Welcome back to my new blog series! I hope you found the first, second & third installments informative & helpful for your own renovations or decorating projects & you can see much more on #rachaeltaylorhome. I'm pleased to finally be sharing lots of detailed 'before', 'during' & 'after' photos of some of the other rooms in my home.
The next project we tackled was the guest room & en-suite bathroom. These rooms were a complete renovation project that took some considerable time & effort (please be patient with the lengthy post!)
The guest room involved:
- Having the wardobes ripped out
- The entire room re-plastered (especially to get rid of the horrid old artex)
- The lights changing & electrics re-wiring
- Carpet & blinds being ripped out & replaced
- New bespoke furniture & design
- Made to measure wardrobes
- Unique & personalised art
The below image was taken from the original brochure
The en-suite involved:
- The old tiles ripped off the floors - there were 3 layers to get through!
- Full bathroom suite ripped out
- Old radiator ripped out
- The ceiling being replaced
- New lights and extractor fan
- New radiator
- New bathroom suite
- Replacement mirror & wall hung unit
- New contemporary floor and wall tiles
- Adding a window shutter
We never intended to renovate the guest room first but unfortunately after a burst pipe flooded part of my home studio from the en-suite directly above it, we had no choice but to get stuck in. As I write this the master bedroom is still in a very un-homely state but our guests have a little luxury! We debated whether to move in to it temporarily but we sleep better knowing our bedroom is right opposite Blayke’s bedroom, especially as he’s still so young (he just turned 2!). The guest room and en-suite bathroom caused numerous problems which I won’t bore you with but it truly was a comedy show of errors (which involved & brought a great deal of stress & tears at times). However, as they say, nothing worth having comes easy & renovations going wrong are not that important in the grand scheme of things.
The room was originally overwhelming with the large amount of fitted wardrobes - they were good quality and you could tell they were made to order, however they were a little neglected and had seen better days. The whole room was a very dull brown and it all just felt very claustrophobic, lifeless, neglected & dated as you can see in the before shots above.
The inspiration and ideas for the room all derived from my love for colour, however rather than going for my usual signature style of full on brights, I wanted to bring a little more masculine sophistication to the palette. I had a vision of slate greys, petrol blues and either a mustard or a lime - I just loved Crown paints Chartreuse shade & I had used this in our previous home so I knew I wanted to bring it in again in the new one. I must admit it looked very bright when the room was empty and Matt (my husband) wasn’t so keen in the beginning, but I knew once styled it would be just what the room needed and would bring a sense of fun to a boutique, masculine-influenced room. One of the next things that I did was order a set of string lights from Cable & Cotton to pick out some of the key colours that would be introduced into the room. I then slowly expanded the palette with turquoise & electric blue accents. I also opted for white on a number of the walls especially when using a bright colour as I personally find it soothes the colour & makes it feel much more spacious & light, allowing you to focus on the smaller details much more, such as the textiles, pops of accent colours & accessories.
Before we moved into our new house I promised myself that I would invest in beautiful furniture & good craftsmanship. I’ve always had a passion for interiors so it’s been fun creating unique features, matching beautiful colours & coming up with design details that reflect my personality & creative flair. In some instances I like to plan a design scheme, but I also like to craft spontaneously. I tend not to source accessories for rooms all in one go, I’d rather wait for things to jump out at me & shape the personality of a room in a less contrived way. I believe that every corner of my home should have some unique point of interest, or tell a story. Wherever I can I try to incorporate a chunk of my own design work into each room through my wallpaper, soft furnishings or bespoke furniture.
As a designer I feel confident about creating or commissioning unusual pieces so when we moved into the house I searched far & wide to find an innovative company to help me create unique & individual pieces incorporating my own designs. I was delighted when talented designers & makers, Jess & Jules, got in touch. They both have their own skill set & are passionate about what they do so I knew that they’d be great to work with.
I had an idea for a chest of drawers for our guest room. The vibe of the space is quite masculine & contemporary with splashes of bright colour & cool grey tones. I wanted to incorporate a small amount of my own design work without it dominating the room. I loved everything geometric at the time so this seemed a great place to start. I sent my rough notes, visuals, design files & desired colour palette to Jess & Jules and they took it from there.
Jess captured the essence of my theme perfectly & she created a striking pattern, incorporating my artwork, to decorate the main body of the drawers. There was a little back and forth as I experimented with the final art, however they were really very minimal changes as Jess just understood my needs so perfectly. Jules then sourced the perfect slim line drawers, matched paint colours accurately & worked her magic to up-cycle the drawers into a striking masterpiece. The drawers are fully useable & they make a really bold statement as a piece of functional art & bring the room together perfectly.
I added two side cabinets which came from Ikea - I just fell in love with the petrol blue colour, (which they strangely called turquoise at the time…) & instead of just using them in their standard way I decided to purchase one blue set & one grey set & during the build I decided to switch around the drawers & one of the tops just to make them a little bit more unique.
