Our Guest Bedroom Reveal

Oh the visions this bedroom has seen! For some reason, when we first began the design process, we envisioned creating a dark, moody space with lots of neutrals and charcoal walls. The moment we stepped back and saw the dark charcoal walls, we knew it wasn’t for us. Often times, first ideas are best in design but not always!

Getting Started

We started here with an outdated ceiling fan (actually spray painted- yikes), buttercream yellow walls, and very little character. The space is not large by any standards, but still large enough to see the potential of a beautiful bedroom.

A major part of designing this room, just like the rest of our upstairs, was stripping the white paint off of the windows and restoring the original woodwork to match the rest of our home. This process involved a stripping chemical (stripper always feels like a weird way to say it), a heat gun, and DAYS of manual scraping and sanding. Now that this room is complete, we are so thankful we were willing to put in the work to bring the woodwork back to life.

Clearly we didn’t like the gray enough in our space to even bother taking a quality photo of any kind, so you will have to make due with this jewel and just trust me when I say it didn’t feel right. While for design clients, I would generally recommend picking a paint color after most all other design elements are selected, I love the luxury of painting in your own home and being able to think in the space with the actual color. It’s also easy to redo if you decide that it needs to be slightly different. The above photo was taken before we moved in and the fact that the paint looks almost completely removed from our trim is deceptive at best. In reality, it took an entire year from this photo to actually finish that project in this room alone.

We quickly repainted the room in a beautiful shade of blue, Farrow & Ball Borrowed Light and felt much more at ease with this color. Wanting to save as much money as possible, we decided to use my grandmother’s dresser given to us by my parents as well as the wooden bed Amber’s dad built her in college.

We already had a lot of wood going on in the space and the dresser felt dated, so we painted it black (SW Black Magic) and changed out the hardware to these simple brass rings. If you are looking for simple brass hardware with classic lines and a high-end feel but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, these are perfect with each costing less than $4!!

Though we started the design process for the guest bedroom much earlier than our guest bathroom, we ultimately ended up solidifying both of the designs for these rooms around the same time. From a design standpoint, we wanted the room to speak to our guest bathroom (full reveal HERE if you missed it) as well as our long-term vision for the rest of the house. We also wanted the room to be timeless and able to mature with the house while also remaining simple enough to become a kids room (albeit styled differently) down the road.

Now that we had our goals for the space and how we wanted it to function, we moved into the moodboard creation phase and came up with this. We ALWAYS love a room with lots of blues and knew this room would entail  lots of tone on tone blues, but are not usually drawn to red at all. In this case however, red felt like just the right accent color if done tastefully and subtly repeated around the room. We liked the idea of playing up the fun elements of the room as it is a guest room and not necessarily for every day use. To keep the room from feeling too busy and to keep our guests feeling calm, we repeated classic patterns and motifs throughout the room (i.e. greek key trim). Stripes reoccur in the bedding, throw at the foot of the bed, and in the roman shade.

Design Challenges

 

As I already mentioned, the room is decently small, allowing for very limited furniture configurations. Putting the room together felt very much like a jig-saw puzzle.

There are two walls with windows, which we LOVE for the natural light. We have virtually the same situation in our master bedroom. Only one of the four bedroom walls is large enough to fit the bed without being completely off-centered with a window or having a door right next to one side of the bed. This forced us to make the decision to place the bed in front of the window. Though I prefer not to have a window behind the bed, we have made the choice to do so in both bedrooms we have designed in our home so far and don’t regret it at all.

The ceiling slants in part of the room and creates windows at differing heights, which is a challenge when it comes to window treatments. Do you use the same curtains on both windows and have one set hanging lower than the other (awkward), go with two roman shades (possible but feels a bit boring), or mix and match curtains with a roman shade (winning option)?

I know I have raved about restoring our wood trim and how much we love it, and we truly do. However, designing around wood trim is definitely tricky. You really don’t want to introduce a lot more wood to the room as it would feel heavy, dated, and overwhelming. For those of you who have never had the task of designing around wood trim, you may not realize that finding beautiful pieces with character that are NOT wood and not exorbitantly expensive is nearly impossible.

Art

 

I grew up in art lessons, my sister is an art teacher, and my parents have always taught me to value and appreciate great art. When designing a room, art is perhaps my favorite thing to shop for and also the one I feel makes the biggest impact in a space when executed correctly. If you ever need help picking out art but aren’t looking to pay for a full room design service, hire me and I will gladly take care of all your art needs.

We chose a small gallery wall to draw the eye across the room and give this corner a strong visual focal point. It also draws the eye up and down the space as well and has been one of the most commented on areas in the room by our guests. The large piece above the dresser is by Nashville artist Angela Simeone (similar here) and the leaning piece is a vintage find from Everything But the House. Moving to the right, the top piece is from ETSY and was a series of four that we have used in our master bedroom and kitchen. We added the orange-red thin border to pull the red accent around the room. The middle piece, a charcoal drawing of the Paris metro (similar here), is also from ETSY, and the bottom piece is a Kayce Hughes that I got via this Instagram.

On this side of the room, we purchased a panel of wallpaper from Gracie Studio in this pattern and trimmed it to nestle perfectly above our desk. The mother of pearl frame perfectly pulls out the iridescent qualities of the wallpaper and adds a punch of glam to the room. The red in the bird also fits within the chosen accent color of the room. The framed photo is a photo of me with my twin brother when we were in pre-school.

