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Bunkie Makeover: Inside a Scandinavian Inspired Guesthouse on Lake Superior

I have cute bunkie makeover to share with you today!

Bunkie Makeover

You already saw me spruce up the exterior and today I’m sharing a look inside our guesthouse!  Here’s a look at the “before” (pop over to this post for more photos):

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

When we bought the lakehouse we were pretty enamored with this guesthouse, which boasts a three piece bathroom, sauna, and small sleeping area.  At first I waffled on the use of this space: I wanted the Etsy shop out there, but heating in the winter proved cost prohibitive – which is why my second idea, a sewing studio, didn’t pan out either.  Instead, we cluttered it up, storing boxes for other people along with some furniture we no longer needed.  We finally got the room cleared out this fall and decided to make it a lovely guest space.  The sauna floor needs to be repaired and we have to build new benches, the bathroom needs some cosmetic upgrades, and the roof shingles need to be replaced (hey, guess who’s going to learn some roofing skills?) which leaves me with a decor budget of approximately $0.

Not a problem!

I shopped the house to create a cozy space where guests can crash and I’ll be slowly tackling some more projects throughout the winter. So technically, this is a mini bunkie makeover.

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

When I shared my to paint or not to paint the pine paneling dilemma, so many of you were Team Pine and I’m so happy I kept it natural because it saved me a lot of time and money.  Thanks for the excellent advice!  Because this is an impossibly small space there’s no fooling the eye into thinking it’s spacious.  The pine works with the small size and plays up the cozy factor, instead of trying to fake spaciousness.  To break up the pine just a little, I replaced the small mirror that was hanging beside the bed with my large DIY black and white painting:

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

We set up the bed (and all white bedding) from the townhouse guestroom and it just fits.  Making the bed is an aerobic activity (no idea how folks with bunk beds do it) and guests will have to clamber in from the end, but I didn’t want to have to subject guests to a double.  This works and the price was right for my budget bunkie makeover!

My Mom gave me the maple dresser I had been borrowing (which I hope weathers the winter okay out there).  Mom and I were going to sew new pillows but then I remembered I have the Marimekko pillows that used to live in the living room – they match perfectly with the freshly painted turquoise door and exterior trim!

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

(Behind the open turquoise door is the doorway to the three piece bathroom – to the left is the sauna).

I’d love to replace the old curtain rods but for now I just painted them a creamy white because they were super rusty.  Mom sewed really pretty sheers to offer guests a little privacy, without obscuring the lake view.  I didn’t want the sheers to touch to electric baseboard heaters and, more importantly, there is literally no room for them to drape between the bed and the wall (it’s a tight squeeze) so we decided to keep them short, which is such a change for me because I always prefer floor length curtains, but they’re just more functional at this length for the bunkie makeover.

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

From the outside, the sheers look much, much (much!) better than the forest green towels that used to cover the windows.  Is it me, or does the guesthouse feel more welcoming from the outside with these gauzy window treatments (you can compare against these exterior photos)?

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

To add a little visual – and literal! – warmth to the space (and cover up some of that faux wood laminate flooring), I ordered this beautiful braided, 100% wool rug from RugsUSA.  I considered a natural jute rug, like this one, but ultimately I loved the look and feel of this soft wool rug.  It’s a creamy neutral, which will complement any bedding or pillows down the road, plus it’s really thick and cushy, so I hope it adds a little warmth underfoot because although this building is heated, it’s not insulated very well.  I ordered the biggest rug that would fit and it runs under the dresser and bed, hopefully adding a little insulation to the floor.

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Look at that gorgeous texture!  I want to incorporate some more soft textures into the room, so I’m currently dreaming about making a huge chunky blanket or maybe even a woven wall hanging for one of the other walls.

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

The guesthouse has two overhead lights and one of the light switches is in the bulkhead, toward the wall with the hooks.  You have to stand on the bed to reach it, it’s hilarious!  There’s quite obviously no room for side tables in here, so maybe some wall mounted sconces are in order.  To facilitate bedtime reading as best I can, I added a lamp to the dresser – it’s the old one from my office.  I haven’t needed it since we gave the office a makeover, so I’m happy I can make use of it in here in the bunkie.

I’m torn about decorating the dresser.  I want to add a tray and plants and make it homey, but there’s SO little room in here that I think guests would just prefer a place to put their stuff because floor space is at a premium.

