before and after

before & after: jelena and eleanor’s furniture

by Grace Bonney

my inbox was overflowing with fun before & afters this week so i’m kicking things off early today with two great furniture projects. first up is jelena, who rehabs furniture to sell on her etsy shop poppyseed living. the small dresser above (named “hazel”) was cleaned up and finished with anthropologie knobs to give the piece new life. now it’s headed to a new owner’s home in new york, saved from an untimely curbside death. jelena’s second piece (below) was another found piece that was cleaned up and refinished to allow some of the original wood grain to show through. you can see more of jelena’s furniture makeovers right here on etsythanks, jelena!

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

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

next up is eleanor, who rehabbed this midcentury chair by changing the upholstery and cleaning up the frame. eleanor created a patchwork bird pattern with fabric and gave the seat a whole new look- the chairs were even shown in a local exhibition in glasgow! click here to see more of eleanor’s work online. thanks for sharing, eleanor!

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  • usually I’m so unhappy to see great old furniture like that dresser re-done– I prefer tarnished and old to simply painted white or some snazzy modern color. But this makeover is lovely!

  • Hi everyone, thanks for the nice comments and here are the answers to the few questions;
    The purple is a custom mixed colour. I had some blue and some red kicking around and since I have wanted to do a purple piece for a while I decided to mix it up and see what would come out. The shade is dark eggplant and I am quite happy with how it turned out.
    As for the night stand, I only used one thin coat of paint (wish I had the exact formula, but the shade is silvery sage). After about 5 minutes i took fine steel wool and rubbed the paint off a bit. This is how the translucent effect came to be. If you have any more questions, just ask away. Thanks

  • Jelena, the dresser and nightstand are just lovely and I am inspired by the tableaux showing them off. Great work.

  • can you please share the coral wall color in the background of the dresser photo? it’s exactly what i’ve been looking for.

  • Hi,
    Risti – unfortunately I only have this little one, wish there were two available when i found it. If you can work with one, I will be happy to send.
    S.D. – I wish this was the actual paint colour that I could share with you. The photo was taken at my friend’s studio and we used big roll of paper as a background. The colour is also not coral, but pink. If it would help you, I could probably get a sample of that paper and send you for colour matching, just in case. Let me know and I will be happy to help.

  • What is the best way to make an ugly old dresser have that nice yet antiqued wear & tear on it, is it usually done with steel wool or are there other tips/methods???

  • thanks jelena, that’s a very nice offer, but i’m in another country so it would end up being expensive for you. i appreciate it, though! i’ll keep hunting . . .

  • Hello Jelena,

    I was wondering what kind of paint you used on the purple dresser? I love the muted natural finish that you created. I just bought a side table, wood, from a salvation army and I would love to know your technic that you used on the dresser! Thank you!

  • Hi Caitlin,
    I used satin latex paint on the dresser that I have mixed myself from the leftover paint I had from previous jobs. The actual shade is close to eggplant colour. After I finished painting, I sanded the piece lightly and used steel wool to apply the finishing wax that was later polished off with a soft rag. The wax I use is Minwax brand that you can find at Home Depot or Lowes. It is that last step that gave the piece that look that I believe you are referring to. Feel free to ask if you have more questions and happy painting.

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