Before Pics! Get Yer Guest Room Before Pics Here!

I have been working diligently on the guest room, or as diligently as a person could when you feel yarky about half the time.  I’m a wee bit behind schedule (as you may remember I was aiming to be completely done by the end of the month), but I take consolation in the fact that the weather has been so terrible for the last three days.  Even if I were ready-to-go on the room, I need the normal natural light of a sunshiney April (May?) day to get decent pictures.  So I would have been waiting anyway.

From The Door To The Opposite Corner

From The Door To The Opposite Corner

The room started its life with us as the blankest slate you could imagine.  The wall with the door to the hallway, and the front wall with the window measure just under thirteen feet, and the other two depth walls are exactly ten feet.   Not exactly a big room.  Only one wall in the room is completely uninterrupted, it is the wall extending to the right in the above picture.

When the movers brought in the furniture that I’d designated in to the room, I was not there to direct the arrangement, so we lived with it for a few months in the formation they’d assembled.  I had three items of furniture chosen for the space: a full-sized Victorian iron and brass bed with pillowtop mattress;  an art nouveau waterfall maple veneered vanity with enormous shaped mirror;  and a family heirloom bird’s-eye maple chest of drawers.  To read about these pieces in greater detail, please read my first post about the guest room– www.lovenestdesign.com/happy-new-year-lets-get-this-party-started/.   They’d arranged the furniture pieces in a way that there was enough space to move around everything, but it made the room feel awkward.   Something about it wasn’t right, and it almost was creativity-stumping while you were in there.  I would go in there to think about the space, and I would sort of forget what I was supposed to be doing, it was just not inspiring.

Corner To The Right

Corner To The Right

I ended up doing a lot of my brainstorming for the space in other areas of the house.  Here on the couch in the den (where I write these words), on the computer; in the playroom digging through fabrics; or unpacking stuff in the garage….  I would go in there and get lost in the vanillaness and all creativity would grind to a halt.

So, so vanilla.  Actually, vanilla would be a good thing, the vanilla orchid is exotic, and delicious, and a lot of things this room just wasn’t.  It was cream.  Really dirty cream.  The ceiling in there is the same narsty color that it is in the rest of the house, I would reeeeally love to change it, but right now I’m not feeling the funds or the stamina.  I’m just renting the dern thing, why should I be the one to un-dinge the ceilings?  (I know, I know, the answer to that is– because I live here.  And it’s ME they bother, not the landlord.)  I’ve cleaned it up quite a bit– like around the ceiling-mounted air vent– and I’ll be leaving it as it is in here for a while.  Sorry– too much other house to worry about for me to be painting the cleanest ceiling in the joint.

This room actually does have one of the better ceilings in the house, as well as the best carpet.  I suppose its a given that the master is always the master and well-used, but the smaller auxiliary bedrooms can be things like, well, guest rooms, or offices or whatever and might not get as much foot traffic.  It’s tan carpet, like the other carpeting in this house, but its not so matted or gross in here, and when you vacuum it, it actually fluffs up and gets those visible lines where you’ve been already.  The carpet in our bedroom does no such thing, not even with coercion.   Spritzes of water and whispers of sweet nothings mean nothing to that matted monster.  Its like it chuckles and says, “SO?!”  In this bedroom however, I don’t hate it.  It is actually being nice and saving me the trouble of finding a rug for each bedside, ’cause its mean to make your company step out of a warm, snuggly, fab, bed onto a cold floor.  And the color is fine with the tones I’ve chosen for the room.

The Closet and Hidey Hole Wall

The Closet and Hidey Hole Wall

The room has a nicely-sized closet (there is more hidden behind the room’s door in the picture there), but some of the extreme left of it is taken up with the duct work and air intake thingy leading into the hallway.  I’m torn between cramming it full of things I simply want to store like art and vintage tablecloths, or stocking it like the perfect guest room pantry– with things like a selection of books and magazines; baby beds and simple toys; pillows and blankets; toiletries and towels….  It kind of seems like an obvious decision, doesn’t it, when you’re thinking in terms of comfort for your friends and family?  But then I think about the proportion of time that the closet will be serving those guests, and I wonder if its a waste to use it just for that.  Storage is so valuable!

The Hidey Hole

The Hidey Hole

Annnnd speaking of storage, I have a this.  A thingy-thing.  We’ve been calling it the hidey hole.  Its a weird nook, in the wall with the closet.  This thing is positioned over the foyer closet on the wall behind, and it’s high up, like almost starting at my shoulders, and surprisingly large inside.  The shutter doors are magnetic, and close and hold tightly.

