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Future Question: Making room for guests

sheilatorres's picture

From Inspired House #12 September/October 2005

How have you made room in your home for guests?

Share an idea that's worked for you, and if we publish it in the magazine, we'll send you a copy of John Connell's Creating the Inspired House (Taunton, 2004).

Ways to respond:

  • Web: Reply to this House Chat posting
  • Email:
  • Mail: House Chat, Inspired House Editorial, The Taunton Press, PO Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470



Edited 8/17/2005 7:22 pm ET by sheilatorres

(post #175770, reply #1 of 16)

In our new house (built on a lake) we're building one bedroom purely as a bunk room--it's long and narrow, with room for 4 sets of bunk beds.  Being on a lake, we have to plan for what we like to call "people storage."



Just because your children were born in the South doesn't make them Southerners.  If a cat has kittens in the oven, does that make them biscuits?

"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy

(post #175770, reply #10 of 16)

Dear Aberwacky,


Can you e-mail me your address and contact info. We will send a copy of Building the Inpired House to those contributors whose input we publish in the magazine. Thank you.


Sheila Torres

Editorial Assistant

(post #175770, reply #2 of 16)

My mother and father-in-law have a sort of U-shaped house (open to the north) with a screen porch and a patio in the center. There are two bedrooms (one of which they use as their computer room) with big walk-in closets and a full bath in one wing that ends with the living room. From the living room, one walks across the base of the "U" either through a galley kitchen or through a sitting room parallel to and south of the kitchen, to the dining room and then to the master bedroom "wing" that has it's own bath. Has the advantages of guests having their own bath, they are near the living room and can watch TV, but are across the kitchen and dining room from the master bedroom so TV watching and even late night snacking by guests don't disturb the owners. Lastly, the garage is just south of the living room, so guests can come and go without disturbing the owners.

(post #175770, reply #3 of 16)

We have a small (9x11) room that must serve as an office/sewing/guest room.

The closet is home for the office equipment (computer, printer, phone/fax). 

We built  storage units that convert to a platform.   When guests arrive, we arrange the units into a 5x6 platform that is large enough to hold a queensize inflatable mattress.

The sewing machine is placed under the sewing machine table to provide a flat surface for suitcases.

Pictures available upon request.

(post #175770, reply #4 of 16)

Dear UrbanDesign,


I would love to see pictures. Can you send?


Thanks for your letter.


Sheila Torres

Editorial Assistant

(post #175770, reply #5 of 16)

We have a 700 square foot, open "L" shaped guest suite in our basement. It has a full bath, kitchen area, fireplace and opens out to a covered patio area. DH built a queen sized wall-bed that fits the area well. All our guests have commented on how comfortable it is.

(post #175770, reply #6 of 16)

Here's something I do for guests.

One of the things that is uncomfortable for a guest is to use the bathroom and not have anywhere to put their clothes and ditty bag.  Guests generally don't walk around the house naked, so usually bring clothes with them into the bathroom.  In most bathrooms in homes I've stayed in, there is no place to put my stuff.  It seems gross to pile my clean clothes on someone else's bathroom floor or on the toilet seat.  And I don't like putting my ditty bag on a sink where water splashes into it, and I can't clear a spot on top of the toilet tank because there is no clean place to put the host's stuff.

So, in my guest bathrooms I have lots of hooks without any of my stuff on them, and a clean horizontal surface for people to put their stuff on, and an empty towel rack.

I also have either a night light, or in the house I wired myself, a ceiling fixture with a night light feature.  The wall switch that operates the night light is the closest one to the door and is a lighted switch.  That way when guests enter the room, they can find the light switch easily, and the switch they turn on doesn't blind them with bright light.

(post #175770, reply #7 of 16)

You're a very thoughtful host!  I had to convince my fiance that we needed space for guests to put clothes in the bathroom.  I like your lighted switch idea too--I might steel it.





(post #175770, reply #8 of 16)

As far as I'm concerned, the Aerobed has revolutionized the guest bed.  It's as comfortable as most regular mattresses, inflates in seconds, and packs away into a bag smaller than a laundry basket.

We have a small house, but our living room is fairly large and divided into a TV-viewing area and an excercise area (no machines, just weights, mats, and Swiss balls).  When guests come, we stash that stuff into a closet and pull out the Aerobed.  It's fairly private, because we spend much more time in the familiy room adjacent the kitchen/dining area than in the TV room/living room.  There is a closet and a bench to store stuff.  And, we've actually talked about this a lot, we don't want guests for more than a few days at a time so the lack of a seperate guest bedroom is a good thing for us.





(post #175770, reply #9 of 16)

Dear Woodguy99

Thank you for your input preparing for guests. Can you e-mail me your address and contact information. We will send a book to those responses that we publish in the magazine. Thank you.

