before & after: patrick’s chairs + libby’s bench

There are literally tens of thousands of chair designs in the world, so for a single chair to stand out in the crowd, it all comes down to the details. Looking at the lovely finishing touches on these refurbished chairs by Patrick Feist, I can tell he is well aware of this fact. From the brass tacks to the burlap backings and orange buttons, I’m in love with these chairs. The canine model he’s chosen isn’t bad either :) Patrick is selling a few of his redesigned pieces at a pop-up store in Nolita called Pound Cake, but if you can’t make it to NYC, you can also see more of his work on his site, P.M. Feist. Wonderful work, Patrick! — 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.)

We’ve featured wrought-iron furniture makeovers before, but I don’t think I’ve seen one like this before. This lovely woven bench is the work of Libby Nikkel, whose friend Mandy couldn’t resist sharing the project with us on Libby’s behalf. Libby snagged this old bench off of Craigslist for $10 and, inspired by a furniture piece she saw at Anthropologie, decided to try her own hand at weaving different textiles to achieve a similar look. The result is quite unique, elevating this bench well beyond its humble beginnings. The mixture of colors and textures is beautiful, and I especially love the detailing on the arms. Beautiful work, Libby!

  1. Oh those chairs are magnificent! The burlap, the buttons, the tacked trim, and of course, the dog!

  2. Toby says:

    I would love to know how she secured the fibers.

  3. This is really inspiring. I’m going to have a go with an old chair I have in storage!

    Thanks Design Sponge!

  4. Ubisu says:

    Interesting design. We’re renovating our home and looking for more ideas. Thanks!

  5. Carrie says:

    Love these chairs. I may have to try my hand at recovering a couple after seeing this. Thanks!

  6. Liz says:

    That wrought iron job is fantastic. Kudo’s on the idea and execution.

  7. Leigh says:

    Love the bench. I’m with Toby – would love to find out how the ends of the straps were secured.

  8. Libby says:

    Hi Toby and Leigh… I used macrame “rope” for the bench. I found info online on how to macrame a chair, and stumbled my way through making adjustments for this bench. Thanks for the comments!

  9. Ann says:

    The pair of chairs is simply, and near-subversively, wonderful. The sophistication of orange on gray contrasted with burlap!

    This reads like I’m practicing writing decor magazine captions, but I really mean it!

  10. sarah says:

    The burlap on the back of the chairs-brilliant use of texture. Love.

  11. RTA Cabinets says:

    The dog was a perfect choice, I would have done the same thing absolutely.

  12. Gina says:

    Love, love, LOVE that bench (the chairs are fantastic too- but the bench really caught my eye). So creative and unique. Would be interested to know where to find macrame rope- is it readily available in lots of different colours?

  13. Kelly says:

    Libby, can I ask what I hope is not too obvious a question? Do folks sit on the bench? It’s really lovely but I’m wondering about the tension across the length of the seat. Thanks!

  14. the bench is G R E A T !

  15. Stephanie says:

    That bench is to die for, such a beautiful job! And the precision on those chairs is amazing, dog also adorable.

  16. Libby says:

    Kelly, my husband asked the same thing as I was making it, but yes! We do sit on the bench, and it’s very sturdy. Here is the link I used when learning how to macrame:

    My mom’s macrame’d chairs back in the 90’s were the true inspiration!

  17. Megan says:

    That bench is beautiful! Is there any chance we can get more pictures of it (either process or close-ups)?

  18. able mabel says:

    That bench is unbelievable!!! What a great job!

  19. stephanie says:

    gorgeous! what a brilliant find and excellent work!! love it!

  20. Wow, the transformation of that bench is amazing! I love it!

  21. Please Note says:

    The wrought-iron bench is amazing! I love the colors!

  22. Katie Bee says:

    Those are both incredible. How long did the bench take? I love the colors and pattern. It’s beautiful!

  23. nichole says:

    Those buttons just made me gasp!

  24. Aaron / Lisa says:


  25. bRainbow says:

    Awesome job!! I love it!

  26. Valentina says:

    Beautifull!!!!! most of all the second one!!!

  27. Theresa Grahek says:

    Love the chairs…what a great transformation!! They would fit in with any decor.

  28. anna says:

    Both are great transformations. I love the colors chosen for the bench, just lovely.

  29. Ann says:

    I am in LOVE with these refurbished chairs. For my final project in 3D design, a partner and I created a refurbished chair with all sustainable materials. It’s so fun! You can check it out on my portfolio page of my blog:

  30. Sarah Jane says:

    That bench is great! I just bought a little kids chair that reminds me of the bench and need to recover it. (on my blog) Thanks for the idea!

  31. Sarah Jane says:

    Just saw the website you used to macrame, Libby! Thanks! That little chair I bought had woven fibers on it, but isn’t usable right now. Can’t wait to try this! You can see the chair here: I’ll have to send in my before/after when it’s finished!

  32. Amee says:

    love the bench also. is that rope you used to weave the design? i can’t tell from the pic. what kind of rope is it. where’s it from. hardware store? i’d like to try making something similar for my pathetic front porch. thanks! and awesome job! way to inspire us all ;)

  33. karen says:

    LOVE those chairs. Well done!

  34. karen says:

    That is one of the best before and afters I have seen. What a very, very cool makeover. Great work!

  35. Susan says:

    Excellent. I’m trying to do something with some funky fabric I found at IKEA with some folding chairs. I needed some good inspiration, so thanks!

  36. casamos says:

    I got to see the inspiration bench at Anthropologie, and I have to say that this diy bench is a FABULOUS version of that crazy expensive bench. Nicely done!

  37. That bench is WOW! Love the colors and textures!

  38. pat says:

    I love the gray chairs, the button tuft is a great choice for a tailored detail.
    Very inspiring!


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