A Dormer Guest Suite Gets a Vintage, Scottish Makeover

Photos by Alyssa Lee, courtesy Fox Interiors


In the Mac-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul was a dormer bedroom (slid in during a 1955-era addition to the 1922 home) with some real issues. A sloped ceiling with acoustical tile crowded an already small area in which a semi-reliable radiator took up space, a toilet occupied a carpeted closet, and a vanity with a sink was sandwiched into a nook in the hallway. The clients were ready for a guest retreat they wouldn’t mind staying in themselves.

Colleen Slack, interior designer and founder of Fox Interiors in Minneapolis, knew just what to do. She created a new light, white, and airy three-quarter bath with a glass shower, which has nooks with floral tile “juxtaposed with classic black-and-white tile for balance,” says Slack. She carved custom recessed storage out of space under the eaves. A Solar Tube and glass-block window usher in filtered daylight.

Slack and her team also converted the hall nook into linen storage. By adding radiant in-floor heating throughout suite, she had the space to create built-in nooks around the bed with dimmable lights and storage. “The unit was inspired by a cottage bed-and-breakfast the couple visited in Scotland,” she explains.

Slim recessed LED lights in the new drywall ceiling provide max ceiling clearance. “Just about everything they could find wrong in the walls, they found,” she says of her contractors. And it was all fixed. Slack and her clients also found a salvaged stained-glass window from Architectural Antiques, which now lives in a new opening in the landing to bring in light and historic character.

Now, about the color scheme. “It was inspired by vintage items the client already has, including an embroidered pillow with little violets, and embroidered samplers,” says Slack. The client had her existing furniture painted yellow, “which gave those pieces a whole new personality in the guest suite.”

“Her husband was totally on board,” she adds with a laugh. “He wasn’t freaked out by the lavender at all. In fact, they love the new guest suite so much they moved into it for six months during the winter to enjoy the heated floors and new bathroom.”

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