The Brighter Writer

MONDAY, MAY 5, 2014

Be Our Guest

So, our third bedroom (also known as the Monkey Room; also known as Grant's Tomb) sits on the opposite side of the loft and is very, very small.

It's hard to capture the room's exact shade of avocado green because it changes depending on where the sun hits, but trust me when I say that it was very green.

Like, an Al Gore-ish hue.

It's the only room in the whole house which wasn't the same Eeyore's-Ass-Grey like all the rest. You could see it coming as you turned the corner...

Prior to our buying the property, this room must have been a child's jungle themed bedroom or something. There were monkeys and crayon doodles spangled all over the walls and the closet organizer could only hold the outfits of a munchkin.

Note the banana light switch...

There is a tiny alcove in the corner but it's sort of a strange shape and not big enough to put a normal sized dresser.

My goal for this guest room was to provide someplace welcoming and comfortable without feeling cramped and dungeon-like. When we finished with the living room, it astounded me how a single coat of paint brightened the entire space. We knew that the dark green was the first thing to go and down stairs there happened to be a full can of Cumberland Fog from Behr Premium Plus paint line. When I popped off the lid, I knew we had a winner.

Everything about the shade was exactly what I was looking for. Friendly, breezy, light and mellow. It took two coats, even with primer mixed in, but we eventually conquered the jungle.

Better Homes and Gardens makes a great little blue and tan patterned bedspread which matched perfectly and tied the whole thing together.

The only thing really left to do was to create the final cozy ingredients and find some people to come visit!

You guys, I've traveled a lot.

A. Lot.

I've stayed in countless hotels, motels, hostels, and guest rooms. I've crashed on numerous couches, floors and even a couple recliners. I've slept in cars, tents, airplanes and trains.

I've gathered some great ideas on things I wish I had (and a few copy cat ideas which I found absolutely genius) over the years and I have finally acquired a spot to put them all in use.

So in no particular order: here is a list of my top 10 guest room essentials. (I use the term essentials very loosely)

1. An alarm clock. This is sort of a no-brainer. I'm aware that everyone has one on their cell phones, but it never hurts to have a back up. It's important for people to not miss their flights and/or shuttles. Plus, you know, people like to know the time from time to time.

2. Post your Wi-Fi password. Save your guests some cash off their data plan. It's the polite thing to do.

3. A guest journal. Every hostel and bed/breakfast I've stayed in has had one of these things for travelers to jot down their vacation experiences and I think it's super interesting to read other people's thoughts. Yes, I'm aware it will be my mom and maybe a couple of friends here and there who mainly use this space, but regardless, it'll be a great keepsake years down the road to go back and remember different trips from different people.

4. A map of the area. Let your visitors get familiar with where you/they are.

5. Reading materials. Don't have a library stacked with novels, I mean, people aren't going to be spending copious amounts of time here. Keep it light with magazines or novelty books. Because I'm just vain enough to think people want to look at me on vacation all over the world and because my guest room is travel themed, this is where I display all my Shutterfly vacation and scrap books. I also have the best of Calvin and Hobbs, Where's Waldo, The Good Citizen Handbook, The History of Rock and Roll, and The Book Of Strange Trivia. Everyone likes something fun to flip through as they're falling asleep.

6. Spare blankets. We took out the closet organizer and moved it to Kalynn's bedroom which gave us plenty of space for a dresser. We keep our spare blankets in the bottom two drawers. There is nothing worse than waking up cold in the middle of the night to ruin a good night's sleep. The key here is to keep your guests comfortable and everyone's level of warmth is different.

7. Coffee, tea and snacks. Here's the deal: my mom wakes up at like 4am and I don't. If she wants coffee at 4am, she should be able to have some without having to leave the privacy of her own room (or waking up everyone else in the house). Personally, I don't like to see or speak to anyone until I've had at least one cup of Joe. I wake up, I go downstairs, I pour my coffee, I turn around and go right back upstairs. My husband and my daughter know it's best for everyone's safety to just leave me alone until my veins have been tapped and I get my fix.

I'm also an awful insomniac and a little chamomile tea before bed is nice for relaxation. For both of these reasons, I want the option readily available for my guests without them having to ask.

As for the snacks, it's just nice to munch sometimes.

8. A sample jar. People forget things all the time like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and face soap. Sometimes I have people decide to spend the night unexpectedly and they didn't come prepared. For this reason, I've thrown all my hotel shampoos, airplane bottles, left over dentist visit samples, and cosmetic counter giveaways into one functional jar. There's a little something for everyone.

9. A luggage rack. That funny little alcove was a perfect spot for a luggage rack. These are inexpensive to pick up and always come in handy for the person who is living out of their suitcase.

10. Spare keys. "You are now free to roam around the cabin... without getting locked out." If they want to go for a walk while I'm at work or use the car, go for it.

So that's it! I'm a firm believer that house plants can change the identity of a room and once all the painting and remodeling is finished they are top of my list. But for now, our quaint little room will serve its purpose and house whoever needs a place to crash. So, if you're ever in the neighborhood...!

Before and afters of the loft, the master bedroom, the princess room and the kitchen coming soon!