The Guest Rooms

Looks pretty bleak, doesn’t it, like maybe the only guest is that crazy aunt you’ve heard rumors about. Fortunately this is a before shot.

Here is the same or a similar window from the inside. Note mildew, lambris ceiling and walls that never did look very nice. When they could afford a maid, she lived here.

I have to apologize for the haphazard nature of this post. I’m upgrading and changing computers and frankly, it is a nightmare. The new operating system has taken over. All my tidy files are trashed in favor of date shot date uploaded or who knows what, but it’s like Catalina decided to play 52 Card Pickup with my pictures. If I find better shots than these I will update the post. For now, I’ll have a full house at Christmas, so I’d better show you the guest rooms while they are more or less tidy.

There are two of these rooms, almost mirror images of one another. Some time after the main house was built, wings were added. The room in the top photo was a maid’s room and was given paneling at the windows. The room just above was never used and never detailed. A you can see, once we removed the ceiling covering we decided to stay with the exposed beams. Frankly I think the workers would have refused to cover them up.

The photo above shows the outside wall. The one below shows the wall facing back into the house. I don’t have a photo of the nasty peeling linoleum that the guys removed. Those floor boards are original to the house; I don’t know why they were ever covered.

The landing toward a guest room.
From the landing toward the other guest room, during construction.
The same spot, now.

So from the landing — seen here but I’ll also upload a floor plan, if I can find one — you would enter either a bedroom or, as you see below, a bathroom. Then beyond, for no apparent reason, there would be a door to a little tacked-on room. I could have retained the bigger bedroom and used the wings as bathrooms. However I didn’t like the idea of chewing up one wall with circulation, plus putting the bedroom at the end gave it more privacy. Plus I thought it made sense of the space, removed the tacked-on vibe. Maybe I would choose differently now but, too late.

The former pink bathroom, with a new sink and Jacques communing with the local fauna.
Former bedroom, which became the bathroom you see below. The drop in ceiling height was made to accommodate wiring and plumbing in the attic. This room became the bathroom you see below, plus a small laundry/utility room. Each floor has a backstage space.

Here is a progress shot of the other new bathroom. Toilets: before there was one, in the utility room. Even that was a step up from the outhouse with its wooden seats — yeah, family style — and huge stinky collection pit. To the left will be/now is a shower. The sink is on the opposite wall.

One guest room now — the curved window above. Below is a small apartment in what were the porcherie offices.
One room, with a mix of things inherited, bought and won at auction.
The other room, functional but not at all finished.
And the view, which I liked too much to relegate it to a bathroom and which, to my mind, is not as well framed by the larger windows.

19 thoughts on “The Guest Rooms

  1. I love those guest rooms, the color in the hallway, the bathroom and the floors. I’m so lucky to have been there. It has a serenity and flow that the pictures don’t capture in full.


  2. I love the serenity and flow of the guestrooms, the perfect cheery bathroom, and blue of the hallways. And of course the floors are like walking on honey. In color I mean. I’ve been so lucky to be there, and the photos really don’t do it justice.


  3. So beautiful and serene, and the floors have such a warm glow. I have been so lucky to be on that floor. It is really helpful to see the before and after photos. I still can’t believe that you could envision how it will all turn out. And I love the color in the hallway.


    1. Well, yes, thank you and you’re right. I could have pulled out the wide-angle lens and shown more of the rooms. More to the point, here and throughout the house, is the whole discussion about the effect of photography on architectural design. Photography is two-dimensional, while architecture is three dimensional. So what does an ambitious architect do? The answer, perhaps too often, is to design for the photograph. You see interesting walls and angles, but not necessarily interesting or functional spaces.

      I’m not a fan of Robert Venturi as a person — I worked with his firm and it wasn’t fun — but his ideas about architecture are often worthwhile. One thing he stresses is scale, creating spaces that are maybe a little too small, to emphasize the shift to large spaces. So you remember the narrow kitchen door. I had to fight for that, but I like the way it emphasizes the transition from inside to outside. Also the hallways that run to the guest rooms are narrow. It does not photograph well but they are not cramped. Again, I wanted to create a sense of transition, from the relatively public space of the house to the separate, private space offered to guests. While you are there, that is your space; nothing about the plan invites others to enter.

      One thing I love about older buildings is that they are not designed for the photograph. I chose this house because the design holds together not only in each room in three dimensions, but as a whole. You can trace the axes from top to bottom and from side to side. Adding those wings threw off the balance. To the extent that I changed anything, my goal was to reinforce the coherence of Drohomirecki’s original design. It was my good luck that the site superviser loved his craft and worked as hard as he did to make sure everything was done well.

      The paint in the entry and the stairwell is Little Greene’s “Pearl Colour.” It’s fabulous, isn’t it, my favorite color in the whole house.


  4. That is some extraordinary trussing. My limited engineering doesn’t let me work out the load disbursements but someone really worked overtime to figure that design. Too bad you got rid of that wallpaper. It was growing on me…like fungus. :snorf: The bedrooms look very warm and cozy and of course you have my eternal admiration for taking on that amount of work on the bathrooms. Your paint choices are wonderful, I think (because my junk monitor cannot be fully trusted.) Can’t get enough of that staircase. It’s clear that Jacques approves of the remodel, he’s standing at attention!


    1. They used a lot of wood back then. Good thing, too, because the bugs did a number on the beams and still, they didn’t need to be replaced. They are held together with pegs, no nails. I’m glad you like the paint. There is such an emphasis on white, these days. I use white, but I like the way color shapes one’s perception of a space. Maybe I should do the living room next. It’s really dark. I love it.

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      1. We have very dark wood floors and really don’t like them. We always trend to the lighter colors maybe because so much time spent on islands which tend to favor brighter palettes. Of course size matters too (cough) and in our little California abode dark makes things smaller than they already are.


        1. In California we had red oak floors, really pretty. You’re right. In that bright light, dark wood wouldn’t work at all. Even here the floors are lighter. Maybe a few area rugs?

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          1. Probably. But I think I’d rather just wait and do the floors when we re-do house colors, trim, counter tops etc. The AJF says she probably only has one or two more remodels left in her and no more moves. Concentrate the pain.

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        1. Benjamin Moore. I miss Trader Joe’s for shopping and Benjamin Moore for paint. Take a look at my go-to color, back then: 1100. It’s a light tan with hints of pink and yellow, depending on how the light hit it. Talk about ambiguous: they don’t even give it a name.

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          1. Well then I guess I’m in hog heaven with a T-Joe’s up the street and a Benny Moore down the street. “1100” sounds like an interesting color and I am currently on the prowl for a “tan-nish” color so I will go over and check it out.

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