etsy. I bought the king size in “Toast”. (Pro Tip: the length of a full mattress is the same as the width of a king bed) and – voila! Take it off for guests to sleep at night and during the day…wait is that why it’s called a daybed? It actually makes a HUGE difference in the comfort level of using a bed like a couch. Highly recommended. Really, and I #paidforthis. 

During Amazon’s Prime day in mid-October, I finally bought myself a Samsung Frame and we had it installed right in time for my surgery in mid-November (I was very lucky to get in right before the holiday Covid surge). The rest of the room stayed as is and I got to spend a lot of time dreaming up what I wanted to do to the place.

took this one special, just for you all. me: living my best life in recovery with cats, toilet paper, and syrup(?)
my view, every single day for 8 weeks, but imagine leah remini on the tv and me, sobbing. 

Let’s get to some reveals already!

OK – so there’s a lot going on in this room so I’ll break it up and go through my favorite parts.

The Wrap Around Desk/Shelf/Bed

Rug (vintage) | Chair (vintage | Woven Basket | Wall Color

I wanted something that made the most of the small amount of space in this room. It’s a simple construction, doesn’t really warrant a tutorial because it would vary based on the space you have. I used the cheapest wood I could get at Lowe’s (I think it’s pine?), a lot of Matte Black Stain, quite a few L brackets (big ones to hold the desk to the wall and smaller ones to attach the sides and shelves) and some 2x4s to help secure the desk to the wall. I could have bypassed this and just gone for more L brackets but I liked the idea of  being able to attach the whole back piece all the way around. In retrospect, not sure if I would do the 2x4s again. It’s definitely secure but maybe overkill? I was making this up as I went so I think there’s better and more refined ways to do this for sure. I decided to make the desk 18” deep (two 9” wide pieces of wood connected to each other) on the right side. The part that wraps around (under the windows) is just one 12” wide piece of wood. The right side ends so there’s about a foot of breathing room for the door to open all the way, which is even with the end of the bed, making the desk/shelf/bed sitch an imperfectly perfect U shape with the area rug (HELLO JEAN PALMER HOME), my $50 vintage chair (that is in desperate need of an upholstery job – recs?), and my “Trashcan” sitting in the center of the U. 

Table Lamp | Diffuser | Vase | Wooden Tray | Lidded Dish | Knot/Checkered Tray | Stapler | Ladder (Vintage)

I put shelves on the right side of the desk (by the door). The top shelf holds the box for the Frame TV, the two other shelves have vintage Hearth and Hand faux leather bins (no longer available) with workout gear in the top one, and our Peloton shoes in the bottom. On the desk, I keep my favorite lamp ever by Human Home. It gives off good diffused light for this dark space and has a built-in dimmer (a must for me). My Terracotta Vitruvi Stone Diffuser is among my favorite purchases for my recovery time. The Grove scent is my personal favorite.  (reminder: I #paidforallllllthis) Because of the very limited storage, I keep office supplies in creative spaces. We always say this at EHD, but a good tray is hard to find and this Rounded Wood Tray by West Elm is gooood. It’s a great size, has handles, and the rounded edges gives it that detail that makes it not too basic. Love this Studio Mcgee for Target vase, I use it in practically every shoot I do because it’s neutral, versatile (is it a vase or the perfect crock?), and luckily for you, still available. The Trinket Dish I pulled from my prop collection and it lives here now because it’s so cute while holding receipts that need to be scanned (a regular part of my life). That checkered tray holding my tape dispenser, stapler, and vintage ruler is none other than Tramp Ceramics, as is the knot on the wall hanging above it! 

Natural Woven Box | Cement Head

The “shelf” that wraps under the windows is the perfect side table for the Daybed as well as where I keep my box of small office supplies (extra pens, pencils, erasers, clips, washi tape, etc), my mancala board, and a cement head (obvs). The smokey globe light is IKEA. I’ve had it forever and it’s lived just about everywhere in my house which is good since it’s just a placeholder for a vintage lamp I have coming.

Smokey Globe Light

The bedframe is the cheapest wood IKEA frame, with stained wood pieces screwed in around the side and bottom, making it look continuous with the desk. It *may* be the Neiden but it didn’t have a headboard at all so I’m not sure? There’s a shelf on the side that is even with the bedframe (so slightly lower than the mattress). I have a stack of our favorite games and puzzles, along with 2 of my favorite Target coiled rope bins. In one I keep extra bedding and the other is a catch-all for things I use on the reg. But when not in use I want them out of sight/mind eg: laptop, iPad, journal, a pouch with misc chargers, and the current book I’m reading (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance if you were wondering). In the back corner of the shelf and on The Citizenry side table on the other side, I have 2 power strips that are running from a plug that is directly in the middle of the bed, behind the bolster and impossible to get to. Honestly, I have to share because having a plug for laptops and a phone charger at arm’s reach is so clutch when there is a sleeping cat on top of you, which for me is basically always. On the side table, I also have a vintage container where I keep the oils for my diffuser and a tray to corral my clickers.

