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Uncharted Territory

Even though my Mom’s not into Mother’s Day, I invited my parents over on Sunday so they could chill by the lake with us.  Hubby and I puttered, finishing up our somewhat secret kitchen project, painting kitchen shelves, and finishing off the paneling with trim (we’ve made great progress on the kitchen since last week, I can’t wait to show you).  We chatted with my parents while we worked, and then later in the afternoon we took a break and all wandered down to the lake, and then over to the guesthouse, newly accessible since the snow (mostly) melted.  Strangely, none of us had actually been inside since Hubby and I took possession of the lakehouse last fall!  It’s obviously not seeing use as a proper guesthouse, so my Mom and I took some measurements and plan to use it as our Etsy headquarters.  We’re re-opening our shop soon, with gusto.  We’ve done well previously, but were never able to devote the necessary time to actually list all of our inventory (which keeps growing), or add the artwork and handmade home decor accessories we keep talking about.  We’re so serious about it this time around that we even considered renting a studio space.  A local high school, which my grandma attended, closed down and began renting out rooms for businesses and professionals.  We found a cute stationary room we loved, with incredibly tall shelving and a view of Lake Superior, but the rent was a bit high for us.  We found a couple of spacious retro-feeling classrooms with attached prep rooms, chock full of storage, but they were even pricier.

Ignore the post-apocalyptic feel.  Some units were being vacated as I snapped photos, so they were incredibly messy.

That’s how I came to offer up the guesthouse.  We’re going to store, pack, photograph, and create in this wee space.  My Mom also has a sewing room in her house, but we’ll use the guesthouse to paint and work on other ideas.  It has a lot of windows (that face the lake), plus a bathroom for convenience.  I’d really love to paint out the ridiculous amount of wood – all different kinds, in case you get tired of just one kind of woodsiness! – but for now we’re going to rip out the sauna for storage and give it a good clean.  We’d like to get the shop up and running soon, so we’ll tackle making over the space later – although we do plan to add new curtains, asap.  Not that I don’t love the creativity of using a forest green towels.  While we were making plans, I thought I’d share some photos because I rarely, if ever, talk about the space.  Here’s the tour (it’s small, it won’t take long):

We bounced around some ideas: paint the walls creamy white but leave the wood ceiling as-is (for a Chalet-look), paint everything a chalky, bright white (which is the Tanya-look), or try our hand at white-washing for a Scandinavian-look.  Yes, white’s a theme (surprised?), but it really is good as a backdrop for taking photos.  The sauna door, bathroom door and front door (which I love better than the doors on the main house!) are all contenders for cheery paint colours or big ideas – even the bathroom and entrance area are fair game.  The Eames chairs I bought were intended for our studio space, so they can have a home here now.  My only criteria is that any makeover is cheap, because the ultimate fate of this building is up in the air. 

How would you decorate this space?  I’d love to hear your ideas (and feel free to deviate from the white on white with turquoise scheme I love so much)!



  1. Cassie @ Primitive & Proper
    May 12, 2014 / 12:32 pm

    such an adorable space! i can't wait to see what you do!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 12, 2014 / 5:21 pm

      Thanks!! It's such a fun bonus room.

  2. Caroline Nolazco
    May 12, 2014 / 1:17 pm

    What a gorgeous space! I'd vote white walls and a regular nonpainted ceiling. And if you dont like it you can always change it!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 12, 2014 / 5:22 pm

      Good thinking! Easier to paint something than unpaint it…stripping a wood ceiling would be a nightmare.

  3. Vaire
    May 12, 2014 / 3:07 pm
    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 12, 2014 / 5:23 pm

      Thanks for these links!! Can't wait to comb through them…

  4. Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN!
    May 12, 2014 / 5:10 pm

    I love the concept as the guesthouse as a base for your Etsy operation!!! Whatever you do to decorate make it creatively pleasing! Lots of inspiration. While I usually hate when wood gets painted over, this is a LOT of wood so I would say go with your gut. It's hard to say no to your favorite color scheme, trust me, I'm fighting it in my new home… The master bath will have a nice aqua feel, but I'm trying to reserve that for my private area 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 12, 2014 / 5:27 pm

      It's a lot of wood, but I have to admit it's kind of pretty…but you're right, it's hard to say no to my favorites.

