Guest house remodel – A fresh approach

About a year after remodeling this homeowner’s main residence, we turned our attention to a small guest house remodel on her property. This 700-square-foot space had wonderful potential – it contained a family room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – but was being used as a catchall storage space that smelled of mold and mildew. The homeowner wanted to transform this space into a true guesthouse that could be used when her son came down to visit.

Palmer’s Project Goals and Challenges

  • One of the primary challenges was the placement of a well right in the center of the kitchen. Our design had to allow for access to the well when needed and had to allow them to easily be able to replace the well in the future if the need ever arose.
  • Since this is a guesthouse, we wanted to stretch the budget by refreshing and reusing what we could.
  • Much of the prior work done on this home (by previous owners) was done without proper permits and not to code, which presented safety challenges that lurked beneath the surface. 


  • We opted to disguise the well while making use of the space it occupied by creating an island over it. We then placed an access door to the attic right above the well, thinking that if the owners ever had to redo it in the future, they could take the pipes straight up and out through that space.
  • To stretch the budget, we rehabilitated and repainted the existing kitchen cabinets, which were solid oak, so now they have a fresh appearance that allows the natural wood grain to show through. We reused the existing laminate countertops that were in good shape.
  • We reinsulated the attic and made the home safe by correcting several instances of previously completed improper electrical wiring.
  • We added a new water heater and relocated it to make better use of the space.
  • We removed a wall that was dividing the kitchen from the family room. By opening the space, the floor plan now flows easily from one room to the next and lives larger.
  • We removed textured sheetrock and replaced it with new ceilings throughout the space.
  • In the bathroom, we replaced the existing acrylic tub unit with a shower and installed a new cabinet and commode. Blue light exhaust fans make the bathroom guest friendly.
  • Since the guesthouse originally had only a window AC unit, we put in central air conditioning as well as new ceiling fans to better circulate the air.
  • New recessed lights in the bedroom and family room area make the space brighter.
  • Since the guesthouse has a gravel driveway, we installed budget-friendly Armstrong vinyl plank flooring – which is a very durable and scratch-resistant floor with a cork backing that makes it soft to walk on.
  • To complete the space, we added nice upgraded crown and base molding.
  • While the changes to the appearance of the guesthouse were both beautiful and functional, the homeowner noted that for her, a huge improvement was being able to walk into the space, take a deep breath and not smell mold. Her new guesthouse is fresh, clean and comes with the peace of mind of knowing that everything is done properly.
  • In all, this remodel took just 6 weeks to complete.