Stay A While

Four guesthouses that pack maximum style into minimum space
Photos by Sara Essex Bradley Styling by Valorie Hart
The columns of the pool house were existing. Scroggins added old French doors to serve as a front entrance and painted them black to mimic the exterior doors of the main house.

Guesthouses are the ideal way to provide guests with little luxuries and custom comforts. In addition to having separate access, most offer amenities like kitchens, bathrooms, television, outdoor access and views. Here are four guesthouses that master the art of putting people up.
Architect Wayne Troyer’s minimalist “studio retreat” does triple-duty as a work space/entertaining area/guest quarter; a local attorney’s worn storage building became a sunny abode for visiting family and friends; interior designer Christa Schwartz and her husband, developer Matt Schwartz, renovated their guest house as temporary-yet-chic lodging for their family while working on their main home; and physician Troy Scroggins created a new pool/guest house worthy of his historic home. Whether their visits are planned or last-minute, the houseguests at these homes find first-class accommodations.







Working with her own guesthouse, designer Christa Schwartz kept the condensed quarters “full of light, clean lines and a neutral color palette.”
By keeping the background simple, Christa was able to work with interesting geometric shapes and textures. The kitchen’s streamlined custom cabinetry (designed by Schwartz and made by cabinetmaker Glen Armand), furnishings and arrangement allow unimpeded views and movement. The cabinetry includes hidden microwave, mini fridge, dishwasher, icemaker and garbage disposal. Countertops and tile by Palatial Stone. The entryway’s fringe covered mirror from Katie Koch Home has a trompe l’oeil effect: By reflecting the outdoor view from the front door, it looks like a window.  Console designed by Schwartz is custom-sized for the alcove area. A photograph of a Cuban interior above the bedroom’s king-sized bed acts as a window through its use of perspective. Minimalist furnishings create an overall sense of organization.



Mother-daughter interior designers Penny and Casi Francis transformed this 310-square-foot storage outbuilding, which already had high ceilings and lots of natural light, into a guesthouse for an Uptown cottage. It now includes a kitchenette, tiny full bath, sitting and sleeping areas. A neutral, monochromatic background and a solid sofa visually enlarge the space and provide a quiet counterbalance for the patterns in the chair cushions, cocktail tables, rug and art.  A portable bar-height table placed perpendicular to the wall serves as a divider between the kitchenette and the sitting and sleeping areas and can be moved for convenience.  A fountain provides a focal point in the courtyard between the cottage and guesthouse. Iron candle lanterns add a natural aged-iron patina.  A cheerful arabesque pattern wallpaper framed by custom molding anchors and highlights the bed without taking up a single inch of available space.



Troy Scroggins renovated his existing pool/guest house with all new windows, doors, flooring, wall coverings, kitchen, bath and custom touches.  A custom mattress in the loft works as a daybed by day and a bed by night. Scroggins added a library ladder to access the refurbished space. Pecky cypress was used to create feature walls on opposite ends of the guesthouse.  The kitchenette is fully functional with hidden under-counter refrigerator, a mini-stove and a dual oven/microwave.  The custom two-piece sectional includes a sofa with a seamless cushion that doubles as a single bed, and is covered with durable Sunbrella.  A library ladder on hooks leads to the sleeping loft without cluttering the living area. Since the structure originally was used for storage, Scroggins included a separately entered hidden storage area at the rear of the guest house.



Wayne Troyer’s studio retreat is filled with light throughout the day and connects the studio with both the courtyard and the main house. Troyer brought the existing structure, originally an efficiency apartment on the same lot as the main house, down to the foundation when renovating. The guest house received a 2016 design award for interior architecture from the AIA Gulf States Honor Awards Program.  The 600-square-foot interior lives large thanks to minimalist retro and contemporary furnishings and the way that Troyer compartmentalized the space without creating different rooms. The cork “inspiration wall” at the far end of the studio conceals a storage space that houses Troyer’s guitar collection. The floor has a durable industrial coating. Photograph by Sophie T. Lvoff.  The casement window, detailed with a plywood box frame, functions as a display area and provides additional views, light and cross breezes. Bertoia diamond lounge chair, waxed relief screen prints are from a larger installation titled “culture clash 24/7” by Teresa Cole.  A built-in base cabinet neatly stores Troyer’s vintage record collection. Cut-outs with LED lighting run along top the cabinets. A skylight above the shower (on the other side of the far wall) is fully operable.  Sofas from Room & Board can be pushed together as a sleeper or pulled apart as sofas. An Eames molded fiberglass rocker faces the sofas. Above, the sloped ceiling is surfaced with recycled plaster lath, which has been sanded and bleached, over a thin layer of plywood. “Most of the time these are just thrown away but more and more designers are seeing their value and are utilizing them in a variety of applications,” says Troyer. The bathroom’s custom cypress cabinetry is stained with a blue-black finish.






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