before and after

before & after: kelly’s mural + marlaina’s bathroom

by Grace Bonney

today’s first before & after comes from d*s reader kelly. she turned a sad wood paneled wall into a cheerful mural for her baby’s nursery. she hand painted the tree and cut out birds from decorative paper. the final step was using letters from a decal kit to spell out the sweet thoughts. great work, kelly!

*quick note: before & afters may run a little thin over the next month. we’re using a lot of the recent entries for the book. my apologies- i promise it will be worth it when you see everything in print!*

[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 for marlaina’s bathroom makeover after the jump!

this bathroom makeover was designed by marlaina teich’s room for the le selva designers’ showcase. i have a real soft spot for kelly wearstler’s wallpaper so i couldn’t resist. man, all that green before…it’s nice to see things cleaned out a bit. (the after photo is taken from the doorway, so the perspective is slightly different)


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  • WOW! what a transformation! That baby’s room turned out great. What creativity!

    Thank you for sharing with us! I really love your blog {like everyone else in Blogland}


  • WOW! That bathroom redo is just lovely — and it looks as though it was done with our good friends paint and wallpaper! The room has great fixtures and features (well, to this vintage-lover, anyway!). Impressive!

  • Love Kelly’s wallpaper! The new graphic patterns in wallpaper and fabric are so hot! I love using these new patterns in fabric. See our article on F. Schumacher’s graphic patterns dated Sept. 10, 2009.

  • I sort of loved the before-bathroom… Is that weird? But the redo does look pretty rad! Love that wallpaper!

  • This is the first time I have ever seen the before and after where I likes the before better….that green bathroom was amazing! The new bathroom is nice, but the old bathroom was awesome.

  • dasha – the old bathroom was amazing indeed.
    i am disappointed that design sponge would have a before and after with such a tacky after. the carpet, the gold colored mirror and frame. Was the bathroom only posted because of the wallpaper?

  • i think the bathroom redo is amazing. the wallpaper really complements the old tile and fixtures! very classy!

  • Can I ask a technical question? I am doing something similar in my nursery and I was wondering how to attach the birds. If Kelly is reading… are they paper or fabric? What kind of adhesive did you use? How do you think it will come off? I absolutely love what you did!

  • Love the wallpaper in the after bathroom. Maybe the carpet doesn’t do justice to the look and may be throwing the drama off? Love the light that comes into the original! My bathroom has not one window:-(

  • the tree is adorable! and i love the paper she used for the birds.

    as for the bathroom, i like the wallpaper and the gold mirror in the after, but i do love the green from the before! i would have had a hard time parting with the green trim around the window, it’s so quirky and great. at least they replaced it with an equally bold wallpaper.

  • Thank you for the sweet comments. I have to say the wall really does look better in person : ) To answer your question Natalie, I used a reusable putty that is commonly used in classrooms. You can get it at any craft store for $1.

  • Love the bathroom and I’m not understanding most of the complaints… The rug isn’t the greatest, but finding the perfect rug is hard! The sink, toilet, shelf, light, and mirror all look original and I’m thrilled that they weren’t replaced with something new! I love the wallpaper too and know that there’s no way I would have been able to get ready in a bright green bathroom. My skin would have looked awful!

    Two thumbs up!

  • I am absolutely speechless after seeing the baby’s room. That is one of the cutest and most creative things I have ever seen.

  • i have to agree with laura on this one … as i was scrolling down with my laptop’s mouse, i mistook the before bathroom for the after and was diggin’ the kelly green. Oopsie! :)

  • I really like both ones: very nice changes for very little money! Like Felicity, I appreciate that none of the furniture has been changed but even though, it looks so much better with just a new wallpaper!

  • I think a lot of us are nostalgic for our old elementary school bathrooms. That one looks so ‘institutional,’ but in a non-depressing way.

    It’s tricky to try to match patterns, I think, with the rug and the wallpaper in the bathroom makeover. Nice thing about it, you can always get a new rug to match that amazing wallpaper!

  • I love love painted paneling – Kelly would you please share the shade of green that you used.
    The bathroom’s hardware looks to be the same. I think because we were shown a stark room then a really dressed to be photographed more magazine looking room there was more of a difference. I would have liked to see the same angle as the before shot especially a bathroom with a bonus window.

  • Both before and after pieces are fantastic. That green bathroom made me laugh. When I lived in Philadelphia, my neighbor’s living room was painted kelly green. The day his daughter was married, I looked out my window to see all 12 bridesmaids also in kelly green. I guess everyone has their own taste in color!

  • the before bathroom was scary…seriously, it looks a bit like a creepy jail bathroom. The after is fabulous- it’s not as trendy as a lot of the rooms shown on ds but it’s really nice, very lux!

  • I’m with everyone who preferred the before bathroom. It’s so rad. The after isn’t too bad though. The thing that really bugs me about it though is the mixing of gold and silver…not a fan of that.

  • Thanks everyone for the great comments, even those who preferred the before pic!! All the fixtures are original to the 1915 home, including the “tacky” gold mirror (which is actually brass).

  • Love the mural. We have the same crib for our little one due in December:)

    Also Love the after of the bathroom! the green was cool, but the after looks so much fresher and cleaner. great job keeping the character and updating the look!

  • Oh, man. I’ve been perusing this blog for ages, and coming online today and seeing this gave me hope for the highly glossy slim-paneled wall in my mother’s bedroom. She HATES it and wishes she could do something to make it less atrocious. The previous occupants of her house basically mangled a craftsman bungalow in order to add a shoddy second story, and all the crazy changes they made really destroyed the integrity. We might not be able to restore the integrity, but after having lived with it for a while, we hope to change it.

    This is definitely something I’m book-marking to show my mum later ;) Very awesome. (And the same goes with the bathroom. We’ve got some ugly ones!)

  • Nice job on the bathroom!!! I love that you kept the hexagon tiles! and what nice brass pipes!!! it looks so much warmer now. before it looked very institutional.

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