I’m so excited to share this new series with you.

The Spakona Guest House is our vacation house in Portland, Oregon. I designed and developed the interior of each room, using color to support the well-being of our guests. Last May, we opened it, and we’ve hosted so many interesting and fun people.

I waited a year to share with you the process that I used to design the guest house, because I wanted to test the experiences that the guests had. Results have been very positive!

I’m new to designing spaces, but I feel like if a person is thoughtful, things tend to work out.

Charles Eames said- The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host, all of whose energy goes into trying to anticipate the needs of his guests.

I took this quote to heart as I worked on the Spakona Guest House.

The Three Design Questions

I wanted the Spakona Guest House to be the most comfortable, supportive space.

I noticed, as I planned each room, that I kept asking the same three questions.

Who are the people who will inhabit this space? 

What will they be doing?

How do they want to feel? 

This is such a dead simple idea. It almost feels too simple, doesn’t it?

Most people don’t give their rooms much thought. I think it’s because when they first move into a space, they’re tired. And all their stuff is in a pile. And they just want to put things in places and get on with their lives.

But when we have time to be thoughtful, we can create spaces that really support us.


Designing the Navy Bedroom

At the Spakona Guest house, the navy bedroom can be set up to house children or adults, with a king bed that can split into two twin xl beds.

I wanted the room to meet the needs of kids, while still feeling like a room where adults could stay.

Who is staying here?

Children and Adults.

What would a child be doing in this room?

Sleeping. Getting dressed. Playing.

I imagined the bedtime routine.  Parents helping kids get ready for bed. A parent reading a story.

How would they want to feel? 

Safe. Independent.

Decisions that support play and sleep, safety and independence.

From those answers, I made these decisions. 

Bed height

Since I was ordering new beds for the guest house, I had some sway in how tall the beds should be.  I went with a bed height that’s short enough for a kid to climb up, but not so low that adults with bad knees would find it difficult to get out of bed.

Play Space navybedroomentryspakona

Kids need a space to play. We moved the bed and the end table to one side of the room, and left a 6 X 8′ area for kids to play.

A Chair

It’s much easier to read a bedtime story, if you’re not perched on the side of a bed, and scrunching down to the kid’s level.

The bedroom has a chair that can be moved to the side of the bed for bed-time reading.  The chair barely, but neatly fits between the two beds.

Additionally, I made sure that the bedside table had enough room for a book.  And I added a bookcase for good measure.


Kids want to feel safe, and nightlights help. There is an optional nightlight that plugs into the wall socket.  It automatically goes on when it gets dark.


Throughout the house, the rules are- Nothing breakable within reach of small hands. And no sharp corners.

The navy bedroom is such an enjoyable space.

Kids love it! There’s no childhood theme and yet, it meets the needs of any child who comes to visit the Spakona Guest House.

The Colors

The palette for this bedroom is Navy, Pale Jade Green, Dusky Turquoise and Ivory.

The three questions support the color selection as well.  How do people want to feel?


I imagined a person lying in bed, turning a problem over in their mind.  What would they want to experience?


The meaning of Navy is wisdom.

Pale Jade Green means harmony and balance.

Dusky Turqouise means gentle words.

Ivory gives us an easy place to rest the eye.

I knew I wanted navy for this room, but I was concerned that it’d feel too masculine. Imagine my relief when I found this little curvy fiddle-back maple chair.


The room needed curves. So I repeated the curve on the custom headboards. And then my son came across the bookcase with a little curved front.

I found the chair at an antique store in Vancouver, Washington. It badly needed new upholstery.  I searched for a navy and muted turquoise fabric that could stand up to a lot of use.

After I found this fabric and upholstered the chair, it all came together.

I hope this post helps you bring design strategy to the rooms in your home!

Much love-


PS- The print on the wall is from the Spakona Colors Collection, available on Society6.  It reads Midnight- A Conduit of Wisdom.