The vintage sconce above the side table is actually Sara’s. I had bought my dream sconce, the Le Klint 204 Mushroom Wall Lamp and it didn’t arrive in time. Actually, quite a few things didn’t arrive because of covid/storms across the US, which was sad but I guess it just means I’ll have to do another photoshoot??

Comforter | Stripe Pillowcases | Quilted Sham (similar) | Quilt (similar) | Faux Leather Lumbar

As far as bedding, I went with mostly solids with different textures. The grey comforter base is Hearth and Hand. I decided for the shoot to purchase 2 king pillows because I realized that the length of the daybed wanted longer pillows. I purchased these terracotta linen stripe pillowcases to bring a little interest. I thought about purchasing a different quilt/sham set so that both sets of pillows were king, but honestly, I like what I have, they are vintage West Elm and I’ve had them for yearsss. They are no longer available but it’s very similar to this quilt and this sham set from Casaluna. I think because it’s supposed to feel like a couch I don’t mind that there are different sized pillows? What do you think? Should I spend $$ so that they match?

Throw Blanket

My favorite part of the bedding, however, is the throw blanket from heaven. I told Sara that I love it so much that I can’t tell if it is ugly or not, it’s beautiful to me! Of course, we all know and love the faux leather lumbar from Target. 

Before moving on, I would be remiss to not mention my FULL COVID HAIR. WHOA. I mean, I knew it was intense but this pushed me over the edge. DIY haircut coming to my insta soon! At least I gave you all a middle part that all the young people think they invented…

The High Shelf

Shelf Brackets | Wood Shelf | Planter | Bookend | Potted Faux Eucalyptus

Not too much to say here, just that I’m a huge fan of a high shelf, especially in smaller spaces that need storage. I’m about to do something similar in my kitchen. If you don’t have a lot of floor space, go up! I bought three 12” brackets from this Etsy shop (currently partially shut down because of weather) and used a beautiful piece of white oak from Ross Alan Reclaimed, cut it to size (from the corner to the end of the bed), made sure to adhere the brackets to studs because this thing is HEAVY and styled away with mostly books (because I don’t have space for a bookshelf and I have so. many. books. My big trick for this shelf is faux plants. 1. It’s dark in here and 2. That shelf is high – I will for sure forget about any plant that is up there and it will die. The one on the right is this super convincing fake by CB2, the one on the left is real from another part of my house because this one hadn’t arrived from Target. I actually previously owned this Hearth and Hand fake but I had to buy it AGAIN because every time I bring it to set someone wants to keep it because it looks that good. I just cut the hang-y things off and cheated it inside of that same planter. I returned the asparagus fern to my bedroom and the shelf is now safe from becoming a plant graveyard. Cutie bookend by West Elm. Wood object is vintage.

Magazine Rack

I know there are going to be questions. This DIY may be the best DIY I’ve ever come up with and made Shade build for me hahahaha. This was one of the first things I envisioned for the space and it turned out SO DAMN NICE and honestly, I didn’t exactly wield the tools myself but I’m gonna make it seem sooooo easy.

These were some of my inspo pics:

I had some leather from the Casaluna Shoot That we did at Sara’s a few months ago so I wanted to try my best at recreating something similar. I looked at these pics and I was like, sure, wood? Screws? Nails? Easy enough. And guess what? It kinda was!


Step 1: Buy wood. I went fancy and bought Walnut wood from my friendly neighborhood Home Depot. 2.5” wide x 0.75” –  a few long pieces and one piece of 1.5” x 0.75? (just make sure the pieces are longer than what you need so you can cut them down

Step 2: Determine size. For mine, I wanted it to fit nicely between the two windows with a little breathing room – 44”, and I wanted it to be tall enough to hold some larger magazines I sometimes have – 14” 

Should you do step 1 and 2 be swapped? Probably. This is how we did it. I mean, I had an idea of how long I wanted it *holds arms out* This long! Like I said, making it up as I go (an Emily Bowser Story).

Step 3: Cut Wood (see cut pieces above). I had two, 2.5”, cut to 44” for the length. Two 2.5” in cut 13.25” (the 0.75” will be made up by the 13.25” sitting on top of the bottom piece of wood) and one 1.5” cut to 42.5” (this will hold the magazines in at the bottom, sit on top of the bottom piece and between the two side pieces, when next to the side pieces it will be 44” wide. 42.5”+0.75”+0.75” = 44” Stay in school kids! *We used my table saw to cut the pieces.

Step 4: Be an overachiever like our friend Shade and lightly sand the pieces before you put them together (I tried to make him skip this step)! He used my orbital sander with a fine grit paper.

Should fit together like this! Top and very bottom – 44”, sides – 13.25”, mini piece sitting on top of bottom piece – 42.5”

Step 5: Nail gun that ish together!

Step 6: Realize Emily’s nail gun is not as nice as your fancy one (speaking from Shade’s perspective) and walnut is HARD. Drive a half-hour home and a half-hour back.

Step 7: NOW nail that ish together while Emily runs to the closest hardware store to get wood filler because is it really a DIY project if you only had to go to the hardware store ONCE??

Step 8: Fill nail holes and wait 30 mins or so.

