before and after

before & after: eileen’s chair

by Grace Bonney

i am on my way over to zarin’s (i hope i see jill!) this afternoon to find some dark, charcoal grey fabric exactly like the “after” photos in this before & after. d*s reader eileen sent over this great project- she saw this chair sitting curb-side at a church rummage sale so she picked it up for $4 (wow). though they had good bones they were apparently “pretty stinky” so eileen cleaned them up, ordered some alexander henry fabric for the pillows (which she made herself) and had a neighborhood upholstered rebuild and recover the chair. great job, eileen!


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  • This chair looks great! I’m curious about how much it cost to be reupholstered as I’ve found plenty of chairs with good bones for cheap but figured it probably wouldn’t be worth it to pay for upholstering, as I’ve heard that it’s usually very expensive.

  • Although I can see that the fabric on the “before” chair is pretty w0rn and dirty, that mustard color is pretty fabulous. I might have tried to find a similar color for the reupholster, though I also love the dark grey. Very sophisticated, and would look great w/ almost any color palette!

  • Such great lines on that chair and it looks so sleek and chic. We are keeping our eyes out for fabulous (cheap) chairs just like this to rehab and fancify for the Inn. We could be doing just that full-time! Was your neighborhood upholsterer affordable? It can be quite pricey but I don’t really know what I should be looking to pay either but if you are happy with the outcome, that’s all the matters!

  • I’ve paid about 300 to 350 dollars to get chairs reupholstered. The ones I’ve had done had simpler lines than this one, and the price did not include the cost of fabric.

  • Claire, the yellow fabric was pretty fabulous and I looked for something with a similar texture in hot pink but couldn’t find anything in my price range. I went with my second choice – the linen that was 1/2 price at Joanne’s. Snapdragon, not only were the chairs a steal at $4 for two, the fabric was on sale, and my upholsterer rebuilt the springs, replaced the padding and did all that button tufting for only $250 a chair. All told, I’m in to the project for less than $600, including the throw pillows – not exactly chump change, but a pretty good deal for a pair of one-of-a-kind, like-new side chairs!

  • Eileen, the chairs are fabulous and you couldn’t touch anything new for the price. You got exactly what you wanted and rescued two chairs from the landfill. Great job!

  • You should all know this is just the latest in Eileen’s bag o’tricks! This girl’s been spotting awsome since high school!

  • Lovely! These are fantastic. I am particularly fond of the great gray colour and think the contrast with the colourful floral pillows is perfect.

  • What a find! I love your chair.

    Wish you would have attempted the reupholstery yourself…

    But a professionals work cant be beat!

  • so very stunning! You are such a clever girl with a great eye for potential in lost and lonely things!

  • Is it just me, or does no one else like most of this furniture better before?

    This particular chair is an exception, it looks great after, although i think it looked great before in the yellow as well. but most of them had a fantastic patina and so much character that is all but destroyed by repainting and making them ‘new’.

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