before and after

before & after: toni’s chair + michelle’s exterior

by Grace Bonney

for this before & after makeover, d*s reader toni brogan of the catskill kiwi combined two of my favorite things: a chair with good bones and plaid upholstery. plaid can feel a little upper east side, preppy and conservative, but i love the way she’s integrated it into the decor in her living room. for me, it instantly updates it and makes it feel warm and modern (and how beautiful are those wooden floors?). great work, toni!

[have a before & after you’d like to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your images]


michelle mitchell of scribbit recently underwent a major reno of her alaskan home. working with black & white studio architects, they gave not only the inside, but the outside, a major facelift and a majorly modern look. there aren’t as many before shots for the interior so i’m focusing on the exterior for now- click here for more after shots. thanks, michelle!


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  • VL

    there are more photos of michelle’s house at the flickr link above- they just aren’t really before/after type shots so i didn’t want to tick people off by including all “after” shots, or before shots that didn’t directly correlate to an “after” ;)


  • wow, nice work on that chair! that’s a print i wouldn’t naturally be drawn to, but it so totes goes in her decor. love how it feels lodge-y, yet brighter. and i’m just super impressed with people who can upholster (they are the volinists of decorating, imo). i have an antique queen anne chair that was given to me by a friend cuz she had no room for it (score!) but desperately needs to be redone. this is inspiring me.

  • Thanks for posting shots–and yes, the house gets lots of stares and people driving by VERY slowly.

    It’s funny the reactions we get. There are some who really don’t understand why we wouldn’t just slap fake aluminum siding on the house to make it blend in with the rest of the neighborhood and then there are others who stop us on the street and tell us how amazing it is.

    Photos are being published in three architecture books later this year.

  • I think sol is crazy. Not every piece of furniture needs to be painted shiny white or black like most of the before/afters we see on this sight. I think it looks great. I liked the velvet that was there in the before but your new choice was a good one too. It’s a nice peice

  • I agree — I love the chair redo and am glad she went with something understated. Would love to find a modern way to use plaid in my apt.

  • I saw the before photo and thought – whoa,that house looks EXACTLY like our home here in Anchorage, Alaska (which we are also remodeling). I’m so suprised to see an AK home featured here! Now I’m wondering which part of town she’s in – maybe a drive-by ogling is in our future!

  • I loves this before & after makeover by a ds reader Toni Brogan.

    Great work Toni, you sure did give life to that old piece of furniture.

  • If you look at the lines of the chair and transpose the head of the horse in the pillow, you’ll realize the chair’s lines are just like the body of the horse. Well done

  • The house is astoumding–what a beautiful remodel! The chair surprised me, – I don’t especially care for plaid, but the pattern she chose is really perfect for that setting. Great job!

  • gosh, i love it. i want one! i have a vast collection of mid-century stuff and it would look so good with this exterior! i’m jealous, in a good way. carry on!

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