Step 9: Lightly sand, wipe with dry cloth

Step 10: Oil, you know, if you want. We used Feed-N-Wax

Step 11: I found the same nails that I *think* may be for laying carpet. I honestly just liked the look of them, they were matte and raw looking. I checked on a spare piece of wood that it wouldn’t split it, I marked the spot I wanted, pre-drilled teeny tiny holes to help the nail along, and carefully nailed one side of the leather in (I used 2” wide), measured to make sure it was level and nailed the other side in. It’s helpful to have someone to hold the leather taught while you do this. And yes IIIII actually did do this part.

Step 12: Carefully drill holes for attaching to wall. We used gold screws I had, with anchors of course, and they blended in pretty well.

Step 13: Attach to wall! YAY!

Window Treatments

If you’re interested in a window treatment tutorial, I may be documenting (made them at night, horrible lighting). They are basically the outside mount version of the ones Orlando made with his mom, and very similar to the ones Julie and I (ok, mostly Julie) made for the mountain house kid’s room but without a liner. They are the same fabric that I used for the temporary wallpaper post and underneath them, I have inside mount, light-blocking roller blinds for when people sleep here or if we are watching TV during the day. The roller blinds are practical, but not cute. When rolled up, the DIY shades act as a valence for covering up the roller blind unsightliness. When down they offer more privacy while still letting light in.

Wall Decor

Wall Grid

Above the magazine holder, I have a simple wall grid for pinning my REAL LIFE inspo board. I’m a visual person (obviously) and I’m also tactile. I prefer things I can touch to the digital and flipping through magazines and cutting things out that catch my eye is very relaxing to me. I like how the grid disappears into the wall making the clippings look like they are floating.

The Gym Nook

Wood Hooks | Bala Power Ring | Yoga Rug

Behind the door, I came up with a simple way to store more of my workout stuff. I bought some simple wood hooks and have my resistance bands, yoga rug, and bala power ring (a cute and more versatile version of a kettlebell). It’s nice that it tucks behind the door but I don’t get mad about it when I have to see it either. Little known fact about me, I was a Bar Method instructor for a number of years and actually early in my assisting days with Emily I would teach the very very early morning classes (5:30 WHAT) and then go work on set. The space between the desk and the bed is perfect for teaching myself some classes (with the desk as my makeshift “bar”) or for taking online classes with my former Bar Method bosses who have started their own fitness studio, Chrysalis, when they needed to pivot during the pandemic.

I am also a Peloton spokesperson. Well, unofficially, but, I’m open – HMU. We’ve had ours since the end of 2018 because I was looking for something that wouldn’t take up too much space or be an eyesore. It’s one of the reasons that I like the reason the room is dark, the bike sort of disappears. I have a tray that attaches to the top of it and I will free ride and check emails for about 20 mins in the am and then do a quick 15 min climb with my BFFs Ally Love or Emma Lovewell. It’s a good workout, low impact, doesn’t have a big footprint, and isn’t ugly. If you can finance it, it costs less than a gym membership for 2 people (in LA anyway) and ours is now paid off.

Wait, MORE Art

Of course, I can’t NOT mention the beautiful Minted art (the only items in this room that were gifted). When picking out this art I had a conversation with my friend Orlando about how and when to choose to have something put on canvas and framed vs not (traditional framed art with glass). I had chosen this art and I felt like I wanted it on canvas but wasn’t sure if that was ok. He gave a simple answer that felt like a “duh” moment but I didn’t think of it until he said it. He said, if framing art that looks like it could be painted on canvas, like this “painting” it makes sense to put it on canvas, whereas if it were a modern print that was obviously made digitally, it should not be. I like that rule but also, rules are arbitrary do what you want 🙂

Rosy Tomorrow I and Rosy Tomorrow II by Stephanie Goos Johnson

I actually have a headboard DIY planned (of course I do) but for now, this diptych is holding its place, because we all know how long I take to get to projects. I think they will just relocated next to the Peloton to pretty up that naked corner in the future. 

Drop the Ball by Keren Toledano | After the Bath by Patricia Robitaille | Wetland Wall by Field and Sky

The other 3 pieces of art in this shoot are also from Minted. My original idea (to cover up the mess that was made of my walls – thanks gaff tape) was to get the Frame TV and surround it with an entire gallery wall full of art, objects, and vintage mirrors perhaps? Because this is my space and I can take my time, I’m using this as an excuse to slowly build a small art collection. Art (and framing!) is pricey though so this will take a while. As my collection grows I will have no problem integrating the gifted Minted art because the colors and textures are very “me”. In the meantime, I’m really digging this asymmetrical look. I feel like it’s balanced with the flowers, knot, and vintage bird ladder on the opposite side but I feel like it may be controversial. What do you all think?

Alright friends, it’s been fun. Let’s talk about cats, fibroids, my monster of a husband, Pelotons, cats that (figuratively) got away, fuzzy blankets, the solutions to life’s biggest problems, cults, Vampire Diaries (problematic! But Ian Somerhalder!), mancala and I guess design stuff.

Until next time!

*Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
** Design by Emily Bowser


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141 thoughts on “Emily Bowser’s BEAUTIFUL Hardworking, Multipurpose Room Reveal (+ Get Ready For Her DIYS)

  1. This was so inspiring! Love this! Currently waiting to take over a new place where we will be making a combined office / guest room. Love how this is a chill space as well.

  2. Emily Bowser, I can NOT with this room. It’s tooooo good! Every inch is a testimony to your clever intentions, fierce determination, and keen aesthetic. And on a tight budget too?!?!? Seriously, I don’t even know what to say besides YES and PLEASE SHOW US MORE and YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING.

    P.S. My favorite detail: how the leather on the insanely cool magazine rack ties in with the gorgeous OrMOMdo inspired window coverings.

    P.S.S. Your husband might be a monster. I won’t argue with you on that.

  3. Love it!! So much to take in, and I love all the details and the diy elements. Approachable beauty.

  4. Love the paint colour, love that you painted EVERYTHING, love all the DIY shelving and desks! 10 out of 10 would like an exact copy of this room in my appartment thank you.

  5. Ahhh I always love Bowser’s posts. The flow of writing is great and the decor style is so so cool, the spaces always look so cozy and inviting. Still waiting to see your new patio, that post got me dreaming of a beautiful (and slowly built) backyard like yours!

  6. Such an amazing transformation! I have a random question for Sara…What are your tips for photographing a room this dark so well? Would be so grateful to hear any advice you have on this.

    1. Yes! Sara’s last photography tutorial on how to edit iPhone photos was great. I learned so much, but tips on photographing dark rooms would be so helpful!

  7. Jesus H, Mary and Joseph, lady (that’s my tamped down New England version of the f bomb)! I applaud your going from financial overwhelm into major surgery and rebounding with this invigoratingly cozy covid crash room. I married a man with *special* aesthetic awareness. I see you. The room is beautiful. Thank you for unabashedly sharing more than pretty pictures and Instagram positivity. Forget the algorithms, I love your humanity and courage in putting this out here. Thank you!

      1. I am totally interested in the fibroid pics! I had a uterine polyp removed about 2 years ago (minor surgery compared to yours) and I regret that I didn’t ask for pics.

        I love that you had such a good space to recover in and then made it even better.

  8. Wow, this is stunning! So sorry to hear about your health issues, glad you were able to get your operation and hope you are fully recovered now.

    1. Thanks! It’s a long road, which I didn’t quite appreciate (and every person who has had a c-section is lol-ing now). TMI, but, I still don’t have feeling below my belly button or down one of my inner thighs. It’s no joke.

      1. it sounds worse than a c-section and I’ve had two, neither as elective. The only easier part is you can concentrate on your self after, I think but sounds like the surgery is a longer recovery time. I still have a large area with no feeling, 17+ years later.

      2. I know this is just one more thing that costs money, but have you considered going to a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner for acupuncture? They are very good at healing this kind of thing. Wishing you a faster recovery.

  9. Wonderful use of space. It’s pretty, functional and way better than creepy dolls and gaff tape. I’m jealous of how much you were able to pack in there and still have it look good.

  10. Absolutely LOVE the transformation and various personas this room has gone through. The deep green is gorgeous, especially on the fifth wall. Obsessed with the magazine rack and the gridded inspiration board. Also the plethora of interesting containers and trays. You planned around this room’s many uses and still made it cohesive. You, Monster and the handsome/beautiful cats have a wonderful, interesting life. Thank you for sharing all its details.

  11. WOW. This is such a good transformation, also so appreciate your WFH before pic. You made me LOL, great ideas here for all of us, THANKS! Also, I hope you have fully healed from that very invasive surgery.

  12. Thank you for having a before pic that is actually reflective of real life and living with a man 😂.

    This is so so so good. Well done!

    1. YES. I feel seen. My husband’s version of this room would be similar except add 792 random pieces of paper and 14 half-empty glasses of liquid. Lord help us.

      Also this room is seriously inspiring me and is a very helpful counter to my husband’s “guest Murphy bed/desk combo” idea!

  13. Wow this is such a helpful and inspiring post. I feel like I so often look at design blogs and think “that space looks great but it’s never going to happen in my tiny apartment.” You have achieved what I didn’t think possible by fitting a guest bed, office and gym into one small space. Definitely taking notes here.

  14. I may have missed this, but was the leaking garage ever repaired?? Curious about the monster working out there.

    1. Yes, what a gorgeous room. But is the husband really forever banished to working in the grim garage??

      1. yes. forever. and yes, he LOVES it. He basically lives down there now. He does a couple podcasts and makes his TikToks in peace now and I don’t have to hide in my room for hours while he does this…

    2. Actually YES. Er, mostly. We finally waterproofed the back of the garages. if it really pours we have some leakage in the front by the doors because the driveway slopes towards the house but it’s not nearly as bad. I think in April/May we are going to be forced to rip up the front yard for multiple reasons and that issue will be fixed then. Ugh. It’s gonna be a big ole boring expensive thing.

