before & after: adrianne’s console + dagny’s laundry room

Card catalogs are like fiberglass shell chairs and old educational anatomy charts: once heavily used and somewhat banal, as vintage items they are now very hot commodities, with a price tag to match. Since card catalogs are such a prized find, it follows that the re-purposing or repainting of one is controversial. Please trust that I would not show a card catalog transformation if I thought that the person had butchered a beautiful relic.

Adrianne and her husband Jeremy’s transformation of a once vertical card catalog into this horizontal painted console passes muster with me, though. I appreciate that they turned something rather unwieldy and let’s face it, not multifunctional, into a rather useful piece of furniture. The subdued blue looks lovely with the aged bronze hardware, and I even like the flourish of the lathe turned legs.

Overall I think this makeover retains the beauty of the rows upon rows of tiny drawers, while adding a few details that make it a more feminine and unique piece of furniture. Perhaps the librarians of the world will gasp, but I give it an enthusiastic thumbs up. You can see more of the process here. Great work, Adrianne and Jeremy! – Kate

[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)]

I love this before & after because I feel like even the most voracious of decorators usually stops short of the laundry room. After all, it’s where we perform one of the most tedious and mundane tasks of our daily lives. Why should we add any flair to such a dull place? It’s twisted logic, I know, and Dagny knows what’s up—make the laundry room bold, ornate, and luxurious! Laundry will never again be such a chore.

Dagny chose an eye-catching green-and-cream Chinoiserie wallpaper, which was a gutsy move. I actually love the contrast of the the ornate walls and the graphic black and white floor tiles. Far from being a boring old washer and dryer station, this new laundry room feels more like the private vanity of a Hollywood starlet. If this were my laundry room, you would find me folding my clothes in high heels and red lipstick. Great job, Dagny! – Kate

  1. Kimberly says:

    Why have an ugly laundry room?

    WOW. Awesome.

  2. Jill J says:

    I am in LOVE with both of these!

    Funny, when I saw the original card catalog pic I thought, “Oh no! What are they going to do to this!” I was expecting a butcher job. I was relieved when I read the first paragraph and then scrolled down and my jaw dropped when I saw the after. Great, great job!

  3. Girlie says:

    I can’t believe no one has asked about that wallpaper! Does anyone know where it’s from? I will be using this is my next home come hell or high water.

  4. Emily Z. says:

    This librarian at least gives that card catalog a serious thumbs up, and I usually give painted wood a cold shoulder to start with. Just gorgeous.

  5. Girlie says:

    I can’t believe no one has asked about the wallpaper. Does anyone know where it’s from? I’m going to use this in my next place if I can get my hands on it.

  6. Ahhhh! That laundry room makes my stinky basement seem so inadequate. Lovely lovely! Both projects I love so much :)

  7. borgdotorg says:

    I recently attended a furniture fair where these card catalogs were all the rage, but none of them looked as good as this one! What an awesome restoration – not only the new paint and hardware, but the creative redesign from vertical to horizontal. Big ups!

  8. Sarah W says:

    I LOVE the console! I think it looks much better than before. They’ve taken something great, and made it even better!

  9. Nessa says:

    FINALLY a paint-over-wood job done right! Beautifully done. It looks like a VERY expensive piece of furniture. And the laundry room is fabulous. Great before and afters!

  10. Hi! I have to say I’m super excited to be featured here!! :)

    The wallpaper is Palais Chinois from Osborne&Little’s fantastic Pompadour collection.

    Counter tops, cabinets and shelving are actually by IKEA. (cheap & chic, right??)

    Thank you so much for featuring my before & after, Kate!

  11. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t think I’d ever want to move that card catalouge cabinet. It looks super heavy! And those spindly little legs would scratch that lovely floor. With exception to the spindly legs, I think the other alterations are delish!

    And I would KILL to have that laundy room. YUM!

  12. Michaela says:

    The transformation of the console is just great. Very good work.

  13. I want that catalogue table! And I think I would actually do laundry if I had that room.

  14. JillS says:

    Wow! That laundry room is so inspired!! I have an ugly basement laundry and this motivates me to aim much higher! Gorgeous!

  15. Briannon says:

    Very lovely. But what on earth would you be able to put INTO the repurposed catalogue?

