before and after

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

by Kate Pruitt

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

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  • Wooooow, I love what she did with the card catologue! As a writer/book-lover, that is a dream piece. They could totally do more of those and sell them — at least to me!

  • The card catelog is cool, I think I saw it on YHL a while back.

    That is such an intersting laundry room! It almost makes me rethink my more traditional ideas for ours, but it wouldn’t really go with our house… haha.

  • LOVE both transformations! Could they elaborate on where they got the countertop that went above the washer/dryer? I’m looking for a similar thickness for making a desk! :)

  • Laundry would never feel like a chore in that gorgeously glam room. Love that unexpected wallpaper. And all the elbow grease really polished up that card catalog. Nicey nice.

  • Hate to be a downer but while the laundry room looks great I’m not sure I’d ever spend that much time and money on a space that is rarely seen.

    • shawn

      it may be rarely seen, but it’s certainly not rarely used. i love when people invest in decorating a room that they actually spend a huge chunk of time in :)


  • that is the most glamorous laundry room I’ve ever seen. It matches my desperate wish to some day be able to do laundry without going outside. That laundry room is like my 50s housewife dream!

  • The card catalog is stunning. Really fantastic.

    Also, it’s worth noting that the original card catalog was lacking, and their transformation serves the piece of furniture well.

  • That card catalog is gorgeous. What a great find…I am very jealous. I agree with Grace on investing in a room that may not be seen, but is very well used. The laundry room makeover is beautiful and it sure would make a mundane task a bit more pleasant.

  • Where can I get that great wallpaper? Have a miserable green-tiled bathroom that begs for the lovely distraction!

  • I’m a librarian and I love the card catalog. I am also planning on moving my laundry room from the basement to the second floor and this is so inspiring!

  • My kind neighbour has a low boredom-threshold regarding furniture which results quite often in unexpected windfalls for me!!
    She gave me 6 garden chairs in bits with the screws and all the dovels and whatever they are called-so I put them back together again. They were in need of a bit of paint or make-over and
    I already had a table which was old and pretty but without chairs. That table I had rescued from an old couple who wanted it “chopped up for firewood” .In the end I decided forthe paint colour for Cooking Apple Green from Farrow and Ball.
    Check out the link and see what you think!!

  • Both transformations are awesome! While I can only dream of a card catalogue (you know, for my similar distant dream studio) that laundry room is totally inspiring and attainable. How chic is the chanel and bold wallpaper? I’d hang out in there (which the laundry mountain might appreciate…)

  • I absolutely LOVE the idea of wallpapering the laundry room. It is actually an ADVANTAGE that it is rarely seen– you won’t get sick of it, yet you will love each time you step in to do the laundry!

  • Both jobs are fantastic! Laundry room is an inspiration – I have to re-do mine. It’s narrow, dingy, and has tons of cables and a furnace in addition to washer/dryer/sink – but I’m sure something can be done…

  • oh my god….that is an amazing piece!! I’ve been looking for a card catalog without luck, but this is going to give me a bigger push to look harder!

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!

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

    • briannon

      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 ;)


  • 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?

  • 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!!:)

  • 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!). :)

  • 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!

  • 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. :)

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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) :)

  • 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.

  • 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.

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