      1. You have my sympathy. We are dealing with the same thing: a driveway that slopes into our carport and toward the front door. One thing I have done is buy a product called QuickDam at Home Depot. There are black fabric sleeves about 6 feet long that are filled with little beads. These beads absorb water until they are full, and then they repel it! It puffs up and becomes water repellent in about 10 minutes.

        You can also get ones that are the dimensions of a sandbag if you don’t need to go all the way across your garage/carport opening like we do. They can stack too. They can be left outside in a shaded area to dry and shrink, then be stored until you need them again. We actually have to leave ours out, and I just move them out the way when I need to get groceries.

        Don’t ever step or drive over them when they are puffed up. The gel will squeeze out of the seams and there won’t be enough left in to be an effective dam anymore.

        Special ordering them might work better. My HD is the only place I’ve seen them, and I always have to try a few times before they are actually in stock bc the website is almost never right.

      2. Depending on how your driveway & yard are graded, you might be able to do what’s called a curb cut. Basically, the concrete gets cut out in a 6″ wide groove across the width of the driveway with a little 1.5″ ledge at the top. Then a piece of metal grating sits on the ledge. The water hits the basin and drains away to the sides and around the building instead of into it– you’d just have to dig out the soil a bit on both sides of the driveway until you hit lower ground where the water can freely flow away. Depending on your grade, you can go into a french drain or just let it flow over the surface (my preference, since it doesn’t get backed up with debris as easily and it’s far easier to quickly clear if it does back up).

  15. It’s all gorgeous! I especially love the magazine holder and image board and the wraparound desk and shelves. The Cascade brackets are the best quality! We have them at our house too.

    And I am SO glad you showed the workout and peloton area because when you mentioned peloton shoes I was like “ok please don’t be one of those reveals where you don’t show the not-exactly-pretty-but-real-life” room setup with the equipment. 🙂 Also hardcore love my peloton too!

  16. That magazine rack is super swoonworthy! I love the black wrap around desk, too. Just so much to admire and copy here.

    That stressful photo of the room when your husband was using it makes the space look like a garage. And now he’s in the garage. Lol!

  17. It’s all beautiful, creative and inspiring. Do you have a link for the Peloton tray? Our bike just arrived after a 5-month Covid-induced delay/production issues/delivery mess up.

    1. weirdly the specific one I have no longer comes up, but if you search “Peloton Tray” on Amazon there’s a bunch

  18. This is sooo good. I wish I had a small fraction of your resourcefulness and creativity.

    I think your wall arrangement with the Frame looks balanced. I actually saved a photo of it, before getting to the part where you mention it being weird, to inspire the layout I want to use around mine.

    And I want that humanhome lamp so badly. It’s been out of stock forever. I keep hoping they’ll bring it back, since it’s still on their site.

  19. BOWSER!!! How’s that book coming along? Huh? Haven’t had any time? Oh, okay then!😁
    Fibroids so are not funsies! I had an orange sized one and several walnuts, plus an egg. I feel for you. xx

    The. Monster. Room. Just about made me pee my pants!!! Seriously, 11PM here and I lost it. Hahaha!!!😹😹😹 Keep the mister in the monster garage (tho he looks to be a very nice monster).

    Looks like Daffy owns the room, every nook n cranny! Your kitties make me miss gaving a cat! Even though I have my scruffy dawg (she would not do well with a cat).🐈

    I love your input from friends, even borrowing things for the shoot. Sweet.
    Your hair!! Wow!🤩

    The room is splendiferous! Honestly, the bed/daybed looks ready to snuggle into, the shelves are gorgeous and so practical and the whole shabang truly works massively well!
    You’re a star! This is really, REALLY, outstanding work and you should and rightfully must be so dang pleased with it!

    Soooooo impressed and pleased to ‘read’ you again.
    Rusty 🤗xx

  20. There is nothing not to LOVE in this room! It’s mind boggling when you think of the work load this room accomplishes!!
    I am concerned about one thing, however. You (and I) live in earthquake country. I cannot imagine sitting/sleeping on your daybed with that shelf over my head. Falling objects, Emily! This seems crazy.
    Just my 2 cents.

    1. I’m curious about the shelf above the bed in California, too! I see other designers do this and wonder if maybe it’s like my own risk aversion to be so scared about it. OR is there some trick I don’t know about making the items less likely to fall?? (Love the use of that space for sure.)

    2. haha true. ah well. Clearly I didn’t grow up in earthquake country. Guests can remove the books I guess.

  21. Please consider putting Elvira back in here just to a nod to where you came from with this room 🙂

    1. funny enough, I’ve purchased a few prints for the gallery wall and I got Andrew a b&w of Tim Curry as Frank N. Furter.

  22. I love how you use the vintage ladder you “stole” from Emily in every reveal! It’s like a fun easter egg. The room is awesome and inspiring me as I tackle my office/gym/place to store all my hoarded art and decor.

    1. I saw it when i was editing the post last night and it warmed my heart. I may steal it back because I need TWO vintage birdcage ladders, obviously, but it currently belongs in this special room. xx

    2. Sorry ladies, that ladder is MINE. I “stole” the idea, not the ladders. Good eye though!

    1. I got it from a store in North Hollywood called Practical Props when we first renovated 4+ years ago. Not sure if they still have it, hope that helps!

