before & after: susie’s chair + nadine’s headboard

Seeing that we’re in the midst of winter, I thought it would be appropriate to start the day off with a couple dark and moody projects. Everyone should have a little bit of drama in their home decor, and you’d be hard pressed to find something more beautiful than this upholstered chair from Susie, a freelance designer from southern California.

Susie rescued this piece from a garage sale and transformed it from its humble beginnings into a true luxury piece, using Cole & Sons’ “Woods” fabric (also available as a wallpaper) and a high-gloss black finish. She was gracious enough to donate it to an auction at her nephew’s school, which impresses me greatly — I’m not sure I could part with this lovely chair if it were in my possession. Great work, Susie! — 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.)

For a bit more drama, check out this lovely headboard design from Nadine. With a bit of paint and simple upholstery, Nadine turned this old mirror frame into a beautiful headboard. I love the gray-on-gray effect of the headboard and the wall, and the composition of the graphic textile is stunning. On a totally unrelated note, Nadine is in a roller derby(!), which is awesome. You can see the steps behind this great project and read more about Nadine’s skater skills on her site Bluedogz Design. Thanks for sharing, Nadine!

Sandy a la Mode

wow! i love the print of the chair! i actually saw that as
a wallpaper in a store once and thought it was really neat!! liking
the dark and moodiness!!


It is amazing how you transformed, (what I would have
thrown in the garbage) and made it look beautiful!!


Both of these transformations are AMAZING. I especially
love the headboard. Such a clever idea using an old mirror frame.
And the fabric is so fantastic. Never seen anything like

Sarah E.

Please, oh please tell me where you got the Cole &
Son fabric – I can only find wholesalers in the UK!!!


I NEED THIS CHAIR – I love love love love it! I am going to
have to copy this, even if it will cost me an arm and a leg. I have
been obsessed with that wallpaper, but didn’t know they had that
fabric! Thanks for sharing and inspiring me

Morgan G

Oh man, these are incredible. If their previous owners only
knew. I wish there was a class that trained novice garage sale and
flea market shoppers what to look for in once-loved pieces. Anybody
know of anything like that in Southern California? Or online for
that matter?

Amanda @ Ruffled

Love this! Ditto on the chair fabric. I’ve been searching
for the Woods by Cole & Son fabric up and down the web with
no luck. Please share where you found it!

M-your facebook friend ;p

That head board screams hornyness!!!

Nice job!!!


LOVE the chair. It looks so great now. It looked so sad before, with its springs hanging all over . . .

Paulina J!

This is the color scheme I’m redoing my master bedroom in. So inspired by both!!! Wonderful work. I MUST learn to upholster.


I was so surprised to open this post and find this chair. I own the same one!!! It was my grandmothers and, unlike the post, it still desperately needs new upholstery. Thanks so much for the great idea.

Sarah E.

Everyone – I did some digging at it turns out that a place
called Lee Jofa ( claims to be the exclusive
distributor of Cole & Son products in the US. They only
sell to the trade. Hope those of you who aren’t designers have
friends and/or family who are!


Both pieces are stunning! I think this may be my favorite before and after you have ever featured. I just can’t get over the pattern on that chair! So sleek!

susie @ mend

hi hi! i’m so glad you all like the chair! there were some tears parting with it ;p please shoot me an email if you are interested in ordering the fabric and i can help you out with that!! xo, susie

Amanda Contine

Hi Susie, I love your posts. I am very interested in ordering this fabric, can you help me out? Where did you get it?


My favorite curtains are covered with bare trees. I will keep them forever. If they rip I will take them apart and use them another way. The chair would be so perfect for my curtains. It is beautiful.


I have found the fabric and inspiration for my wing chairs in the dining room! What a brilliant person to have the vision of that chair! I won’t sleep till I find a similar fabric. I may have to find a printer on etsy to make a similar pattern…


both the chair and headboard are great! just curious where
your bedding is from? i’m searching for white bedding that has some
texture to it. thanks!


wow, thank you all for your amazing comments…I am so touched and I too LOVE the chair, wow! I am the headboard girl…Gracie, the bedding is from, you guessed it Ikea..I bought it years ago but I know they still have it. It’s super inexpensive, super soft and in my opinion, kind of even Anthro looking! :-)

S. Paige

Wow! That tree chair is *amazing*. I just told my husband the creator was generous enough to donate it to her nephew’s auction, to which he replied, “I’m glad you weren’t at that auction!”


I’ve been looking for a bed for my daughters room…thanks for the wonderful inspiration, I’ll be heading out this week-end for a vintage frame and hope to be just as thrilled with my finished project! Thanks for the inspiration!!!