We passed by this today on 23rd Street. It's a Home Depot shop window set up to look like a before/after from a home makeover...
Makeovers intrigue us. We love to see all kinds of beautiful, inspired homes. But seeing the ashes from which they rise adds icing to the cake. When magazine spreads are accompanied by before shots, we find ourselves reading deeper. We even catch ourselves watching the last 5 minutes of Extreme Makeover Home Edition (muted, of course) just for the before/after overview.
That said, we think this display doesn't really capture the magic of the home makeover. Home Depot just displayed a sweeping change in style and probably price point, from "traditional" to "contemporary". We see real life transformations that blow this one away all the time. The makeovers we find most compelling are accomplished not simply with lots of money and new finishes but with elbow grease and thoughtfulness. The "after's" do not always abandon the "before's", but sometimes just carefully improve upon them or clean them up.
See some really moving home makeovers here at AT: Fall and Spring Cures undertaken with the AT Book and Maxwell's own 9 Month Cure.