art · Bonus Room · construction · displays · Home Decor · Home Update · Home-Room Design · interior design · interiors

The Remodel: Our Bonus Room

If you know me, you would know that I don’t take anything too seriously, especially trends. I just read today that navy is out! White walls are out! Oh lord! I have to redo my bonus room already and you haven’t even seen it yet!!!

I am not a trendy person. Mom jeans? They make you look AWFUL! Sweats for daywear?! Tisk Tisk! And design trends: well, those are a little harder to navigate.

My one piece of advice is if you love it, then bring it into your home and it will make you happy!

I am classic. I am conservative and sorry trend setter: I love navy and white and always will!

Welcome to Our Bonus Room!

The Sitting Area

Way back when we bought this sectional with a hide-a-bed for our family room, I knew eventually it would move up to the “kids hangout room” which is now this extended bonus and guest suite. In fact our whole set up you see here use to be in our family room: leather recliner, black ottoman, side table (pulled from the front room) and sectional. I always knew the room where Melissa & Doug wooden castles and Thomas the Train tracks filled the walkway would once evolve into a teen/family hangout room.

One rule I live by is go conservative and classic on the big items (carpet, trim, cabinet design) and go trendy with the things that are easy to change (paint, hardware, fabrics, accessories). But truthfully, I tend to go pretty classic for most things in my home.

I encourage you to think about your spaces as rotating possibilities! Without spending a cent, we were able to furnish this room. We did buy accessories like the throw blankets and the curtains (fabric bought from Ballard Designs then sewn into panels) but you can redecorate a space and make it feel new by just moving it to another space in your house. Even if it’s just a chair, move stuff around. It makes your old spaces feel new again!

TV wall

I think my husband bought the TV before the space was even framed out! LOL! We knew we wanted to create a “movie-like” space so the bigger the better (according to the husband). The designer in the family still wanted this space to feel like a home. I worked with my cabinet maker to create a balance between cabinets, floating display shelves and that massive screen. I still go back and forth on if I want to paint or wallpaper this back wall to create a super moody statement…but haven’t committed to any thing yet. (Remember that intro statement? Conservative to the core, I am.)

Above are close-ups of the floating shelves that flank the tv. I kept them sparse but balanced. A few family photos and found objects to make the space feel cozy and collected.


When you enter the room, we have this bump out that was just calling for something special. Sometimes odd layouts in a room like this can make you crazy, and then other times it can help create a nice place for a lovely vignette.

I have coveted this tray side table from Serena and Lily for ages. There is a designer, Gen Sohr from Pencil and Paper that has used it for a bar/side table and I just love the statement it makes. Accented with found treasures like the decanter that was a wedding gift, books from years past, a ginger jar that was given to me by a friend, and a Ralph Lauren lamp that adds a bit of ambiance in the evening.

The Art

The artwork above the side table is also something that holds a special place in my heart. Every year at my kids’ elementary school, they had the chance to work with an artist from the community to create a large statement piece of art at their school. It’s called “Artist in Residence”.

Frame your children’s art! It makes them feel so proud!

This particular beetle was laid out on a light sensitive piece of fabric called Cyanotype. You can see how it works here. Using metal pieces such as keys, bobby pins, washers, nuts, etc. the students created a design. The kids then took their metal arrangements out into the sun (thank goodness we had sun that day!) and exposed the fabric to the rays. Almost immediately the fabric started turning from white to this indigo color.

The Frame

The frame I found at the Rebel vintage show at the Hillsboro county fair building (before the new airport center was built). I took the frame and fabric art to Chrisman’s Frame shop on Cornell (by our new Target). We found a nice white mat to set off the art and it was ready for pick up in a few weeks. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

The Workout Corner

If you follow my stories, you know I love good food! I go out to gourmet restaurants, I try new recipes all the time and though I mostly eat healthy, I don’t believe in skimping on the oils and sugars.

A long time ago, back in college, I realized if I wanted to eat amazing food, I needed to move my body. Since then, I have always belonged to a gym. I love a good groupX class! Step, kick-boxing, circuit, Zumba, yoga, … I pretty much enjoy it all. Then the pandemic happened. Grrrrrr!

The Bike

Back in December 2019, my husband and I were driving back from Sunriver on a road-trip and listened to Guy Raz’s podcast “How I Built This”, featuring the founder of Peloton, John Foley (you can listen to it here on spotify). Scott was impressed by what he heard, so he looked into purchasing the bike. Well…my husband didn’t want to pay the monthly rental so he researched other spin bikes and bought a Keiser (he probably read this article: here), signed up for the Peloton app ($12.99/mo) AND bought some Peloton stock. (Thanks to the pandemic, I’m pretty sure the stock paid for half of this room!).

