Thursday, March 10, 2011

A beautiful guest house

Although my sister and I are quite different, we both share a love for design.  Pictures from her former Chesapeake Bay house, which have been published in magazines and have been much used in the design blogs, were originally posted in my blog a few years ago (see post here).

Jim Hawes of Caldwell-Beebe is my sister’s designer, and he always does such a beautiful job creating a serene and nuanced interior.  This picture is one of my favorites from his portfolio, and is from my sister’s vacation house (since sold).

Recently my sister moved to a new house – new to her, but an older home that was built in the 1920s.  The home had been renovated a few years ago, and came with a carriage house that had a room over the garage, but was in a state of disrepair and needed some TLC and cosmetic improvements.  The repairs were literally finished the day I arrived for a visit – so I was the first guest!

Hopefully my sister won’t be upset that I am posting pictures of her carriage house, because it is still a work in progress.  There are no window treatments yet (the measurements were taken just yesterday – they will be a Clarence House linen with the Clarence House Greek key trim), the bar stools and bedskirt have yet to arrive, and the decorative accessories and art items that finish off a space are not yet in place, but the comfort and beauty of the space was so striking to me that I had to share it with my readers!  Please excuse the quality of the pictures; I was using a little point and shoot tourist camera that fits into my purse, and the configuration of the space combined with my tiny camera did not allow for sweeping vantage points.

The view of the guest house when entering the door – it is essentially the space over a 2 car garage, with a floating wall that separates the living area/kitchen from the bedroom.  The floating wall is actually an ingenious solution for this space – it keeps the rooms open, yet also creates distinct spaces.  The sofa is also a bed, from Lee, which will accommodate extra guests.  The Ian Mankin pillow is from a small store in Primrose Hill in London, a play on the Union Jack flag. 

The kitchen is clean lined and elegant, with open shelving for the basic dishes a guest might need.  The kitchen faucet is the Grohe Minta, with a pull down sprayer spout.   I am loving the color on the white oak floors – my sister said that it took a long time to find the right combination of stain and finish to achieve this color (which I am also experiencing in my quest for the perfect light floor color).  For the finish, my sister wanted to use an eco-friendly, low VOC product, and ended up using a product from a Canadian company called Saman (http://www.saman.ca/home).  The wood has a relaxed and slightly rustic appearance, which works beautifully in this space.

A view to the entrance and the bathroom.  Since I am the first guest, a temporary TV is perched on the floor –works for me!  The little window over the door brings light into the stairwell.

It was almost impossible to get a decent shot of the whole bathroom with my pitiful camera, so I will show some of the highlights.  The floor is a marble basketweave mosaic, sourced from Amazon of all places!  My sister reports that this particular tile is no longer available on Amazon, but there are others that are similar. Just search for basketweave mosaic.

Not the best picture, but the space is small and tough for a good picture without a wide angle lens.  The vanity has misty carrera Caesarstone as the counter, and it is SO great – no worries about staining or etching, and it is really attractive.  Also, the vanity has decent counterspace – a great thing for a guest who has a travel kit.  My sister’s previous house had a pedestal sink in the guest bathroom, and there was nowhere to put stuff!

A closer view of the countertop.  I am seriously considering using Caesarstone for my kids’ bathroom countertops – with three daughters all approaching the teenage years, I need surfaces that will withstand a lot of wear and tear.  Note the Greek key border tile along the wall, which is by Michael Smith for Ann Sacks.  The subway tile is from a different manufacturer; usually people get the tile from the same company, as they want to match the color – but my sister fell in love with the Greek key tile, and wanted to use an inexpensive subway tile.  It all worked out well - the grayer white of the Greek key tile actually provides a nice subtle contrast and blends well with the floor tile and the cabinet base color.

Love the shower fixtures – the squared off shape is so unusual.  They are by Kohler. 

The tulips came from Whole Foods, and are the perfect accent to the custom ‘X’ motif table/island that was made for the space.  The marble is Calacatta Caldia, from a marble store in Virginia.  It is great looking marble, primarily white with subtle soft gray and taupe veining, honed, and is such a luxurious surface in a guest house.  The bar stools are arriving tomorrow, and will be a great addition to the space.

This stainless steel counter protector is a clever idea – my sister got it at Peter Jones in London.  Has anyone ever seen one sold in the States? It fits right over the edge of the counter, and provides a great surface that helps protect the marble.

I thought that this set of drawers, full depth but built into the slope of the wall, was a very clever use of space.

Here is the bedroom behind the floating wall (picture taken on a gray, rainy morning – the light was tough for a picture).  The room is still coming together - the bedskirt is not ready yet – but the linens are pretty, with a subtle Greek key embroidered into the duvet cover (from William Sonoma Home).  The side tables are antique Swedish tables from Tone on Tone.  The rug is a sisal that came from the old house.

