before and after

before & after: kristen’s dresser + desk

by Grace Bonney

these next before & afters come from the talented kristen fountain davis of kfd designs. i love the sort of aged, distressed paint job both pieces got, and the reminded me that i forgot to announce a new column starting next month: before & after basics! next month, barb from knack will be joining us on thursdays to share a before & after 101 process. ranging from how to strip furniture and stain wood to how to pickle a piece of furniture or create a pattern with tape, barb will be teaching us the tools of her trade and covering many of the techniques you see here in makeovers every week. she’s working on her posts as we speak so stay tuned for those starting in july!

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]

CLICK HERE for kristen’s desk makeover after the jump!

Suggested For You


  • The flaw on the bottom left drawer is given charm with the makeover, that is quite impressive. As well, this is probably the first time I love the use of a color best described as dirty highlighter yellow.

  • I think the desk is adorable, but with all due respect (seriously, because I couldn’t make over a shoebox), I think the dresser is just plain ugly.

  • That firdst dresser is just what I needed to see today. My baby’s room has a dress like that…no details, just flat. I have been agonizing over what to do to it. Distrssed paint job it is!

  • love kristin, and her beautiful work….and this striped yellow and gray piece is my favorite piece of hers!

    way to go kristin !


  • Sorry, but ugly and uglier comes to mind. How long do you think people will have these pieces in their homes before repainting them…?

  • can’t wait for the ‘before & after basics’! I just picked up a desk at a thrift shop for $20. It has great potential but needs some serious help. I’ll definitely be tuning in for tips.

  • i love before & after’s as much as the next girl, don’t misunderstand, but does anyone else ever think to themselves, “dear God, what have they done to that beautiful piece of furniture?!”? sometimes it just needs a fresh stain.

  • Love seeing these! I just re-did my desk for my studio and posted it on my blog! Now I’m working on an old card catalog I picked up at a flea market…I’ve never been too “into” furniture redo’s but I’ve got to admit I’m liking the results!

  • love the first one! when i saw the before pic i was a little sad that it was getting a make over, but then i saw the results-fantastic!

    and so what if you get sick of it and decide to repaint it in a few years?! isn’t that part of the fun?

  • The desk is cute and nice touch with the new pulls, but I like the dresser way better in the before picture!!!

  • thank you guys! :)

    wood lovers, i feel your pain. i, too, actually really loved the piece ‘before’ as well…but, i am not in the staining business, i’m in the paintin’ business! it’s what i do! :) i thought sanding down the corners and the edges to give the beachy look was a good way to sort of maintain the sweet rough, wooden look that the piece screamed at you when it was in its before state. also – it’s actually not ‘highlighter’ yellow in real life…it’s a beach-umbrella yellow!

  • This reminds me of my favorite quote and one that I hold dear and true for my design business:

    “Decorators should never insist on throwing out everything the client has. Even when they are far from perfect, loved possessions add personality!” – Billy Baldwin

  • I enjoy seeing the before and afters and am always inspired. But with this one, I have to agree with some of the other comments…not a huge fan.

  • i am in love with that dresser. you’ve inspired me to do mine in seafoam green and white, distressed of course. thanks :)

  • Kristen and her work are amazing! I am a huge fan and this dresser is absolutely perfect!! It totally makes the space it’s in and it makes me want to decorate a whole room around it! Amazing job!

  • I think both are super cute! Obviously, painting furniture is not for everybody – but there are plenty of fans out there.

    I have a question: are you using wallpaper for the desk’s pattern on the drawers?

  • I heart that dresser! Beautiful! I love the stripes. I love yellow and gray. And distressed paint. It’s pretty much an amalgamation of all the things I love.

  • Love the stripe dresser. I am going to do the yellow and cream stripe on two smaller dressers. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

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