Wallpaper Was the Answer to Maxwell’s Makeover of Two Guest Rooms

published Mar 14, 2019
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Josef Frank’s Eldblomman wallpaper illuminates the smallest bedroom (Image credit: Eric Striffler)

I’ve covered kitchen/dining room as well as the entrance/living room, so now we’re going to stroll down the hall on the main floor and visit the two guest rooms down at the other end. There is also a bathroom in between. These rooms sit exactly in the same position as the old house, because I loved the layout. They are easy to get to, but private with their doors at the far end of the hall. I was also able to improve them greatly by giving each one sliding glass doors that lead to the outside. Privacy issue? Yes, but it looks great and there are curtains.

(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

The Downstairs Guest Rooms – January 2019

The pic at the top with the bright red Josef Frank wallpaper is the smaller of the two rooms. When you sit on the bed you get the view below it—looking back out the door to the room. They are different sizes with different Josef Frank wallpaper, but identical in every other way.

You will appreciate in these rooms the first appearance of “oh no, no closets!” Instead each room in the house has a standing shelving unit with a desk designed out of the extra Dinesen flooring. It is practical, svelte, material-icious and meant to make it easy to keep clutter from forming. This is a house to live light.

(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

The bigger of the two rooms (above) has the same bed and standing unit but more room and a birds and branches Josef Frank wallpaper. When I first finished the house, I had no plans for wallpaper, but I’d been collecting images of it on my pinboard for no particular reason. After living in the house just a few months, it felt totally stark and barren. Wallpaper was the answer!

The wonderful thing about wallpaper as an accent (which I think is enough) is that you can order it online, in your bed at midnight (this paper came from Stockholm) and when it arrives it can be put up by a painter super fast and BANG! the room is transformed with a warm, playful, and emotional way. It is one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.

Red Floral Wallpaper – Josef Frank Eldblomman Red
Bird & Floral Wallpaper – Josef Frank Paradiset

Beds – Doug McCullough
Bedding – Snowe Home Sateen
Wall Sconces – Mantis BS5 by Bernard Schottlander
Moroccan Blanket – Muima Home
Sheepskin on floor – Fibre by Auskin
Desk Bench – Wegner CH53 Stool
Globe Table Lamps – Menu JWDA Concrete Lamp
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

Here’s a close-up of one of the shelving units. As you can see, the Dinesen flooring works beautifully and easily as shelving, and it’s been oiled white the same as the floors. White oil is a traditional Swedish floor treatment that both protects the wood but keeps the grain open so that it’s more alive. It requires cleaning with a special soap mixture, but ages beautifully and doesn’t feel like polyurethane plastic underfoot.

(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

In every room I added my interpretation of a Shaker chair rail, using Muuto hooks. The inspiration for this came from visiting my friend Charles’ family house in the Berkshires. As you can see here, I’ve photographed it many times over the years (beware the posts are old and a bit broken. Images are there however).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Here’s an image from that house that I shot 10 years ago.

(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

The bathrooms are another joy, and this one is the main one on the ground floor that serves both the guest rooms and the living areas. We designed it with a continuous tile floor, heated it electrically, and tilted it slightly to allow the shower to drain without adding a curb at the entrance. The vanity floats above the tile so that it runs all over. The towel warmer was a simple, affordable addition, but a tremendous luxury when you’re chilled. Every bathroom has one of those as well.

Tile – Marrakech Design: Hans Theselius
Beach Towels – Snowe Home
Mirrors – Croft House LA
Faucets and Shower – Hansgrohe AXOR Citterio M
Wallsconces – Dudley Best BL6 Wall Lamp
Towel Heater Rack – Amba Jeeves
(Image credit: Eric Striffler)

I looked at a lot of mirrors and medicine cabinets, but in the end decided to have a simple design made that is just a mirror on a wall. The less bells and whistles for this house, the better.

Okay, that’s it for the first floor (well, there’s a small studio outside I’ll save for last), so next week we’ll head upstairs to the two main bedrooms and the library. This is what it looked like in the midst…

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)


Architect: John Berg, Berg Design Architecture
Contractor: Peter Germano
Interior Design: Rebecca Robertson