Tropical-Style Guest House

Barbara and Gary Clark are hoping for a Cuban-themed room where overnight guests will feel welcome.

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The Dilemma

Host Kristan Cunningham arrives at the Clarks' home to see their problem guest house. They want to use the space both as a music room and as a place where overnight guests can stay so a bed is in order. They need to cover the unsightly clutter and add strong color to go with the Cuban theme they want to achieve. The cork-covered closet doors could use an update and the exposed TV and stereo equipment need a new home to replace the mismatched pieces currently housing them. Since they entertain frequent guests, they also need a new seating area.


The Solution

The guest house goes from a cluttered catchall to a vibrant space with a Cuban-inspired design.

  • The canary yellow walls are painted a bright peacock blue.

  • The nook is outfitted with a bed to turn it into a sleeping space. Design coordinator Dave Sheinkopf creates a simple portiére out of rope to separate the nook from the rest of the room. He cuts rope into six lengths then knots each piece for visual interest. The rope is then stapled to the ceiling and bed frame to section off the sleeping area.

  • Cunningham creates a bamboo and fabric door panel to hide all of the shelf clutter. She creates the frame by cutting bamboo poles to size, then securing the pieces with leather straps. She cuts a piece of fabric to fit inside the frame, adds grommets, then secures the panel to the frame with additional leather straps.

  • Design coordinator Spencer Anderson gives the closet doors a Cuban feel by attaching abaca cloth and mirrors. He cuts the cloth to size and finishes the edges with burlap. The cloth is attached to the doors with staples and the mirrors are secured in the centers with epoxy (blue painter's tape is used to temporarily hold the mirrors in place while the glue dries).

  • New furniture includes an entertainment unit and a wicker seating set.

  • Window treatments are fashioned out of a set of tropical-patterned sheets. Bamboo blinds are used underneath the panels.

  • The team wraps up the room by changing the sconces and bringing in the bedding.

The Cost

Furniture - $575

  • wicker seating set: thrift store
  • wood TV cabinet: Al’s Furniture Clearance Center, model 4717

Art and Accessories - $221

  • bamboo poles, abaca cloth: Cane & Basket
  • mirrors for closet doors: IKEA - Malma, 90044151
  • wicker basket: IKEA - Fagerbol, 70059209
  • blue vase: Cost Plus - Seagrass 1A, 349596
  • banana leaves: Cost Plus - 346905
  • shells: Michaels - 95084674100

Fabrics and Bedding - $65

  • pillow fabric: Jo-Ann Fabrics - Starburst on Plaid, 6959878
  • tropical sheet set for bedding: Stein Mart - dusty red sheet set with tropical pattern/1319978
  • tropical throw blanket: Stein Mart - Multicolored 14071526

Window Treatments - $63

  • bamboo window blinds: Orchard Supply and Hardware, 048037106067
  • tropical sheet set for window panels: Stein Mart

Lighting - $54

  • sconces: Lowe's, #218987, Bronze

Paint - $21

  • wall paint: Behr - 520F-6A Cathedral

Project Total - $999

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