before and after

before & after: steven’s chair + amanda’s office

by Grace Bonney

today’s first before & afters are all about home offices. our first makeover comes from steven and alison. having been on the hunt for a good, functional mid-century office chair for years, steven and alison finally found what they were looking for at restore in lawrence, kansas for only $15. the metal was factory fresh, but the arms needed work so steven scraped, sanded and varnished them back to life. the upholstery foam was shot, so they reupholstered the seat using maharam (465930-005*) fabric. the result is a sharp looking, ready to use office seat. great work, guys!

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


CLICK HERE for amanda’s home office makeover after the jump!

next up- amanda‘s redesign of corner home office nook. i would kill to have a little nook like this- odd little cut spaces like this one always make for interesting home offices (and a cozy little corner to make your own). click here for more on amanda’s project.


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  • I LOVE that chair! And can anyone tell me where I can find a large snake plant/mother-in-laws tongue like that?┬áThe only ones I see for sale are tiny ones, and I’ll be dead by the time they grow that large!

  • i have that same exact mid-century office chair! i got mine for free when i rescued it from the basement of an old apartment. now if only i could muster the energy/knowhow to give it a cute makeover…

  • Inspired, all of it! But honestly, I have one beef with the makeovers on this site — is everyone secretly a member of an upholsterers’ union??????? Seems to me if you can reupholster furniture, you’re semi-professional at least, unlike the rest of us (or just me…?)!

  • *love* the fabric on the chair. An almost-floral.

    And the office is a vast improvement over the wasted space it was before. I probably would’ve wimped out and gotten a tiny, rickety tinker toy of a computer desk, but the big white desk in that small space works well.

  • I picked up the exact same chair from a garage sale and have been coming up w/ ideas on reupholstering it. can you do a diy on how to reupholster this chair? I’ve never tried it before and I’m afraid to really screw it up. or even if you can tell me how to get those seams in at the edge would be great. I would love to get it done soon. thanks for sharing w/ us grace. I love your site. it’s a topic of discussion among my designer friends.

    • hi carol!

      we’re working on a number of upholstery posts- and we’ll be including a full upholstery guide in the d*s book ;)


  • I love this idea!! my dad has an office and they have lots of spare chairs in the basement of it – I just might have to claim a few and breathe new life into them. thanks!

  • I *just* nabbed an office chair like this off the curb, but one of the rollers is broken. Any ideas on where to find replacement parts?

  • I sew a lot, but paid for this one… last time! More than I expected, took forever, and they lost the cool paper labels from the bottom of the chair. :(

    We also have a kick-ass ex-Army aluminum lounger (like the Navy side chairs, but a lounge chair!) and when I get time I’m making my own pads for it.

  • The chair is SOOO beautiful – the blue and cream perfect with the tone of the wood, and the metal setting it off.

  • I LOVE this office! I’m not sure if it was intentional, but using the white for all of the furniture was a good way for it to make the space seem bigger. Having it the same colors of the walls really opens up the space visually and makes it seem very bright.

    I’m also getting ready to take on an upholstery project and absolutely cannot wait for the tutorials!

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