  23. Wow what a transformation. Love how moody and cozy it looks. And that Samsung tv. My dream tv. I need to stop being a cheap ass and just buy one 😅

  24. Emily, you are my hero! OMG, I am so in love with every single thing you did. Especially the magazine rack! I have such a room in my house, about the same size, with 2 windows, where I do yoga and read stories to grandkids and which will be my grandkid guest room. I have thought about painting it dark. I have thought about window treatments for sleeping and light/privacy. I have thought about book storage. I have thought about using a bed as a sofa. I have thought about stealing all of your ideas! 🙂 But the idea I had before you was to have a grapefruit-size fibroid on my uterus! Same surgery, same recovery! Ha! Thank you for this- it has already made my day!

  25. We are moving into a two bedroom townhouse in the next month and this is SUCH a huge inspiration for our guest room/office/workout space we’re planning! It’s gorgeous!!

  26. LOVE seeing you here and this makeover is incredible! I mean every detail! So jealous I want that Peloton! Daffy looks quite happy and I can relate to a peeing cat on “piles” of things…ugh…is it really only something a mother can love? I struggle with that one.

  27. LOVE this room and your ability to be both ingenious and artful.
    Love the cats.
    Is that Emily H.’s old parrot ladder? Did she know you still had it?

  28. Uhm – PERFECT model cats, love moncala, love this room and everything about it! I have a room that could definitely use this mood/treatment! Poor room was THROUGH it before this and now she’s SNATCHED! am i using that right IDK and IDC LOL

    so good!

  29. Beautiful room, Emily! I love your style, and so many great takeaways that are super doable. Your DIYs are so great. And the multifunctionality of this room is perfect right now. Guest room, office, TV room, and home gym all in a 10×10 space is impressive on its own, but you’ve also made it look amazing! I hope you are feeling recovered. I’m so glad you are able to create this space to heal.

  30. I love everything about this :).

    Quick question – what are the dimensions of the room? Just if you happen to remember them off the top of your head.

      1. Amazing, thank you!! I thought it was 9’ish based on the bed but you managed to make it so functional and not look crammed. I’m inspired :).

  31. Fun fact: I have two cats & their names are … Puck and Sherman (!). And when I met my husband he had a cat named … Daffy. OMG.

    1. Sorry you are going through that, if it’s any encouragement, it was kind of nice to do while the world is sort of shut down? Didn’t feel like I was missing much…

  32. The before picture of your partner using it as an office is my favorite before pic of all time. This reveal was amazing all around. What a fab, beautiful use of space.

  33. Bowser everything and this is perfect! The actual reality before pics, the writing, diy, styling, it’s all so great. I adore that wrap around desk situation xx

  34. Bowser I loooooove your writing! And this space is absolutely gorgeous. I love the marriage of colours, especially that last pic of the Frame with the surrounding art — such a beautiful job with restraining the colour palette but also making it super exciting. I just need to stare at it forever. LOVE! Also I hope you are feeling well now, totally sucks all that fibroids business. And please, your “monster” is hilarious. I think he needs to write us a post about what he does all day.

  35. Emily, you are a small space genius! I love everything you’ve done, and this is no exception. I just want you to come tell me what to do with my small 2 bedroom house. Also a big Peloton fan over here and need to get that tray! Thank you for showing us how you integrated workout equipment in a beautiful way.

  36. Oh I love this, moody and cosy and the leather touches just glow. Hope you’re fully recovered now too!

  37. I love all of this so much! I have a room that is currently housing my son and his college life’s accumulations but I will use this as inspo for sure! I also have Covid hair that hasn’t been cut since last February until I saw a DYI on Pinterest!! I was a bit like a deer in the headlights but let my husband take off two inches, (it was below my bra strap). It turned out fine but I’ll be glad to get back to the stylist!

    1. In a past life I *did* in fact go to hair school so you would think I would have done it myself by now, but I too have not gotten it done since February and even then that was a tiny trim. my hair is incredibly thick so it seems overwhelming but I’m going to try just for fun because when the world opens up more I am going to have my very talented stylist cut it all off.

  38. I learned stuff! I’m inspired! I had to look up what your hubs does cause I was like ????, but now I get it – garage seems like the perfect spot for his creativity. I would never decorate like this but I love it! I like the spacing of the art around the TV, creates a bit of breathing room. I hope you are feeling much better! And Daffy – the diamond of the first water of cat models! Thanks for oversharing, it’s very relatable.

    1. Andrew does a lot of things TBH, he’s a creative producer, writer, director, actor, podcaster viral youtube-r and TikTok-er. He was mad I didn’t plug his current passion project so I will do it here: You can understand with all those roles where he needs his own space

      We are very…different.

      1. As a person who used to have a dedicated costume closet for the various things I used to do, I had a feeling he was a many hats person just based on all areas he’s created in the garage. That space seems like the perfect vibe for him. But omg, different, indeed! I am the right audience for your creations, but notsomuch for his. But I wish him all the best with his movie!

