When it comes to design, Hilah Stahl says to trust your instinct. See how she transformed her guest bedroom with bold wallpaper that some of her friends questioned.
Designer Name: Hilah Stahl
Instagram Handle: @hilahsthings
Project Name: Firefly Farm Guest Bedroom
Type of Project: Residential
Project Location: Hudson Valley, New York
Hi! I’m Hilah. I’m the founder and CEO of Spoak, though I’m not a trained interior designer. My background is in software product management, but I’ve always been really passionate about interior design and architecture, and I hated how hard everything was—both for hobbyists like me and for professionals—when trying to design a space. It felt impossible to articulate the visions and ideas swimming in my head, let alone manage the budget and purchases and my partner’s feedback on the project… and that’s why Spoak was born! I still use it almost every day for personal projects and to help close friends with their homes.
This was a personal project for my own home!
I really wanted to have fun with the guest bedroom because its functional requirements were so simple. It didn’t need to be as neutral and calming as I tried to keep our bedroom (since people would only occasionally be sleeping in it), which meant that short of a bed and some nightstands, I had very few requirements. It felt like the ideal opportunity to convey the overall vibe of the house in a really pronounced way since it’s where our houseguests would stay and the perfect way to welcome them to what we hoped was the spirit of the entire property. That’s why we went with the bold wallpaper and the otherwise earthy accents: it felt like it embodied the English-country-meets-American-farm vibe we were going for everywhere else in one heavy-handed dose.
This project was pretty straightforward, and we didn’t have a ton of challenges. I hated the color that it was painted when we moved in, so I knew immediately I would either be painting it or covering it with wallpaper. It’s a weirdly shaped room, and I chose a paper with a complex pattern, so the wallpapering project was pretty complicated, but otherwise, it was honestly just really fun to do!
The most expensive part was the wallpaper, but it was basically the entirety of the design statement in one fell swoop, so it felt worth it.
The room was painted a strange cool-toned mint blue and had a terrible boob light (thanks to Mitzi for helping us replace it)!
I love this room. I love how simultaneously moody and welcoming it is, how it captures the essence of the house, and how cozy it feels to sleep in (it’s like sleeping in a woodland fairy house surrounded by flowers).
All the products I used/purchased (or very similar alternatives) are in the Spoak project I linked!
I used Viz for this entire project. I honestly couldn’t have done it without it. (See the “Idea Archive” section for all the different approaches I tried!) I made every purchasing decision in the room with it–even down to the nightstands. It also helped immensely that I could send the project to my husband along the way and get his vote for which option he liked best.
Getting to have fun with wallpaper. This is my first time owning (vs. renting), so I’ve never felt like I could experiment with an investment like wallpaper. The combination of us owning and it being the guest room (low stakes) meant that I could really experiment–and by doing so early in our project, it gave me the confidence to keep trusting my gut (no matter how many “are you sure?”s I get along the way) with the rest of the house.
Trust your instincts! I can’t tell you how many people saw the sample I had chosen for the wallpaper and expressed skepticism at how it would turn out. You are the one with the vision–be patient and trust yourself until it comes to life. They’ll eat their words, I promise!
We have a whole house to finish. Up next: the nursery :) We’re expecting our first child in June.
Photo Credit: (Left) Olivia Nadel Photography
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