Of course I always consult with my hubby Matt before going ahead with anything but he knows it’s my passion & part of my job to make things beautiful so I’m lucky that he trusts me (most of the time!). Matt works shifts so he tends to use the guest room to get ready for work so that was something that I really needed to factor in too. We decided to pull out all the stops & invest in some bespoke, fitted wardrobes. It took a while to find the right company but we then stumbled across Elegant Bedrooms who were fantastic. I’d never even considered sliding doors before but they advised us about the many options & they seemed like the best fit to suit our needs. The quality of them is great & I love that I could mix & match the door colours to bring a little more interest to the room. We opted for a gloss finish to echo the style of the wall-hung unit in the en-suite bathroom.
The walls were bare for some time (months in fact… I like to take my time!), as I just wanted to let the room naturally evolve. One of the first things I purchased was a stunning fashion illustration by Leigh Viner - it just sat perfectly against the drawers. I then decided to hang up an old piece of my artwork from my early design days that is a very stitched & textural piece that provided great contrast against the bold sleek, geometric styled drawers. More recently I recycled some of the leftover wallpaper from the bespoke drawers & decided to frame it. However the piece was a little small for the black aluminum Nielsen frame I had therefore I sourced the perfect match of Colorplan paper & added a strip for a bold edge.
We then dressed the room with another white shutter from Perfect Shutters - we opted for the thicker louvre panels as they had worked really well in my studio & snug room for allowing privacy whilst still flooding the room with lots of light. We decided we wanted these to be used throughout the house as they also really dress the windows on the exterior of the property.
We also added a cosy luxurious tonal grey carpet with a high quality underlay to add that extra bounce under our feet. I went for a short pile style of carpet in the end as I've personally found the long pile carpets not as hard wearing in the long term.
A number of these images were taken at different times. I thought it was a good way to show how I'm always moving things around a little & how the room looks in different lighting.
'Future proofing' & decorating
We have now slowed down with the general house renovations as we have decided we want to do the rooms exactly how we want them, so that they are completely right from the start, rather than feeling like we should have done things differently in a few years time. I always use the term ‘future proofing’. Because everything was literally ripped out; from flooring, to wardrobes & electrics to lighting & pipe work it means the room is very new, providing the perfect canvas for any interiors scheme & provides longevity with the layout & functionality of the room. Whenever we do decide to re-decorate at least it’s just a quick lick of paint as opposed to having to re-plaster or strip off dated wallpapers.
The en-suite bathroom was worked on at the same time as the bedroom. It is quite a long & narrow room but still a good size. As it is mainly guests & my hubby using the room I went for a masculine feel. I let Matt drive the style for this room & he picked everything himself (with a little guidance!). I wasn’t too keen on the look of the shower at first as it’s a little futuristic but it looks great in situ & is super powerful so we love it. The shower also came with extra body jets, which are really lush to use.
Matt chose the large grey tiles & we decided use them on both the walls & floor to keep it simplistic with it being a small space; resulting in minimal grout lines & less fuss allowing the room to breathe. However, we did add some variation to the tiles by opting for a contrasting brick pattern on the floor. He did initially want all of the walls to be tiled but I knew the room would feel so much lighter with at least a small area of white - especially around the window to reflect more of the natural light around the room, we then dressed the window with a matching shutter to the bedroom allowing the two rooms to flow together more seamlessly.
We opted for a waterfall tap on the glossy black wall hung unit & a generous sized back lit wall mirror, as I wanted it to feel a little like hotel luxury. I like the idea of having a guest book for our visitors to record their memories when they stay so it’s nice to be able to really cater for people.
I selected the towels & textiles to compliment the main bedroom & tie the look together without being to coordinated as well as bathroom accessories that echoed the colour scheme. Habitat call their shade ‘yellow’ but in my opinion it looks exactly like the Crown Chartreuse paint that I used on the main feature wall (a bright lime). I just love how a few coloured textiles can really add interest & boost the energy in a room.
I then created a fun cheeky print & picked out colours from the main room & bespoke drawers to let the palette flow into the bathroom further. I typed ‘Hey Good Looking’ & flipped it so it was like a secret message in the mirror to make you smile whilst getting ready.
Even though it is just our guest room it was really important for me to put the effort in as I want our house to always be a space for entertaining friends & family & I want them to want to come back & stay again & again. I hope that I’ve given it a welcoming yet fun feel with a little splash luxury!
Fitted wardrobes – Elegant Bedrooms, grey bed – Dreams, bedding - Ikea, window shutter - Perfect Shutters, lampshades – Habitat, large Ghost Leaves cushion - my own design, mixed cushions – Made.com, chest of drawers – bespoke, side cabinets – Ikea, Scribble Shells mug - my own design, fashion print – Leigh Viner, textural art – my own & string lights – Cable & Cotton.
If you have enjoyed this post please stay tuned, as I’ll be working through our home renovation progress chronologically.
Are you renovating or decorating your home at the moment? I’d love to hear what you are up to & any renovation & DIY tips are much appreciated. The mess & the chaos don’t bother me too much I’ve just found that half the battle is sourcing the right, reliable companies.
With special thanks to...
My husband for lots of help, John Tyrer for the wonderful plastering, Steve Parnell our lovely decorator & BMG decorating, Ken Davies Electrical, & Jess and Jules for being truly magical with the bespoke furniture.
I am always switching & moving bits around in my home to keep each room fresh & exciting. Since renovating the guest room & en-suite they have been well used & lived in & I've been continuously adding extra little touches, so I thought you'd like to see how they are looking!