evolution of my home | part 8 | the guest room

Marian ParsonsBefore and Afters, Decorating, Guest Room, My House

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…

evolution of my home | part 8 | the guest room

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