before & after: will’s nightstand + wendren’s ladder

this nightstand before & after comes from will means, an artist and woodworker from salem, massachusetts. will found this antique nightstand at todd farm (an outdoor flea market in rowley, mass) for twenty-five dollars. first will stripped it down the nightstand and re-stained it. next, he drew his design and transferred it to a frisket, and applied to the nightstand. afterward that he painted and then lacquered the finished piece. will explained that this technique is, “a unique method which allows me to introduce color and a modern feel, while still showcasing the wood and the original integrity of the piece”. all of the hardware on the nightstand is original and restored and the drawers are lined in mustard-yellow felt. great work, will!

[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 wendren’s ladder upgrade after the jump!

last but not least, wendren of the wren at etsy updated this ladder to create a display prop for her work. it’s such a simple idea, but a great one for any artists or stores looking for ways to display goods. wendren built the little drawer/shelves by hand, but you could even consider using pre-made wooden letter inboxes from ikea or the container store for the same effect. thanks for sharing, wendren!

  1. OOooOOOoOooo I love the nightstand!

  2. minouette says:

    I love it! Love the octopus, love the philosophy of preserving the wood grain and hardware.

  3. kate endle says:

    WOW! That’s brilliant!

  4. DC Sarah says:

    I covet that nightstand.

  5. Very talented and creative!

  6. Karina says:

    This is aboslustely gorgeous and so well done! Love the octopus! Love the nightstand ! A ++

  7. leel says:

    i love this – so well done. it had given me tonnes of ideas for my little collection of furniture taking up my garage. yippee!

  8. leel says:

    the ladder idea below is amazing. i can imagine it with plants in a corner of my studio as well! perfect blend of funtion and form! thanks for sharing.

  9. nicole says:

    Hands down the most awesome piece of furniture I’ve laid eyes on.

  10. Angela says:

    Wow- one of the best ever.

    Obviously a lot of work & skill went into this and it truly shows in the results. Congrats!

    Will- would you mind sharing how you stripped it so well?

  11. Jo says:

    oooooh i love the nightstand too, having the wood show through at the octopus looks briliant. Black was a great colour choice, don’t think it would work quite as well in another colour, maybe white :)

  12. Allison says:

    I love the octopus!
    This makes me want to reconsider some of the sad looking wood pieces I have lying around.

  13. Allison says:

    I’m also loving the record player in the background of the first shot.

  14. james says:

    whoa. the octopus table is pretty impressive. this might be one of the best before/after furniture on here.

  15. abby says:

    Amazing! I love seeing before and afters that are not DIY. That’s real craftmanship.

  16. Jamie says:

    awesome! great work indeed!

  17. Diana says:

    Antique styled furniture elements are my passion..

  18. alexis says:

    that night stand is amazing, i want it!!!

  19. sara says:

    anything octopus is amazing! and i love the ladder — the drawers match perfectly.

  20. DesignWolfe says:

    Gorgeous makeover on the nightstand — so inspiring!

  21. Kate Skogen says:

    love the nightstand!! nice job, will.
    and i have a ladder our back- i’m inspired to refinish and set up drawers… maybe include some vine-like plants! yay!!

  22. geisslein says:

    the “after” is just breath-taking – I have fallen in love now!

  23. xallxsewnxupx says:

    jaw drop.

  24. katie says:

    AWESOME. I just said that out loud when I saw the night stand. Very inspiring indeed.

  25. will means says:

    Thanks everybody for all the great comments! I’m flattered. I’m crazy about that record player too, allison. One of my prized possessions.

  26. Alison says:

    the nightstand is AMAZING! i love how he did something difference nesides just slapping paint in it. nice work !

  27. Danielle says:

    It’s beautiful!

  28. knack says:

    hello mr octopus…you are amazingly wonderful!

  29. Uncle Beefy says:

    It’s well done but is it really creative, Grace? I mean, who doesn’t have a phenomenal octopus side table? ;)

    Will, you are a wonder! You make me feel like a schlub but I won’t deny you the compliment to your splendid artistry!

    Color me jealous.

  30. kellie says:

    ooooooo great job – love love!

  31. I love this the glossy black with the wood showing through is stunning!

  32. Katie (Australia) says:

    I am so impressed by the octopus nightstand. Completely original. The woodgrain coming through the design with !hat creature wrapping around it, wow.

  33. Melanie says:

    totally cool -great work! :)

  34. Tara says:

    Oh, I just love this idea! Perfect to pass on to my friend who was thinking of painting an entry table black…

  35. That night stand is simply amazing.

  36. Chihiro says:

    This is the best refinishing job I’ve seem yet!

  37. michelle says:

    that nightstand is fabulous….so unique.

  38. conn says:

    I think one of my favorites yet. It looks very expensive. We will use this idea around here for sure.

  39. Shelley says:

    The octopus nightstand is fabulous! This doesn’t look easy to do, but I wonder how it would work on an old dresser? Thanks for posting!

  40. cortney says:

    does will have any interest in selling a copy of his octopus frisket? no, seriously. please.

    1. grace says:


      he might- shoot him an email at his site above :)


  41. John says:

    I’m fortunate enough to have been the one to buy the night stand. I love it.

  42. LonnyJoe says:

    Willie bean the nightstand looks great . Nice theme do i see a set in the future ?

  43. Jen says:

    octopus=omgness! I want I want!

  44. Han says:

    I’m not keen on the design (the picture of the Octopus) But i love the idea and methods :)


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