before and after

before & after: hannah and kate’s chairs

by Grace Bonney


[have a before & after you’d like to submit for the d*s book or website? just shoot me an email right here with your images!]

this gorgeous chair makeover comes from graphic designer turned upholsterer hannah stanton. based in london, hannah decided to move away from graphic design to focus on her love of renovating furniture. she decided to fix up a pair of reproduction louis chairs for her friend’s apartment using ‘etchings and roses’ fabric from sanderson. the frame was repaired and repainted and is now ready to find a new home. great work, hannah!

CLICK HERE for kate’s chair makeover after the jump!

this next before & after comes from one of my favorite people, designer kate lydon of saturate and civil twilight. these danish chairs were a favorite of kate’s from her grandmother’s home way back when. after inheriting them she decided to repair and clean the frames and update them with affordable ikea fabric. thanks for sharing, kate!


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  • I love these chair makeovers! I have ventured into the reupholstering world myself and find it to be a great hobby. Keep up the great work!

  • i like the louis chairs, but the treatment is so old fashioned – it would be nice to see a more modern design aesthetic applied, especially with color.

  • i love the fabric of the second set of chairs! i love the simplicity of the style also – great before and afters, ladies!

  • How refreshing to see chair makeovers that aren’t “ironic”. The fabric is harmonious with the style of chair presented here, and obviously the craftsmanship is top notch! Wonderful.

  • I just bought two chairs off Craigslist that look a lot like these Danish modern chairs! $70 for both! I’m having new covers made for the cushions, but the wood frames are a little dinged up. Anyone have guidance on spiffing them up?

  • sometimes i’m alarmed at my body’s physical response to danish modern chairs. i’m sure i’ll get sick of them some day, but man does my heart swell at the sight of those tapered legs.

    great job!

  • first b/a: i’m just a little…well…really very sad to see that very cool gilt & green painted over with the sad gray.

  • Aw, I’m disappointed in both of these. The Louis chairs are obviously very well done but now seem to lack the richness of their original state. I would have taken a cue from the velvet, gold and green and done something similarly opulent.

    The Danish chairs are also upholstered nicely, but while I do like that Ikea fabric, I don’t think it does anything for the chairs. They don’t look inviting, which is a shame because that style is tremendously comfortable!

    JC – where are you from? I’ll sell you four more of a very similar style for $100 :)

  • I too own a pair of Danish chairs. I was wondering if Kate had a source for the webbing under the cushions. Mine are damaged and I haven’t found replacement material.

  • tmoore – Oh no! Did I pay too much at $35/chair? The cushions are in great condition, just covered in ugly blue damask. I’m in Washington DC…maybe our Craigslist prices are inflated?

  • I think my only thing is that I love the green color on the chairs originally, and wish that could have been played up for a more modern, fun pop of color.

  • I did like a lot the makeover on the first chairs. These are updated and very elegant in these floral grey and yellow.
    The second ones are also very nice but, in my opinion white is not the best color for a danish chair.

  • I for one love the fabric used on the danish chairs. I rescued one from the trash and this makes me want to run over to Ikea to get that fabric.

  • Both chairs are nicely done (I’m pretty impressed by the Ikea fabric) but I agree with the others who felt the grey frame was a little boring. The yellow is really pretty fabric.

  • I really like the IKEA fabric, I used it for my living room curtains :)
    Now I have a Danish chair that I’ve been wanting to update with some fabric and I found a really nice grey one with white pattern in IKEA. I’m just wondering if the quality of IKEA fabrics is good enough for upholstering… anyone have experience with that? I’m afraid it might fade over time…

  • i also liked the first chairs better before. they had more depth, seemed richer and more authentic.

    i just bought a danish mid-century chair at a white elephant sale for $2. you can see it on my blog. i would love some information on how to spruce up the finish. it’s going to be fun recovering the ugly mauve. kate did a wonderful job. i love the ikea fabric. isn’t it fun when you inherit beautiful furniture? her grandmother had great taste!

  • This first makeover is one of the most beautiful I think I’ve seen – the fabric is superb, in keeping with the style & history of the chair and yet clean and modern too.
    The paint colour appropriately downplays the wood to give the fabric centre stage.
    The green and gold before did have a certain funkiness, but also a certain hideousness, and the velvet was vile.
    I wonder there is something about an American vs elsewhere aesthetic here? I’m Australian and amazed at the lack of positive comments on this beautiful English makeover!

  • I really love Hannah’s work. I am a big fan of both her graphics and upholstery. I pretty much await any project of hers with great expectation and excitement. She always delivers.

  • Thanks for all the comments re my Louis chairs. I think that this was a sympathetic update to what were beautiful but incredibly tired chairs. The greens, golds and browns were a little lost in the early ‘god knows what’ decade and the brown/grey with slightly lighter (!) highlights (difficult to see from the photographs and probably not quite bold enough for some) have certainly refreshed the overall feel of a Victorian apartment in Hampstead. Thanks Jane for your comments – you’re bang on!.. But I would say that.

    I look forward to adding my mid-century updates for the firing line sometime soon!

  • Kate, Thanks for the post. The chairs look great! Do you know where the set of 3 nested tables is from? I found a similar set in my neighborhood and like them a lot!

  • JC, I don’t think you paid too much for your chairs, given your location. I’m from a smallish midwestern city obsessed with Pottery Barn decor. The upside of this is that I find so many neat midcentury pieces that people dismiss as “grandma’s old junk” and sell on CL for a song:)

  • I live in Los Angeles and unfortunately, everybody on CL calls their furniture “mid century” (or other similar buzz words) and overinflates their prices. Ugh.

  • It is heartbreaking to see those first original green chairs gone for good! When you have original paint that looks that fabulous, why would you paint over it? I love the next ones, though.

  • Sorry Leigh
    But the chairs are repro… nothing particularly original about them! If they were original and that gilding was any good then yes, restoring them would have been an option… of course

  • Fun to read so many different opinions. I love both make-overs, but especially the first set. Green and gold can be great together, but with these chairs it seemed all a bit kitschy to me…so, I say: Well done Hannah!

  • I love what you did with the Louis chairs. I’ve been looking for inexpensive louis or bergere style chairs for the longest time. Any idea where I might be able to find them in NYC?

    Also, I’ve never reupholstered anything, but I’m itching to try an upholstery project. Do you know where I can find good how-to instructions?

  • tmoore – I know its been a while, but do you still have those chairs? I’m in the midwest also, but haven’t been able to find too much mid century furniture on craigslist around where I’m at. It seems everyone’s scouring for it to sell at their shops for an arm and a leg! Where are you!? Where is this magical land of all things mid mod?

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