before and after

before & after: miriam’s trunk + blair’s calling card board

by Grace Bonney

today’s first before & after project comes from d*s reader miriam. for ages miriam been on the hunt for a toy chest and finally found this old military footlocker at a thrift store for $3. “grossed out” by the state (and smell!) of it, miriam ultimately decided she “wasn’t going to let [her] kids anywhere NEAR it!” so she measured the old footlocker and skipped down to her local home depot to buy some sheets of plywood. so, with some wood glue, a nail gun, hinges, and a little elbow grease miriam made her own trunk! she sanded and painted the inside, used quilt batting as padding, and a sturdy duck cloth for the upholstery. and then- for a little extra kick, she stenciled on a pattern from lena corwin’s printing by hand book. the total cost of the project (including the wasted footlocker): $30. great work, miriam!

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


CLICK HERE to see blair’s calling card board makeover after the jump!

this simple but fun before & after comes from blair at delight by design. she decided to make an impromptu calling card board out of corks and some awkward shelves in her kitchen. the wine corks fit perfectly and made for a quick calling board that wouldn’t damage the wooden shelves underneath. great work, blair!


Suggested For You


  • That trunk is amazing–Miriam, if you’re reading this website, can you please email me a quote for how much you’d want for another one like it? I would totally buy that!

  • I keep collecting corks from wine that I consume… this is it! I knew there must be something that I can do with them! Thanks for the posting.

  • I love Blair’s inventive use of what otherwise would’ve been wasted space. And the rusticness of the corks fits the vintagey feel of the woodwork perfectly.

  • I can’t tell by the foto but I hope the toy box has the child safety hinges that keep the lid from falling on little fingers. You can add the safety hinge to any toy box without removing old hinges and they are available at hardware stores.

  • You need a Child Safety hinge NOW!!!
    They can be found at Home Depot on the isle with all the kitchen cabinet knobs.
    Installs in less that 10 min and your child will thank you for protecting them from a head injury or smashed fingers.

  • love this project–it’s a great take on a one i’ve seen other places, but i like this version much better! so cute, Blair!

  • Please advise this talented mother to put a hinge on the top of this lovely toy chest to prevent the lid from falling on a child. My neighbor’s child was killed when the lid fell on the child’s neck.

  • As a grandmother I was horrified that this chest did not have the child safety hinges on it. It only takes a nanosecond for a horrible accident to occur. Please, add them immediately!!

    • hi guys,

      the owner has been informed about the child locks. if anyone wants to discuss the topic further they can do so directly with the project owner- d*s comment sections are not a place to attack or guilt anyone into doing something after they’ve already been politely informed.

      for those of you trying to leave repeat comments under different false names “demanding” action on the child locks- your comments will not go through. the owner has been informed and attacks will not be tolerated, or published, on design*sponge. i find behavior like that as inappropriate and unsettling as some of you find the lack of a child safety hinge. so let’s keep everyone’s feelings in mind and take a deep breath before you leave a comment that seeks to frighten or threaten anyone.


  • beautiful chest! i love the print that you made on it. though i would’ve also liked to see a bold bright fabric or something on the insides of the chest just for an extra wow :)

  • Thanks so much for featuring my chest, I appreciate all the POSITIVE feedback! For all those who think I’m horrible mother, you’ll be relieved to know that I had already planned to install a safety hinge, but jumped the gun and took the photos before it was installed! I guess I was a little too eager to share the project!
    To Dinah, I completely agree about bold color ect! This chest will go in our living room (due to limited space in our small rental), and so it needed to be harmonious with that area. But I plan on something really crazy for the kids nursery!

  • The trunk looks very nice. However, as a mother of 3, grandmother and great-grandmother to many, many more…although the continuous hinge is a great idea, there is nothing to prevent a small child from getting hit on the head or smacked on the fingers…they make child-proof hinges just for that reason. Also, lots of newspapers could remove the smell of the orig. one; TSP and then Lysol could have removed anything detrimental to a child and could still be used for a flower box or plant box.

  • I think the trunk looks great – I only wish there were more in-progress photos, cause I’d love to see how that was done! In my recent toy chest makeover I’d done for a friend, mine started out as a toy chest – so it had all the appropriate hardware and such, which made things easier/safer – but for a $20 craigslist find, I was pretty pleased with the results.

  • Wow,Fantastic article,it’s so helpful to me,and your blog is very good,I’ve learned a lot from your blog here,Keep on going,my friend,I will keep an eye on it,www.lknnc.com One more thing,thanks for your post!welcome to Healthy Living.

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