Textiles

 

When I stop and think about it, we had A LOT of textiles to think through in this room because, though we wanted the space to feel calming and simple, we definitely wanted it to feel layered.

I am always hesitant to share this resource because they are so amazing, easy to work with, and much cheaper than almost everywhere else for what you actually get, but Tonic Living is almost too good to be true. We used them to create custom pleated curtains in a white linen that we simple added the navy greek key trim to the inseam to create a more tailored, polished, and custom look. All in all, we saved hundreds of dollars from what we would have buying from major US retailers and these are CUSTOM! The curtain rod is a french rod in iron from pottery barn as are the rings.

We went with a custom outside mounted roman shade (partially to give a more custom look and partially to cover more of the wood tones) in the pool stripe linen from The Shade Store. The shade is cordless and so easy to use plus safe for kids down the road and worth the extra money to have no cords.

We looked high and low for a chair that felt right with the room and finally found the Claude chair via Hickory Chair x Alexa Hampton. A local store, O.P. Jenkins carries the line and we ordered the chair through them in a sophisticated matte black and provided this fabric for upholstery. This was one of our biggest splurges in this room. Unfortunately, I’m not sure this chair is still able to be made as the partnership between Hampton and Hickory Chair no longer exists.

The lamp shades from British company Fermoie are so much fun, let out a great amount of light (which can sometimes be an issue with pleats), and also add another tone of blue in the space. The small scale pattern provides the perfect contrast to the larger, bolder patterns elsewhere in the room.

Our throw pillows are all custom, made by Amber’s grandmother with fabric and trim we purchased ourselves. The blue geometric pillows are made in this fabric via Lacefield. The red, floral pillow is a Schumacher fabric with a Fabricut piping.

The duvet cover was on sale at Pottery Barn and perfectly matches the icy blue from the walls.

Stripes abound in the throw on the end of our bed from Serena and Lily. This throw is large enough to cover the entire bed for guests who prefer extra layers.

The rug is pottery barn and is large enough to really ground the entire space. It is a durable sisal rug with tan trim.

To cover up some of the heaviness of the wood headboard as well as to keep the wood in the window trim and the wood in the headboard from clashing, we added a cream throw from Snowe home draped over the headboard that could also serve as a lighter blanket for guests.

For a luxurious experience for our guests, we topped it off with the scalloped sheets from Peacock Alley based out of Nashville. We have the matching scalloped towels in our guest bathroom for a hotel-like experience. Though it looks like they are not making the scalloped sheets any more, all their sheets are great!

Finishing Touches

One of the last items we pulled together was actually the desk. We wanted to create a sitting area in the room for guests, but there was no room for a formal seating area and definitely not room for a bench at the foot of the bed. We liked that a desk could be flexible as a seating area, writing space, and as a nightstand while making the layout feel more custom if it went from the bed to the wall. We debated the idea of having a desk made to fit perfectly in the space until Amber attended a talk with Rita Konig and Gil Schafer where Rita stated that working with what you have that may be imperfect often creates for better, more interesting design. Shortly after, I tried this white lacquered parsons desk we had in storage from West Elm and, though it required the bed to be slightly off-centered on the window (nothing a little finagling of the sconces couldn’t fix), it was the perfect fit and cost us no additional money or time.

We picked out lighting at different stages in the design process. We bought the brass plug-in sconces with a Pottery Barn gift card but changed out the shades to make them feel higher end and more special. We bought the large lamp on the black dresser from One Kings Lane and love it. For the ceiling light, we chose a combination light/ceiling fan. Though we have air conditioning upstairs, it is certainly not as powerful as it is on our main level during the hot, Tennessee summers. We chose this streamlined Haiku ceiling fan that is quiet and essentially blends into the ceiling so as not to take away from any of the room’s rich layers.

If you have followed the blog for a while, you already know my obsession with ceramics and styling this room wouldn’t be complete without peppering in some of my favorites. The jewelry dish as well as the green cup on the desk are vintage and cost a few dollars each at a local china shop. I purchased the vintage ginger jar from Chairish. The footed bowl is one of my prized possessions from Frances Palmer. The garden stool that serves as a small nightstand for the guest on the other side of the bed is One Kings Lane.

To add a bit of whimsy, we added a bust (plastic but looks real) that we purchased at a local antique store for $20 as well as a brass rocking horse figurine we purchased for $5 at an architectural salvage shop.

For styling, we went glam, traditional, and sophisticated. We brought in coffee table books in blues and reds to speak to the room without being too matchy-matchy. We bought some antique perfume bottles for styling from eBay and my grandmother also gave us some of hers. SECRET TIME: While lots of the perfume bottles have actual perfume, the one we chose for this space was empty. We matched the color of perfume by pouring in some Petro’s tea for the shoot and joked about someone spraying themselves with tea thinking it was perfume. Oh the tricks of styling! We finished off the desk styling with a nice writing pen and blue pencils for guests to jot down any spontaneous ideas.

We spent the morning of the shoot purchasing flowers from our local farmer’s market and then I arranged them in the Frances Palmer vase at home. We wanted the room to be styled for what we termed its “full-on summer look.”

Before

After

We had a blast pulling this space together and can’t wait to share it with guests for years to come. Who’s coming to visit?

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