Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Design Challenge: Eileen's Guestroom/Studio

Welcome Eileen, from Cottage Beach House,
who has a Design Challenge that many of us empty nesters face.
College kid moves out to start life on their own,
and we are left with an extra room...
but it's one that inevitably needs a makeover.

Eileen is a gal that pretty much knows what she wants.
She has great ideas,
a wonderful room with great bones,
and some sketches that will make you envious
if you've ever started something like this.

Take a look at her photos from "Pre Move-Out" first,
so you can see the space.

Here's, Eileen
"in her own words..."

What I want to do is make this room into a guest room/studio for my sewing and paper work. The closet will be made into a craft closet. I want this room to have a Frenchy feel to it and I am partial to the soft greys, and very pale blue with whites and natural burlap or canvas.
 So from industrial young man's room to Frenchy style guest room studio is the challenge!  The intent here is to not spend anything except for new bedding and curtains and paint. I have all the pieces I need in storage from  previous rooms before their makeovers. I am open to painting anything and everything.

The first 5 pics are of the walls in the room, just before my son left. He liked it bare bones industrial, not even a bed frame.

The next 6 are the furniture pieces that I have and wish to incorporate into the room.  I plan to paint the bureau white and marry it with the large mirror, which I will also paint white. I think they will pair up well.

The night table which has been in the basement for years will get some respect and a new paint job as well.

 This great Frenchy chair that I found curbside, will get a fresh coat
 of paint and I am planning on re-covering with maybe some drop cloth and french script.

I'm adding a vintage bed frame I plan to pull out of the shed and paint and set up in here. I am totally stumped as to what I should do to the entrance which as you can see by the picture below, is an odd shape. I'd like to keep the bureau to use for paperwork and things like ink and scissors but I can't really envision how to create a Frenchy look with this one, (the upright dresser)

The next 4 are my sketched ideas of how I want the room to look,
now that I have a free hand.

Any ideas will be greatly appreciated!
Thanks Debra for the inclusion in your design challenge!!

You are so welcome, Eileen,
so now let's share some ideas that come to mind.
Bed linens and window treatments
 are something she's needing thoughts on.
Keep in mind the French feel she's going for.

So you see, Eileen has a good plan,
she just needs help with choosing a wall paint color,
and adding some "Frenchy-ness" in with the accessories.

Remember, we're not all decorators,
Let's just throw out some ideas that come to us.
Even if someone has left a comment with your idea,
leave a comment of your own.

We love lots of feedback!!
Thanks everyone!


  1. I would go look at Benjamin Moore Paint samples and use a very pale blue with grey undertones for the walls. I would select a solid color beige or white bedding ensemble and add some pattern by choosing small checked European pillow shams. I think burlap curtains would look great in there too. A burlap (with french writing) throw pillow on the bed would help tie the bed in with the curtains. I love the direction this room is going in! I would look at pictures in Ballards catalog or website for some inspiration too. They have alot of what she wants.

  2. Oh my gosh! How FUN is this! What cool furniture she has to work with!! I can be of no help here as I am "design challenged"! ;} But I can't wait to see to see what the end result is!

    m ^..^

  3. Hi Eileen what a great room to do what you want with now! You have fabulous furniture to work with. The bureau and bedside table are GORGEOUS. You mentioned you would like to be able to use the other bureau that is near the entrance but it's not "frenchy". You could add a few inexpensive wood appliques to the drawer fronts to make it more frenchy looking before you paint it or you could stencil a french design on after painting to kind of tie it in with the rest of the furniture. Also I think I would paint that piece something other than white. There are lots of other "frenchy" choices out there. Perhaps a chateau gray or a deep blue even a frenchy green would go great. Something else that would make a great frenchy impact in this room would be a great chandelier. I know you don't want to spend much money so check out your local flea markets and thrift stores. There are a lot of used chandys out there for cheap. Sometimes they are pretty ugly but remember they can be painted and glammed up. I can't wait to see your finished room.

  4. Hi Eileen, this is such a wonderful room to turn into a frenchy "haven". Here are just a couple of my thoughts. Since you are looking for a change, I'd go with a lighter gray for the walls, but one that still gives you some contrast with the soon to be white furniture. I agree with Sheila, there are ways to frenchify that large upright dresser. I'd paint it white, but do the drawers in a pale gray to offer some contrast. You have great hardwoods, and a lovely floral pastel area rug would go a long way to feminize the room. Lowe's has a great selection of area rugs for around a hundred dollars. A flea market, or habitat "restore" might be the place to look for a chandy. doesn't have to be big, but something with some glam. A few ruffles on some lampshades and bedlinens would work also. Then choose an accent color for a few highlights, something that might be in your rug. I'll weigh back in later.
    Keep up the comments everyone!!

  5. Eileen, you've already done the hard part! The furniture you've gathered is fabulous, and once its painted....oh-la-la! Even the tall dresser will look great. Tie the pieces together with clear (faux crystal) knobs (Hobby Lobby or Home Depot have them). You may want to use blue-grey accents on the drawers of the tall dresser - maybe adding some onlays, and of course sand a little to distress each piece and give them personality.

    There are so many options for paint color on the wall. Two of my Favorites are Ben-Moore HC 146 -Wedgewood Grey; and Ben-Moore AF 485, Crystalline. You may also want to paint the ceiling (maybe antique white) after adding some crown molding.

    If you're going to purchase a drop cloth to re-upholster your chair, you may want to purchase the 4'wide drop cloth runners and use them for drapery panels on your window. Feeling ambitious? Paint a damask stencil on these in blue-grey.