This picture, also taken on a gray and rainy morning, shows the separating effect of the floating wall.  It both separates the two spaces, and creates a great wall for the bed.

The hardware for the doors will be arriving next week – Ashley Norton, in the white bronze finish.

And finally, the view from a window of the guest house - a rainy day, but beautiful nonetheless with the National Cathedral in the distance. 

Update: my sister just emailed me a before picture of the guest house - what a difference!
The guest house, before.

Here are some other details about the space:
  • cabinet color: amazing gray by Sherwin Williams
  • wall color: Benjamin Moore white sand BM-964, trim Benjamin Moore dove wing
  • bathroom walls: Benjamin Moore silver satin BM856
If you have any other questions, please feel free to post in the comments here.  I thoroughly enjoyed staying in this wonderful guest house this past week, and look forward to many more visits!

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  1. I'm wishing I could be a guest! Lovely space. I love the openness! I voted for you yesterday! Good luck!

  2. Simply F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S!!! Thanks for sharing! I would love to be a guest at your sister's home and stay there!

  3. Loved this! It reminds me of a guest house at a home we recently looked at in Birmingham! This is just beautiful! Voted for you twice so far! Good luck and thanks for posting such beautiful and Real pictures! I'm still learning so it's fun to see someone who knows what they are doing and shows us great things that are actually attainable!

  4. What a beautiful guest space!! So calm and serene - I love the tonal colors and LOVE the floor - even before I read your comments I noticed - stunning! How nice for you and your sister's other guests to have such a welcoming and attractive place to stay!!

  5. Beautiful space. Please show us more when the finishing touches are complete. Washington, DC has so many beautiful homes. Obviously your sister owns one of them.

  6. Love Love it...I have always wanted a guest house...maybe someday....love it...julie

  7. What a beautiful guest house. I love the white oak floors and the soothing neutrals. Thank you to you and your sister for sharing her space with us!

  8. Such a gorgeous space! I am obsessed with the stainless counter protector! If you find a source in the states let me know! Thanks for generously sharing your sister's resources--I hope she doesn't mind! ;)

  9. Ooooh just found the counter protector at www.kitchensource.com It comes in 3 different sizes too!

  10. This is a beautiful space. I am loving the simplicity and the care with which every detail was selected. I hope you will share more pictures when the final touches are added!

  11. Beautiful! Love this post and the "X" motif!

  12. This is so amazing!! I have a carriage house/garage that my hubby built and our plan is to finish the upstairs off like this. Ours is a 3 car space. This is fantastic inspiration. Your sister did a fab job!!! I would love to see the outside of this space.


  13. Good grief, it's so nice. I love the table too. Add the view and...

  14. Very beautiful. Your sister's guest house is puts my entire house to shame. What a relaxing space.

  15. That steel protector is amazing. Since we are doing marble throughout our new home I will need to investigate this a bit more. I know I could easily get one custom made for a small amount, but the headache it would save in areas like the butlers pantry would be huge! Thank so much for posting and her guest spot is amazing.

  16. Lovely! What's the plan for the bedskirt?

  17. Like the way she kept it simple, the custom table with the marble really rocks!Maryanne :)

  18. Oh my goodness! Beautiful! Can I go visit your sister? :)

  19. So peaceful! Can't think of a better place to stay.

  20. Wow, Holly!

    What a huge difference! It's serene, calming, welcoming and really comfortable!

    Who wouldn't want to be a guest at her home?

    Have a great day!!!


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  21. Wonderful use of space, and so beautiful. The occasional table/counter is brilliant!

  22. I love the basketweave floor- can't believe it's from Amazon. Do you know what color the diamond sisal rug is? We are going to order the Pueblo rug and can't decide on color - natural, tama or seagrass?

  23. Just beautiful! Do you happen to know the color of the Ceasarstone? Thanks!

  24. wow! When can we come to visit/move in and stay for ever? And...I love that detail, the counter top metal piece...I need that detail in my own kitchen..off to google it!:)

  25. Hi - here are the answers to some of the questions.

    The base of the island/table is very, very thick and sturdy - it easily supports the marble.

    The caesarstone in the bathroom (on the vanity) is Misty Carrera color. On the curb of the shower, arctic white caesarstone color.

    A reader sourced the stainless countertop cutting board/protector at www.kitchensource.com. Great find!

    The sisal is by Fibreworks, Siskiyou style. Not sure of the color.

    Thanks for all of the great comments - keep them coming, my sister is loving them!

  26. Beautiful, beautiful, BEAUTIFUL ....!!!!IS THAT GUEST HOUSE OF YOUR SISTER!!! Love that table with the marble counter!!!
    Thank your sister for letting you share her home with us!!

