evolution of my home | part 8 | the guest room

by | Jul 21, 2015 | All Things Home, Before and Afters, Decorating, Furniture Makeovers, Guest Room, My House | 33 comments

First of all, thank you so much to all of my readers who have answered my questions from yesterday!  I have been trying to respond to all of them, but I haven’t been able to keep up!  I am reading all of them, though, and I’m taking notes, writing down some ideas and I’m definitely seeing some patterns that confirm some things I’ve been thinking about.  Thanks for being constructive, encouraging, critical, and honest.  It really is helping me and I feel a new excitement about my blog and how I can make it better.  I’ll share more about that once I’ve had time to digest all of the feedback and figure out how to formulate a plan around what I’ve learned.  I am listening, though, and really appreciating the time you have taken to respond.  I was pretty bowled over.  In a good way.

For those of you who have loved my home evolution series, we’re not done, yet!  We actually have three more rooms to tour – the guest room, which we’ll look at today, the boys’ room and Jeff’s office.  Now, Jeff’s office is a desk, a wire shelf, an old toy shelf, an extra chair, blank walls, etc., so we’ll see if that one “makes the tour”.  It’s “his” room and I’m fine with it not being photogenic, but I’ll at least show you how the room has evolved.

Today, we’re talking about the guest room.


This is the very first room that felt most like “me” in the entire house.  It was my favorite room for a long time.

So, here’s how it looked when we toured the house before we bought it.



I think the room belonged to a teenage boy and, in his defense, it is a really awkward space.

Since it’s the smaller of the two upstairs bedrooms, it started out as a guest room for us.  I was pregnant when we moved into the home and we were going to use what is now Jeff’s office space as the nursery, since it was connected to the master bedroom at the time.  What is now the boys’ room was a room for the teenage girl who lived with us for a school year.  She was from our former youth group and it was an “exchange student” sort of set-up, since her parents were in Germany.  I don’t have any pictures of those rooms during that time, though.

I started taking pictures of the rooms when I started my business.

We had two boys then.  Our youngest was in the nursery (now office) and our oldest had moved upstairs to the guest room.  The boys’ room was the guest room and my craft closet.  I was going to say it was a craft room, studio or office, but I never worked in there, so it was just where I stored stuff.  It was a glorified closet with a bed in it.

Once I moved my son into this room, I painted the walls orange.  I was still in my “white walls are for wimps” phase, so I went bold.  I don’t think anyone could deny that orange walls are bold.

The room was mostly populated with freebies…a free rope bed frame from my in-laws, a yard sale lamp and hand-me down side table, etc.


I finally decided to swap those three rooms around again when my youngest son was getting older and sleeping through the nights.  I moved the boys into the larger of the two rooms and reclaimed the orange room as the guest room.  The nursery became my “office” or closet, rather.

Brace yourself for some orange walls and blurry pictures…

guest room 3

The bedside sconces are from Ikea and I still think were a great option for the price.  (It’s the Arstid wall lamp for $14.99.)  The bedding was gifted to me at my baby shower by my friend who always went antiquing with me before I moved to PA.  I had been admiring that spread for years at a place we would frequent, but it was always out of my price-range.  She went to the store, told the dealer I have been looking at it for years and she got it for 75% off the original price!

(The cat was Mulder.  A moment of silence for Mulder.  Yes, we had a Scully, too.)

The black fan, which I still have, was the very first thing I ever bought on eBay.  I remember going to press the buy button and would nervously walk away and give myself a pep talk.  I was actually shaking as I typed in my credit card information, sending it out into oblivion.  Remember when buying online was really scary?!  I think it was $25.  That was when eBay only had auctions and you could find amazing bargains.  The camp photo has my Oma in it and the dresser was $35 from Craig’s List.


I got the channel back chair on the side of the road for free.  I mean, it matched my orange walls!  I finally put it on the curb and one of my neighbors picked it up for free.  It was way beyond my upholstery abilities at the time.


I was then involved in a blog competition called “So you think you can decorate.”  Anyone remember that?  We had a challenge each week and I took it very seriously.

