• Making Our Guest House a Welcoming Retreat

September 05, 2021

When we renovated our lake house, the first thing we completed was the addition of a guest house above the garage. It was done first so that we could stay there on the weekends and enjoy the lake while the main house was being constructed.

 Starting from scratch took a lot of vision. This was taken before we actually started construction. Can you see the wheels turning in my husband's brain? I think our oldest son was picturing it too, with possibly a little wonder about how the whole thing was going to work.

This is the AFTER, and hard to see the building for all the trees that have grown so huge in just six years. A second floor guest house was added to the existing garage with a courtyard below.

When you approach the entrance to the guest house, there is an old iron table with a fresh piece of limestone topping it so that you can set things down as you enter. As we have at almost every door at the lake, there is an antique lantern on the side of door with a yellow bulb that deters bugs at night. And my husband's special touch - a vintage copper mailbox, just in case we need to leave messages for our guests.

The stairs going up to the loft are reminiscent of our times in Colorado and Arizona with my parents, actually dating back to my dad's grandparents who vacationed in both those spots. Our family has always loved the Native American influence from both these areas in art such as this blanket and carved statue. We could have left this area blank, but why? It is more welcoming to start the decor at the beginning of the guest's lodging experience.

This is what you see when you enter the loft. We have tried to recover antique furniture in neutral tones with down pillows for comfort. The vintage needlepoint  chair adds a bit of interest to the room with elegant pattern. We are suckers for this look. All the bedrooms at the lake have these bamboo shades that are manually operated, except for the giant window in the guest house where a remote must be used to lift the shade up and down.

As you look the other way in the room, you can see the antique break front piece with a built-in vintage looking sink. This sink is fully operational and provides a nice bar area or even a pop-up champagne "bucket" for a couple celebrating a special weekend. Vintage tin cups, hand painted trays and a set of vintage wooden canisters decorate the shelves.

The walk-in closet to the left of the sitting area held a lot of wasted space, so after realizing that guests would not be filling this room with clothing, we decided to make it a makeshift mini kitchen. This retro refrigerator sets the tone, and Kansas City's own Rieger whiskey sit atop an old carved copper tray. There is also a microwave for late night popcorn cravings.


The headboard on the California King bed was made from an old barn door, and the vintage painting above it transports you to that feeling of being of the lake in a different time. We purchased fabrics from Kansas City's Nell Hills store for the bedding, with the front pillow showcasing a beautiful bird in a toile pattern. I wanted something feeling vintage and outdoorsy at the same time, and this pattern did the trick. Our family is hooked on down comforters, and we want our guests to be as comfortable as we are, so duvets filled with down inserts are on each bed at the lake.

And finally, the giant distressed beam in the center of the room was my husband's idea to make the brand new room feel cozy and rustic. It was a job getting it in the space, but it really makes it. I think my favorite decor piece in the guest house is the antique lantern hanging from the beam. This was one of the last things added and I feel it was the icing on the cake. 

These kinds of touches are designed to make guests feel welcome, like they're taking a step back into another era, able to relax and enjoy the peacefulness of the lake.

2 Responses

Jennifer Sernett
Jennifer Sernett

September 27, 2021

I love your guest house! Tim and I enjoyed our weekend there while visiting you and Dave. It is a beautiful space and very relaxing too.


September 27, 2021

Oh, how lucky your guests are! It’s so beautiful.

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