Sunday, August 1

Tweaking a guest bedroom this August on Nest by Tamara

Let's stylize our guest bedroom
 to prepare for guests this summer...
Summertime at the beach is a busy time of year with
lots of beauty to take in, activities to enjoy.
One of the season's added fun is inviting weekend guests.
But please be careful, and don't overdo the hospitality and guest schedule in order to enjoy and relish in the memories you create with your family and friends.

My friend and fabulous blogger, Lisa Porter of The Lisa Porter Collection in Lexington, Kentucky offers helpful hints on her wonderful blog about hosting guests. Lisa recommends your home's entrance to be both warm and inviting, signaling to your guests they are welcome from the moment they arrive.
I agree wholeheartedly! love love love this nautical inspired photograph from
The Lisa Porter Collection
click on below link to read Lisa's hospitality post
where she details how to be host weekend guests in a relaxing and enjoyable manner.
for many of us, travel may be prime time to read your favorite book.  You may want to place your favorite "reads" in close proximity to your guest I mention in my Dan's Papers magazine story, stock up on produce from your local farmer's market to whip up quick and easy meals, maybe even splurge on ready-to-eat items to make it easy.   textural layering
decorate a guest bedroom luxuriously, but clutter free as to allow your guests room to unpack their belongings and move around in the space. 
I like to add lots of pretty pillows and accessories. To prepare for summer I made some small changes to my guest bedroom...
Last year I showcased this beautiful farm in Lexington, Kentucky on Nest. It inspired me because I was working on a story about equestrian themes in the home, and how the lifestlye influences interior design. I fell in love with this home (a working horse farm owned and loved by the famous fashion duo, Bagley & Mischka). Of course it is perfectly edited and done with tasteful restraint. Photographs below are from last summer's Elle Decor magazine spread on the house and property. I fell in love with this beautiful black dresser 
I like the lovely black sheen, antique glass knobs and those substantial claw feet., and of course, the simple Empire shape!
As I was tweaking my guest bedroom, I used this dresser as my muse.
I recently painted the room a cheery apple green (from the tan color it was previously). I injected more color to mirror the foliage of green hedges and bright colored hydrangeas outside the window in summer with pink colored accessories to compliment the new green walls. I framed it all in sober black, clean lined furniture. I have a black faux bamboo bookcase, two whimsical painted nautical chairs, a vintage milk bottle lamp, a sport fish on the wall, an american colonial drop leaf black writing table, and a Queen sized antique tarnished brass bed.
"maybe if I painted my vintage dresser black it would seem less whimsical and show off the interesting lines and framed mirror topping the dresser to better fit in the guest bedroom". It was a dull Saturday in May, so I roped my son into helping me carry the furniture into the driveway. We taped up the mirror. My agreeable eleven year-old sanded the entire piece. Of course, I supplied him homemade lemonade. I spray painted the dresser with two coats of black semi-gloss paint. We found lucite handles at the local hardware store that fit perfectly. I lined the drawers with pretty green toile wallpaper I had left over from the guest bathroom. 
The After Shot
see above the same dresser, sanded, painted and newly adorned with lucite pulls back in the guest room ready for summer.
I topped the dresser with an oversized japanese lacquer tray, a pair of crystal lamps, a candle and bouquet of flowers from my garden
lucite pulls we found at a local hardware store
my mother's handpainted nautical chairs fit right into the space nicely
I keep notepaper and pens close at hand on the writing desk...
The story on the subject of hosting guests I wrote for Dan's Papers...
How To Be The Perfect Hamptons Hostess
By Tamara Matthews-Stephenson
I just got off the phone with a friend complaining about the parade of visitors trekking out to visit this summer. It's that bittersweet time of the year when you cannot resist filling your calendar with weekend guests with whom you will create and share summer memories. Every year I promise to pace myself with one group of guests per month, allowing some time in between to take a breath and relax. Inevitably there is a distant cousin ready to head out on the Jitney with only a few hours' notice.
In my attempt at creating fun-filled weekends, with ease, I have come up with some simple ideas to assure a comfortable visit for my guests, without intensive labor for me and my family. There is creating a warm and inviting guest bedroom, and the added job of entertaining and preparing meals while enjoying your visitors' company and avoiding becoming bogged down with work. For many years before we had children, my husband and I enjoyed staying at bed and breakfasts and small, family-owned inns during our travel vacations, relishing in the small details of welcome baskets, homemade muffins for breakfast and the little accoutrements that help make a visit feel special. I try to recreate this experience for guests in my home. I read somewhere that you should sleep in your own guest bedroom to experience the space in use, so I did that over the quiet lull of the winter. I had assumed my room was perfectly coiffed with a simple, yet pretty vase of fresh flowers from my garden. Once I spent a full evening in the room, however, I became aware of some of the drawbacks of the space, so I made small changes to better receive my guests. When preparing a guest bedroom the magic is in stocking the room to provide some independence and comfort to guests, from fine quality bedding and pillows to smaller items such as toothpaste. I now remember to fill the guest bathroom with plenty of plush towels, linens and bathroom products. In addition, I added a blowdryer, travel size alarm clock, and writing paper and pens. I also provided a comfortable corner to write a note or use a laptop computer. Although I had a few lamps in the room, as I sat on the bed I noticed it was dark in that particular area, so I added a small, bedside reading lamp. I was frankly appalled at the quality of the pillows, which were lumpy, and to top it all off, there wasn't a thick, extra blanket if it got cold at night. Although I had a random assortment of bathroom products, I decided to invest in a collection of small, more personal-sized bottles for each guest's visit. I cleaned out space in the closet, removing my coats and off-season items to allow more room and introducing extra hangers. I now leave one empty table for weekend bags. Although the antique dresser in the bedroom was charming, it was too difficult to work the handles. I decided to refinish the dresser with a quick sanding and painting, and added sparkling new Lucite handles. Just before my guests arrive, I place a pretty tray on the edge of the bed with the following items; a map of the area, a candle, chocolates, small containers of shampoo/conditioner, and a water-filled decanter for drinking. I add a quick welcome note as well. In addition, I have created a "first night" tradition for many visitors to start the weekend on a fun and easy note. After a long trip driving out on the traffic riddled I-495, we offer to kick-off our guest's visit with a picnic and bonfire at the beach. I pack up an easy to prepare dinner, either fried chicken from Brents or Citarella, or sandwiches and salads I make ahead of time. I invested in some brightly colored Chinese take-out containers for salads to add a fun twist, or sometimes I put my salads in raffia-tied bento boxes. Into the picnic basket go a few pretty linens, paper plates and utensils, chilled white wine and cool drinks for the kids, and off we go to the beach. I keep a bag on hand all summer with a battery-operated lantern, a small folding table and blanket. As we head to the beach I simply add logs for a bonfire, a lighter, and a smores kit from the super market. We have an instant party without much work. It is a great way to set the tone for a relaxed summer weekend, putting my visitors at ease. The kids can run barefoot on the beach. An added bonus to the evening is I am left without lots of dirty dinner dishes and the house stays relatively clean. We toast the arrival of our guests over the roar of the rolling surf. Because our weekends are often filled with busy family schedules driving us in various directions, I stock up on my favorite farmers markets' fresh baked goods from Round Swamp Farm in East Hampton. I keep their homemade muffins, cinnamon buns, local jam and fresh fruit on hand. This allows me a quick way to provide my guests with breakfast. I pop the muffins in the oven, brew a pot of coffee and the scrumptous smells waft through the house. It is now Saturday and I have fed my guests a fun dinner at the beach, provided them with a delicious breakfast and they appear rested from the guest room with map in hand, ready to take in the local sights of the Hamptons. Tamara is an interior designer, freelance writer & author of Nest by Tamara blog -


