How the Pandemic Inspired an Empty Bedroom’s Transformation Into a Special Experience for Guests

A creative couple’s Montgomery County home invites friends to stay the night.

A Montgomery County couples’s inviting guest bedroom. / Photograph by Rebecca McAlpin

At the start of the pandemic, big parties gave way to more intimate gatherings. Jenkintown residents Dennis St. Germain and his partner, Brian Balthazar, took the opportunity to finally transform an empty room into a guest bedroom.

“Our mind-set at the time was that big cocktail parties where everyone comes for a few hours would be replaced by low-key, intimate visits with friends who stay for a couple of days,” Balthazar, who runs his own production company, Balthazar Entertainment, says. “For us, that meant ’the return of the guest room’ for guests.”

But he didn’t want just any guest bedroom. Balthazar wanted something “a little untraditional and visually memorable. One that visitors would look forward to retiring to.” So often, he says, “Guest bedrooms are the result of the one room that has enough space to accommodate a bed, but little additional thought goes into it.”

So Balthazar and St. Germain, a designer, put their heads together and got to work, searching for easily available, ­budget-friendly finds. Balthazar strongly recommends shopping for floor samples. For instance, the bed headboard and frame were a floor sample at Arhaus in King of Prussia — bought for $800, compared to the $2,999 list price. “When a store is changing their merchandise, they are more than ready to get rid of the old stuff and often open to negotiate,” he says.

A Montgomery County couples’s guest bedroom makeover. / Photograph by Rebecca McAlpin

The wallpaper, Nude Roses, found at, is an oversize modern take on a vintage rose print, but more muted and contemporary. Balthazar installed it on the back wall to make a statement, and guests always comment on it.

The sloped ceilings and roofline of the third-floor space posed a challenge. Balthazar didn’t want tipsy dinner guests to be bonking their heads before sleep. So he and St. Germain found creative ways to prevent that. There’s a hanging chair from Wayfair in one corner, plus a series of bird mobiles by Flensted Mobiles that resemble an art installation. “They look like they’re flying when the fan is on!” Balthazar says.

Published as “Room to Grow” in the December 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.