How a Utah Carport Went From a Sinking Disaster to a Sleek Guest Suite

The floor is still concrete, but it’s anything but cold.

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concrete steps

When life hands you a sinking carport in your new home, you might as well lean in—or in this case, dig in. The unpleasant discovery was just one of many that graphic designer Amanda Jane Jones and her husband, Cree, uncovered when they started to embark on, unbeknownst to them at the time, a two-plus-year renovation of their home in Provo, Utah. (The pair experienced a storm of bad luck, starting with a contractor who scammed them out of an incredibly large sum of money, but even so, they kept their spirits up.) “In hindsight, we feel grateful. Of all the things that could happen to us, I’d much rather deal with this,” she says.

When Jones learned that the garage was taking a dive, she rolled with it: “If we’re going to dig down, we might as well dig 8 more feet!” she convinced herself. That upbeat attitude ultimately led to the creation of her home’s new guest room. Ahead, she reveals how she made the most of a sinking situation.

A Concrete Decision

long island with stools

This space was one of the last remaining projects on Jones’s to-do list after completing the main parts of the house, so when it came time to choose materials, cost was a deciding factor. “By the time we got to [it], we were so low on budget that we couldn’t do tile [on the floor],” she admits. Fortunately, though, Jones already loved the look of concrete, and the decision to use the affordable material actually turned out for the best. Because it’s a basement, they’ve already had a little flooding, but the durable surface remained in tip-top shape through it all. “There was no mold or damage apart from some of the drywall,” she attests.

round wooden dining table
Table, Chairs, and Pepper and Salt Grinders, Skagerak; Bookcase, CB2; Bookstand and Fruit Bowl, Unison Home; Print by Amanda Jane Jones.
view into bathroom

Surprisingly, the room doesn’t get that cold when the heater is on. Still, in order to visually warm up the space, she laid down a rug from her Revival collaboration that launched this January and a mix of furniture with different wood tones. “I think it feels a little more eclectic and homey, less sterile,” she says. “I don’t like having everything be the same.” An assortment of the family’s favorite books, magazines, games, and puzzles provide endless entertainment for guests once they’ve retreated to their quarters.

Where There’s a Sofa, There’s a Way

sectional turning into bed gif
Rug, Revival Rugs; Coffee Table, Sundays; Sofa, Rove Concepts; Chess Set, Stock Home; Credenza, Spaced Out Studio; Lamp, Clock, and Print, Schoolhouse.
yellow bedding

Jones looked at tons of sofa-to-bed situations before landing on Rove Concepts’s Arya sleeper sectional, a modern alternative to pull-out couches and Murphy beds. The piece features a swivel mechanism that locks the bases into place so there’s no need to worry about falling in between the crack in the middle of the night. It also comes with a machine washable mattress pad that can be secured to the “headboard” with a zipper to keep it from sliding around.

All Roads Lead to the Same Stairs

coat hooks and bench
Mirror, Unison Home; Bench, Sundays; Doormat, Hay; Wall Hooks, Amazon; Tote Bag, The Youngsters x Amanda Jane Jones.

There are two doors that lead to the guest room, and both of them are higher than ground level. Rather than creating two sets of stairs, Cree (whom Jones deemed the better interior designer on the project) constructed a raised mini foyer moment complete with coat hooks, a bench, and a mirror for last-minute outfit checks. The steps also play into Jones’s love of architecture. “It has that mid-century modern, recessed living room kind of vibe,” she notes.

A Little Charcoal Never Hurt Anyone

black shower tile
Tile, Fireclay.
black shower tile

While the guest room is mostly light and bright, Jones went dark and moody for the shower with Fireclay’s carbon-hued tile (it’s meant to resemble oil-rubbed bronze). “We’ve never done dark tile in a bathroom before and felt like, if we’re going to try it, why not try it in the basement,” she shares. The rectangles also make an appearance in the mudroom, so they help create a sense of consistency with the rest of the home.

Build the Mary Poppins of Kitchen Storage

wooden stools at island
Kitchen Cabinets, Form; Stools, Forom; Pendant Lamp, Schoolhouse; Faucet, Kohler; Fruit Bowls, Unison Home.

With the original intent of renovating the entire home in one full go, Jones ordered the cabinetry from Form for both the main and guest kitchens together, creating a seamless effect. “[This space] feels very much a part of our home but still separate,” she says. 

But the choice goes beyond looks, as the cupboards provide plenty of storage for guests to unpack their suitcases. When she’s not hosting, Jones uses them as a supply closet for her nearby office. While “never pay up front” remains Jones’s biggest takeaway from this renovation, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade—er, a guesthouse” is up there, too. 

woman sitting on bed