Lisa said...

Do you have any openings? Are you taking reservations? I bet you're booked!
Tamara, you are so sweet to include me in this wonderful post on hospitality.
We know how you love to entertain and we know how you love to spend time with your family. It's no surprise that when you have overnight guests, you make them feel right at home.
I think you're nicer than me though...
Looking forward to more, as usual.
xo Lisa

Renae said...

Your son is really a trooper with all of that sanding! I have a chest and mirror just like that which was my grandmother's. Your collaborative effort turned out great! I am looking forward to learning all kinds of warm hospitality inspiration this month!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the tips and I am having two families this weekend so it is good timing. A good idea to sleep in the guest room and never did that before but may try to fit that in over this week to see how comfortable the room is. We have two sets of bunk beds in one room so it may not work out that I get in each bed but I can get a general idea. Will come by again later in the month to read more. Good luck with the blog. Stacy.

Housewife Bliss said...

Tamara, loving the August theme and great advice to boot. Always a source of great inspiration.

Anne Lubner Designs said...

Tamara, you've made your guest room a lovely and inviting retreat. A spark of inspiration and a lot of elbow grease totally transformed the yellow dresser into a sophisticated piece that now anchors the room and adds great storage and a place for guests to put their toiletry items. Beautiful job! (and how special that your son is so helpful!) xo Anne

tamara said...

thanks for all the comments friends - so nice to know who has stopped by and your feedback. Happy August! tamara