before & after: will’s chair + autumn’s office

designer will means has already shown us the beautiful before & after work he’s capable of, so i was excited to see another email from him in my inbox. will picked up a pair of old library chairs for $15 and decided to revamp them. after stripping the chair down, will refinished the frame and repainted it with this dramatic new look. i love the way the wood grain peeks out from under the new white coat. great work, will!

[have a before & after you’d like to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your low res pictures!]


designer autumn clemons of design*dump recently redid this den/office with some very clever detailing. after repainting the room, she added a beautiful wooden inlay to the floor and great detail to the ceiling with decorative molding. click here to see more on the project (including the floor inlay process). thanks for sharing, autumn!

autmumn after2

  1. WOW…. great chair, how about a how to on it?

  2. lisa says:

    The “after” chair isn’t actually a photograph. Looks photoshopped. I’d love to see the actual “after” chair if it exists.

    1. grace says:

      hi guys

      will’s chair is real- it’s just lit professionally so it highlights the graphic nature of the design. will’s work is usually really bold so it often looks almost photoshopped because of how clean the graphics are. but it’s a real chair, you can see more images on his site. i just asked will to comment here about the process, details, etc. i’m sure he can explain it more precisely than i can.


  3. yasi says:

    i would love to this to some chairs i have… did they use a stencil for the flower?

  4. soma pradhan says:

    AMAZING renovations! The chair is brilliant and the ceiling molding makes the room look like a million!

  5. Stella says:

    both projects are awesome! I want to know how much it cost to do that to that chair!! The new ceiling is intense and sophisticated! I also love the dark blue/black wall color, it’s so refreshing compared to beige!

  6. pamela says:

    Both are nothing short of exquisite. Would LOVE a how-to on that chair. And that office is amazing, especially the ceiling!

  7. KV says:

    That second image of the chair doesn’t look real.

    Anyway, I like the idea of it, but the racing stripes seem off to me. Without those, I would love it.

  8. C.Alicia says:

    It’s safe to say I just went gaga over that chair! I agree about the how to. I like the mix of feminine and masculine qualities, although it would still be a great chair without the racing stripes. Great work!

  9. JM says:

    that chair looked amazing before, why the need to ‘improve’?

    The floor in the after has some very nice hardwood detailing!

    1. grace says:


      as with all before & afters, they’re pretty darn subjective. i think one person’s busted up wooden chair is another person’s perfect “aged” chair.


  10. katie says:

    GORGEOUS chair! Love the new ceiling – way to add some pizazz!

  11. will means says:

    Hey everybody,
    Thanks for all the great comments on my new chair. The process that I use is sort of like what airbrushers or custom car painters do, using layers of stencils then painting and peeling away to reveal what is underneath. I actually tried it first without the racing stripe but found that I really needed something to draw the eye up and around the whole piece. If you’re in New England, come by the Cape Ann Art Haven on Main Street in Gloucester, MA and see that it really does exist!
    Happy Holidays,

  12. mariah says:

    Wow! The wood floor in the office is amazing! Was it under the carpet the whole time, or was it added after the carpet was removed? If it was under, what a find!

  13. Jennifer says:

    Positively drooling over both projects!

  14. Sarah H says:

    I’m curious about how tall these ceilings are; would this effect look good on my 8-foot ceilings, or would it feel too crowded?

  15. Janneke says:

    I love that chair! And I really like the racing stripe, I think otherwise it would be a bit too trashy…

  16. dinah says:

    if you look at design*dump’s website, the wood floor was added after the carpet was removed.

    that chair looks gorgeous but it would be nice if it was just a regular picture of a chair so that we wouldn’t have to question its actual existence. i would love to see it in its surroundings.

  17. I love love love these before and after posts!

  18. That chair is AMAZING! So unique. Love it.

  19. That chair is AMAZING! So unique. LOVE it!

  20. I love the den/office remodel. It looks great, but I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to paint a room black, regardless of how much natural light comes in.

  21. Kristan says:

    Absolutely stunning! The chair is FAB. And the den/office space looked pretty nice Before, but even better After!

  22. greybreaks says:

    they’re all great projects, but the room redo is really exceptional.

  23. Janet says:

    the ceiling is so pretty!

  24. lisa says:

    love black walls! {just painted my bathroom black} love french doors! love everything about that room. i have so many projects, that i need to start-finishing and posting ;} love your blog!!

  25. Roxanne says:

    Love, LOVE Will’s chair! So amazing. I love the masculine stripes versus the feminine rose. Perfection!

  26. The chair is amazing! One of the ‘cooler’ things I’ve seen in a long time!

  27. hrhkat says:

    yeah, the chair is fantastic!!!! I love this whole new trend of painting furniture and having parts of the wood exposed, its very cool, it shows off the grain, while also being clean and sleek.

    And I love the room…the floor is great and the ceiling is wonderful

  28. Tracey says:

    I would have never thought to paint my walls black but WOW! Now I have so many things in mind.

    I love that chair! So unique!

  29. Christine says:

    The floor inlay is such an interesting and beautiful detail. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it! I love the black walls too. Maybe one day I’ll have enough guts to paint something totally black!

  30. Leora says:

    the old chair was great…i have one similar and would not dream of painting it. the floors on the other hand, are totally dreamy!

  31. Anne says:

    Chair is notable! Will Means should copyright it.

  32. grace says:

    hi guys

    just an update- here’s a picture of will on his chair so any remaining doubters can see it’s a real piece ;)


  33. Silvia says:

    I did not like the after, this was an nice simple chair and now is an ugly “overpainted” chair. It lost its character.
    An blue or yellow colour should be enough.

  34. amy darling says:

    the chair is wonderful!
    love the way a hint of the original character is preserved by letting part of the wood grain show though.

  35. Amelie says:

    Wicked chair.
    I’d be curious to know more about the stencils. I have a credenza that I would like to do something similar to, but I don’t know where to start. Does Will cut them himself on some sort of sticky paper? Can you get them all ready to go from art supply stores?

  36. Malin says:

    I think the chair was amazing ! Hope it’s okay that i put a picture of it on my blogg. I will recomend this site to my readers.

  37. Malin says:

    I understand that it was difficult for you to understand what i wrote about your chair in my blogg since it was in Norwegian. But what i wrote was deffinetly praise :-) More spessific “amazing cool chair” and that i reccomended to check out this page.

  38. Nina says:

    I love that chair! I know that someone did a dresser somewhat like that, and there was a picture here on Design Sponge, anyone know where it is in the archives?

  39. Nina says:

    Oh i found it! Here is another one, but rather than painting the wood, they added the wood color to the white.

  40. Katie says:

    I believe I’ve seen before, on this site, the wood-grain decals; a great thing to try something this for the artistically challenged like myself.


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