One week, our assignment was to use “hardware store materials” in our home.  I thought I had the most brilliant idea ever and turned 1/4″ MDF into a planked wall.  At the time, that seemed innovative to me, but it doesn’t seem that original anymore!


I also de-oranged the room, painting it in Sherwin Williams’ Crisp Linen.  Or Fresh Linen?  Something Linen.  It was a very pale yellow more than a white.


I made curtains out of red toile fabric I bought at a local upholstery/curtain shop for $8.00.  It was a pretty large remnant, so I was able to make a pillow, two curtain panels and one balloon shade out of it, which is stretching $8.00 pretty darn far.  The chair was an old yard sale find that I slipcovered in white cotton twill.

fullchaircorner copy


Oh, and the bed belonged to my great-grandmother.  I dug it out of my Opa’s attic on one of my treasure hunts.

bedside3 copy


The room stayed this way, with little tweaks and changes here and there, for several years.


 I would sometimes change out the art and bedding.  The crochet bedspread on the bed in the picture below, was made by another great-grandmother.  The framed horse prints on the wall were a wedding gift to my Oma and Opa.

guest room 3

While the room stayed mostly the same, I would swap things out for photo shoots, like in the picture below, which shows the versatility of the neutral space.

guest room 2

By the way, some of you requested that I share more of my failures.  In this photo shoot, I was showing how to make no-sew curtain panels using fusible webbing.  Well, the fabric I chose was pretty thick, so it took me hours of applying heat to get those curtains made!  Give me a sewing machine any day of the week!!

One day, while out looking at used furniture shops, I found a bed frame with a curved footboard and tall headboard.  It was tall enough to create a hand painted bed, inspired by this one that I clipped out of a magazine years ago…


So, I used MMS Milk Paint (French Enamel, Apron Strings, Mustard Seed Yellow and Linen) to create an “antique hand painted” bed.


I loved this bed.  Over-the-moon-loved this bed.  I took the opportunity of swapping out the bed to freshen up the walls.  I painted them in Sherwin Williams’ Mascarpone.  It might be one of my favorite wall colors in the house.  It’s creamy and warm, but not too yellow.  I didn’t like how the Ikea sconces looked with this bed, so I swapped them out for some brass sconces from Pottery Barn.  They were a splurge at around $240 for the pair.  (I gave the bed to another family member, by the way.)  The stool is an antique ($45), I made the pillow out of an old grain sack, the yellow bolster is from Pine Cone Hill and the quilt was from eBay.  (The coverlet is the one my friend gifted me.)



This is also when I made new curtains out of a raspberry and white buffalo check fabric my aunt gave me from her stash.  Those of you who have read my blog for a while know that I have two very cool aunts who both have great taste and sometimes they give me stuff!


Did I mention that I loved that bed?  Yes, I did/do.  I sold it, though.  Sniff.  I know it has found a great home, though, and I’m sure I could visit it if I ever “needed” to.  

Then, a few things happened all at one time.  I was asked if I would review a queen-sized mattress for my blog.  My poor guests have been sleeping cozily in a full-sized bed and we have wanted to upgrade to a queen for a while, but it was never a financial priority.  This was the time to upgrade.  It meant that I had to sell the bed, though.

Knowing that antique queen-sized beds don’t exist, I turned to Restoration Hardware, my favorite place to look for furniture that’s new, but vintage in style.  I needed to find a bed frame that could be purchased with the money from the sale of my other bed and some gift cards I bought with credit card bonus points.  I bought the French Academie Bed on sale for $495.


I was also asked to design a bed for Pine Cone Hill, so I selected queen-sized bedding that would work with the new bed…



Since the bed and the walls are white, I selecting bedding with some color.  To be honest, I was really nervous about the gold and how it would play with the raspberry, but I really love how warm it is and how it fits with my style, but is a departure from the blue & white in the rest of the house.


And, just to let you know, we loved the mattress I got in exchange for a review (a Beautyrest from their Black series), so it’s in our room now.  I loved our mattress, a Tempurpedic, but it wasn’t working for Jeff, so we swapped them out.


I bought the painting on the wall from an auction at my sons’ school.  It was $35.


