Before and After Friday - Chairs and Sofas!

Hey gang!  I took a little break last week, but I'm back with a little twist on our "before and after" theme.  I thought it would be fun to feature something we can each do in our own home, even if we don't have the budget to change an entire room from top-to-bottom.

Often when I come in to redecorate a space, the client has a couple of existing pieces in the room that I need to incorporate into the design.  Very rarely do I have the opportunity to come in and start from scratch with every item of furniture.  And, frankly, I prefer to work with some of the client's existing pieces, especially when the item has sentimental value for my client and their family!  In the best circumstances, it adds history to a room...maybe it was grandmother's old chair.  But, most importantly, it can add soul to the space.  It helps all of the other new, "perfect" pieces in the room come together in a not-so-perfect way.  I like that.

When considering upholstered furniture, many of my clients ask me if it’s "worth it" to recover the piece or if they should just go ahead and order a new sofa or chair. The true answer is yes, it can save some money...sometimes clients can save a few hundred dollars if a piece works in their room and it’s a well-made piece (ask a professional!). If it’s both of these things—a good fit and a good make—then it’s absolutely worth it!

Take a look at these "existing" pieces that we transformed to fit into our new design.

Before -- the classic definition of grandmother's furniture.  A beautiful Regency-style dining table with the double pedestal base that I desperately wanted to work into the design of this dining room.  Not so sure about the chairs.  We didn't want matchy-matchy with the table but it was a risk to figure out what to do with that wood...epiphany!  Let's make it look like those reclaimed pieces that I'm so crazy about right now!  Refinisher gets two-thumbs up for this amazing work!!

After -- We stripped the chair, did a few more "mystery" techniques, and reupholstered in a classic linen with spaced nailhead trim for the side chairs and a gorgeous cut velvet in charcoal and brown for the arm chairs.  Seeing this gorgeous room when you enter the home sets the tone for the rest of the space.

Before -- 1960s Danish Modern sofa.  Search on ebay and you'll find a million pieces just like this.  Sculptural.  Unique.  So much potential.  But how should we reupholster it??  You have to pick a fabric (or fabrics!) that does this piece justice.  No classic linen here.  BORING.  This is my mother-in-law's piece (she has cool taste, right?!).  She found this in a Dallas consignment store for a great price so she wanted to splurge on top-of-the-line cut velvets...

After -- Designer's Guild, here we go!  We had so much fun putting these fabrics together!  We splurged quite a bit on the patterns and decided on a solid antique chenille for the long seat cushion.

Before -- Ooooh, the client and I struggled with this one.  Kinda frumpy.  Can we make this into the tailored piece that we want for the space?  In the end, the sofa was in good structural condition, had the proportions we needed and budget won out.  Apples to apples, it would have cost $1,000 more (with freight, etc.) to order a similar sofa in same fabric new.

After -- Woohoo!  Check me out!  Betcha weren't expecting this sofa could pull it together and look THIS dignified!!  In a crisp, family-friendly fabric, add nailhead trim, restructured back pillows, one long structured sofa seat and tailored waterfall skirt...and she is stylin'!

Before -- ok, so I'm going to cheat a little here.  This is not a used chair (but it could be!  this is the classic Arnes Jacobsen modern "egg" chair from the 1950s).  And this was a budget buster.  Oh, baby.  All in, the chair cost the same as the store-bought sectional sofa in this space.  But this is a perfect example of how one piece of furniture can truly make the room, and the lovely bachelor who I decorated for embraced the vision.  Bless him!

Chair looked just like this when we received it from the vendor.  But, we wanted a pattern!!  And the chair is not available in a pattern!!

After -- Ok, seriously?!  Ask my bachelor client how many compliments he gets on this chair.  A) that Velvet baby hex fabric looks A-MAZING on that chair and B) no one else has a piece just like this and that makes it sooo special.

 Hope this inspired you to use a piece you already own to create something unique in your own home!



  1. Beautiful beautiful!!! A : I call dibs on Kathy's piece when she gets ready to part with it and B: buy that refinished a margarita!! Amazing work!!! I feel super inspired... Can't wait to try something new on something old! Great job Laura! --eva

  2. Refinisher oops! Auto incorrect!