I’m sure that previous residents used it for TV, as there is an outlet below and everything.  I’m sure the average person would likely seize the chance to have a hidden television in a bedroom, but not I, this is a rare opportunity to me.  I’ve been working on it, and I hate to be mean, but– I will divulge what’s happening in there when I reveal the room.  Hopefully you will find it to be worth the wait!

Taping Off The Walls

Taping Off The Walls

For the walls in the guest room, I chose a pale shade of Benjamin Moore paint that I thought would be light and fresh, called “Wales Green.”  Its a really pretty color, but in this space it felt very intense.  It was bothering me.  I looked at it every time of day, I tried to love it, but in the end, it just felt… a little bit wrong.  (Believe it or not, that is not cream but is the wales green to the left– it’s weird, ya’ll.)

I started to think about not where I was, but where I wanted the room to be.  (I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque.)   I wanted it to feel like a little 1950’s French hotel room…  even more precisely, I wanted that feel of a vintage hatbox, not literally, but that essence– sort of elegant and feminine and nostalgic…  I needed a faded print.  Plus, since I would like to evoke the fifties, and my furniture is is about thirty to fifty years *older* than that, I really need to find a way to bring that into the room more deliberately.

The Mover's Arrangement

The Mover’s Arrangement (From the Doorway)

I decided that I would not repaint the key lime pie tone of the wales green, but instead try to counterbalance it with a design in a green shade at the other swing of the pendulum– a green with a lot more blue and grey in it.  Unfortunately I don’t have an automatic Ben color chip number and indentifiable name for you, but it is very very much like Jadeite, a really pretty minty color.  I will try and find the closest chip match and update you with that after my next trip to the Ben Moore store.

Re-Tinting My Paint

Re-Tinting My Paint

To make my green-on-green design, I reserved some of the wales green in another container, and painted a piece of white cardboard as my test background.  After this, I simply tinted my remaining bucket of paint in the new color.  I used water-soluble, high-quality acrylics, and I added and mixed and stirred, and added and mixed and stirred until I got a color I liked, and then I would dab it out a little on top of my wales green sample (to see the dried color in comparison to the ‘off’ green) and stopped when I loved it.  If you try this, please work a little bit at a time, as they always say– it is much easier to add color than it is to take it out.

It took me some time to figure out the spacing of my simple pattern, I needed it to be visibly uniform, but my two walls I would be distributing the repeat across would not be divisible the exact same way.  I was able to make the solid wall’s design two feet wide, and the window wall’s design was 25 inches across and then I had to fudge an inch and a half… which I was able to do at the corners and in the whole window area.  I taped off my very simple repeat, and I then used my new paint color in my taped-off areas, being careful to quickly remove all tape immediately after painting.  I got zero seepage, and my plan worked!  Neither shade of green feels *extreme* in either direction– neither the original too-yellow, nor the topped with too-blue– but they balance themselves to an overall light green ‘feel.’  I am SO happy with it!

My original plan had been to do this step of the process with the retro design on two walls, and then to sponge/ distress the *entire* room in a whitewash-type glaze, to ‘fade’ it.  However, I got the two walls done with the design, and I love it so much just like this, that I’m leaving it for now.  It feels more appropriate for the scope of the rest of the house, as I am not afraid of using color elsewhere.  And now the two remaining walls of just Wales green look fine now, I’m not sure what’s up with that.  It may be the reflection of the darker green into the rest of the space, it may be lack of direct sunlight on those two walls.  It may have to do with the simple fact that as you enter the room, these walls are behind you, and they face away from most of the focal points.  You just don’t *see* these two walls as much.  (My husband swears that I am a tetrachromat.  I don’t know if he’s correct, but I know I analyze color A LOT.  It can be manipulated really easily for me.)  This room has changed into the positive zone color-wise with just the change on the two walls.

Anyway, after this point, we rearranged the furniture, and things started to come together quickly.  I’ve altered my curtains to be just grazing the floor (and then the cat pulled the whole shebang out of the wall with special thanks to oooold hardware).  I now need all new curtain hardware, but it’ll have to wait a couple of days.  I suspect my drapes were heavier than that little rod was going to hold for long anyway.  I’ve had the hardest trouble finding a dust ruffle, and then my friend Amber came through one one, she’s a doll.  So it shouldn’t be long now!  You’ll have a room reveal soon!


 


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