The chair was a $75 Craig’s List find and it’s one of the only pieces in my house that I paid to have upholstered.  When I was juggling a retail space and everything else, it was too much for me to do my own upholstery, so I hired it out.  I don’t remember how much it cost, but the woman I was working with was just launching her business, so it was a real bargain at $10/hour for her labor.


The bolster pillow is an antique redwork pillow cover, wrapped and tied around a feather form with baker’s twine.


The wedding ring quilt is an antique from Jeff’s grandma.  She didn’t make it, but had quite a collection of quilts and I now have two of them.


The cane chair was $95 at an antique store.  The nest painting was a gift from Cindy Austin, the artist who also painted the cows in my house.  I framed it in a clearance frame that I covered in gold leaf.


I used that same treatment on the mirror frame.  Remember that used to be a chalkboard?  I had a mirror cut to fit, so I could use it in this space.  The $100 Craig’s List dresser (that I will never paint) and that mirror are the perfect size to hide the door that leads to a pointless closet.  Really.  It’s pointless.  Imagine the door right behind the dresser and mirror and then the closet is to the right of the door.  Under the sloped ceiling.

The dishes on the dresser are from my Oma.  She had them in her dining room as long as I can remember and I love how the delicate painted flowers play with the colors in the room.



You can see that my “planked wall”, which cost about $40, is still going strong.  One piece started to pop out, so I recently nailed it back into place.  You can see it casting a shadow just to the right of the small painting.


The German paintings that flank the window were an eBay purchase, frames and all.  I got the pair for $110.  They reminded me so much of where I lived in Barvaria, when my dad was stationed there.




And that’s how the guest room still looks today.  Whew, it’s come a long way from those orange walls!

I am still hunting for a flush-mount brass ceiling light to replace the builder-grade light that’s there, now.  I’ve tried a chandelier, but the ceilings are really low upstairs, so it isn’t possible.  I haven’t had any luck, yet, finding something I like that isn’t over $400.  I’m holding out for one that is less than $100 and I’m sure I’ll trip across it one of these days.  Let me know if you spot one…

I hope, what you’re gleaning from this series, is that a room is collected over time.  Each of my rooms have come together slowly, with a series of decisions that came together to make them what they are today.  Each room is a combination of freebies, thrifty finds and a couple of splurges…lots of elbow grease, trial & error, and flexibility to work around the things that come my way.

Here are the other rooms in the series, in case you missed them…

Part 1 | Living Room

Part 2 | Dining Room

Part 3 | Home Office

Part 4 | Kitchen

Part 5 | Family Room

Part 6 | Master Bedroom

Part 7 | the three bathrooms

Up next is the boys’ room…


  1. Vanessa D.

    It’s really neat to see how the room has been decorated over the years! We once had an orange bedroom here for my youngest in his Hot Wheels phase.

    I am really in love with the gold coverlet. It’s just such a pretty color.

  2. Cathy

    It is a lovely room. Warm, welcoming and restful feeling. I love the textures and colors.

  3. Judy Pimperl

    This was fun, seeing how your style has evolved and become more refined over the years. I can’t imagine that room could be any better, but I’m sure you will pull together another wonderful look a year or two from now! Thanks for sharing!

  4. JeanFB

    Love this room, Marian! I have struggled with our guest room, mainly because I want to do something a bit different from the rest of the house (as you did), but am paralyzed by indecision – there are so many ways I would love to go with it! I enjoyed seeing your evolution. And I love seeing a piece of furniture that you say you will never paint! – I can see that it is a gorgeous piece in excellent condition, with beautiful handles and wonderful veneers. I know you always sort of talk us through the “why’s” when you do paint a piece, but that might be a great post sometime…. actually showing in detail your process for determining whether to paint a piece, and when you decide *not* to! Or even whether to paint some parts and stain some parts. Thanks for another great post!

  5. Kara

    I love this room! i love this series! It is just so inspiring. It helps us readers feel normal. I look around my home and see that,while it isn’t what I want it to be yet, I can enjoy the journey. Thank you for such a great series.