    Otherwise, it's all about accessories. And as a painter/artist, accessories can be my weak spot, so I'm sure others will have better ideas than I.

    A big ol' painted frame made into a burlap bulletin board over your desk. Some art or framed family photos printed in sepia hung over the tall dresser and bed, maybe a piece of salvaged architecture worked in...lamps with embellished shades...crisp white bedding with a splash of blue-grey print in accent pillows or a throw and a soft area rug on the floor should do it.

    Please let us know how it all turns out. I envy you the space you're creating.

  6. This might be a good opportunity to use drop cloth drapes with clip rings on a rod. Love the dresser and painted it would be great for holding fabric and other supplies. If you feel the drawers don't work well, you could take them out and add baskets.

    I think I'd turn the dresser so it's facing into the room and you could do a stencil on the side that shows to the door. A memo board over it would work well for inspiration pictures or just to keep track of supplies you need or to show off anything you've made.

    I would try to find a color with the gray and the blue in it. I have in my master bedroom now Milk Pail by Martha Stewart through Sherwin Williams. You could probably put together some pictures using some of the free French images from the Graphics Fairy blog.

    For bedding I'd check out Target; they seem to have some nice white shabby chic bedding. I think it is even called the Shabby Chic line. Otherwise, it seems like you are good to go with your plan.

    Good luck! : )

  7. I'm basically thinking,"What do you need us for?". Your furniture is wonderful and your ideas are great...but I will add my "2 cents worth". I think adding new drawer pulls to the taller chest of drawers will make a big difference. I also picture printed bed linens and maybe even matching drapes with the colors you love.

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  9. Thanks Ladies, I am really soaking all this in. I so want a chandelier in here, and am already on the lookout...These are just great ideas about tying that old maple dresser into the room with appliques and crystal knobs. I am beginning to see an outcome now for that piece!
    And I do love that shabby chic line of bedding that target has. This project will probably take me a while, but I can't wait to implement some of these great ideas. Keep em coming girls.
    I love the listings of favorite colors.

  10. That dresser is drop-dead gorgeous! You have some beautiful pieces. I would still use the other chest of drawers, and I like the ideas for "French-i-fying" it. I wouldn't paint it white, but another accent color in your room--maybe gray. Dropcloth curtains are a great idea, but I like the idea of using an accent fabric as a wide border on the top or bottom to bring in some more interest. It would be fun to pick up an inexpensive bed skirt and sew layers of ruffles on it, and repeat those ruffles on your throw pillows. I'd add a touch of black to your room somewhere as well...I think the contrast always makes the rest of the room feel more feminine. Some black trim, or a picture frame, or even your desk chair maybe! Have fun.

  11. Trying to choose paint color is traumatizing for me and I've spent way too much on samples but....I found a BM paint that is a soft blue with gray undertones.It is called Polar Sky #1674 and looks great with white. Take a look at it and see what you think.

  12. I'd turn that chest of drawers into a french highboy. It already has a nice curvy detail at the bottom. I'd change out the drawer pulls to some feminine horizontal scrolly pulls, add applique swags between the drawer pulls. Go to your builder's supercenter to find fancy wooden fence finals and screw these in upside down to use as dresser feet (you may need to attach a block of wood to the underside of the dresser in each corner so there is something to screw the finials into). Then do your painting/distressing. I've seen a similar dresser with a damask wallpaper or fabric panel glued onto the sides that gave an additional interest to the piece. Can't wait to see your room transformation!

  13. Oh my goodness this is going to be a fabulous room when it is done!! The furniture is all fabulous!!

    What about a sweet bench in that little nook area with picture gallery above. Or if you need more space for your crafts things some library shelves with your craft goodies displayed prettily.

    Can't wait to see this room when you are done!!!

    bee blessed

  14. Hi Eileen, You already have beautiful furniture to work with and a great design in mind. The talented ladies above have already given you all the ideas I had in mind. My only suggestion is to hang a pretty wall rack with hooks. Since you will turning the closet into a craft space this would give your guest somewhere to hang their clothes.

    Please show us your finished room. I know it will be fabulous.

  15. sounds fab- maybe the dresser could be a light chalky grey paint color for a subtle contrast- cannot wait to see the new look!


  16. You ladies have given me some fantastic ideas. I never even thought of the rack with hooks for my guests, but I am loving that, and it is really so needed. Archetectural salvage is another great idea and I realize when I look at my houzz inspiration rooms that there are salvaged pieces in almost all of them! Dropcloth will just have to be included in a few different ways. And stencil for that tall dresser is a sure thing. I even have one from several years ago I can use! I am so excited about all your fabulous ideas! Thanks so much.

  17. This is the first time I've been gutsy enough to comment here! I usually read everyone's suggestions and then decide I don't have anything new to contribute! I did like Debra suggested when she featured my room and didn't read any comments before leaving mine! What an exciting room transformation and what great pieces you have to work with! I think your tall dresser could definitely take on a French flair if you painted it and covered the drawer fronts with a toile or ticking. You might also consider some French words in script on the drawers...describing what's inside, such as "Ciseaux" for scissors. It could definitely use some more ornate knobs. The Frenchy feel will really show up when you add accessories! A stack of suitcases would be perfect for coralling your supplies. You could paint them (like Debra painted hers!) and then add some stenciled or decal French addresses to them! Have fun! I look forward to seeing the completed room!
    Best Wishes and Blessings,

  18. Awesome idea about the script on that bureaux! I just found a script fabric i plan to use for a pillow or 2, and i think that would be such a great tie in. Gee, i wish everyone could come over and we could have a huge paint/martini party and get her done! You girls are smart and exciting!


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