Evolution of Our Guest Room: From Leftovers to Home Office to Staged-to-Sell to Proper Guest Room


Terra cotta plant with midcentury wood arm chair

Late last year, my college girlfriends and I planned a ladies weekend for this February at Madison Manor—our home—and let me tell you, there's nothing like hosting a group of six ladies in your house that makes you excited to freshen up your space a little bit :)

If you've followed us for much time, you know that we have an Airbnb in the upper half of our house...our second-floor guest room, bathroom, and 800 square foot open attic are a dedicated guest area for Airbnb guests—but we also have one additional guest room on our second floor (in our half of the house) that's evolved several times over the last four and a half years we've lived here.

We started planning our girls weekend right around Thanksgiving 2019, so of course, I had to check out some of the Black Friday deals to see if any of my favorite pieces were on sale. I'd been wanting to add an additional chair to our guest room to make the seating area comfier, and to my delight, both the rug AND chair from our Airbnb reading nook (shown below) were heavily discounted. The Airbnb has been great because it's allowed me to try out a few pieces in the guest area before adding them to my own space! Needless to say, I quickly made the purchase!

bright airy reading nook in an attic apartment

After I set up the room, I thought about the various forms the space had taken in the last several years. Inspired by our previous post, The Evolution of our Living Room, I thought it'd be fun to get a visual of how this room, too, has changed over the last five years!

Ready to jump in?

Just After Move-In

This was immediately after we moved in to Madison Manor, almost five years ago now. I sort of cringe when I look at it, but remember...we were just one year married, and moving from a two-bedroom duplex to a four-bedroom three-story house; it took us 3-4 years to even have enough stuff to fill this place!

The Papasan chair was from my college days, and I hung on to that dang thing for a looong time. Even though I hardly ever used it, it was so stinking comfortable that it felt really difficult to let go of even though it wasn't my style any longer. It was also a little sentimental...while my mom and I purchased the cushion new, the bamboo stand was a trash-picking find (that's right. I said TRASH PICKER!!).

Our neighbors in my home town had set the base out for the trash team to collect, and I quickly eyed it and sent my dad out to snag it for me. SO not above trash picking!!! Anyway, I finally sold it last year on facebook market place for a definite profit!! HA!

guest room before shot

If I could go back to my pre-wedding days, I'd encourage myself to think a little more deeply about my style and how I wanted my home to feel. It's not every day that people BUY you a bunch of awesome home stuff! So much of what I registered for was verrrry neutral, but not in a good, classic way. Like, I registered for these weird beige towels that I now loath. I remember my thought at the time being that I wanted Larry to feel comfortable with all our design choice. I still want that, but now I know that his taste is much better than the blando style I apparently thought he had!

(sorry babe!!)

Anyway, back to the room. When we got married, Shabby Chic was in it's hay-day. This blue desk (two below) was one of my first ever furniture purchases (I actually bought it the year we got engaged, before we got engaged). The bedspread was purchased for our first apartment. That I ever went for this boldly patterned (while monochromatic) comforter is also a head-scratcher to me, as someone who rarely goes for pattern. I think it was just popular at the time, and since it was a bargain, I went for it!

Guest room before shot

guest room before shot

I still struggle with bargain shopping...I always encourage my clients to wait and invest in the higher quality pieces, but for myself, gosh sometimes I'm just so impatient! So beware the bargain...I've often realized that I went out and bought four small things that totaled up to the big thing I didn't think I could afford...less is usually more!

Anyways. Apparently I thought the desk in front of the window was a good idea (I'll give myself a little grace since I'm aware this photo was taken the day we moved in). But it is fun for me to see how my style as evolved and, I think, matured over the last five years. The above, to me, feels like a child's room. Bold playful patterns, not a lot of surprise to the color palette, and I think those tones of blue also add to the youthful feeling.

Okay...can't stand it anymore...moving on!

The Home Office

After about a year living in the house, I had moved from working several part-time jobs while getting—at the time—The Georgia Pear Interiors off the ground, to finally making the jump to doing interior design full time. I needed a dedicated workspace, and I decided to make the guest bedroom my home office.

This was a super fun rendition of this room! We moved the loveseat from the main floor office (which is currently my office) to this space, which fit perfectly in this somewhat strange floor plan. It made for the perfect little seating area for when I didn't feel like working at my desk, whiiiiich was a lot of the time!

bright and airy home office

creative home office in our second floor guest room with wood accent wall

I floated my desk in the center of the room facing the door (the "command position" in feng shui...if you have an office, do try this). The desk was constructed of two file cabinets with a long piece of pressure-treated lumber placed on top (we still utilize this setup in my current office as one side of the "L" in my L-shaped desk), and the beautiful rug I'd found at HomeGoods in a very Lauren-esque pattern and color palette.

Centered on the back wall was a FABULOUS midcentury modern wood veneer console with brassy accents that I still absolutely ADORE. This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime thrifty finds, which currently lives in our bedroom. The tree beside it was a hibiscus tree from my mom's front porch, which lasted a couple season, but never flowered again after being brought inside.

creative home office with giant cork board

I moved the blue desk to the far wall and placed a giant corkboard (a find from Furniture City Consignment) above. This gave me an additional workspace, as well as a place to play with and pin inspiration images. You'll notice that paired with the many warmer wood tones, this desk feels very appropriate and grown-up, whereas previously, it felt very kiddish. I also particularly loved the juxtaposition of the french country traditional and brightly colored desk with the very clean, modern, black and neutral desk floating in the center of the room.

fabric samples

floating shelves and decor

floating shelves and decor

Because it was an interior design office, and at the time, I had about zero experience in design, I felt the need to make it look and feel like a design studio: the West Elm fabric samples and countertop color chips, the mood board over my desk, the stacks of product catalogs... And you know what? That's great! I didn't know it at the time, but I was manifesting and visualizing—with my space—what I wanted to become. I was essentially training myself to look and act like the designer I want to be!