before and after

before & after: brad and bethany’s chairs

by Grace Bonney

normally i’m not a fan of messing with a classic, but when it’s a knock-off, and the new fabric is this cute i’m totally game. brad dufton from colorTHEORY sent over this fun chair makeover that he did for his friend peter. peter’s eames lounge chair knock-off was in a need of an upgrade so when brad saw this cow-pattern fabric at the boston design center the search was over. i’m a sucker for a nice black and white print so now i’m wishing i had a knock-off that needed a cow-inspired makeover. thanks to brad and peter for sharing! [stay tuned for a sneak peek of brad’s home next week!]


the next chair belongs to bethany- who rescued a lovely group of chairs and gave them a little face lift with some paint and a range of patterned fabrics. great work, bethany!


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  • I think the cow fabric is hilarious! Those Eames lounge knock-offs are a dime a dozen, and but giving one this kind of treatment makes it really fun and special.

    Brad, just curious, was this a DIY project? I’ve heard that these chairs are fairly easy to reupholster with very little experience. Either way, the result is great. Love the fabric.

  • While I agree that you can definitely take a knockoff and add your own style, I’m not a fan of the black and white fabric choice. Then again, it’s not my chair :)

  • when i first saw the Eames chair, i screamed “no!”, then i figured it was a knock-off, but still… then i saw the after and thought “wow!”. i’m not a big fan of animal prints, but this really looks great. and Bethany’s chairs? so sweet!

    ps: where does everyone get such great upholstery fabrics? or are they using regular fabrics? i never find anything this great–info would be greatly appreciated.

  • i have an eames knock-off that is waiting for a makeover like this! if it was a diy, maybe you could publish a how-to?

    i’m still looking for the perfect fabric…

  • I’m familiar with the Le Corbusier chair- but why do you jump to rip-off. Was he the first person to use that sort of fabric on a chair? It’s clearly inspired by it, but I don’t get why you guys jump to such harsh statements so quickly. It seems like this site’s comment sections are full of people who just like to run their mouths without thinking first. It makes me think twice about reading or commenting.


  • Though I have a tendency toward plain and solid colors, I love the cow pattern on the Eames-knock-off-chair. It looks sort of blue and white: is it a fake animal material? If so, where can we find it?

  • seems more like a riff than a rip-off. some wise person once said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. anyway, i think the chair is fabu. and the little cute ones, too. thanks for all the inspiring chairs, grace! gotta get on my queen anne! :)

  • Love ALL of them, but specially the eames knock-off chair, it looks spectacular.

    Just because somebody used cow print fabric before doesn’t make it a rip off. Good job!

  • I have a knock-off Eames I’ve been wanting to re-cover… could you publish a how-to on recovering one?

  • I have an Eames knock-off EXACTLY like that one. I would love to know how to recover it because mine is in sorry shape. Also, advice on what kind of fabrics to pick would be appreciated too. Thanks!

  • Weird coincidence–I just recovered MY Eames knockoff chair/ottoman and it looks so good I thought, “maybe I should send this in to design sponge!” Too late! I had a different take, though…I used thick, soft courdoroy (yes) in Tiffany blue. Everyone who comes in gasps “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT!?” And then they want to curl up in it. So comfy and delicious, it makes you want to nap. Oh, and I didn’t upholster it myself (though I found the fabric) — I got a pro to do it CHEAP.

  • Hi Everyone,

    I love when a make over can cause such a debate!

    The cow pattern fabric is
    by Kravet, and believe it or not, is actually a microfiber, so it will last with Peter forever.

    We did have the chair and ottoman reuphlostered professionally, to ensure quality in the details. (Notice the buttons.)

    And as for the “knock off” remark,

  • About how much does it cost to have a chair like that professionally reupholstered? I have no frame of reference for what “cheap” is!

  • the cows at the farm where I get my milk don’t have spots like that…

    I love Bethany’s before and after. I am a chair-a-holic and I come to design*sponge for textile ideas. Have one in the works now….

  • I love the wide variety, from cow print to Bethany’s modern prints. We see the cow print fabrics used often here in Texas. We have even used similar fabrics for some of our ranch themed custom bedding, only as accents. Although I do not prefer the cow print, it can work wonders for certain clients!

  • I too have an fake Eames that I’d love to reupholster. Please consider this another request for a how-to guide.

  • Love them both!
    Very inspiring, I too have a knock off Eames and had never thought to reupholster it, now I see wonderful possibilities

  • A friend wants to laquer her dining room chairs for a fresh look – she is finding it hard to find laquer in the US. Can anyone make a suggestion here!! Thanks!

  • I’m really loathing the word Eames. It even sounds awful when you say it, and when it is connected to anything.

  • I have the exact same dining room chairs as in the “before” shot (they were my grandma’s).

    Love how they’ve been reinvented. And love how they’ve been matched up with the other set.

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