before and after by 32

before & after: living room renovation

This Before & After project provides a great example of the power of neutrals in creating an elegant, modern and bright space. I appreciate that Daniel decided not to shy away from mixing patterns, and lots of them. He’s done a great job giving each room in the home a unique feel, while also avoiding overwhelming the small space with too much clutter. Lovely work, Daniel! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read more about Daniel’s living room makeover after the jump!

Time: 1 month

Cost: $1800

Basic Steps: The client and I worked together on this. We began with some sketches at Starbucks, and initially, she was a bit hesitant regarding the sweeping changes to her apartment. But each step of the way, she continually saw how the project would improve her living space and — importantly in New York — really delineate the different areas of her studio. More specifically, I like to work with somewhat ordinary objects and build from scratch. The French windows are actually made from 30-cent dowels from Michael’s, and the curtains are just plain cotton curtains from IKEA soaked in water for a linen effect and hung on copper rods from Home Depot. The chandelier pictured is made from vintage cloth wire, and I have a tendency to sand and re-paint furniture I find at flea markets. All of these items are super affordable — the project cost what it did because we worked together to literally redesign her entire apartment, including all of the furniture. My advice is look around for things that inspire you and try to copy them. It’s a great way to learn while maintaining a vision of how the design might look once complete. — Daniel

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32 Comments

Paulina J!

Love those floors! Love the uncluttered simplicity.

Laura

The dowels are an excellent idea! I may try that myself. Looks great!

Liz

This is awesome! It’s really inspirational to me, as someone with a very small, awkwardly shaped living room.

Michelle @ If Toys Could Talk

What an amazing transformation! I really, really love the pretty blue wallpaper. And I love what the designer did with Ikea curtains and simple copper rods. The effect is lovely.

Ann

Very nice! This is some excellent creative thinking — affordable, doable, and great results.

Loveash

What an awesome idea for those windows! I would love a closer look at the dowels, or even a DIY. That would be spectacular! Oh, and great transformation :)

Laura

This is beautiful! Love the chevron wall in the dining area and the use of the blue wallpaper to define the bedroom. I would never believe this was only $1800. Looks much higher end.

Diana

I’ve read D*S for awhile but never commented… until now. Dowels from Michael’s, Ikea curtains, and copper rods from Home Depot? Brilliant ideas and beautiful after. I think I actually have some of those very dowels and rods cluttering up a closet somewhere… I will definitely be stealing these ideas. Thank you!

I second LOVEASH’s request for a DIY – this transformation is impressive, but the creativity (and frugality!) of the materials makes me really want to learn more. Is that literally Elmer’s glue on the window? Can you create that “linen effect” by soaking any cotton curtains, or do they have to be white and a certain weight, etc?

Can’t stop raving – creative, smart, and gorgeous.

Tonya

Amazing transformation. Thanks for sharing. I really love the copper rod for the curtains.

LLinNYC

This guy is incredible. I can’t stress that enough.

Chrissy @MABSOOTa

I third for a DIY. Daniel left us hanging with the very intriguing phrase “soaked curtains for a linen effect.” Wait- I didn’t know soaking curtains could make them look linen. How long do they soak? What kind? Do you add anything to the water? More details please!

David & Jordana

Daniel just finished my apartment in NJ; he literally transformed a dilapidated two bedroom over a garage into a stunning Scandinavian cottage retreat. My wife was freaking out about moving from Manhattan to the suburbs but when Daniel walked through the space with us and proposed his ideas – she literally hugged him five times. All our family and friends are in disbelief when they see the before and after pics. Daniel’s ideas are fresh, incredibly original, and sophisticated. His background in architecture serves him extraordinarily well, mixing an artistic imagination with a disciplined knowledge of the reality of space and how far it can be pushed. You have to just trust him.

Robert

Daniel did some work on our 2-bedroom Manhattan apartment, including the design and creation of unique lighting fixtures. Daniel is thoughtful about design and life in general. He is incredibly talented and fun to be around to boot. Our place looks fantastic and transforming it with him has been truly enjoyable and empowering in a DIY sense as well!

Ohad

not suprisigly, another brilliant work by daniel. kol hakavod

Mustang Sally

Wow, what a great, economical, and fab make-over. Genius. Even though the space is small, it’s light and airy with distinct spaces. Love it.

Andrea

Oh wow this is so lovely. I’m moving into a small space with my fiancé and have been looking for some inspiration that’s affordable. We just started a business and have a wedding in 2 months but I really want our new space to be beautiful and welcoming. Thank you Daniel – this is genius and so amazingl!

edward wilson

I wish I lived in New York so Daniel could do my apartment!

Kristina

Wow. I wish somebody could come and transform my life for $1800. This is a FANTASTIC before and after. It’s all about vision… You guys had GREAT vision and did a great job!

Daniel Friedman

Hi All, thank you so much for the kind words. D*S is my favorite so you could imagine the excitement when my work was posted. I think we’re doing a feature soon on the faux French window strategy because we’ve received so much interest. So stay tuned for that.

Answers to some of your questions:
1. The French windows are glued with good old Elmer’s (about $1.75). It bonds strong when dry, cleans easily when wet and is totally renter friendly. The glue’s residue even scrapes off so easily that all evidence of your Frenchified windows can be removed in minutes.

2. I find the best way to make Ikea’s cotton curtains look like linen is to first soak them in a bathtub or sink before bundling them tightly into big cloth balls. Sun drying them will result in zillions of semi-permanent creases that’ll provide visual depth to their flow and give a fantastic linen impression.

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