Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guest Blogger: Auntie K's Guest Room

Hi, this is “Auntie K”, Jen’s sister-in-law, with a guest post on our DIY decorating while Hannah B is keeping her parents pretty busy!  My husband and I closed on our first house a month after Jen and Peter bought their Cottage on the Coast.  Like Jen’s excitement over her dining room, a room she’d never had before, I’ve recently been enjoying setting up our first guest room: 

Here’s the room on the day we closed this spring:

The first improvements were a coat of new paint (no-VOC paint by Olympic from Lowe’s), getting our futon frame out of storage at my in-law’s (thank you!), a new futon mattress for $100 at Ikea, and a navy blue futon cover for $35 from Amazon (free shipping!).

Buying a three bedroom house meant that we had to take the rest of our furniture out of storage at my parents’ house too, but I was glad to have again the dressers from my old bedroom set.  They were a hand-me-down gift from some dear older friends when I graduated college.  I decided to refinish another hand-me-down piece from my aunt: a cedar-lined hope chest.   Here it is before:

If I were to do this project again, I would have used primer over that mahogany-colored finish instead of starting with my yellow paint.  We only scuffed the finish with sand paper first.  Three coats of paint later I was tired of painting it, and the plan changed to a distressed yellow painted hope chest.

My husband (known here as “Uncle J”) used a chisel, sandpaper, steel wool, and a Scotch Brite red pad (don’t get the non-scratching green pad by mistake) to sand and distress several small spots that would naturally get wear and tear, such as corners, edges, and where your hand touches to open and close the lid of the chest:  

Sometimes distressed furniture is too overdone, but he definitely got the right balance.  It could almost even use more distressing, but I think that the original dark finish that comes through under the yellow could very suddenly be too much if we had done any more.  Here is it finished, after two coats of wipe-on polyurethane and with new bronze hardware ($20 total from Lowe’s):

The fabric on the cushion is new too, along with the pillow covers, and is from Joann’s Fabrics.  I made each pillow cover with flowers on one side and polka dots on the reverse, and made them one inch larger than needed on all sides so I could add that cute little extra cuff around the edges:  

My inspiration for this came directly from Jen’s living room pillows.  (Hopefully she’ll share how to make her pillows soon!)

While painting one piece, I also painted two wooden shelves.  They were originally unfinished, so to similarly darken up the bright yellow paint, my husband wiped on some wood stain over the paint.  We didn’t really plan all this out before we started, but it did work out really well:

(My little houses were a hand painted Christmas gift made by Peter!)

And here is the guest room so far:

Thanks, Jen, for letting me guest-write.  Here’s a perfect spot for some future naps and sleepovers, Hannah B!  Love Auntie K and Uncle J :)


  1. Great guest post, Kelsey! The guest room looks wonderful! Cozy and interesting. I love the pillows.
    Hope you are getting some sleep. I remember those days with a brand new baby!
    Elizabeth -- Kelsey's Etsy friend:)


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