Ghost of Bathrooms Past

Barb had a problem with her bathroom, and the problem was that it was haunted.

It wasn’t really haunted. But every time she went in there at night, the bathrobe hanging on the wall totally looked like a ghost and scared her witless.  

That isn’t even a true story, I just made that up. But it could be true. It very likely could be true. That’s probably why she knocked out the bathrobe-wall and expanded the shower instead.

Tiled Bathroom Before


tiled bathroom shower after

Or maybe she just wanted a beautifully tiled new shower, who knows? How am I supposed to know? What am I a psychic?

Ghostbuster or not, she now has a fabulous non-haunted new bathroom to enjoy.

tiled shower before


tiled shower after

Look at all that space! Look at that fabulous tile! And look at all that spaaaace! Not only did she open it up with wall to wall glass, she gained so much more by extending it all the way to the ceiling too. Best trick in the book.

Fabulous job Barb!

See more on her blog Turtles & Tails.

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I Got Your Back

The quickest way to get someone’s attention is to put something fantastic on your back.  Just ask the Victoria’s Secret Angels. Do you think anyone would give them a second look without those 10-foot-tall angel wings they wear as they parade their supermodel bodies down the runway in their underwear? HA!

Ok, bad example.

Just ask anyone walking around with a pet monkey. Or that kid in school with the coolest backpack. You know what I’m talking about right?

Me neither.

The point is, don’t overlook the back. It’s a great place to add some flair. Kim had a blank little shelf and decided to glam it up, starting with the back.

Damask Antique Mirror Before

Damask Antique Mirror

“Cool, she added a mirror,” you’re thinking. Well wait just a goll’ durned second, partner. That’s no ordinary mirror. That’s a mirror that she antiqued herself with a subtly elegant damask pattern. It was like, a big long process with chemicals and tears. Give her a hand!

Here’s a close up where you can see the pattern peeking through:

Damask Antique Mirror 1

And be sure to check out Kim’s complete step-by-step tutorial on her blog Hunt and Host.


What if your item doesn’t have a back to speak of? Like Emily’s storage cubby below?

Craft Supply Storage Before


Craft Supply Storage

Pshh, easy. You just add one. She cut a thin MDF board down to size, wrapped it in peel-and-stick paper, and nailed it to the back. So cute! And so simple! I think I have at least three pieces in my home that could benefit from a new back. What about you?

But she didn’t stop there. Since this storage cubby was going in in her master bedroom, she thought it needed a little more fancification. She stained pine boards, (they weren’t wide enough on their own, so she added an extra strip of wood in the middle to make it look intentional) and glued them to the top and sides. It’s such a grown up little cubby now!

Take a closer look on Emily’s blog Our House Now A Home.

Moral of the story: Don’t ignore your back. (Or your sides!)


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Asian Equation

What do you get when you take an stark apartment in Brooklyn, divide it with a good mix of mid-century furniture, plus a homeowner who wanted to increase functionality while factoring in a slight Asian influence on a fraction of a budget, with a common denominator of designer Lindsay Pennington?

Probably something exactly like this:

brooklyn apartment makeover

brooklyn apartment makeover after

Lindsay’s client already had a great collection of mid-century furniture pieces which helped the budget stretch. Mid-century styles are often so streamlined and simple that they can end up looking stark on their own. Lindsay really warmed up the room with art, accessories, and accent lighting. It’s so much more vibrant! You practically see the change in the energy of the room.

Imagine walking into the before room as if it were your own home.

Now imagine walking into the after. Are you spinning in gleeful circles, head thrown back and arms outstretched? ME TOO!

I also love the art arrangement above the sofa. That can be such a tricky space to decorate. I never would have considered using three large pieces of art, but it really adds interest (and the requisite Asian flair) without being too much or too little. Perfect.


Lindsey also rearranged the artwork in the bedroom. Before, the paintings above the nightstand were so low, they didn’t do much besides weigh the room down. Most mid-century furniture has such a low profile anyway; you can see that everything in here was just a few feet off the floor.

brooklyn apartment bedroom copy


brooklyn bedroom makeover after

The new artwork above the bed immediately raises the whole room, especially with that charcoal-colored wall grounding it. Floor to ceiling curtains are magically magic at softening everything, and I love that Lindsay also used the client’s original bedspread in the final look.

Adding drama, subtracting starkness, maximizing a budget …

It’s a formula for success!

See much more from Lindsay and this project on her site Lindsay Pennington Inc.

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If you’re headed to Ikea or Target in the near future, please, I urge you … be extra cautious. It’s dorm room season.

I don’t want you to get trampled to death by some emotional parent, cart careening down the aisles, anxiously searching for the last bed-in-a-bag.

Just keep a safe distance. Watch from afar as they wildly latch on to those large rubber storage containers that everybody hates. The kind with the ‘drawers.’

Consider mentioning that they could probably find a used dresser for next to nothing and make it over themselves, which would result in saved money, more storage, and a sturdier item for their student.

Here’s one now, from Meg at Green with Decor.



Black Dresser

Fantastic, right? I would have much preferred this to the dresser I used in college, which if I remember correctly, was legit made from cardboard.


But perhaps now is not the best time for nearly-empty-nesters to consider such projects. Maybe in a little while, when the shock has worn off, and the sadness and now-what-ness has set in, they might enjoy a little makeover projects for themselves.


Family Dresser Before


Family Dresser

Awww, how perfect is this one from Better After reader Pam? It looks like a difficult stencil job, but it’s actually a sheet of peel-and-stick lettering! Fresh paint and chunky pewter knobs, and it’s all set for its next phase in life too.

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