14 September 2011

the first after: new guest room

Hiya. Back today with the first "after" for our new house. It's really more like an "in progress" than an after, but is any "after" really final? Of course not.

Today's star: our new guest room. We hosted our first guests a whole four days after getting the keys to our new abode, so we had to get down to serious business to make the room livable.

On the checklist:
  1. Get rid of the dayglo green paint on the walls and ceilings
  2. Replace the pink curtains
  3. Swap in a more attractive light fixture
  4. Furnish the room
  5. Accessorize

Here's how it started out looking, as a former tween girl's bedroom.

Paint is the obvious first step, since we're not quite BRIGHT LIME GREEN kinda folks. But lemme tell ya... lime green is not so easy to cover up. It's especially not so easy to cover when you're using kinda crappy primer.

For this project, we went with Olympic Premium from Lowe's because A.) it's by far the cheapest paint we saw, at $19 a gallon, and B.) It's completely no-VOC, lower than even Benjamin Moore's (three times the price) "no VOC" Natura. But what we learned is that Olympic's primer is the thinnest, crummiest primer ever. The paint is pretty decent, actually, and is thicker than the primer. But next time we'll go back to our trusty Kilz instead for the primer, or even just the standard Sherwin Williams stuff, which has always treated us well. I'd buy Olympic Premium again for paint, though.

After a lot of painting on very textured walls that drink up paint, a little electrical switcheroo and some drape hanging, we moved in the furniture and linens, and found ourselves with a big improvement, and a comfy little guest room.


(Chelsea had to steal the spotlight. She just can't help herself!)

The paint is color matched to Benjamin Moore "Halo" (on the ceiling and most of the walls), and "Hazy Skies" on the accent wall behind the bed. Both colors are amazing chameleons, looking warm and greigy some of the time, a cool blue-green-gray other times. Perfect for a guest room.

Here's a full rundown of what you see in the room:
  • Bed: Ikea Lillesand in queen size (link is to full size, but stores still stock queen)
  • Mattress: Ikea Sultan Fjordgard latex and foam mattress
  • Table/desk to the left of the bed: HomeGoods, taken from our condo in LA
  • Green storage cube/chair under desk: HomeGoods
  • Bedside table to right of the bed: Rose Bowl Flea Market ($15!)
  • Lamp: CB2 Paramount Table Lamp (a touch lamp!)
  • Bed linens: Overstock.com
  • Curtains: Thermal panels from Target
  • Light fixture: Semi-flushmount from Lowe's

As you can tell, this guest room, like all of our bedrooms, is ITTY BITTY. After having a bigger bedroom than we need in LA, and therefore a smaller living room than we'd like, we deliberately chose little bedrooms and big common spaces in our Truckee house. The result is that it lives a lot bigger than its 1800 square feet. We highly recommend this approach, since how much time do you spend in the bedroom anyway, or at least awake time? Besides, the last thing we want is for guests to come see us, but spend too much time in their room because it's so spacious and fabulous. What's the point of that? A tiny guest room ensures that they spend lots of time hanging out with us!

But teensy rooms make multi-tasking furniture essential, since we still want our guests to feel comfortable and at home. I wanted guests to have a place to work on their laptop or write a quick postcard, and this console table from our LA place fit the bill perfectly. By using it as a bedside table, and one day hanging a mirror just above it, it manages to triple-task as nightstand, desk and dressing table. Cost to us: $0, since we already owned it. The fantastic green cube was $70 at HomeGoods, and provides storage for extra blankets.

The curtains are a work in progress, and soon I hope to share the "after" on some lovely green and blue print drapes that I'm sewing. These blue thermal panels will live behind the new drapes, and provide insulation from light and cold. All the curtain hardware is what came with the room, but it matches the bed perfectly, and so it gets to stay.

The light fixture was a quick switch that instantly updated the room a ton (nevermind that the door knobs are still brass... at least the light no longer is!). A well-spent 70 bucks. I love the natural fiber drum shade, and the light diffuser that makes the light easy on the eyes.

As for accessorizing the room, we thought about why guests would be visiting us. Obviously, because we're so super fun to hang out with! But also because we're a 20 minute drive from Lake Tahoe, right in the heart of the Sierras. To help guests decide what they want to do while they're staying with us, we loaded the room full of maps, local guide books, local history books and every hiking, camping and climbing book you could want. Nobody will ever ask what there is to do, or how to get there. We also threw in a star chart as a fun touch, so that guests can enjoy the crazy array of stars visible from the house, thanks to the total lack of light pollution that living in far flung rural places affords one.

There's also a candle or two in the room... every guest room needs a candle, a box of tissues and a trash can.

Now that the guest room is in workable shape, we're focusing on the other rooms in the house. But in the near future, we hope to hang the new curtains in front of the current blackout drapes, hang a mirror above the desk/nightstand, and get some art on the walls. And when we do, you know you'll be the first to see it!

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  1. I agree that bedrooms don't need to be so large. The house we're building has really tiny bedrooms in spite of being almost 5,000 sq ft and I loved that about it. So exciting to get a room kinda "done!" Having guests is what houses like this are all about :)

  2. It looks so much better! I love that little shelf thing next to the closet! SO CUTE!! :)

  3. I'm packing my luggage right this instant. Be expecting me bright and early Saturday morning. I can't wait to go through your basket of tourism info. You sure don't look discombobulated to me. P.S. I thought I was the only person in the world who used that word! I seriously can't wait to see more photos! I know this all is exhausting, but oh what fun you must be having. Impatiently waiting to see more of your wonderful progress.....See you Saturday! :)


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