The Guest Bedroom

Our guest room has had a pitiful story since we moved into our 1900 house. We’ve moved in and out of it 4 times since we bought this house, and we’ll probably move back up there again when we start moving the Boy to his own bedroom.

It’s basically been a halfway house (halfway bedroom?). Until recently, it was the holder of a bed with no headboard or footboard, a chair that originally sat in the Boy’s room but got moved when we put a tent in there, and a nightstand that was one of Peter’s first pieces of furniture. It was the recipient of a massive purple stain of gentian violet (my fault), and until a couple weeks ago, it housed a whole lot of blah in terms of neutral colors, leftover bedding and curtains, and a previous owner paint job.


My parents stay here when they come visit, and my dad (politely) notes that his pillow falls off the back of the bed all night because there is no headboard. We’re going to move back up there soon, and I have the same pet peeve, so I’ve been thinking about a solution to wandering pillows.

Enter this headboard. Another of Peter’s earliest furniture projects, it was his headboard all through grad school. We borrowed an antique iron bed from his parents so we could have a queen mattress, and the old headboard got moved to our basement, where it gathered some dust and mildew.


I started rescuing it the same weekend I scrubbed the new back door. See? there it is, about to be scrubbed!

Pretty green sweet potato vines…they were liquefied in the frost of last weekend. Solid to liquid state in the blink of an eye.

The stain on it had faded in some spots. Pete didn’t really care if it was painted or stained (okay, I did get, “But it’s an oak headboard,” one time). While I was washing it, I started thinking that my typical “paint it white” attitude might not be appropriate for this room.

I told Pete, ” I have this crazy idea to paint the bed a crazy color.”

“What color?”

“The orange that’s on the doors to the house.”

He said, “Don’t paint the bed orange.”

I said, “Well, I’m gonna think about it.”

So, this weekend, I painted the bed orange.  (Ah, there’s a twist in the plot! I started writing this post before I had actually done the orange-ifying. And then I didn’t orange (new verb for the WIN).)

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much in my house is painted. I’ve been accused of being “anti-wood” (by fascists), which isn’t fair because I have yet to take something that wasn’t already painted and then paint it. I’ve only re-painted things (my prerogative as Chief Color Complainer). But, those fascists do have a point: the house has a lot of painted items in it.

I considered this headboard for weeks while it sat taking up room in the shop (sorry, Pete), and I finally settled on staining it with an ebony stain that we had used on some frames in the living room.

In my early days of having my own space, I really shied away from black because I thought it was a cold alternative to brown and gray and that I could never get greens, blues, browns, or any other warmer color to coordinate with it without looking stark. I’m learning now, though, that there are warm blacks, and this ebony stain fits that description. It has the modernity of black, but because it’s a stain, there’s depth to it that you can’t achieve with paint. The oak is nicely highlighted, and because Pete’s design was Craftsman-inspired, the headboard doesn’t look super contemporary. It’s a good lesson in going for classic silhouettes; they adjust well to the times without looking cheap.

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On a sunny day that I had off of work, I stained this thing. I left the polyurethane off so that someday, if I do decide to paint it (like, if it becomes the Boy’s headboard on his big boy bed), I won’t have to strip it.

I was in a hurry to get the headboard done before we had guests a couple weekends ago, but then it sat in the shop a bit longer (sorry again, Pete) because we lacked the necessary hardware. The extra time allowed me to tackle something that’s been on my list for years: repainting the guest room/halfway house.

Icky Green. I’m sure that was the name on the paint chip.


This room was an icky green that was hard to convey in photos, but trust me when I say that a coat of Bay Sands by Valspar really lightened it up. It’s the same color that I used in the dining room.



See how much lighter it looks? And yes, there is a block of wood under the frame. It needs a new caster. This is why I don’t run a $1.000,000-a-year lifestyle blog.

I had been searching for new bedding for this room for a while, but when I found some $10 shams with a neat floral design, I realized that they perfectly matched a coral quilt that I used in college. I have plans for a throw pillow for this room– I’m going to start that embroidery project really soon and will chronicle it on this blog (after I get past the PROJECT THAT RUINS ALL ATTEMPTS AT OTHER PROJECTS, to be discussed in a week or two). The basic design will look something like this, modified from something I found online:


The mirror is one that Pete bought at a flea market before I met him for $10. I really like the color of the frame and I even kind of like the damage to the silvering on the mirror. If anything will keep a room from looking too modern, it’s an old mirror.


I also have some plans to get an Audubon plate printed for artwork, so I’ll be talking about that in a couple of weeks, too. See? So much for which you need to stay tuned!

I’m going to re-stain the nightstand in here, too, as it was part of the Great Gentian Violet Incident of 2013, in which I poured purple crazy all over myself, my son, the bedding, the wall, the floor, and the nightstand. That stuff does NOT come out…


…and was a large part of why I had to repaint the room, since it looked like a Smurf had been murdered up here.

Annnnd, because we have to complicate things, Pete and I decided last weekend, when we were sick as dogs and Boy was full of all the energy of a 2-year-old who finally feels better after a bad cold, to clean out the closets and get real Draconian on our stuff. This happened last Saturday.

On with the headboard, out with the crap!

I’ll probably have this space close to finished in a couple weeks…which is good, because we’ll be moving up there again soon in order to start renovations on the master bedroom downstairs. I’ll try (operative word being try) to post some kind of “reveal” on here when the room is, for all intents and purposes, done, but it will include crappy photography because I know not what I do.

No rest for the wicked, eh?