before & after: jessica + susan’s reupholstered chairs

I want to start this post by clarifying that I am not partial to project images with pets in them. Unless it’s a corgi (cardigans only, please), in which case I’m powerless to resist. As far as Jessica’s upholstered chair is concerned, I just dig it — cat or no cat. Wait, why isn’t that a gameshow?! Cat or No Cat. I don’t know what the rules would be, but I hope it would involve supermodels and hidden cats!

An interior designer by trade, Jessica recently had a client ask for an upholstered piece with a fun, zany mix of print and color. I am very charmed by what Jessica delivered. The colors look great against the dark wood finish, and I think the crisp welting and impeccable upholstery job keep the piece from being too off-beat. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t let my cat anywhere near it! This chair’s owner is obviously kinder than I, but I hope she buys a lint brush. Great job, Jessica! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)

These amazing chair submissions are convincing me that I need to befriend more interior designers. These little tufted chairs were found for a client by Susan Galvani, an independent interior designer in NYC. Acquired as cast-offs from restaurant Daniel (quite a score!), these chairs needed freshening up. Susan covered them in an amazing ikat fabric with the most incredible color palette. I love them! They add the perfect touch to this living room, but I imagine they look fantastic in every room. Great transformation, Susan!

  1. Shones says:

    I love that ikat fabric on those chairs! both transformations are great though.

  2. WOW! I love both chairs. Great makeover. The cat can come and live with me . . . ;)

  3. I am now officially jelouse :/
    I think I may now have to take on this sort of project for the weekend.
    Very pretty and my favorite is the first makeover above (photographed with the cute cat)

    best wishes!
    Mod Human

  4. Suzanna says:

    love the ikat fabric, any idea where it’s from?

  5. Katherine says:

    Oh, ikat hasn’t really been my favorite when it’s just the one color on white, but this I love. It’s so rich and textural, would love to know where it’s from.

  6. Love these! So gorgeous, both of these projects. Wonderful work!

  7. courtney says:

    must. find. ikat. fabric!

  8. Nickie Frye says:

    I love the ikat one. Very inspiring.

  9. Holly says:

    Any idea where Jessica got the floral fabric, love the colors????

  10. this girl loves ikat! source please.

  11. Leslie says:

    Do you change out the “innards” of the chairs or just recover them? I’m always worried about if upholstered items have been in homes with dust and animals….or worse, bugs!

  12. Valentina says:

    Awesome makeover! love love the fabrics.

  13. kiki says:

    hahaha! wow! someone’s not a cat person :) i can totally understand though. i must say, that ikat fabric on those chairs is ah-mazing! i can’t get over how perfect it is for that shape!

  14. Lisa Fechter says:

    I love the chairs on the ikat fabric! I tried to find fabric like that but I failed. Any ideas where to get it?
    Thanks in advance! :)

  15. Stephanie says:

    My two dear Pems take offense to that Cardigan comment! But they both find the cat chair to be very attractive.

  16. Gina D says:

    I always look forward to the before and afters!! Wonderful as always! :)

  17. those ikat chair POP. love, love, love them.

  18. kat says:

    that’s such a rich, vibrant ikat pattern! It looks amazing.

  19. Calli says:

    Love the fabric combo in the top chair. Those work great together! Nicely done.

  20. Inez says:

    what is the name of the Ikat fabric you used? i love the colors.

  21. Kate Pruitt says:

    Kiki – Actually I am a total cat lover, which is why I think Cat or No Cat should be just like Deal or No Deal, except with cats running around everywhere. I spend hours just watching my cat, it’s ridiculous.

    Stephanie – Oh okay I admit I love Pems too!! But my family has a long lineage of owning Cardigans, and let’s face it, Cardigans are the underdog (literally) of the corgi world. So I wanted to give them their day in the spotlight:)

  22. Andrea says:


  23. ladylala says:

    the ikat chairs are beautiful! thanks for sharing.

  24. Sarah says:

    I love the fabric combination of the top chair. absolutely wonderful!

  25. I love this! I just really wish there was a DIY I could follow to do the same thing! The piping is what throws me off…

    1. grace says:

      hi jenni!

      if you need a piping tutorial you can follow brett’s for d*s from last month:


  26. Siobhan says:

    Wow! The ikat fabric is amazing. Has anyone managed to source it?

  27. WOW, what a drastic change, I really like the makeover. I’m going to tell my Mom to do this for me.

  28. alex sunday says:

    LOVE the shape of the ikat covered chairs! and the fabric choice. very jealous.

  29. Anna says:

    The pink one is amazing! Best one that I’ve seen.

  30. holly waterfield says:

    Susan Galvani is a seriously talented designer, with an amazing eye for the perfect little thing! I love her and her work!

  31. eva says:

    i love it… it become much trendy now and the colors are fabulous..

  32. Meag says:

    Love the ikat! Trying to find great ikat online or in the NYC area. Any recommendations?

  33. Rin says:

    I love colours but not too much of them, especially bright colours. But the first chair has the right mix, furball and all…:)

  34. Gorgeous work! I have a little family of chairs that need just the same treatment… Now to find the time.

  35. shelly says:

    Leslie-Once you remove the old upholstery (tear down) you will be able to tell if any or all the stuffing needs to be replaced. Sometimes, old pieces have amazingly clean padding. Other times, it’s so dirty and worn you have to toss it. Keep your eyes open for anything suspect.

  36. Kate says:

    where is that great ikat from? i am trying to find one myself!! thanks!

  37. These transformations are incredible! I’m so inspired. It’s time to go thrifting and then a fun reupholstery project.

  38. amy says:

    these chairs are so inspiring! thank you!

  39. erin says:

    Love the shape of those chairs and the punchy ikat design. Fabulous!

  40. chris says:

    love these transformations. not to be a downer, but does anyone else have a fear of bedbugs that keeps them from acquiring older furniture to work on? i find pieces all of the time that i would like to refurbish, but i’m too worried about possible infestations to take anything home anymore.

  41. I have to try this!! I need a new office chair- this is a perfect idea. Wish me luck, I’ll be old chair hunting this week.

  42. Love both chairs!! Really quite beautiful!!

  43. Malisams says:

    Those ikat chairs are sexy as hell. I’d love to know the fabric source, or where we might find something similar…? Fantastic work.

  44. Sarah C. says:

    Okay, so how do you secure the reapolstered piece to the chair? I knw in some cases there are screws on the underside of the chair…but what do you do it there is apolstery on both sides, such as on the back of a chair? Curious!

  45. Ashley F says:

    The fabric is from Schumacher. It’s called Samarkand Ikat . They sell to trade only though.


  46. Dee says:

    That chair is awesome!


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