  5. Kelly @ turned UP to ELEVEN!
    May 12, 2014 / 5:11 pm

    To add to my "eek" about painting over lovely wood – why not white wash the wood that is there – you'll still get the lovely detail all that beautiful wood has, but also get the neutral color range. I can't wait to see how it comes out – I'm a new reader and love EVERYTHING you've done so far!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 12, 2014 / 5:28 pm

      Whitewashing could be the best of both worlds! So nice to meet a new reader – obviously we will be friends because aqua is awesome 🙂

  6. weirdscience
    May 12, 2014 / 5:19 pm

    I love the towel curtains, they're multi-purpose! You can dry yourself off on them when you get out of the lake! hahahahahah

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 12, 2014 / 5:30 pm

      The thought that these have been used to towel off the naked and damp body of the elderly gentleman who lived here and hung back up horrifies me. I thrift, I have a strong stomach. But ewwww.

  7. Elaine
    May 12, 2014 / 5:46 pm

    What a cute space! Can't wait to see what you do with it. I like the white idea – nice and clean and bright 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 13, 2014 / 12:20 am

      White is always a good choice 🙂

  8. Jordana @WhiteCabana
    May 12, 2014 / 10:45 pm

    Oh my goodness – what a wonderful little space! I'd go for the white wash. (Anything white will do, actually!). It's such a sweet spot! Looking forward to following the progress on this one, Tanya. Good luck & have fun!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 13, 2014 / 12:21 am

      The pine is growing on me, lol. Maybe just a turquoise front door and I'm done? 😉

  9. Julie
    May 13, 2014 / 1:23 am

    I love wood but that cabin has a bit too much. I like the idea of whitewashing the walls with some bright colors on the doors etc.

  10. Haley
    May 13, 2014 / 1:26 pm

    I like the all wood for a cottagey feel. The wood could probably be broken up by art and painting the doors. I'd probably live with it for a little, but I do like the whitewash idea.

  11. brikhouse2
    May 13, 2014 / 1:37 pm

    I'd maybe go with a light to medium grey and then do some bold graphic print curtains. I loved the fabric from the drapes in the laundry room of the townhouse. You could also go for a medium grey on 2 walls and then white on the other 2…this gives the option of having a white background for darker or brightly colored items and a darker wall for white items to help show off the shape when taking pics. If you decide to go for a color, I saw this blog where the lady used a roller shade she got from the thrift store as a back drop for pictures. Just pull it down when needed and when you don't need it it's up and out of the way and you get your brightly colored wall back. It gives you that seamless back ground because it just kinda curves…you just need a desk or something under it to set the items on.

  12. cred
    May 13, 2014 / 3:13 pm

    My go to colour scheme for what i dub rustic-Scandi style is black & white & wood (sometimes grey) for a calming neutral backdrop for hits of bright colour, but used sparingly. Love that look to showcase vintage, rustic or industrial treasures. So my is vote for the white walls with wood ceiling. Like suggested above, you could paint the ceiling later if it seems to be too much wood still. What a fun venture to undertake with your mom!

  13. jamie@midcenturymania
    November 3, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    I may be old school, but I really like the wood untouched. I agree with you on not trying to make it look larger with white paint. It's a cozy little bed/nook as is. If it were a whole house full of wood it might be a little overwhelming, but this cottage is sweet the way it is…a nice cozy throw on the bed and the hanging pockets over the bed will add some warmth. It's a beauty. Jenna Sue Design Blog is flipping a cabin in our area. The entire house is knotty pine. She is planning on painting all the wood I believe, so you may want to watch the progress there and see how you like the white bedrooms.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 3, 2016 / 2:56 pm

      Thanks! It's nice to hear everyone likes the pine – I'm so glad I listened to the advice. You're right about it being a bit too much if this were a larger house, but it's really grown on me for this little space. I will bookmark Jenna Sue's design blog to see the transformation – sounds interesting! Thanks for the info!

  14. jamie@midcenturymania
    November 3, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    I just realized I commented on the wrong post! Thought I was on today's post. Late to the party as usual. Anyway, love that you kept it all natural.

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