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

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!


  1. Julia says:

    What a thrill to see a split level redux! But now, everyone on the block is going to want one. . .

  2. ummm? wow. that one serious remodel. very impressive.

  3. visualingual says:

    Wow, the house renovation looks great. More photos, please!

  4. grace says:


    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” ;)


  5. Kristan says:

    Wow. That house looks fab.

  6. nique says:

    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.

  7. jacklyn says:

    wow! great before and after!

  8. Erin says:

    Love the inside. The outside is a little bleek, but the interior is gorgeous.

  9. enhabiten says:

    I love the way that house looks on the outside. Great reno.

  10. Dee says:

    Wow the house just looks completely different.

  11. Sol says:

    both versions of the chair look like a before, in my opinion, not to be snarky or anything….

  12. Caroline says:

    WHOA! That house went through a major transformation. Love it.

  13. 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.

  14. Gabriel says:

    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

  15. Sol says:

    ahaha Gabriel you don’t know how right you are on that one.
    Nonetheless the checkered fabric looks old.

  16. Carrie says:

    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.

  17. Audry says:

    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!

  18. annkent says:

    I am so loving this transformation!

  19. Libby says:

    oh shit…I love those horse pillows!
    does anyone know where they are from?

  20. Dana says:

    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.

  21. AmyA says:

    Wow! This is so beautiful! I also love those horse pillows and would love to know their source.

  22. Julia says:

    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

  23. susannah2 says:

    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!

  24. monika says:

    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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