  6. Michelle

    I love this series. I have enjoyed seeing how each room has evolved over the years. It’s funny how our taste change. Like you I am constantly changing our rooms around. My poor husband never knows what he is going to come home to. Recently I have been going to auctions ( I’m an auction addict) and buying some really unique items at great prices. When I get tired of an item I don’t feel to terribly bad selling it. In fact I was at an auction in your town Friday. I mainly went to look at the house( I love old homes) and all of the owners collections. She had some unique things. the only thing I got was an old arched window frame. I love it.
    If you are ever in need of ironstone plates,saucers and cups let me know. I have quit a few that could use a home.

  7. Debbie V.

    I’m really enjoying reading all the transformations of your rooms, but I’m still recovering from the shock that you sold your beautiful hand painted bed! I loved all of the fabrics that you used with it too. It was one of my absolute all-time favorite pieces of yours. I keep telling myself that you will keep coming up with other equally or more beautiful pieces in the future as talented as you are and that the new owner is loving having it.

  8. B Folk

    Marian, I enjoy looking back and seeing the small and large changes that you have made in each area of your home. I especially enjoy times when you have used your ingenuity and elbow grease, more than money. It inspires me to think that I can do wonders with no money, too. As I live in an apartment, I can’t do any really big projects, but I still manage to paint furniture and garden (on my balcony). I would be sad if you stopped blogging. People read this blog to get to know you, as much as to get design ideas and tips. There are so many gifted people, and there is a niche for them all, so don’t feel as if you have to change to chase the money. Remember why you began blogging in the first place. Readers will come and go, based upon their interests, If someone “leaves” because you have Design Ramblings, another will become a follower because you have Design ramblings. Personally, my “faves” are: FFF, and tutorials. One of these days, when money is less tight, I will try tackling a sofa slipcover, because you make it look less intimidating! Also, since God is (it seems) the focus of your life, it’s only natural that you mention Him sometimes. For the commenter who said “No religion”, is she aware that you are who you are because of your faith in God? You wouldn’t be the same Marian without Him, and that would make me sad, too. I know you have been praying for wisdom, clarity, and courage. I am excited to see what you will do next!

  9. Tanya

    I love how this room evolved. I, too, was part of the “white is for wimps” camp for a really long time. And now I look at my incredibly pale walls and think I could go lighter. 🙂 Reds and yellows are my favorites (with green too), so I think this room of yours is perfect.

  10. vikki

    I love your guest room now even though I mourn the “loss” of that gorgeous bed that you painted. I have a similar bed in my guest room, also a double. When I acquired it from a yard sale, $25, it had been sponge painted dark blue (badly I may add, probably by the teen age girl that slept in it.) I sometimes feel bad that my guests must sleep in a double, but the room is small and it is also my craft room. I am still in love with my bed and not ready to upgrade it to a queen yet. Most of my company right now are my grown children and they are used to their mother’s weirdness. I am trying to make the guest room more cozy though and love all your ideas and transformations. And yes I love hearing about your fails. It is what makes you approachable.

  11. Marion in DC

    I am really enjoying the evolution series. I also enjoy your blog. My how the tiny mustard seed has grown, just like the parable. I enjoy the consistent well worded passage, I love the steady stream of content, and enjoyed cheering on the little mom who could, and did and does.

    While your business has grown, so has your blog. While you a are no longer pinching pennies to design a room, we can’t deny what that hard work in earnestness has bestowed to you. Find your heart in all the stages of your evolution.

    My only challenge for growing bloggers as this venue goes from diary to business, is the advertising. Chasing a pop-up ad around the screen or having ads punctuate the post itself I terrupts the voice of the writer and the visuals. Viewing your blog on my phone vs. ipad are two different experiences. I enjoy blogs most when the ads are marginalized and avoid pop-ups.

    Cheers to you and your continued success.

  12. Delilah

    Love you, love this post, love this blog!
    Keep up the great work!
    So many of us are cheering you on!
    I’m a fan!

  13. antiquechase

    so pretty… and that painting from your son’s school auction? omg I would have fought you for it 😉

  14. maggie

    I love this room. I have also lived in a house with pointless closets! That made me laugh. Closets less than 2 ft. deep. About the only purpose they serve is for children to play in on rainy days.

