before & after: lisa’s chair + calli’s dresser

okay, i’m going to be honest and say that sometimes my opinion on a project is heavily influenced by the styling and quality of the photos. what can i say? as a visual person, i freely admit that packaging is everything. i like good design and pretty things; guilty as charged. when i saw the quirky and beautiful after shot of this chair, i had to stop and question if the image’s charm was clouding my judgment of the chair itself. but then i realized no, that chair is actually pretty awesome, and i would love to have it in my own home. you win on all counts lisa! she scored these chairs for a low price because the velvet was torn. using an ampersand print panel from aussie designer shannon lamden, she reupholstered them to make quite a statement. i love them very much, that’s all i can say. you can see lisa’s love of bold graphic patterns in her own line of handmade accessories, available in her etsy shop. not surprisingly, her home was also featured in australian home beautiful magazine last year. great work, lisa! i’m very inspired. –kate

[have a before & after you’d like to share? just shoot me an email with your images right here! (low res, under 500k per image, please)]

CLICK HERE for calli’s painted dresser after the jump!

it’s a day full of chairs and dressers! given how versatile the two pieces are, i guess it’s not that surprising. i love op art patterns, but i am such a wimp when it comes to trying to paint or draw them myself. i once tried to make a pillow design based on the graphic patterns in miu miu’s fall 2004 collection; it ended in messy piles of painters tape and expletives. calli’s skill and patience clearly led her to better results. she’s given the piece so much personality and shown great attention to detail. i appreciate the integration of wood grain into the pattern and the addition of the brass handles, reminiscent of card catalogs, with little typed labels for what’s inside. it’s refreshing to see someone who loves op art patterns and can execute them with precision. great makeover, calli!

  1. Danielle says:

    the chair is brilliant!

  2. Katherine says:

    That dresser is too adorable! I love it. A level of creativity I wish I had!

  3. martina says:

    I love the little metal labels on the dresser drawers! And the green color is lovely. I probably would have just done green and white but I’m more of a minimalist. Great before & afters.

  4. LOVE! I’m a sucker for ampersands, and that dresser looks fabulous!

  5. Emeline says:

    Oooh! Unmentionables! That’s awesome.

  6. Jess says:

    People submitting to this site need to open Etsy stores, stat. I would buy that Ampersand chair in a nanosecond!

  7. I really love that ampersand chair. really cute idea a very well executed, too!

  8. Kris K. says:

    That dresser is awesome!

  9. Audrey says:

    That dresser was so gorgeous before… If it was dingy, it could have been sanded and given a brand new stain for the same cost as all that paint. I feel like a lot of makeovers on Design Sponge cover up so much beautiful wood grain. Simple is beautiful.

  10. Lisa, what kind of material were you using and how did you apply the ampersand?

  11. Love, love, love the dresser!!!!

  12. Sonja B. says:

    That purse in Lisa’s ampersand chair shot is beyond fabulous. Anyone know what brand that is or where a similar style can be found??

  13. Suzanne says:

    That & honestly looks photoshopped on.

    1. grace says:


      it’s not ;)


  14. Trisha says:

    Audrey, I agree, simple IS beautiful and I love wood grain too but I have to say, this dresser takes mid century modern to a whole new level. I really appreciate the makeovers on D*S because they’re innovative and that’s what makes this site so awesome!

  15. barbara says:

    Every week someone paints some wood furniture. I love coming on this site and reading the Thursday comments; so many people offended by painting wood. I agree that wood grain is lovely. But it’s a renewable resource. There is plenty of wood furniture to go around, and you can always put on a new veneer if you were so inclined. Painting one piece, or 5, or every one in your house is fine and commendable. I think the painters should remember to ignore the griping.

  16. Maya says:

    Wow – the details on that dresser are amazing. And the chair and styling are irresistible. I love seeing everyone’s creativity come out on before & after projects – it’s so inspiring.

  17. Cecile says:

    I agree with Audrey too…. that dresser was just so simple and honest with no paint on…usually i like updating furniture especially if it was something that otherwise would have been trashed but not in this case… the wood was still in perfect condition.

  18. meg says:

    Not a fan of the drawer fronts. Seems like overkill and in too much competition with the top. But, man, the top of the dresser is awesome.

    Kudos to Lisa for taking a boring traditional chair and making it modern w/o going the usual bold fabric route.

  19. Calli says:

    Wow. Painthaters, sorry if the paint job ruined the piece in your eyes. I’ve seen so so so many dressers similar to this from this time era as ALL wood (which I also love) and I wanted to do something different and share it…That’s all :)

  20. Karen says:

    Love that dresser!

  21. Love that dresser! Such great details!

  22. Mariela says:

    Love the chair, well done!

  23. Lisa says:

    Wow, thank you for your lovely comments about the chair! To answer a couple of questions:
    Upholstery Journal Magazine: the ampersand was pre printed onto a fabric panel (by Shannon Lamden) before upholstery.
    Sonja B: The purse was a thrift store find, and unfortunately has no label inside… sorry!

    and finally, Calli: your dresser is FABULOUS, I really love it. Thank you for sharing your creativity with us, I’m inspired.

    Lisa xx

  24. Norman says:

    Sorry but i don’t like what you’ve done to the dresser, the wood looked much better!

  25. Corrie says:

    I think the dresser Makeover is cool. It was a fabulous piece of furniture before but now a trendy piece that would pop in any room. I love the use of color and intricate detail! Looking forward to seeing more out-of-the-box transformations!


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