before & after: brad and bethany’s chairs

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!


  1. Anna @ D16 says:

    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.

  2. Kindle says:

    Very nice chair makeovers! I especially like the Eames knock off chair!

  3. Virginia says:

    lovely, bethany! Are you going to use these as a set of dining chairs or do something else with them?

  4. Jaime says:

    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 :)

  5. drea says:

    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.

  6. Emma says:

    Noooo, what have you done to the eames chair?!
    My eyeess….it looks like a cow >_<

    1. grace says:

      just a reminder- this isn’t a real eames chair ;)

  7. regina says:

    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…

  8. visualingual says:

    Both of these DIY projects are great. I especially love the mismatched chairs!

  9. kirsty says:

    where the dinning chairs stripped before they were painted? I can’t tell from the photos?

  10. NBG says:

    ummmmmmm, just thought you’d all like to know its just ripping off Le Corbusiers famous chair with a cow leather on it. come on guys.

  11. Jenny says:

    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.


  12. Nikko Moy says:

    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?

  13. nique says:

    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! :)

  14. Marlene says:

    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!

  15. Mary Kathryn says:

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

  16. Missy says:

    Love the white chairs. So fresh looking! Where are the fabrics from??

  17. Lindsey says:

    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!

  18. bethany says:

    a few answers…
    1. fabric: joel dewberry from
    2. chairs were lightly sanded before we sprayed them “cottage cream” from sherwin williams.
    3. we actually have 4 more of these, 2 chairs in each pattern.
    4. they serve in our dining room:

  19. B Carpenter says:

    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.

    1. grace says:

      b- i’d love to see it! if you have a shot, i’d love to see it! (designsponge [at] gmail [dot] com)


  20. Awesome! I love seeing fun fabric being used.

  21. Brad Dufton says:

    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,

  22. Lindsey says:

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

  23. To Lindsey,

    I have been very fortunate to
    find a local upholstorer,
    John Vasquez, and approaches every job as a labor of love.
    John Vasquez charge my friend Peter $180 and it was worth every cent.

  24. julia says:

    I have to say, I don’t really like the cow version, it looked good as it was… but love the chairs.

  25. kristina says:

    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….

  26. Narineh says:

    Great work!! I love all these DIYs – so inspirational! Keep it up :)

  27. 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!

  28. E.P says:

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

  29. justin says:

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

  30. Verbow says:

    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!

  31. viola says:

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

  32. Kelsey says:

    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.

  33. Faith says:

    WOW – that is SO amazing! I can’t believe something so eclectic could look so stylishly beautiful!!


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