before and after

before and after: customized eames chair

by Grace Bonney

this furniture makeover comes from the team at non fiction design collective in columbus, ohio. they’ve taken on a classic and added a modern great spin. a few months ago the team found an original eames chair in a nearby dumpster. it was covered in paint and damaged badly, so they decided to strip it down to the original fiberglass and tile it with hundreds of hand-pressed porcelain buttons. the negative space was then filled with flexible grey grout. it’s definitely a unique look, and not for everyone, but i love the way they they’ve taken a classic design and made it their own (i’d love to use white grout and do a colored tile that makes a nice ombre effect). thanks for sharing, nfdc.

for another take on custom eames chairs, click here.

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  • I’ve been searching high and low for replacement parts for a couple of damaged shell chairs I have – – did you guys buy a whole new base or just revamp the old one (if you just fixed it up where did you get the angled boots for the chair legs?)

  • I totally agree with Erik and Simon. I think it was beautifully aged and someone totally overdid it. But tastes are just different..

  • Aged? That thing was TRASHED. It seems like some people want a classic design left alone no matter what state it’s in. I think it LOOKS like it’s been in a dumpster and a clean-up was definitely in order.

  • I like both the before and after – but with the after, even with the grout, do the bumps bother your bottom? Or is this a non-functional chair upon which one does not sit?

  • I think this was quite an ingenious solution and a good idea for a patio/outdoor piece! (Though, for me, I too loved the paint splattered look. God help me…even if some might say it smacks of the 80’s. Very art student chic to me.)

  • I liked the before..I’d have loved the chair before all the paint splatter but still find it compelling with. Maybe that’s my year getting a degree in painting talking. I’m a fan of redoing but carefully.

  • agreed the chair looked used, but this solution is completley insane. have you ever seen a child (or a small dog) dressed in a garish outfit and thought to yourself, “o, poor kiddo, someone thinks that looks… cute?” i’m feeling the same sympathy for the pet-project chair. yick.

  • Julie, you can find replacement bases and feet on eBay very easily and cheaply. Just search for “eames base” and “eames glides” respectively. Feel free to contact me directly if you need instructions on replacing the guides, by the way — it’s not as easy as it seems…

  • I also prefer the before chair. Not only aesthetically; its much more unique than the after.

  • How is a dirty, scuffed up chair unique? If that’s true I know a dumpster in my neighborhood that’s jam-packed with unique furniture.

  • Re-furbed or not, I respect that they didn’t just leave it in the dumpster where they found it.

  • somehow, i find that the before picture looks more interesting! however, it’s a good idea!

  • The BEFORE totally rocked. It was totally CHILL!!! I would have even taken some more paint and flung it on there. LOVED IT BEFORE!!! I have 2 of the same chairs I found at a thrift store—May have to do just that to them. COOL!!!

  • i once found a super cool gym locker in a dumpster — it’s in my studio now! i’m in manhattan this week and today is trash day in the neighborhood where i’m staying–i saw a complete set of wood kitchen chairs that i would have snagged if i lived here. love these trash treasures!

  • Maybe it’s just the fact that it’s an Eames chair; a true design classic that is so beautiful as is, despite scratches and paint marks, that makes me resist this transformation. The purist in me is screaming: Nooooo! I think I would have just stripped it and painted it. But we all have different tastes (luckily).

  • i liked the side shell before better. a lot better. i’d probably still buy it in the before condition for $10 or less. i wouldn’t take the after for free. well, yes i would but only for the shock mounts and base.

  • Sorry to break it to you, but the original had a lot more character. Missed opportunity to keep something that showed a unique sense of time and wear.

  • this is clever and cute but the idea should have been used on a chair that actually needed a makeover. i agree the before was much more charismatic.

  • I have to say that I really, really like the after. The before looks just like a big mess. Makes me think of school for some reason.
    Great job on giving the chair a new life!