Painting the floors and Setting Up the Guest House!

August 2, 2021

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I didn’t think the very first thing I would be painting in our new home would be the guest house and I really didn’t think it would the floor! But that’s just what I did on move-in day. We had all of the Brazilian cherry flooring replaced in our main home, but we left the guest house as is, knowing that we’d likely renovate the whole thing at some point down the road.

The guest house was a huge selling point for us–it has its own full kitchen, bathroom and large walk-in closet and a private exterior entrance. With my mom coming just a couple days later, I made the guest house priority one! I wanted her to feel at home and comfortable so she would stay as long as she wanted and come back often! Ha!

The only downside of the guest house is that it’s pretty dark. It has a lot of windows, but they all look out into the surrounding foliage and forest. Beautiful to look out to, but it does keep the space naturally darker and the dark cherry floors weren’t helping.

So I decided to do something outside of my comfort zone and paint them. It felt like there was absolutely nothing to lose so I went to Lowe’s and picked up some primer and porch paint and got to it.

I used this primer, this durable glossy floor paint in white (classic!) and this roller that’s for extremely smooth surfaces (and it wouldn’t shed!).

I didn’t sand, but cleaned the floors really well. I rolled on one coat of primer (but I probably should have done 2 because the floors were so dark.) And followed it with three coats of glossy white paint, waiting 8 hours between each coat.

The last coat took the longest to dry. And then we waited to recommended 72 hours before loading any furniture in. (More on that in a sec!)

Although there is a lot more I can’t wait to do in here–paint walls and cabinets (I wasn’t super careful around the cabinets knowing I was going to paint them, but I should have just taped them off!)  and get new window treatments–I can’t believe the impact that JUST painting the floors made. Everything looks so much brighter and peaceful. Even the cabinets look better.

We gave it a good 72 hours before bringing in furnishings, a whole 2 hours before my mom got here. We were even able to shoot after photos without any lights on! The glossy floors feel really rock hard and durable (I’ll definitely keep you posted about how they wear) and I love the way they reflect light everywhere.

We brought in a bunch of furniture we already had from our last house–a mix and match, really! The headboard and nightstand from the guest room, the chest that was in Faye’s room. The rug from our bedroom.

I put the chairs from the girls’ old homework room and a vintage table I found a couple years ago to create a small dining area in the kitchen.

These might not be much of after photos, but the first project I did in our home had to be shared! And the best part? How much my mom is loving it. She said it feels so private and cozy and she could LIVE there. … Sending for my dad! ;)


Rug, Chest, Side Table, Headboard, Bed Frame, Mattress, Duvet Cover, Floor Lamp, Leather ChairsTabletop Mirror, Floor Paint

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What do you think?

  1. Anne says:

    Looks so good! Always impressed with your energy and how quickly you complete these huge projects. Congrats!

  2. Vicki says:

    Looks amazing! Did you use the white color straight out of the can or did you use a specific color?

  3. Tere says:

    Loved it !!!!! It looks so much modern a and clean , and very coazy. Loved The chest and the dinning area makes every thing look so chick . Keep doing thing out of the box.

  4. Pam says:

    WOW! What a transformation!!

  5. Kimberly says:

    I can’t believe you actually painted over such beautiful floors!

  6. teresa doyle says:

    thank you for this old school simple diy post :) would love to know how it does over time!

  7. Rebecca M says:

    I would love to know the size of your guest room (just the open space – not bathroom or closet). We’re looking at turning the back part of our detached garage into a guest house and I’m concerned it might be too small – we were planning to enclose the bedroom, but maybe leaving it all open like you have would be our best solution. :D

  8. Anna says:

    Hello! love the blog. hate the ads that now pop up in the middle of the screen and won’t let me x them out…? what’s up with that? i’ve seen four ads in the time it took me to scroll to the bottom to leave this comment. I get that you need to make money, but these ads are in the center of the screen and completely block your content

  9. Joy says:

    It really looks beautiful.. I’m jealous can I be your mom for a weekend.

  10. Dianne says:

    It looks great. You are correct in applying only one layer of primer. The primer should be only one layer (no matter how dark the base colo) as the coverage should be built up with layers of paint. The paint is stronger.

