before and after

before and after: nora’s home

by Grace Bonney

i love a big, fabulous before and after. chair makeovers are fantastic and so are single rooms, but sometimes nothing satisfies my makeover cravings like seeing an entire home redone. and thankfully designer nora fleming came to my rescue. founder of nora fleming– a design company focusing on stylish, interchangeable tableware- nora lives with her children and husband in this beautiful suburban chicago house, which they recently gave a major facelift. the “afters” were shown in budget decorating magazine but i was psyched to get a chance to show the total transformation and see the “before” shots as well. thanks to nora for sharing this incredible before and after makeover with us- click here to visit her company online.

[above: kitchen before. top image above intro text: kitchen after]

[above: dining room after]

[above: dining room before]

[above: family room after]

[above: family room before]

[above: front of house after]

[above: front of house before]

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  • I love the before/after. LOVE IT! I love the kelly green walls & pops of red accessories, & I just love her clothes too….cute!

  • fantastic. Any idea what the white in-fill material is on the kitchen floor? that would be a great solution to damaged hardwood.

  • one more thing though — i’ve noticed that a lot of people like painting over wood moulding and baseboards. it’d be nice to see some transformations that work with the original woodwork (selfish comment as I have original woodwork in my own home )

  • I totally agree that this is one the best before and afters EVER. Amazing what a coat of fresh white paint and some serious ingenuity can do!

  • I swear I’ve seen this before – was it in Chicago magazine? I’m not at home so I can’t check. I don’t read budget decorating, it was definitely somewhere else. What a gorgeous space. Love that dining room!

  • The house as a whole looks lovely … but it pains me to see paint covering all of the beautiful original woodwork! I agree with Selena–it would be great to see some transformations that work with original woodwork.

  • Mmmm, gorgeous! I’m all for painting the moldings, baseboards, etc. – they look so fresh, clean and modern. I think in a small space, woodwork like in the befores looks very gloomy and oppressive. Nora is a woman after my own heart – every detail I could paint white in my home, I did!

  • Guess I’m the only one who thinks that the pictures are a mite goofy – are they drinking AND playing croquet in that last picture? In any case, the makeover is definitely amazing, but basically I’m just insanely jealous of her dining room, because that color green used to be in my bedroom. Sigh.

  • Thirding Selena and Claire – it’s such a shame to see the original woodwork painted over. I’d like to see how it could be integrated into a more modern look.

  • wow. amazing! and inspiring! maybe i’ll start cleaning my office this weekend to give it the paint job i’ve been meaning to give it for the last 5 years!

  • Sad about the painted woodwork as well. But am surprising myself with the love of the green (and must admit it wouldn’t look as good without the white trim).

  • Lovely–I’m not sad about the painted woodwork at all. I’m sad about all the very dark wood trim that I’m living with.

  • Wow, they sure put a lot of work into this! The end result is amazing! I can’t believe the huge difference between the before and after shots! Well worthe the effort!

  • i totally agree with solaana, the drinking and croquet photo is a bit cheesy … but hey, the makeover is really beautiful. definitely love the bands on the kitchen floor and the hardwood in the living room. i wonder what the white bands of flooring are?

  • I think the “after” is just stunning! I know there are some nay sayers about painting over the woodwork, but the rooms would not have had the same wow factor had the woodwork been left untouched. Not everyone wants to live in a log cabin.

    Beautiful job Nora + family!

  • These pictures are so very inspirational! Thanks for sharing the before pictures – that helps visualize the effort put into the changes

  • I would love to know where the *after* dining table is from. Exactly what I’m looking for.

  • OH thank god! There’s hope for my kitchen afterall! This does put some light at the end of that very long domestic tunnel of mine :) Thanks, Grace & Nora!

  • this is a great makeover…mostly because it looks fresh and modern without being to “designer-y”

    if i had to guess, those kitchen floors are hardwood that have been striped with white deck paint

    and as far as the moulding debate, i’m all for wood, but here the white looks nice. and, am i mistaken, or do many of the d*s sneak peeks feature many homes with natural wood?

  • You can add me to the “keep the wood trim” list if that was the original trim treatment.

    I am the one who has come after a gad-about trim painter, and lordy the options for removing paint are about as labor intensive and toxic as it gets!!!

  • is that even the same house? wowww. the green dining room seems like it will be a really magical place for their kids to grow up in. wonderful job.

  • I love this makeover!!!! I’ve been obsessed with the whole article in Budget magazine since I first saw it a couple weeks ago! Nora has inspired me so much that I can hardly stand it! I’m so excited to incorporate so many things into my home. What a great talent she has!! Clairelynn, the kitchen fixtures I believe are from Ikea and I love them as well. I bought two for myself.

  • hi ya’all. i agree the croquet pic is kind of cheese. but a gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do.

    the dress. i got it at a sample sale in altanta at the americasmart during the gift show. it was rediculously cheap. and super fun. it is like cheese cloth adn you can wear any color slip underneath.

    the kitchen floors. we had bad stains on the them in certain places, so i strategically placed the white stripes (ben moore porch and floor ) over the stains. has held up AWESOME!

    the trim. i totally understand the debate here and lived with the original woodwork for a while. i really did try and make it work bc i do appreciate the intrinsic beauty of the creaftmanship….however, it was very orange in color and i am kind of a white trim gal. sorry to disappoint. the dining room green did look nice with the natural trim but then the other rooms i didn’t love natural and i didnt want a multitude of different trims. so, ben moore vine green does look good with natural trim….fyi

    last, the kitchen backsplash is that vinyl stuff from menards and has been awesome. as you can tell we have had a very limited budget. any questions…please email me at nora@norafleming.com

    oh, the light in the dining room-salvation army. the lights in the kitchen ikea. the sink in the kitchen ikea too.

    hope this helps anyone who is trying to redesign on a budget~


  • I like the white paint. I think the house looks great, really breezy and fun. The kitchen floor is interesting — I’d like to hear more about that. I wish the Budget Decorating article had been scanned larger (hint hint, Nora) so that I could read the text!!

  • This. Is. AMAZING. It makes me wish I didn’t rent a tiny little DC studio! I think my 2 fave things are a) the paint in the dining room and b) the kitchen floor treatment. Seriously they make me grin. And thanks to Nora for sharing so much great info above!!!!!

  • Nora I love all the white so much!!! Did you strip or sand all the wood finishes in the house before you painted them? I need to know so I can do the same?

  • I think its a shame that they didn’t take a harder look at the original design of the house and show more respect for it in their makeover. A beautiful, classic home was sacrificed for a trendy makeover.