Sheila Torres

Editorial Assistant

(post #175770, reply #11 of 16)

We have just remodeled our "guest room" (which was only being used 4 weeks of the year for that purpose) into a playroom for our 4 and 6 year old boys. We also still needed a space that can be turned back into a guest room for when one of the Grandmas does come to visit. The most important consideration was finding a sleeping "combination" that is useful in a playroom but comfortable to sleep on. We got rid of the bed because it took up too much space. Daybeds didn't seem to fit and were considered a little dangerous when envisioned being used as a "trampoline" by the boys. Since we knew the boys would be playing and bouncing on the bed, we definitely didn't want to buy a new sofa-bed. In the end, we resurrected our wooden futon frame from the basement but purchased a new "inner-spring" futon. It's quite comfortable to both sit and sleep on and the kids can be fairly rough with it and it seems to hold up fine. We bought a "whimsical" cover to go on it which fits the playroom theme. The remainder of the room has toys that are put back into plastic containers and many put back into half of the closet which is still present. The other half of the closet is still available to hang things in (or for guest clothes). We tried it out the first week we completed the room and it worked great!

(post #175770, reply #12 of 16)

We turned a barely finished workshop/basement room (with a crawl space and mostly above ground) with an odd foundation ledge jutting into it into a heavily theamed "boat room" or ship's cabin it's very cozy, but complete and guests love it.

Thinking in the confined scale of a boat I designed and then had the entire room outfitted with custom cherry built-ins: bench (or suitcase stand), a double captain's bed with 3' deep drawers for guest's clothes, nightstand, desk, bookcase and cabinet and a sail-cloth covered closet, all in a room about 9' x 10'.

A tiny "head" adjoining bathroom continues with the nautical theme, with lights, accessories and art and with plenty of hooks for guests to hang towels, clothes and toiletry bags.

The boatroom is adjacent a similarily finished family room with outdoor access to the garden so guests can come and go at will and also includes a small refrigerator for stocking up for guest's needs.

When not used for guests we use it daily for my office or reading and taking naps in it's cozy quarters.

The outdoor garden continues with the nautical theme-see shipwreck. We live about 1 mile from bay/ocean in San Diego


Edited 9/9/2005 12:07 am ET by DamonDesign

Edited 9/9/2005 12:07 am ET by DamonDesign

Edited 9/9/2005 12:25 am ET by DamonDesign

(post #175770, reply #13 of 16)

I really like the boat theme and the way you have executed it without getting too "cute".  What is the treatment of your fireplace in the den?  Very nice!


"Every child can learn, just not all on the same day in the same way."
"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

(post #175770, reply #14 of 16)

Thank you for the compliments- I agree it can be easy to go overboard (yuk yuk) and get too cutsie with a theme but I say everyone should have one (and only one! LOL) heavily theamed room-and a guest room is probably as good as any.

The fireplace is just slate tile (the color range called; FIREPLACE!) mounted on an entirely overbuilt boxed frame-the gas fireplace vents directly outside and behind the box. My obsessive detail oriented design is showing through here too though. You should hopefully notice a "flame" pattern within the slate on the "chimney" just above the box with cooler embers beneath-me laying out and constantly re-arranging the dozens of individual slate tiles like cards on the unfinished floor until I found my pattern.

I have WAY! too much design time on my hands. ;-)


Edited 9/9/2005 1:36 am ET by DamonDesign

Edited 9/9/2005 1:36 am ET by DamonDesign

(post #175770, reply #15 of 16)

Dear DamonDesign,

What an inspiring room. If I were your guest, I would never leave . I love the separate vanity outside the bathroom, very thoughtful. Your ideas for the fireplace were very creative. And, I agree that there's just enough of the nautical touch, without going overboard.

Can you please send me your name and address so that, if we publish your letter in the magazine, we can send you a copy of the John Connell's book Creating the Inspired House.  Thank you.

Sheila Torres

Editorial Assistant

(post #175770, reply #16 of 16)


We do not have a guest room per say.  We have a three bedroom home, with no garage and no basement.  When we moved in over twenty years ago my husband claimed the smallest bedroom for his workshop.  That left two moderate size bedrooms, one of which was our daughters.  When she moved to Atlanta to finish college, her room became my sewing room.  We repurposed the layout to best maximize the use of space and ease of use, but this left us with no place dedicated to overnite guest.

I would like to put in a murphy bed, but that will have to wait.  Until then we are using an aeorbed.  We move everything out of the way and pump it up in the middle of the sewing room.  It is (very surprizingly) comfortable and can be made up just like a regular bed.  When the guests leave, it folds up and goes back in its little box!

The best thing about it is when casual acquaintences call and tell us that would like to stay overnight "on the way to the beach"; we tell them we have an inflatable bed and they always find someplace else to stay.  It is sneaky but it keeps us from being inundated with unwanted guest every weekend.


"Every child can learn, just not all on the same day in the same way."
"All that is required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."