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Let’s Talk About the Guest Room (and Kohler Too)

It’s been a bit of a funny week, as I’ve been out of town for the first half traveling to gorgeous Kohler, Wisconsin! (Every year, Scott and I make a promise that we’ll leave the city for the weekend and take a drive north to see the changing leaves, and although he wasn’t able to make it – boo! – those leaves are no joke. So colorful!) I was invited to check out the insane Kohler factory and showroom, but it was much more than that – I enjoyed late nights with new friends, toured their amazing campus-of-sorts and spent the days imagining bathrooms without duct tape on tiles. (We may or may not have duct tape on our tiles; that is all.)

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Long story short, my love of pedestal sinks and apron sinks and all things brassy and shiny has grown tenfold – as if that was even possible in the first place. And did you know you can go on a factory tour, too? And then we can talk about our love of sinks and tubs and faucets and motors and all things powder coated together?

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Gah, it was amazing.

But! That post title wasn’t meant to be misleading. Today, let’s talk about the guest room! It’s a long, skinny room on the first floor off of the dining room:

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It’s been re-shaped and re-configured over the years, no doubt, and duct work has been boxed out with poorly done drywall. A closet was added (we’re wondering if this was ever really intended to be a room at all?), and although it’s on the small side, it’s nothing some reconfiguring and new shelving won’t solve.

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But as the guest room, we have no plans to change up all those funny (and mostly sloped) angles. We had no desire to touch those baseboards, and we wanted to see how far paint would go! As it was, the ceiling was never fully painted, and old tape, tacks and staples were stuck in the walls. I took these photos before we really got into the spackling, which involved long nights and weekends over drinks, a big bucket of joint compound and a lot of power sanding.

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And our attempt to fix a moldy, wonky window sill (the mold issue was a quick fix by our contractor that has since been resolved – phew!) with a little bit of new trim, of course, turned into a full blown let’s-see-if-we-can-take-apart-this-whole-f*@ing-window ordeal. On the plus side – and during the process – we realized that there were entire sections around the window with no insulation, so we were able to remedy that as well!

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Let’s just say that painting, prepping and some-new-trimming turned into an entire week’s worth of work, but you guys. What a difference – surprise, surprise – paint makes! We wanted something very clean and bright, as that one window allows a flood of natural light, and we landed on White Pistachio by Valspar. We tried out Valspar Optimus in an eggshell finish, which is one sheen higher than we would normally use, however, it felt appropriate for a guest room – you know, with well-traveled luggage. It’s a super soft green-gray that changes with the light like a chameleon, and it’s just so, so pretty.

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For the windows, we ended up opting out of a sill due to the tight quarters, but we were able to successfully use pine to replace the casing and trim to frame it. The door got an instant facelift with trim as well, and everything was painted Ultra Pure White semi-gloss (Behr) to match the rest of our home.

On the back wall, we used wallpaper primer because – wallpaper! As mentioned here, we picked up a roll of Cities Toile in black and gold, and I hate to be a tease, but we just finished installing it and, my goodness. Photos to come soon, but just know, swoon.

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The closet doors were removed completely (we’ll be adding curtains, as the doors prevented full use of the storage space), and although there’s an immobile gas line in the way, we were able to conceal it with the same paint as the rest of the room. The thermostat wire will get tucked up along the length of the closet casing, which, while unavoidable, is no big deal.

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Because the room is so small, and because the paint color we chose was so light, we painted the ceilings, too! Every drywall surface with the exception of the wallpaper accent was painted in White Pistachio, and the natural light plays with it so well. It’s even a little tough to tell that the ceiling is the same color as it reflects the daylight differently, and it just works. We also replaced the heating vent with something that would properly blow the forced air into the room (how novel!), added a dimmer switch, and that fixture will absolutely be replaced.

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We have a really funky headboard that’ll get a coat of paint in the coming weeks (you can see it in the very first photo), and we’ve slowly been accumulating a few items that are necessities in a guest room (well, some are just for fun!). We’ve asked past guests what makes a guest room comfortable and happy for them – blinds, a spot for luggage, a small desk and warm sheets – and we’re taking it all to heart.

Our goal is to complete the room fully by the end of the month. There, I said it!

Factory photos via Kohler, taken during our stay.

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  • DAF10.9.14 - 10:11 AM

    Seems like the perfect space for a murphy bed on that back wall.ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.9.14 - 10:30 AM

      Oh man, we LOVE murphy beds, but since this will always be a guest room, it probably isn’t the best space to do it in. We considered one for the reading nook, so who knows!ReplyCancel

  • Cait10.9.14 - 10:33 AM

    The Kohler Factory/showroom sounds awesome! Did you bring home anything fun? Unless I’m the only weirdo who hoards plumbing fixtures. ;-)

    You’ve made so much progress in the guest room already! I love the color, and can’t wait to see the wallpaper & what light fixture you’ll use! Also, for some reason I’m imagining the eagle from Elkhorn over the door, if there’s room.ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.9.14 - 10:39 AM

      First, CONGRATS – your comment made it! (HA.)

      Nothing came home with me, but I have a trillion ideas for our kitchen and bathrooms! I have so much respect for the amount of work they pour into their products. It was really very inspiring!

      And you never know, the eagle may end up there! We talked about a few options, but haven’t decided yet. There might not be enough breathing room above the door, but maybe…ReplyCancel

      • Cait10.9.14 - 11:38 AM

        Woohoo, I made the cut! ;)

        It sounds inspiring!

        Yeah, I wasn’t sure the scale of that spot/the eagle, but I’m sure he will look great no matter what you decide! :)ReplyCancel

  • Megan10.9.14 - 10:37 AM

    I’m super excited to see the wallpaper! Always love your color choices – very inspirational.ReplyCancel

  • Natasha10.9.14 - 10:56 AM

    I love the color you chose for this room. I’m not normally a fan of green/grays but this color, with all the natural light, looks great. I’m excited to see your completed room :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.9.14 - 10:59 AM

      Thanks! It’s such a soothing color – perfect for a serene bedroom!ReplyCancel

  • Lora10.9.14 - 12:45 PM

    I’m glad you love/appreciate Kohler. My dad worked there for 30+ years and I worked there every summer and Christmas break when I was in college (the company is really good about hiring employees’ kids for summer help). I water tested plumbing fixtures – every single faucet is checked. We used to joke that we were like zoo animals on display when tour groups came through.ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.9.14 - 1:31 PM

      That’s so awesome! I wondered what it must have felt like. Some of the workers would joke around, which was fun!ReplyCancel

  • Julie10.9.14 - 4:25 PM

    I can’t wait to stay in it and break it in! It’s looking fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Kalli10.9.14 - 5:27 PM

    Put in blinds and I’ll be back in a flash. Because I think when I stayed I may have *flashed* your neighbors… : ) Nice soft color, it’s looking good!ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.9.14 - 5:37 PM

      I don’t think you’re the only one. Blinds have been ordered!ReplyCancel

  • Tina S.10.10.14 - 12:39 PM

    I can’t wait to see what color that headboard becomes! Not-so-secretly, I’m hoping it’ll be a pop of color!ReplyCancel

  • Jenifer10.12.14 - 6:02 PM

    I’m obsessed with that wall paper. Can’t wait to see it on the wall.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay10.17.14 - 5:08 AM

    Love the color of your door! Cute cat too, what’s her name?ReplyCancel

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