Have you ever noticed how popular ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos are in design and building magazines? Maybe there’s some psychological affect where things seem more beautiful when placed next to ugly things. I’m definitely guilty of taking more than my share of before photos (ugly stuff just begs to be photographed), but I always feel a little weird about showing them against completed projects. In many remodeling projects, updated buildings are unrecognizably different from their former selves. Even in minor projects it’s very common to replace all finishes. So how are the ‘before’ photos relevant? Design and building isn’t plastic surgery. It’s not like a building can be intractably ugly. (“That carpeting is so ugly – there’s no way they’ll be able to take it out!) Always seems like a bit of trickery.