before and after

before & after: alison’s headboard

by Grace Bonney

today’s final before & after comes from alison of lipstick on your teeth. she converted an old stereo console front into a gorgeous custom headboard. how did she do it? she took apart the stereo console and covered the old speaker mesh (the fabric in front of the speakers) with a joel dewberry print. then she put the pieces back together and attached the ornamental wood front from the console and mounted it to her wall to create a new headboard. i love the final result (and so does alison’s cute cat harvey)- great work, alison!

[stay tuned for a newwe like it wild” next at 2pm!]


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  • I LOVE those Decoder Ring prints! I was bidding on them at a silent auction at school last year. Unfortunately, I was outbid. They’re for the band The Holdsteady.

  • I feel like the dark fabric makes the headboard disappear. The shape of the wood is REALLY interesting but you can’t really see it because of the dark fabric and the fact that the wood is kind of dark. I would switch out the fabric to a lighter shade and it would be perfect.

  • The zig-zag of the wood and the fabric compete for attention. hmmmm….
    when you go to sell your house your realestate agent will ask you to ‘make it less personal.’

  • Yeah… that “make it less personal” comment was silly. Making our homes personal is the whole point. I do agree that a little more contrast would be better. The shape of the wood is soooo cool, but it kind of gets lost in the final product.

  • Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

    Courtney, I totally know what you mean about the dark print. I chose it because it blends with everything else in the room, but it’s been nagging me too. I might switch it out for something light gray or off-white. We’ll see…could make a nice winter activity!

  • I love this idea and commend the work, but agree that there is too much competition between the elements.

  • i wouldn’t change a thing!! it’s an awesome print (i heart joel dewberry) and the darker color makes the zig-zag alluringly understated and brings out the blues in the room!

  • Love the headboard, but do feel that the background is competing a bit. I think a fabric in light blue or duck egg would look stand out against the richness of the timber. What a find!

  • I like the idea, but the fabric (at least in these pictures) looks too much like pegboard or chair caning.
    As for the house-selling comments- no, you’re not selling the headboard, which is the point. You are trying to sell the house, and things that are loud/personal/unconventional detract from the *house* and should be avoided for a quick sell, esp. in this tough market. just sayin’

    • laura

      i get it, but who’s selling a house? this is a before & after post, not a “we’re selling our house post”. the whole real estate line seems to be beside the point here…


  • Interesting piece of wood to turn into something fantastic and unique, I’d love one with bright yellow and white fabric :)

  • I just wanted to put my two cents in….I vote for a lighter fabric as well. Love to see this redone wherein the wood really stands out. I’m thinking medium toned grey or grey-blue fabric.

  • Lost in translation…sorry for the misuderstanding on my previous comment about ‘less personal.’
    The reinvention of the wood item makes a GREAT head board – it is STRONG on it’s own or with a simple backing. Knowing when to EDIT is part of good design. Sorry again. I remember the ‘critique’ process from my old art classes..and it is tough when you think what you created is amazing but the opinion is ‘what sells’ like on the TV show ‘Project Runway.’

    • nativeson

      i still don’t quite get the “what sells” relation to the post at hand- she’s not selling anything here, the bed, the home, nada. so i’m not sure i understand a critique from that viewpoint. i obviously welcome you to disagree, dislike anything on the site, but i don’t get judging something based on a selling requirement. she lives here and isn’t moving right now, so why is that a factor in this project post?


  • Sorry again. My point of View on what ‘sells’ or is maketable was ‘like’ an analogy on ‘good design.’ I clearly understand this is a someone’s personal ‘craft’ or DIY project. My intent was to be constructive not destructive. I am strong believer of the design/edit process…and it takes time and fresh eyes. We all get better over time…like me and my weak writing skills.

  • just for the record I LOVE this site.
    I look at it everyday…the sneak peaks into the homes is awesome.

  • I feel the beautiful Chinese-inspired fret work is getting lost because the pegboard is the same color. I would paint either the fret work or the pegboard a contrasting color to make it stand out. Or I would just hang the fret work by itself.

  • i love the frame alone; it’s so stunning! i also love the wall color (dove grey?) before the jump i was totally imagining it hung on the wall by itself, possibly painted a beautiful off-white.

  • It is a beautiful piece and a fantastic re-use of the old stereo! I agree that it is a great frame that could stand alone- but maybe that is the next stage of the project- when you tire of the backfabric, switch it out! Or hang the frame alone above the bed as a “headboard”.

  • What an eye for design! I am trying to develop this myself and am amazed by these pieces and your creativity! I love the blue in the fabric and how it plays on the wood of the head board. you did a fabulous job! Thank you so much for sharing. This just inspires me to keep trying!

  • is it a full moon? all the rude comments today are making me dizzy! thank you for a wonderful day of before and afters! they’re all super great :O)

  • the pattern of the fabric is really pretty but I feel it is just to much for this project, it steals form the beauty of the frame.

    really I’ve become a bit dissapointed with this before and afters, most of the time I think they just ruin stuff, other times they just add a coat of paint, or reupholster with fabric that doesn’t match the pieces at all just for the sake of making more contemporary… is it really worth it to feature those?

  • sorry if that came up a bit mean, but it is what I think… otherwise I love design sponge as much as I ever have, and I am a really old reader too!

  • I think the headboard would look great if she just kept the piece as it was “before” but painted the wall behind it a solid, high impact color.

    Of course, to each her own!

  • meh. not enough contrast for me. Losing all the interest in the wood work.
    But always happy something is getting re-used!

  • I think it is pretty. But………. I love the design before, I think the backing takes away from it. I think it would have looked cool with mirrors behind it myself.

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