before and after

before & after: kate’s couch + erin’s bath + amanda’s yard

by Grace Bonney

today’s first before & after comes from d*s reader kate pollmann. she persuaded her grandmother to part with this vintage 50s day bed and decided to give it a facelift. after surviving a hurricane (which destroyed the rest of her grandmother’s home) kate’s daybed needed a little pick-me-up, so she repainted the frame, and reupholstered the cushions. then, for an added kick, she added fabric inserts to the lattice back and sides. kate says that now it “makes me smile every day”. i love a happy ending to a makeover story.

[have a before & after you’d like to submit for the d*s book or website? just shoot me an email right here with your images!]


CLICK HERE to see amanda’s backyard makeover and erin’s bathroom upgrade after the jump!

i’m a huge fan of brooklyn artist amanda kavanaugh, and have been lucky enough to visit her gorgeous victorian home a few times. so i was thrilled to see images from her back yard makeover. amanda and her husband jimmy decided that they wanted to enjoy their backyard more fully so they decided to dig up their driveway to create a sunny side-yard. jimmy built a pergola off the front of the garage and spruced up the side garden as well. the final result is a gorgeous new outdoor space with the feeling of outdoor rooms. great work, amanda and jimmy!

last but not least, d*s reader erin mcdonald sent over this beautiful bathroom makeover. she recently turned her 70s style “horror of a bathroom” into a glamorous, vintage-inspired space. i love a good chandelier in a bathroom so this is a definite thumbs up in my book. great work, erin!


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  • Love the bathroom transformation – mine is stuck in mid-80s country blue (UGH!) and I haven’t had time to attack it. This is exactly what the doctor prescribed – hex and subway tiles galore!

  • I liked the couch better before. Sometimes I find it a shame to hide some nice wood under a coat of paint. In a few years, someone (let’s say Kate’s grandchild) will have very uncharitable thoughts about Kate when trying to take that paint off that lattice !

  • the daybed now looks generic, the paint is not working for this bed in particular (yes, should have just sanded the wood down and stained it while just changing up the cushion and the fabric). the grass looks nice in the backyard and as for the bathroom the chandelier is the after.

  • I’m so in love with that couch!!! It looks like the side boards were made from harem windows or screening. And I love the touch of tassel, it really completes the design.

    And of course the bathroom is gorgeous! Wow what a difference to a small area. Makes me feel like I could change my small boring bathroom into something special.

    Thank YOU!

  • I prefered the daybed before too. It does look pretty, but might just as well have come from Ikea. I am holding off painting things characterless white, because I know I’ll regret it soon enough when wood is back in fashion.

  • thanks for all the nice comments! the daybed was sanded lightly before painting- it was an old fruitwood finish that was sooo hard to remove. the pillows i had made with kravet and lee jofa fabric. the brown and white pillows are thomas paul :)

  • Pity! The daybed could have been wonderful, but now looks like something straight out of any single girl’s apartment in the 1970s. The before had so much potential, but the after closed everything off.

  • Why does everyone insist on painting over gorgeous wood tones in a boring paint color? What happened to leaving the integrity of our antiques alone? Some things are just not to be messed with. Sorry.

  • Thanks for the lovely comments! The chandelier in my bathroom was purchased from Craig’s List for $5o. [I think it was originally from Lamp’s Plus].

    Love the other re-dos as well! Thanks for the post, Grace! xo.

  • In response to the wood purists — sure, I prefer natural wood to white paint too (not to mention the ubiquitous teal), but you got to get your priorities straight. From both a practical and an ecological point of view, it’s better for furniture to be painted and used and loved than for it to be thrown away because it doesn’t fit in with the owner’s other stuff. As for trying to please theoretical grandchildren… way down the list of priorities the way I see it!

    Gotta love how the text makes it sound like she robbed her grandmother of the only piece of furniture she had left after the hurricane! Sorry. Hee.

  • I’m not a huge fan of chandeliers, but I adore that bathroom. The tile is gorgeous, and it is clean and open, with a retro feel without going overboard. Awesome.

  • I like the couch- even in its painted form- except Im sad she covered up the lattice work with fabric. IMHOP That’s what made the piece special …

  • Oh, Erin your bathroom is so pretty! I’ve been wanting to change the color of my bathroom and now I’m thinking I’ll paint it a creamy white ~ my sink & mirror are similar but my ceiling is way too low for a chandelier… darn…but, I’m inspired!

  • Holy Wow – I have that exact same daybed!!!! I got mine by the side of the road for $15. and it was painted pink & teal. :( It took me days to get it striped and I still couldn’t get it completely clean! I had to rebuild the framing, and I still haven’t got new cushions for it – INSPIRED TO FINISH NOW! thanks so much!!

  • I love Kate Pollmann’s couch where she painted it white. I recently bought a varnished and laquered wooden bed but I would like to paint it in white. The vendor told me that it’s impossible to do that because the paint will fall off easily. Is there any paint or solution that I can make the bed white eventually? Thanks alot.

  • Loving the daybed makeover… The white paint looks lovely and fresh! It looked nice in the original finish, too. However, I think it fits into your room best in white. If I were you, I wouldn’t regret painting it one bit!

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