before and after

before & after: claire’s murphy bed + linda’s chair

by Grace Bonney

ever since amy’s fun post on the history of murphy beds, i’ve been on the lookout for cute modern murphy beds online. so i was thrilled to hear from claire at little dog vintage about her amazing custom murphy bed! claire lives in a 500 square foot studio and was short of space for both storage and sleeping. so she decided to work with a local carpenter to design and build a custom murphy bed/closet system that would give her room to live, sleep, and store things without taking up all 500 of her feet. i think the results are really beautiful and sleek- and kudos to the carpenter for the great woodwork. thanks to claire for sharing!

[have a before & after you’d like to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your images (low res, please).]

CLICK HERE for linda’s colorful ikat chair makeover after the jump!

this next makeover comes from d*s reader linda roberts. she found this beautiful chair at a habitat for humanity thrift shop and decided to take it home and replace the outdated upholstery. after finding a colorful ikat print for only $4 a yard linda re-upholstered the front of the chair (there wasn’t enough ikat fabric for the whole frame) and used some leftover linen she had lying around for the sides and bottom. i love that linda left the frame distressed, and that she added so many details to really make the chair her own- including a beautiful custom-made pillow from enhabiten. thanks for sharing, linda!

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  • I am loving every single before and after today, think this is the best before/after day yet! I’m left feeling inspired to tackle some new projects at home :)

  • The fabric on that chair is beautiful! I love the contrast of the bold, bright print with the more rustic linen and wood. It’s not something I would have thought to put together, but it’s truly fantastic.

  • Alex,

    The bed mechanism itself was purchased from an online shop that sells Murphy bed parts (google murphy bed kit and you will find quite a few), and the cabinets surrounding were purchased from IKEA.

    I hired a carpenter to put it all together and attach the bed to the wall, etc. The wood paneling was an idea I came up with to hide the back side of the bed when it is flipped up as well as create a cozy interior when the bed is down. Lately, the headboard for the bed was a DIY using plywood, foam, and some soft fabric from a local fabric store. The carpenter attached it to the wall with lots of velcro so that I can actually remove it if I decide I want to change out the fabric someday.


  • Wow! Love the murphy bed. I have been wanting to do something like that in my craft/extra bedroom for months.
    Great Job!

  • That Murphy bed is one of the loveliest things I’ve seen in a while. Beautiful up or down, and so useful!

  • I’m a little biased *grin* but I’ve got to say that a vibrant throw pillow (rather like the one used on the occasional chair) would jazz up the bedroom and that gorgeous Murphy bed to no end.

  • Claire,
    Your Murphy bed is awesome!

    Can you tell me…is the stand underneath a solid piece of wood or is it framed out and covered? Do you use it as a shelf when the bed is closed? Is this “foot” the only thing (other than a spring/counterbalance system within the bed hardware) that keeps it propped up when open? How do you lock the bed when it’s closed? It is stunning. Now to find a carpenter…..

  • Murphy Bed:

    Once I figured out that the second picture was the bed in the closed position I was hooked! This is awesome! Think about that, your bed looks so good closed (with your neat neat neat idea to finish it the way you have) that it took me a few moments to “get it”! Clever!


    Very nice example of shabby chic! That fabric really pops! Leaving the frame “as found” lends an air of authenticity to the chair. Hope it’s not chippy LEAD paint though!

  • I really love the murphy bed makeover! Finally something that looks good before and after. ‘Before’ pics are usually terrible, sad, dark, old and truly scary. It’s very easy to get any better that way. Now this is something different! And not so shocking. Sometimes it looks like the person had a really ugly house for ages and then suddenly became super cool. It feels fake. I love this one, however. It feels honest. AND it looks good too! I love the change and the project!

  • We have a Murphy bed in my sewing room/office/guest room. It is the greatest (except for the white mica cabinet, that I’d like to “spiff up” somehow). Note to those constructing their own from “parts”…be sure to buy a mattress specifically designed for Murphy Beds…you want a good one with a “no slump” factor since it will be spending most of its life standing on end.

  • I have loved Murphy beds ever since I had one in a San Francisco studio 40 years ago! I’m happy to hear they’re coming back because I think they are a wonderful spacesaver.

  • Yolanda,

    The “feet” on the bed were constructed by securing wall shelf brackets to the backside of the bed, then framing them out with wood. I can certainly use it as a shelf when the bed is up, and it actually was designed with that in mind.

    The “foot” and the the spring murphy bed system attached to the wall are the support system for the bed, and it is quite sturdy. This is where I have to give credit to the carpenter, as he did quite a bit of work to make sure everything was balanced correctly, etc.

    The bed does not have a “lock” per say, but rather fits snugly into the frame when it is up. I’ve never had an issue with it coming down.


  • Claire, your murphy bed is absolutely fantastic. I am also in love with the small table lamp, is the white base made of some kind of ceramic?

  • Guido & Kathryn,

    The lamp is vintage purchased off ebay. The base is white glazed ceramic. If you search for danish modern lamp on ebay or etsy you can often find similar lamps.


  • Great design!

    Question though? How did you achieve such a great sheen on the wood paneling? Is it glass or a lot of lacquer?


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