Guest quarters

1996 or 1997 I began to read my mother’s copies of Martha Stewart Living. I was at the cusp of adulthood, that age when one has nothing but time on one’s hands, and begins to get ideas about how one would like to use it. Heady dreams one has in those days, before the grind of Day In and Day Out squashes your ambitions about who you’d like to be.


Having guests. Guest rooms. Guest beds. Magical Christmas rooms for children. Mansions with rollers in the butler’s pantry for storing tablecloths. Potting sheds. Flower-cutting rooms. Elegant dinners served on transferware and Depression glass. Bruleed oatmeal; organized linen closets; herbal sachets tucked in every drawer (and the bag of your vacuum clear. Yes, dears, this was pre-Dyson). You provide guests with baskets of bottled water and dark chocolate. You give them menus and lists of planned outings. Always include a dark-colored face cloth for makeup with the pile of towels. You have tied your sets of guests towels with ribbons, haven’t you?


I thumbed through the pages, daydreamed over the photographs, read the articles again and again. No, I would never have a mansion with a stable and a guesthouse and a stockman to take care of my small working farm, but … surely I would have a comfortable house. Surely I could put some of these ideas into practice.


After a lot of years, a lot of dorm rooms, a lot of rented houses and the gargantuan disappointment of my first house hunt, imagine how surprised I am to find myself with, not a mansion, but a gracious sixties tri-level on an old horse farm, and outbuildings. We have a garage lined with workshop benches. We have a tiny adorable barn. We have a workshop, where my husband runs the family business …


… and in the back of that workshop are the Guest Quarters.


Okay. Right now it’s two box stalls in a big open space. Concrete floors. Barn doors. Or was all that–we are converting it. My husband wants a lounge, kitchen, and bathroom for the business. And a bedroom, so people who visit can stay longer without the aggravation of actually staying in our house. Give them some control. Give us some privacy. We are thousands of miles from everyone, you understand. Parents want to come here for a fortnight at least. And we will have space to accommodate them.


5 thoughts on “Guest quarters

  1. When we built our house – one story log ranch, it was just a “weekend” place, then we moved here – and a 26 x 40 ranch was a little small, especially when the kids come up, so we built a garage – 30 x 40, note the size, and it has two floors. So we now have a FROG [furnished room over garage] that is equipped with a full bathroom, a kitchenette [no stove, but everything else]. So we have a “studio” for me, combined with guest quarters. I know the things of which you talk – and your guest house sounds great.

  2. That’s a neat conversion. Some people might like the quirky nature of staying in a barn. Maybe the barn doors would be too much. But I look at that regular door and wonder if there could have been a compromise. The third picture seemed almost right with one larger barn for off to the side and the new regular door. In my mind the barn door would never be used, might even be nailed shut….but would help retain the quirk. 🙂

    Anyways, finally having a guest quarters is nice. I’m envious of that situation.

    • Unfortunately both outer barn doors were completely rotten at the bottoms from too many years in soggy PacNW weather. There are two barn doors inside, though, and we intend to keep them as bedroom and bathroom doors.

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