    No matter your design, and my thoughts about your proposed designs, I always love your outcomes.

    SO glad your Mom is there. Maybe she will love it so much she’ll winter in your new guest house.

  11. Angela Ferry Sewell says:

    Looks AMAZING!

  12. Nancy Stautz says:


  13. Lindsey says:

    It looks so good!

  14. Liz Nelson says:

    I love it, Julia! I think this looks like the perfectly-cozy spot for your mom and other visitors.

  15. Chelsey L. says:

    I love this! What a cost-effective way to really brighten things up. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Victoria says:

    That has made such a difference! Good work.

    I know that you don’t want to talk about your medical details (completely understandable), but if you’re able to without being too specific of your needs, I’d be really interested in how you manage DIY with a chronic illness. I have a couple of chronic illnesses and I’m in pain constantly, along with fatigue. I will often push myself past the point of health, and sometimes into crisis, with doing things for the house, painting, sanding etc. I know that sounds crazy but it is so hard not to feel a failure if I can’t do it! I also enjoy the design and some of the actual work, and I definitely enjoy the outcome. Sometimes I feel that if I’m going to be in pain anyway I might as well get something to show for it.

    We can’t afford contractors for most stuff and my partner does a lot, mostly prep and clean up (which is great because I get to spend what energy I have on the fun stuff). He would rather I wasn’t ever in pain of course, but he’s great at supporting me, even when he thinks I should have stopped 2 hours ago! Is that something that affects you and Chris? Forgive me if this is too personal a question, I don’t want to make you feel you need to justify anything to me, but you’re the only blogger I know that I’m aware has medical issues like this. Do you have any tips?

    Or any readers?

    • Eve says:

      I would also be so interested in anything you are ready to share. I have a frustrating combo of hashimotos and Graves’ disease and my biggest issue is the crippling fatigue, I have days I feel so motivated and others where I really feel I cant achieve anything. My husband is amazing but in some ways it makes it worse as I feel like the kids grow up with fun dad and boring mum 😞. The biggest obstacle for me is that I really can’t seem to multi task, if I host an event or take on a task it consumes all of me (slight perfectionist tendencies along with way too much optimism about my capacity)

      I know this is a design blog and I usually hate when interior blogs go off topic into parenting or clothes etc but from the lifestyle perspective I would find it interesting to read about being a driven personality while coping with autoimmune fatigue.

  17. Kate says:

    As someone who had a bedroom floor painting fiasco resulting in permanently sticky floors, I’m so glad to know that yours went well & how you did it–thank you!

    • Jen says:

      Do you know what caused it? I’d love to know before we tackle ours since I’m sure that would happen to me :)

      • Kendall says:

        Sticky floors are most likely caused by using latex paint, which is meant for walls, not cabinets, doors or floors. Latex paint stays soft and doesn’t harden like cabinet and door paint and floor paint. Ask me how I know.

  18. Kristen says:

    *PINNED IMMEDIATELY TO PINTEREST* I love this so dang much. Like I’ve already told my husband and gotten a “huh” in return hahahahahaha. I think it is especially clever to go for this in the guest house, which is going to be lower traffic than the rest of your home. I can’t wait to see each step along the way in this space, but holy moly I love it already. Painted wood floors are SO colonial, so on-brand for this new home. Bravo.

  19. Mel says:

    When we moved into our old house the kitchen floors were yellow and orange linoleum (insert puke emoji here). After living with them for a year and just NOT having the money to replace them I painted them using the same method and it lasted 2 years with nary a scratch on them. Floor paint is crazy durable. I then used it to paint (also) yellow formica countertops in our basement and it held up incredibly well. Yay paint!

    • Jill says:

      I have BLUE linoleum floors throughout my whole downstairs. I was just thinking this might be a good temporary fix but wasn’t sure with the linoleum. You answered my question! Yay!! Now what to do with the dogs and kiddo for the days it takes to dry? 🤔 lol

  20. Brenda says:

    Amazing transformation!

    • Jen Murphy says:

      Thinking of doing this myself. I love the idea of no sanding. Do you repaint them every couple of years? I assume you can’t whitewash if you’re using oil based paint?

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