Thursday, April 21, 2011

Guest House: Before

One of the coolest things about our new house is the semi-detached guest house.  Our house is a fairly small 1200ish square feet, but the guest house adds another 250ish square feet and has it's own bathroom and kitchenette.  Although we didn't set out looking for a guest house (obviously, very few houses in our price range had one) it ended up being a really cool feature that we thought had some fun potential.

That said, we've totally ignored the guest house since we moved in.  Well, since a few days after we moved in, since we slept in there as we were waiting for the new wood floors to dry.  Since then we've been so focused on the main house and all the immediate projects that somehow the extra little room hiding in the back yard wasn't really first on our minds.  I don't even think I went in there until about a week ago when I commandeered it for a wood shop to build my end tables since the garage is still full of stuff.

Then we realized we have guests coming to visit in 2 weeks....and they probably want a place to stay.  We have a guest room in the main house, but it's currently a dog room with nothing in it except a dirty area rug, a dog crate, and some dog beds.  Pretty inviting if I do say so myself.

So, I thought I'd take the opportunity to at least take a shot at fixing up the guest house.  Since we first set eyes on the room, I've been swearing I'm going to paint over the wood panelling.  Yes, it's kind of rustic and cool...but it's not my cup of tea.  I do have to admit that when we stayed in there it felt nice and cozy, but, when was the last time you walked into an entirely wood panelled room and thought "WOW, this is NIIIIIIIIICE!"

Sean wasn't 100% behind the idea - what is it with guys and wood panelling? - but I managed to convince him it was a good idea.  Sidenote: Sean doesn't think anything is a good idea unless we "need" it.  For the record, he didn't think we "needed" to buy a bed frame for our guests to sleep on because we could just put the mattress on the floor and call it a day.  Yep.  I'm pretty sure if Sean was in charge our furniture would consist of totally practical cinder block-based products or somethhing.  Another sidenote: this is what happens when I write blog posts at 1am after painting with oil-based primer for a few hours.  A little loopy and sidetracked over here.

Moving on - I'm actually about 3/4 of the way done priming, but I thought I'd share some before pictures of the lovely panelling.  I have to admit it's not horrible, which made this project a little nervewracking because as far as I know there's really no way to undo painting over wood.  If it looks crappy, it looks crappy forever.  I was also a little nervous because these weren't nice smooth wood panels, they're actually fairly rustic looking and also about 70 years old (I think - the guest house was built in the 1940's and I'm assuming the panels are original). 
So, here's what the guest house looked like before I potentially ruined it forever:

I think we're going to keep the roof and beams natural.  I think they look nice, and also I hate painting ceilings and so I'm hoping to avoid it at all costs.

This awesome light fixture is also going to have to go, except I'm the worst at picking out new light fixtures (see, e.g., the live wires still hanging out of the living room wall).

Another view - the splotchy bits are where we started patching some of the more obvious holes in the panelling.

The fireplace is going to stay brick, I think, since it's pretty non-offensive and I'm pretty lazy.

So, here's what's on the to-do list for the guest room quick renovation:

1) Prime the room with oil-based primer
This is about 75% done - it's been quite a pain and I hope I'm doing it right.  Oil-based primer is crucial for painting over as something as dark as wood panelling.  I didn't realize how much trim and detail work there was until I started painting, yikes.

2) Paint with white paint
We have a million gallons of Home Depot's Freshaire paint since it was recently discontinued and selling for $5.  I'm hoping the plain white we bought will work on the walls - I'm imagining kind of a whitewashed beachy look since the wood panels are kind of rustic.  We'll see how that vision turns out.  I also hope it takes less than 3 or so coats since judging by how long the priming is taking I'm getting nervous that we're not going to finish on time.

3) Add furniture
Working on this one as well - so far we have a mattress (already owned) and a newly procured wrought iron bed frame I snagged on craigslist.  We just replaced our own bedroom furniture so we'll probably throw our old stuff in the guest room for now.  I'm also hoping to find a craigslisted/thrift store small round table and chairs and any other furniture that works in this tiny space to make our guests feel at home.  I'm hoping for a beachy/cottage theme, so it may take a while for the right pieces to come along, especially since we're trying to do this super cheap.

4) Get rid of the antique stove
This one kind of pains me.  The guest house currently has an antique O'Keefe and Merritt stove that is totally adorable and fits the character of the guest house.  However, it's also leaking gas and will require some kind of repair.  As cute as it is, we're just not sure if a guest house kitchenette needs a fully-functioning oven and it kind of seems like an unnecessary thing that could potentially burn the entire compound down.  We're thinking of replacing the stove with some storage space and a won't look nearly as darling but for once I'm leaning towards Sean's practical point of view.

5) Decorate/make pretty
Realistically this isn't going to happen before our first guests arrive...but a girl can dream!

5) Prepare guest house as vacation rental
Hey, what now?!  More on this later, we're brewing up some ideas for some possible income potential from the guest house.

So that's it for now, stay tuned for more updates!

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