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

I originally wanted a really spare, Scandinavian-inspired look for this bunkie makeover, with a black, white and pale wood color palette, but I deviated a little.  I couldn’t help but add just a little turquoise 😉

I think it still has a Scandi cottage kind of vibe.  Although it’s technically ready for guests, I want to tackle a few more projects so it feels even more inviting and cozy for next spring.  In addition to making a cozy throw for the bed and maybe some DIY sconces, my Mom had an idea for those hooks: add some kind of DIY felted wool pouches with long handles that people could use to stash a phone or book, in lieu of night stands.  Isn’t that clever?

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Making some candles and stocking a drawer in the dresser with some essentials (snacks, some toiletries, flashlights, bear bangers, etc.) is on my to-do list too.  Some more art would enhance the coziness – or maybe some wall pockets with plants during the summer would be a nice touch.  Would I remember to go out there and water them, though?  There’s also a boob light I cropped out of photos that needs a replacement.

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

But this room has come a looooong way from the pile of boxes and furniture – accented by forest green towels for curtains – we started with in the fall.   Even though this bunkie makeover was done with so little money, and it’s a work in progress, I am so excited to share a peek into our guesthouse.

I’d love to hear your ideas! 

I have to thank to RugsUSA for generously sending over the rug after I spotted it online and fell in love with the plush texture and Scandinavian vibe.  Right now it’s kept securely in place by furniture, but on its own it would require a rug pad so RugsUSA sent along the perfect size comfort grip rug pad in case I decide to use this pretty handmade rug elsewhere:

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover

Scandinavian Inspired Bunkie Guesthouse Makeover



  1. Emy Flint
    November 3, 2016 / 12:17 pm

    I love the pine with the aqua so much! Such a sweet space!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 3, 2016 / 2:17 pm

      Thank you! I never thought I would embrace pine paneling but I'm really loving it. I think I was turned off the idea by all of the fake wood paneling I've seen in my day. It's different when it's real wood – it's got a great vibe in here.

  2. Jenn Corazzo
    November 3, 2016 / 1:06 pm

    What a cute space! I'm not exactly sure where you are located and if it would be accessible, but have you considered AirB&B for this space?!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 3, 2016 / 2:20 pm

      Thanks Jenn! I HAVE wanted to throw this bunkie up on AirB&B to make a little extra cash, but Handy Hubby was really opposed to the idea. We're too far from the city to feasibly hire cleaners and he hated the idea of cleaning bathrooms and bedding – me too, frankly. Plus you can see right into our living room from the deck, so we'd have no privacy.

  3. LA
    November 3, 2016 / 2:43 pm

    I am not a pine fan, and if it were your -say- livingroom, I wouldn't like it. But this is a separate little house, and the fact that the space is small is the key, I believe: the white beddings and the rug occupy a big portion of the space, enough to balance the pine-ness. You made a wonderful job!! Cozy, inviting and simply gorgeous. Please reconsider the airbnb option!! I can't promise I'd visit, since I am quite literally on the other side of the world, but plenty of people would

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 3, 2016 / 2:55 pm

      It's funny you say that because we did have this same pine flanking our fireplace in the living room and I painted it – NO regrets, lol. It just didn't work with my style inside. You can see the before/after here:'m so happy you like it! You make some great points about what makes the pine work in here. I'm happy I didn't paint it like I planned. It's a different look for me, even with the turquoise, but I'm loving it. We still need to address the sauna and bathroom upgrades before we'd be able to rent. Maybe by next summer, Hubby will feel differently.

  4. Marie i
    November 3, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    Love the rustic pine….great idea for chunky blanket & wall hanging. No real plants, ikea have best fakes. As for hooks I would go to goodwill & buy bags with a nordic /homespun vibe with LONG handles for phones,eyeglasses etc. Guests need box of kleenex & remote controlled battery candles…real are too dangerous.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 3, 2016 / 4:49 pm

      Oooo, great points!! You're right, real candles might be dangerous with all this pine, lol. Those faux flickering ones will be perfect. And faux plants would definitely solve my watering worries. Thanks for these great ideas!