  39. “GET OUT OF MY WAY I NEED THROW PILLOWS.” – Dying laughing!

    This room is magical and beautiful and full of clever DIY solutions. I won’t even attempt to list what I love because it’s, like, everything. Brava!!

  40. omg i love this and now i need to redo my office because this is exactly what i have been trying to achieve: gym, office, bedroom, chill space! i love it all!

  41. I love EVERYTHING about this space! You seriously knocked it out of the park with this one. Stylish, functional, and GORGEOUS. Amazing, amazing job. The asymmetrical art on the Frame wall looks great, and the way you hid your workout gear behind the door is genius. I we could just tack this room onto our 1 bedroom to make it 2, that would be great, kthxbye.

    Btw, your Daffy is our cat Delilah’s doppelganger! It makes me happy every time I see her in your photos.

  42. I have to comment: I love reading design blogs, articles, etc and viewing pics of things people have done…this is one of the best I’ve ever come across! You provided tons of detail and photographed virtually every part of the room! I get really irritated when only one angle is shown, which makes it hard to envision something in my house. Thanks!

  43. This is a beautiful space and so welcoming! I love the book shelves! and the wall grid…must order for myself. Thank you for sharing.


  44. Great writing; I have the attention span of a gnat, but read it all. You really had a secret weapon to get through all this – a cat! The purr, the cute sleep positions, and even the distracting mischief. Good luck going forward.

    1. hahahaah…Sara and I should add “styling cats” to our resumes. Mostly you have to catch them when they are just being cute on their own, you have to keep the set peaceful or they will bail and lots of treats help.

  45. I didn’t believe you could make that pathetic room look so good. It is amazing. Stunning. Practically ground shaking. Enough with the “ings”. It’s all that and a whole bag of chips.

    Your husband needs constant adult supervision.

  46. Okay – THAT was a journey! I normally roll my eyes at “befores” because they usually are not that bad, they just have bad lighting. This before, both the empty room and the darling monster’s office were REAL befores. Just totally crazy town. You’ve done a beautiful job!

    I’m a bit envious of the pressure that having to publish a room means. I’m quite good with getting 80% through a room or project. It’s getting through that last 20% that takes forever or never happens. Then I live with the unfinished nature of things for a few years until another idea hits and we start all over again.

    Was worried your husband was in a leaky awful garage, but if it is (mostly) dry and he gets to keep his (scary) toys out to his heart’s content, it sounds like a good trade. I think my husband would give up his window to not have me weighing in on his home office’s design.

    Be healthy and all the best on your recovery (I had two c-sections but your numbness seems more extreme)!!!

    1. Thanks! Finishing is hard, I’m with you there. Currently my kitchen that still doesn’t have the open shelving that was planned 4+ years ago is screaming at me.

      We fixed the garage before he moved in and splurged on a Molecule air purifier. Luckily, he loves being in the dark, as if you can’t tell by the way he kept the space.

      Ah! If I ever give birth in the future I will have to have a c-section and honestly the idea of being cut open AGAIN is completely crazy to me right now. Good on you and I’m glad you didn’t experience this much numbness.

  47. Oh my goodness! When I saw that you ALT tagged the BEFORE as WTF you earned my everlasting respect! You are fire!

  48. This is one of the best, best before and afters I have seen on any site, ever–such an inspiring, rich, tonal space with so much detail and interest without being the least bit scattered or messy. And so many doable DIYS! Usually I get super overwhelmed feeling like I need to buy a million things after I read a design post, but I ate this one up, and want to do/make it all! Thanks, Emily B!

  49. OMG, Emily, your writing is hilarious as always and I have sorely missed the way your posts make me laugh out loud!! Secondly, the room is absolutely gorgeous, so I guess it makes sense that your main job still is in the visual arts (though you could be a full-time writer). This post is a treat for the soul, brain and eyes! And thirdly, I hope that you are fully recovered and doing well, so sorry you had to go through that.

  50. Omg Bowser, I have missed your voice ❣️❣️❣️❣️ So happy to see you thriving albeit recovering from a nasty surgery. Those bitches hurt and do ugly things to privates 😖🤫 I will never recover from 2 things, when your hubby held rein of that room (said monster with a Fez) and see the poor nasty SOB very pitifully sitting in the freezing cold garage with a space heater (subjective as we live in SoCal….haha not stupid Fish Camp like someone else we know…….🥶)


    1. Thanks! I’m actually weirdly impressed by how warm that space heater keeps the garage. yeah, would be hard in a cooler climate for sure.

  51. Emily, I just can’t with the last year (s) of your life. I was bracing myself constantly and while I’m here to say amazing job on a super multipurpose room, I want you to take a damn break and win the lottery and have only good things happen for weeks at a time.

    1. Thank you! Honestly, 2020 was a doozy for sure, more-so in an emotional way with the world hurting so deeply, my parents both had Covid (my dad pretty badly) and my surgery. That said, we are simultaneously feeling very thankful and lucky that we are starting to see the very very beginnings of the light at the end of the financial ruin tunnel. Andrew stayed employed throughout the entire pandemic and I was able to get on unemployment and then have had decently steady work since about August. I was even able to work a bit for Velinda when I was bedridden. These have been tough years for a lot of people and I’m hoping for a bit of relief for everyone, thanks for the good vibes.

