The Guest Room – Another Lesson in Patience

Watching BHH fall apart around us over the winter was disappointing. I attempted to rally during the last few weeks of the cold weather, but it was a battle. For several days, the weather forecasters were lying liars who lied about the above freezing temperatures headed our way. Two days in advance, the weather report would display a temperature over 32 degrees. The night before, it would switch to a high of just below freezing. Right about the time I was feeling completely jaded, we got our reprieve.

That glorious 34 degree day arrived. The dripping and glacier-calving off the roof reached documentary standards in the first 48 hours. The first few loud crashes of ice alarmed us all. We would freeze in place with our eyes wide open, trying to discern where the sound had originated. By the end of the first day, we were barely flinching. I did do a little bit of fist shaking at our roof, and I uttered the words “good riddance” once or twice.

Even though it is now the middle of the summer, I remember the thaw like it was yesterday, and winter is right around the corner. Theย studio/covered back porchย remains in critical condition. The guest room, which was the next largest disaster after the studio, has had a bit of a makeover. Here is the sad little “before” video that I shot at the end of winter:

Our Guest Room – Before from Stacy Grinsfelder on Vimeo.

Andy and the kids started working on the room in April. Once the paper was removed, I moved onto wall repair. Wall repair is not particularly difficult, but it is very time-consuming. Depending on the severity of the damage, it can take as many as 4-8 thin layers of wall patch to achieve a proper surface. The patch has to dry thoroughly, and it requires sanding between each coat.

Corner Patch to repair
Corner Patch to repair

Once the real work of the living room got started, I quickly realized I was in over my head regarding my plans to knock out the guest room and living room simultaneously. The guest room walls were in a terrible state. Even with Andy and I working on the rooms during most of our spare time, it was impossible to complete everything by the time I left for Missouri at the end of June.

I am so thankful for Andy who simply did not give up while I was away. He finished every single bit of painting in the living room, hung pictures, and continued to patch and sand the walls in the guest room.

Frayed at both ends after days of relentless work, Andy and I had a little disagreement about painting in the guest room. I am the detail person, Andy is the big picture guy. I felt the walls needed more prep before we painted. However, I also left town! I suggested that he wait to paint until after our guests were gone. That was not the ideal solution since that would mean our guests would be sleeping in a bedroom with only primed and patched walls. As a detail-oriented person who is a little overwhelmed by the scope of work here at BHH, I wanted to do this project correctly, so I would not have to do it again.

Andy disagreed. He felt that any repair work could wait until the future, and painting the room should be a priority. We also disagreed about paint color. I wanted a soft, flat color. He wanted me to back off since he was the one doing the work. We have not made it through 20 years of marriage without compromise. In this situation, I shut down my inner control freak, and Andy chose the paint.

This is what our guest room looks like today:
Guest Room 3
In order to choose the paint for the living room, I thought about it for several months and brought home at least 30 paint chips from the leading paint manufacturers. From there, I narrowed my possibilities down to three by taping the chips onto the wall and looking at them at various times of day in natural light and lamp light. Then, I surveyed a few good friends, and finally crowd-sourced Facebook to make my final choice.

I asked Andy how he chose the color for the guest room. His response was something like, “I walked into the Benjamin Paint store ten minutes before it closed. I asked them if I had time to have paint mixed. Then, I grabbed a blue paint chip that reminded me of my childhood bedroom, and that is what I walked out with.” TEN minutes. He spent ten minutes on this decision. Actually, now that I am writing this, I realize that he spent less than ten minutes. The entire transaction took that long. His actual choice took as long as it takes to grab a blue paint chip off the wall. There are many days that I envy his brain. The turmoil that mine puts me through on a daily basis makes me so tired. Do I love the color of our guest bedroom? Not really. I do love him though, and I can let this one go for now.

The guest room does have some items in it that are special to me. The first thing is the quilt. It is an authentic vintage quilt (Circa early 1900’s) made by my great-grandmother with help from my grandma. I am pretty sure it was never used. It is in perfect condition. It lived most of its life in a cedar chest. Now, it looks beautiful in our guest room.
Guest Room 4
The small pillow on top was made by my mom. The fabric is from a coverlet that belonged to my Grandpa. It is likely from the 1800’s. The entire coverlet was in tatters, but my mom salvaged pieces of it, and she sewed a pillow for me, herself, and my sister. As I was writing this post, I discovered that there is an actual National Museum of the American Coverlet in Bedford, PA which is only five hours from here. I sense a road trip in our future. I may keep the end destination to myself though. The coverlet museum might be a hard sell for the rest of my family.

Lastly, I just love the flowers and the little table. I picked up the table for around $30 at a local antique store. The flowers came from the overgrown flowerbed behind our house. (Are they cultivated flowers? Weeds? I don’t know.)
Guest Room 7

The opposite side of the room also had a twin-sized bed made up with a cute vintage quilt replica. However, twenty-four hours after our guests were gone, Andy had that side dismantled, and the bed frame was returned to our son. We had borrowed his frame for the short-term use. Once we get a permanent bed frame, I will photograph that side.

In this room, we still need to paint the dresser, get headboards, hang something on the walls, and paint and repair the storm windows. I have come to the conclusion that most of our projects will be shared here after the “first pass” at each space. The phase II details will come later, and additional photos will be taken at that time. I admire bloggers who are able to physically and financially finish a room from top to bottom, but I do not think that will be how it works here at Blake Hill House.

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