    • Heather
      November 5, 2016 / 12:17 pm

      Second the candle idea. I used to think real was the only way to go until someone gave me a set of the led fakies. I set them up as a joke to tease my husband and actually loved the look and the convenience as well as knowing they are safe and won't burn the cabin down.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 6, 2016 / 2:50 am

      They make such nice looking ones now too!

  5. LA
    November 3, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    I had almost forgot about your fireplace. Way better now. Speaking of you living room, do you mind telling me how does the turquoise armchair (the one that now sits in your office) do, stain wise? I am planning to upholster an old dormeuse that my grandmother had, and I am constantly thinking about turquoise or blue velvet because I love your chair, but I am afraid it might stain easily. I have never had a sofa or armchair without removable and washable slipcovers, so I am quite terrified. :)I read somewhere that if the velvet is at least 50% synthetic, it holds better. Do you agree?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 3, 2016 / 4:59 pm

      That's a good question! I focused a lot on the double rubs, which I understand impacts how it will wear. I'm not sure about the synthetic content, to be honest. We've been lucky to not have any spills. Some close calls, some dog drool, but no stains. But we don't have kids and I think that's a major factor in furniture staining. But it's a rich dark color so it might be hiding some, haha. The velvet nap would hide stains somewhat, I think. I worked with a upholstery shop I trusted and they said this would wear well so I blindly followed their advice. For other furniture projects, I've bought a fabric sample and done some stain testing myself, which might be a good idea if you're nervous. There's always Scotch Guard. I know people are opposed to the chemicals but I tried it on my dining chairs and it seems to help… I know that's a long and probably unhelpful answer. I have zero regrets. I love that velvet chair. I'd do velvet again. But for our main sofa, I always go for cleanable leather. I have mixed feelings about switching from leather to tweed for our dining chairs.

    • LA
      November 3, 2016 / 6:05 pm

      Actually, that's helpful. I have to look into this Scotch Guard. Never heard of it… I wonder if it's available in Europe. Thanks!

    • Anonymous
      November 4, 2016 / 1:52 pm

      Hi, to the poster who asked about scotchgard, it's available in the UK, so you would probably be able to order it online if you are elsewhere :-)Tanya, I love reading your updates and seeing the amazing things you do with your house! Best wishes from the UK x

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 5, 2016 / 2:15 am

      Thanks for the info – that's good to know! And thanks for your kind words. I'm so happy to hear you enjoy reading my posts. That really makes me smile, so thank you 🙂

  6. Jenny
    November 4, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    I LOVE the light wood. I especially love how creative you've been, trying to use what you have. Financial limits on a project can really motivate us to be so much more creative. My idea is to use hanging baskets or shelves off your peg board. Do a search for Shaker peg boards to see what I mean. Most that come up are not really your style but a simple wood or wire shelf or basket hung off the pegs might be easier to access than a bag? Either way, it's another idea to consider.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 5, 2016 / 2:17 am

      Yes, sometimes a really tight budget just makes my brain work harder to make it work! And sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised by the outcome. If $1000 fell from the sky, I might have been tempted to paint the wood or do something different, so I feel like that financial limitation lead to a better outcome. Yay for being broke, lol!!Thanks for the tip – I'll search Pinterest for shaker peg boards right now! I feel like A Beautiful Mess did something modern with a shaker peg board…

  7. Anonymous
    November 4, 2016 / 2:40 pm

    So pretty! Really must try your black and white painting myself some time – your tutorial was so good.If you need more ideas (although it already looks great) maybe you could put the hanger thing onto the sauna door and put in those itsy corner shelves and more art behind the bed?

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 5, 2016 / 2:19 am

      Awww, thank you! It's funny how much I still like this painting and it was really so simple. I hope you try it one day – painting it was a lot of fun.I like the idea of moving the hooks – I hadn't thought of that, actually! Thanks! I'll have to double check to see how it's installed. The guy who built this house crazy glued everything – it's why I had to paint the fireplace vents in place, lol. He was prepping for an earthquake it seems.

  8. Staci @ My Friend Staci
    November 4, 2016 / 10:37 pm

    Your mom's idea is pure genius! I am picturing a yummy gray felt, almost like one of those wooly pocket plant hangers. Great idea for a stopgap "bedside table."

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 5, 2016 / 2:21 am

      Yes!! I'm dreamy of a gray felt too – or maybe cream, to match the rug? I need to rummage through my Mom's felt collection and see what she won't miss. Aren't those pocket plant hangers cool?? I hadn't thought to copy that shape but you're right, the flatness would be perfect.