  52. I generally really like the posts on this blog and this room is wonderful but have to say I wish someone proofread the posts more carefully. Pretty much every post has at least one spelling/usage error, often confusing two words that sound the same (i.e. “taught” vs “taut”). It may seem inconsequential but it comes across as sloppy. Thanks!

    1. COMEONNNN you’re just going to leave me hanging like that??? The suspense of knowing what I did wrong *almost* makes me want to read it for the 239048325897th time

  53. WOW! Emily, I love every single thing about this room. Seriously…EVERYTHING. I’m just gonna print all these pics and make them my entire inspo board. We are talking about downsizing this year, and this gorgeous multiuse room just makes me believe I can do it. So many solutions. Thanks for sharing.

  54. A really great post! So funny and touching. Your space is beautiful and I can’t wait to try that magazine rack DIY. I also had fibroids and luckily avoided the more complex surgery but when you mentioned the fruit…it brought it all back! Why do they do that? Hope you are all better.

  55. Laughed multiple times reading this—and your room looks amazing. Also, I zoomed in on the picture of Andrew so I could get a really good look at the kind of monster who keeps a fez and robe-curtains in his office.

  56. Timely, BEAUTIFUL, Creative… I love you Bowser!! We’re looking to make our “WeWork” (guest bed/two desks/peloton/dog bed) more beautiful and intentional and this is inspired. Thank you! Buying that bolster ASAP and would love more content like this

  57. Love this! We moved into a 1930s four square nearly two years ago and the house has a *tiny* fourth bedroom that we didn’t know how to use. It’s now our office/ Peloton/ guest/ play room. It’s probably my favorite (and our most used) room in the house. Some Dalmatian print wallpaper, a fun colorful rug, good storage and big art did the trick!

  58. Understated swanky , both Emily Bowser and this room! I could read this post, 2-3 times and still be inspired… so good to have you visit here. Please, keep bringing the DIY with your witty words, amazing style, and uncanny ability to make one room a total workhorse!

  59. Hi Emily B! So glad to hear from you but so sorry for what you’ve been through!
    You are a rock star for pulling this together so soon after surgery. I hope your recovery goes smoothly.
    Okay, this room is AMAZING. Seriously, every part is gorgeous and interesting and brilliantly thought-out. You’ve packed SO much function in such a small space and with so much resourcefulness. I am enamoured with every photo! I just can’t say enough good things about it all!
    I hope you can enjoy many hours in here snuggling with that kitty and slowly recovering. I had 3 c-sections (with zero complications – so grateful!) and it took many months to feel even a semblance of normalcy. I can only imagine what you’re going through with an even more serious surgery, ahhhh!! Hang in there! XO!

  60. I love every bit of this so much! It’s amazing, your colors and my colors are totally different (I’m a very committed blue person with purple and pink thrown in) but every time you post a space I WANT it and love it so much. It just always looks so rich and cozy I fall in love with the colors and everything.

  61. This room is so gorgeous and I love all the art and the shelf/desk unit that you made
    Such a great use of space. The kitties are absolutely darling😻

  62. This kind of post is the reason I keep coming back to this blog! Nicely done! Also the room while used by Mr. Man — wow! I lol-ed. Nice recovery with the design, and glad he gets a happy workspace…elsewhere 🙂

  63. I am so jealous of your cat Daffy. What is the other cat’s name? These are the very best accessories to your rooms. I want cats like yours.

    I like what you did with this room.

  64. I love your article so much – lines that made me laugh (including when I re-read the article, the way you explained your decisions about the the room choices, and your perfect room. I am sorry about your medical issues but thank you for telling us what your year has been. Your room is so beautiful and inspiring as a workplace and useful solution. Thanks so much.

  65. This is the most random, but shout out to calling remotes “clickers”! Sometimes people look at me crazy when I say that, but it’s how I grew up 🙂
    PS THIS ROOM IS AMAZING, great job!!!

  66. So sososososo good. I love the look and feel of this room!! It’s my favorite masculine-ish, texture heavy inviting vibe. And for a tucked away retreat a dark paint is glorious. A+++ Bowser! Also, great writing, sorry for your rough times this past season, love your humorous touches, may the road be easier for you this year!

    1. Agree!! The bolsters are genius. I love EHD because they resource from so many places. I would never think to look at Etsy for bolsters. I ask kindly for EHD for a post for specific sites and what they offer; or, what is available on sites such as, Etsy.

      Love artwork and how it is displayed.

  67. Anyone else feel like a “styling moment” was totally missed by not adding a PBR or High Life to the desk of Andrew’s garage office?? Love how the two of you are stylistically opposites. And I’d love to hear more about what Andrew does and his perspective on all this! So fun!

  68. Hi, would love to see how you are using the wood pegs behind the door for your workout gear – could you please share a pic? Thanks!

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