  27. I too like the Diamond Sisal in the first picture of your sister's old Chesapeake house. I think you mentioned in a previous post that it was Prestige Mills Pueblo--does your sister know what color it was??

  28. Your home is beautiful also, Holly. I just saw your listing and the staging is outstanding. I don't look for it to be on the market very long. Love your mix of traditional, modern and vintage.

  29. Such a beautiful space! It looks like great taste rumns in the family!

  30. Love it. I have always dreamed of having a guest house. I think is so lovely for visitors to have some privacy in a stand alone unit. But, this is shaping up to be one of the lovliest I've seen. Love the use of the floating wall and her color choices - so soothing. Am really intrigued by the stainless steel sleeve, as I have marble countertops in my kitchen and could really use something like this in the "high traffic" areas near the sink.

    What a treat to have that view of the National Cathedral. I'm sure you're already making plans for your next visit!

    xo Elizabeth
    ps: voted for your yesterday!

  31. Thanks to you and Andrea for the info on the stainless steel counter protector. I have seen counters with this as a built-in feature, but I was always wary of the germ aspect of cutting surfaces that cannot go in the dishwasher.

  32. I just found your lovely blog and I'm enjoying every bit of it! This is one of the most beautiful guest homes I've seen in a long time. Adore the soothing color palette and all the little details. Just pefect!

  33. The designer you follow, Jim Hawes, seems to have worked his magic again. Kudos to him. Your sister is very lucky to have such talent and to have various spaces for him to transform.

  34. Voted for you and came back to say that the guest cottage is lovely....smiles.

  35. Love your sister's guesthouse!! Yummy! Love reading the blog and am always longingly looking at the design/architecture in Atlanta. I am in Virginia and would love to get the name of the marble dealer where your sister found her Calcatta Caldia ...Thanks!

  36. Coming together just beautifully! Thanks so much for sharing your sister's space. I love the honed marble and the stain color on the floor is so unique.

  37. I am loving the neutral and peaceful vibe this guest space has! Good pick on the wing back chair- such a classic piece!

  38. Holly,

    How amazing that family was so special to be the first guest. This space is wonderful and I love how everything has come together. Very restful environment and many guests will be happy to stay there.

  39. I would love to meet your sister sometime -- I know when I had breakfast with Loi Thai of Tone on Tone last year he raved about both of you!

  40. Just found your blog, I'll enjoy going through your previous posts.

    Love the serene palette of this space. Who did the painting of the farmhouse in the second photo?

  41. That is one fabulous guest house! All the choices your sister made are beautiful. Thanks so much for the tour. It's inspiring to see so much style in a small space.

  42. awesome! and I would have never known you used a "point and click" camera! I thought the pics turned out fab. This room really reminds me of my carriage house!!! Similar colors and use of space! Looking forward to working with you!!!

  43. Beautifully done, so inviting, casual but chic. Just as a guest house should be...love all the soft colors. Thanks for sharing...look forward to seeing more:)

  44. Holly - what a beautiful guest house. And to have once been a carriage house - there is just something so likable and historic about that fact. All of the white tones are very appealing. The tranquility that it evokes is what I would love to come to for a weekend getaway or at the end of a long day.
    I have never heard of a stainless steel counter protector - but it makes perfect sense. And the matching potted plants in the master (are those boxwoods) - again very soothing. The idea of not having to change them every week as one would have to with flowers - ideal!

    Also, thank you for taking the time to stop by the blog recently. Your comment about choosing not to attend an official gym and instead walk your dog as a form of exercise a la Mireille Guilano's premise I think is something that actually can bring more serenity as well as good health into our lives.

    Have a beautiful weekend. :)

  45. Lucky you! I would have had a trying time to return to the "real" world after spending a few days here. Love the relaxed serenity of this space. An understated pretty!

  46. Holly, I love it. It is light and clean and restful and I really love it. Nicer than my regular house! I think guests appreciate a quiet restful space. I hope you slept well there. Tell your sister I am packing my suitcase now and will be there next week.
    : )

    Can't wait to see the finished space (though I like it quietly spare like this).
    xo Terri

  47. Can I be a guest here? It's gorgeous and inviting!
    I just wanted to pop in and say thank you for listing my mudroom, so sweet of you!
    Enjoy your Sunday!
    Take care

  48. Oh my goodness this is just beautiful. I love all of the white! It makes it look so light and airy!

  49. So beautiful! I love your sister's style. That table is to die for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I love the bedroom. everything looks so different than how it was before, amazing!!!!!!! i want to see the house, please !!!

  50. It is absolutely stunning! I could live here.

  51. Both spaces are beautiful and you are both very lucky to have such gorgeous homes!
    Jamie Herzlinger

  52. This is absolutely lovely! I love all white, it has always been my favourite colour!

    Thank you for sharing!



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