  9. Heather
    November 5, 2016 / 12:33 pm

    It looks great! I was on Team Pine. It because I love pine but because it does lend a cozy, cabin/cottage feel to that space. I chuckled at your comment about making the bed. Our cabin guest room has two queens on captain bed foundations (one is in a partial nook) and I work up a sweat every time I change the sheets.I like wall hanging of some sort as storage idea. Do you have a Target close to you? They have a simple rail system that mounts on the wall and you buy the baskets or hooks separately to create your own arrangement. btw – our neighbors tried the AirBandB thing, it did not go well as guests had so strange and unreasonable expectations.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 6, 2016 / 2:52 am

      Thanks Heather! Happy to know I'm not the only one struggling to get the sheets changed, lol. I am now immensely grateful for how easy the job is in our room.I live sorta nearish a Target (three hours) but I'll take a peek online to see if they have what you're talking about.Yeah, I think renting can be really great or a real nightmare. Friends of ours have a rental house on AirB&B and they have a lot of terrible stories.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 6, 2016 / 2:53 am

      P.S. When can I see the cabin? Are you on IG? I'm not always good at putting two and two together with user names and real names…

    • Heather
      November 13, 2016 / 1:13 pm

      Yes I am on instragram. I have two, a private one, the_tight_end with the bear picture and a public one, weikert_dreaming with a ferries wheel.I'll put the cabin pictures on the private one. (we prefer not to have pics of our personal place open to everyone). I'll keep an eye on follow requests. I kept putting it off, thinking I had to make everything perfect but I am over that now. I'll start posting them this afternoon.

    November 6, 2016 / 3:37 pm

    Superb!! I din't see better wood work then this. Choosing curtains seems like an easy thing to do, but for me, not so much.

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 7, 2016 / 5:11 pm


  11. Anonymous
    November 6, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    I second moving the hooks to the sauna door, and adding a shelf over the bed or in the corners. Also with traversing to/fro the main house by guests, can you fit in a mudroom-like area? Like a small boot tray under a small seat? (to protect that gorgeous rug).

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 7, 2016 / 5:14 pm

      Yes, I guess I'll need some kind of boot tray – good thinking! It will be a tight squeeze because the sauna door and bathroom door get in the way but I'll try to add one. Definitely I need some kind of mat outside so folks can wipe their feet.

  12. Cost2Coast
    November 8, 2016 / 12:27 am

    Drooling over the rug…probably not toddler friendly though! Love the reuse of the throw pillows 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 8, 2016 / 4:29 pm

      Haha, no, I'd have to be honest and say that the cream probably wouldn't be toddler friendly. We'll see how adult friendly it is, lol.

  13. Michelle {Jarrah Jungle}
    November 8, 2016 / 3:19 am

    What a beautiful guest house I love all the wood features and it's a real point of difference having your favourite colour on the window frames and doors!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 8, 2016 / 4:30 pm

      Thank you! I really did try to keep this very neutral but I just cannot help it, lol. I can see the bunkie clearly from the lakeside of the house (kitchen, dining, living rooms) so I love having that little pop of turquoise. I think it will look so good against the all-white landscape of winter!

  14. Anonymous
    November 14, 2016 / 5:32 pm

    It's soooooo perfect! I love this room:) Thanks for sharing this with us Tanya!Amy in MN

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      November 15, 2016 / 6:43 pm

      Thanks Amy! I'm so glad you like it!

  15. M
    May 11, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    Just stumbled across this on Pinterest & checked it out because of the gorgeous turquoise trim & am so glad I did!
    I love the cute little guest house but enjoy a couple of accessories, A LOT! I have the exact same stool-we had it when I was growing up & I kept it when mom downsized from my childhood home to an apartment. I’ve never seen another like it! And, then, as I continued scrolling, I saw the aqua flower pot. My mom also had one of those forever and most of that time it held an African violet. Love it!

    • Tanya from Dans le Lakehouse
      May 12, 2018 / 12:48 pm

      That’s so neat – I’ve never seen another stool like that either! So fun to hear someone else scooped it up. Really happy this post was nostalgic for you, I have such a soft spot for vintage finds and the memories they rekindle.

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