before & after: pilar’s vintage suzani chair

today’s final before & after comes from photographer pilar valtierra in los angeles. with help from ames ingham and some vintage suzanis from distant LA, pilar transformed these $40 craigslist chairs into something spectacular. i would feel like a queen in these chairs- they are just too gorgeous for words. great job, pilar!


  1. Bethany says:

    akkkk! this is amazing!

  2. Stephanei says:

    absolutely brilliant!!!

  3. alice says:

    WOW!!! Totally _not_ grandma-ish, in my opinion. At least not any grandma I’ve known…

  4. Loietta says:

    What a great chair,I have a wonderful old chair I found at a yardsale and this one inspires me to cover it in the same way.I also have stacks of beautiful fabric.

  5. The fabric is a great surprise!

  6. such a fun transformation.

  7. Dorm Bedding says:

    Those went from drab & ho-hum to striking statement pieces :)

  8. Catilin says:

    Ok WHERE DID YOU FIND THIS FABRIC?!?! it is absolutely gorgeous!!!!

    1. grace says:

      caitlin (and everyone who emailed about the fabric sourcing)- the fabric source is listed above (it’s a shop in LA)- the link is provided in the post.


  9. Kenneth says:

    The fabric choice is unfortunate. I have nothing against suzani-style patterns, but this does little to flatter the shape of the chair.

  10. Laura says:

    this is the best DIY project i have ever seen on d*s. as a broke person, i can safely say that i’d pay a lot of money for those chairs. makes me want to return to turkey and buy up all the bedspreads there, bring it back and just upholster everything within sight.

  11. Jeff Flemings says:

    you can also find suzanis on ebay

    love this idea, great job!

  12. nynke says:

    ow this so nice. everything is perfect together.

  13. Sophie says:

    I agree with everyone who thinks this takes the chair makeover genre to another level. Vintage suzanis are gorgeous and generally v expensive but this would be a superlative way of using a damaged one. Yum

  14. JC says:

    What an incredible transformation!

  15. Diana says:

    This is the most amazing before and after! Definitely one of my favorites!

  16. Emily says:

    Astonishingly beautiful!!

  17. kim says:

    i feel a little redundant after all of the other posts, but these are AMAZING!

  18. Rebecca says:

    Wow! These are fantastic. What a great idea that I haven’t seen before. What’s next for the suzani?

  19. sarah says:

    just wanted to join in on the chorus of amazing. not normally a fan of painted wood on old chairs, but this is an A+.

  20. Julie says:

    Suzanis are typically from Uzbekistan and they are the Central Asian version of the American quilt. Each suzani is comprised of several long strips of fabric which are hand embroidered by separate people (typically women in the same family) and then pieced together, resulting in slight discrepancies in color and matching that make them so special!

  21. knott says:

    Those are the most beautiful chairs i have ever seein in my life…they are a piece of art….
    i would love to know if u were interested in doing my chairs.. ;)

  22. mia says:

    I am absolutely blown away by these chairs!I must admit I am not always keen on the modern upholstery makeovers as I find them lacking warmth,but the suzanni fabric gives such a rich gypsie look,stunning choice!

  23. Ernie says:

    I think they must have the before and after photos switched.

    Yuck! I don’t like the Suzanni fabric at all! I think Salvador Dali would be at home in those chairs…

  24. Eva says:

    i LOOOOOOVE these!

  25. Gingerine says:

    Very beautiful fabric! And what a pity that words on it don’t mean anything… could be so great to have some real words.

  26. Shandell's says:

    I have my grandma’s chair from England. I have been struggling about what I will recover them in(they need some nip and tucking) This is a great idea, it might do the trick.

  27. amanda says:

    Inspiring, your creative vision is stunning!

  28. Andrea says:

    gorgeous job, as so many have already said. My question: how sturdy is suzani fabric, and how much abuse can it take? Love the look, but am wondering how practical it is.

  29. pilar says:

    this fabric has to be backed. the seat cushion is plain on the underside for everyday use. real suzani works best for occasional chairs/furniture and you have to be willing to love every new broken thread…

  30. mun says:

    I LOVE these..great job

  31. Annette Kuzmiak says:

    My husband are going to build a little Russian dacha and I would love to redo my two tired looking Ethan Allen wingback chairs in this beautiful fabric. They would be the centerpiece of our cozy little home! Where can I get the fabric? I can’t find the link. :(

  32. Annette Kuzmiak says:

    My husband and I are going to build a little Russian dacha and I would love to redo my two tired looking Ethan Allen wingback chairs in this beautiful fabric.They would be the centerpiece of our cozy little home! Where can I get the fabric? I can’t seem to find the link. :(

  33. Priscilla says:

    I love suzanis on chairs, very nice job.
    Re: the diy instructions, the Sunset series of books is pretty good. Tho, take it from the voice of experience, you do NOT want to start your upholstery habit on a wing chair!

  34. cajeta says:

    how many suzani’s did you use to cover your chair? What was the size of the suzani? I found some at my local flea market for $100 (4×6′ size i believe)…is that the “Norm”?
    It IS Gorgeous!!!!!!


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