    1. grace says:


      i’ve seen card catalogs used for numerous purposes: organizing family photos, storing small linens, storing holiday decorations or ornaments, storing craft supplies, storing silver/silverware…anything relatively small can fit in there ;)


  16. Lisa says:

    They mention that wine bottles fit in the small drawers – that would be amazing filled with bottles and each drawer labeled!
    The laundry room is so lovely and why wouldn’t you want a nice place in your house to be while doing a chore?

  17. rebekka says:

    Oh wow…words cannot express how much I truly love that laundry room. FABULOUS!!!!!

  18. Jeremy says:

    Thanks everybody for the kind words and compliments!! Adri and I are so excited the we are featured on DS, and that so many readers like our transformation. Go to our site and see the full transformation.
    There have been questions on what we keep in the drawers, we keep wine, napkins, utensils, table runners. We thought about placing labels in the label holders but decided against it, so we that we wouldn’t take away from the overall patina of the piece. We just put certain items in certain rows, its pretty easy to find stuff, but every now and then we have to open a few drawers to find that bottle of wine we want :)
    Elizabeth – Yes it is extremely heavy and awkward to move, prob weighs around 350 lbs. It took 3 grown men to move it {without the drawers} from the garage to the dining room. But we put small furniture pads on the bottom of the legs and it actually slides pretty easy and doesn’t scratch our floors.
    Thanks again DS for featuring us!!:)

  19. Amelie says:

    Impressed with a capital “I”! Not to mention, INSPIRED. May my laundry room look ever as gorgeous as yours. I think I would want to do laundry everyday (and that says a lot!). :)

  20. talley says:

    librarians of the world are not gasping…. at least not me. i’m seething with envy!

  21. Lisa says:

    Totally agree with you on investing in a heavily used room! Especially when it transforms the feeling of doing laundry from something mundane to something elegant. Love it!

  22. Alice says:

    So jealous! Would love to have a card catalog and a laundry room. LOVE both. Nice work all around.

  23. erin says:

    i’ve been waiting and waiting for a card catalogue to show up in my life, but for now i will just swoon over the ones i can see online…this one is AWESOME. great job!!!

    i love a nice laundry room! i would say i only spend like an hour a month in my laundry room…but i know if i had kids or did my husband’s laundry, i’d be in there ALL the time! so yes- our own is still in an ugly state, but i hope to make it nice soon. :)

  24. The before and after of the card catalog is amazing! It’s hard to believe it’s the same piece.

  25. Alexandra says:

    That laundry room really pops now, I could stand there and fold clothes and daydream. I am wondering if the condensation would be bad for the wall paper?

  26. Karen E says:

    Two fantastic makeovers! Love them both. Very inspiring!

  27. sarah says:

    That laundry room is fabulous. I just finished painting mine but the wallpaper has motivated me to reconsider my original design. Love the green. Very dramatic.

  28. card catalog = amazing!
    laundry room wallpaper = amazing!

  29. Ok, just had to pop back in and say how EXCITED I am about all the positive feedback!! (and I totally agree, that card catalog is to die for!!)

    Alexandra – Our laundry room doesn’t really have any condensation, but if you choose a wallpaper that’s appropriate for bathrooms you should be fine (this one from Osborne and Little can be used in bathrooms. Nina Campbell also has a huge range of wallpapers that are bathroom friendly. Actually, most do) :)

  30. quelle says:

    i absolutely love these two transformations so much! i’m so tempted to re-do the laundry room now because it always feels like such a junk room, i sort of hate going in there.

  31. Evita says:

    I’m smitten with both transformations!

  32. Kate says:

    As a librarian, I say Hooray for the card catalog! I’m coveting one that is currently in the supply closet of my library but have been told that I can’t just take it home.

  33. Christie Walsh says:

    Where is that wallpaper from????

  34. jacquie says:

    I’m doing my laundry room right now and this has given me such great inspiration! I’m going to make mine GORGEOUS!

  35. Fantastic! Awesome wallpaper on the laundry. It gives strong personality to this room.
    Nice, nice work ;-)

  36. LA says:

    I love the card catalog. I gotta know – does she keep something is all/some of the drawers?


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.