  15. lisa

    I’ve been admiring this mustard yellow bedding for a long time and if you EVER want to get rid of it, do let me know! Ever! Really!

    I love all the rooms in your house so far. Love how creatively you disguised that useless closet.

  16. Sheran

    Great post! I love the stories behind the pieces you have/have had.

  17. Alice hanson

    I am so impressed with the plank wall. I followed that decorating challenge series. But it was during my husband’s illness. So I guess I missed the painting of the planks! It still looks so great!
    You emailed me a LONG while ago about painting my entry floor tile. This was before you redid (I think ) the kitchen floor.

    I am really enjoying the home tour series! You are an inspiration to me!
    Smiles, alice

  18. Debbie

    Love the clock on the bedside table in the last photo… Do you remember where you got it???
    Thanks for your time…

  19. Carol

    This room is one of my favorites in your home. I absolutely love those raspberry buffalo check drapes and how you pulled the colors together on the bed. Also love the antique pictures.

  20. Betsy @ Happily Ever After, Etc.

    I absolutely love these “through the years posts” it’s so much fun to see how the room has evolved. I never knew how the planked wall came to be but I always love it in your picture! Plus it’s so much fun to know that you switched the mattresses I remember when you first got the beauty rest and said you wanted to sleep in the guest room every night… this is such an easier solution! my favorite part about your Guest room is still that antique cast iron replica bed… It definitely inspired my own post “how to turn your antique double bed into a queen” I love how the cast-iron looks!

  21. Cyndia

    The guest room is probably my favorite room in your home! The colors echo my own aesthetic. You’ve made that space a really comfy and beautiful one for your guests.

  22. Olivia Juenke

    I read every single post you write and still can’t get enough! I love the series of your rooms and since I’ve been reading for so long it’s like going back to an old scrapbook to see how things have evolved and changed. Just exactly like my own home. I know when you posted that chair in the corner I wrote you that if you EVER wanted to see it, I was your woman. It’s got my initials and my colors! I will drive all the way from Houston, Texas just to pick it up from you. I’ll even buy you and Kriste lunch!

    Just let me know… and keep up the great blogs, regardless of all the comments you got. I think they’re perfect just the way they are.

  23. Anya

    This is one of my favorite rooms in your home. It just feels so cozy and inviting and I really like that the colors deviate from your normal blue and white but still feel so cohesive with them. I am finally at the point where I can give my guest room some attention, so I am looking forward to keeping that inspiration in mind. I’d actually love to try fabric or wallpaper on one wall just to jazz things up. Considering the room currently has pink carpet, I’m pretty sure anything I do will feel like an improvement. And cats named Mulder and Scully? Sounds like you were as big of a fan as I was. Ah, growing up in the 90s.

  24. Debbie Nisson

    I have the same bed that you found in your Opa’s attic. It was originally in my in-laws’ guest room and my daughter used it for a while and alas now it is in my attic! I hope one of my daughters will be able to use it in the future. Love the evolution series. I didn’t comment on your “tell all” blog but I’m with those who don’t like the videos.

  25. Meg

    I love your house evolution series!! I know you didn’t think the MDF diy project was that interesting, but did you do a post on that anywhere? I think that might be about my diy speed and would be perfect in one of my rooms!!

  26. Amy

    This is my favorite room out of all of your rooms…probably because of the yellow and red which are my go to colors! Thanks for sharing the evolution of this adorable room!

  27. Lauren Baxter

    I really love this series! What a transformation and I love how it looks now, fabulous

    Lauren Baxter | LB Designs

  28. Julie Blanner

    You make awkward spaces feel so thoughtful and intentional. As always, you amaze me! I absolutely adore this space.

  29. MaryLisa Noyes

    The guest room is really the place you can play around with different elements until they all come together just right. My bedroom was orange when we bought our cottage. We painted the walls different colors over these last 18 years until I finally found Benjamin Moore sand color. These are my favorite segments because I have changed out so much over the years that none of my rooms look like they did when I first bought this place. You have very lucky guests to be able to occupy this room.

  30. Jessica

    I can’t believe you got that bed for under $500. I’ve been watching the twin size for months and it never dips below $635.


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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