Now I work out between dropping my daughter off at school and taking my son to school. It’s a perfect hour to squeeze in a spin and a yoga class. Above Left: is where I work out, Right: shows my view. Not bad, right? I can stream a live class on the screen or more likely I just pull it up on my phone and GET IT DONE AS FAST AS I CAN! 😉

Bar Area

On the opposite wall from the bike/window corner is our wet bar. I really wanted a butcher block top to mimic what you would find in the cabin of a boat. I didn’t want a hard cold surface and by putting in wood, it makes the space feel more homy and warm. We designed open shelves which makes grabbing a glass or bowl super easy for guests. Add a beverage cooler and a bar sink and you can pretty do all your dishes in the space too! (Kids room and dishes being done?! Hmmm…nice try. LOL) What really happens is they pull out a bubbly water or grab a glass and use the tap to have some still water while hanging out in the room.

A Few Details

What really pulled this room together and made it feel like a home are the accessories and finishes in the space. This is a step that I think so often gets missed. I highly encourage you to hire a designer to help accessorize your space. Without these touches, the space felt cold and unfinished. Now if feels curated, collected and professionally pulled together!

The Rug

To really anchor a space, I highly recommend layering an area rug over your wall-to-wall carpet, preferably a flat weave. This area rug I found at Homegoods and is a brand of one of my biggest inspirations for starting my interior business: Erin Gates Designs. I have had her book Elements of Style for years, reading it cover to cover, browsing for ideas and tips. Her classic style really resonates with me.


The hardware I chose is a classic drawer pull from Rejuvenation and knobs both in Aged Brass. The aged brass reminds me of the patina you find on the cleats and hardware of an old wooden boat. I just love all things nautical, especially those nostalgic wooden boats. If I could, I would love to own an old wooden Chris Craft someday ESPECIALLY if we ever live waterside! Ahhh…what a nice dream. 😉


A picture light is ideal for bringing interest to a bookshelf. And because these were open shelves, I had to bring a touch of interest and a piece that had historic patina to contrast with the modern floating shelves. I went with these picture lights by Circa Lighting.


Accessories tell the story of the people that live here. I collect brass candlesticks. I grew up going sailing on my dad’s boat, the Melo’day. We had a Westie named Lucy and have a collection of mini terrier statues. Disneyland is a special place for my family and this vintage picture of the ferry boat brings back so many memories. Beautiful bowls to add texture and usefulness. Lastly I love milk glass. It’s a great way to bring in vintage without it feeling old.

Shelf brackets

The brackets (shown above) were from a vender I found on Etsy. They are very similar to the Rejuvenation brackets (here).


There is a lot of wall space in this room! On this wall, we have two kid photos that use to be in my husband’s last office. The two pieces below them are just vintage purchases. The big one in the middle, however, is quite interesting. For my kids’ elementary school, I would always help raise money for the school by organizing and creating auction art with the kids. Some of my favorite pieced went for crazy amounts of money. Here’s an article I did ages ago on the art we created that year: Auction Art!

This particular piece was the mosaic from my daughter’s 5th grade year. I went downtown and took that photo of the Portland sign outside the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. We then had the kids take selfies using the ipads at the school and uploaded the photos to a website called . I had the final compilation printed to the size of a vintage frame I had thrifted. When the print arrived, I pulled it out of the tube and it was damaged! It looked like when the employee stuffing it into the tube, they had squeezed the art and bent the print! I was furious. It had to be perfect for people would be bidding high for this piece. Picture Mosaic was very receptive and immediately printed another and sent it to us. I had Chrisman’s put together the frame and the new print with glass, sealed back and added secure hanging hardware. It was beautiful.

But this (above) is not that piece. This is the damaged piece. It had been in a tube, leaning against the wall in my office for the past 5 years and on a whim, I took it down to Chrisman’s to see if they could do anything about the damage. They mounted it on a foam core board, attempting to get out as much of the crease marks as possible and to the naked eye, it looks pretty good.

Bring in the Popcorn

Going through any construction project can be quite trying. But seeing the space blossom as you add each detail and then finally getting to use it, live in it, and engage with it is when it truly fills your heart and makes you so happy you went through the hard stuff to get to this.

But truly, set aside a little money for a designer like me to finish off your spaces. Most of my accessories are either what we had around the house, or items I found at Homegoods, Goodwill or a vintage shop at a steal of a deal! A space can be staged in a matter of 2 hours and accessorized for $200-500 depending on the room and it will totally change the room completely!!!

Now, who’s coming over for a movie night?!

XO, Melis

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