before and after

before & after: jamie’s chair + gail’s benches

by Grace Bonney

this colorful chair makeover comes from jamie meares of furbish studio. she found these great bamboo-style chairs and gave them a modern update with blue paint and a great pagoda-print fabric (will update with a source for that asap). great work, jamie!

[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 to see gail’s benches (converted from old deck lumber) after the jump!

i love when people look at a pile of “junk” and turn it into something with new purpose. gail from my repurposed life turned this huge pile of used lumber (the leftovers from her daughter’s old deck, which was rebuilt by friends) and turned it into 2 benches and a stool for her daughter’s new deck! i love her resourcefulness, and that she shared her how-to steps on her blog right here. great work, gail!

Suggested For You


  • those bamboo chairs are a wonderful find. I love that beautiful blue. i need to learn more about carpentry so I can build something new out of old wood…

  • I like the before better on the bamboo chairs, they look sophisticated painted black. I like the new print though, but I think I would prefer any other color better than that blue. Dark plum, red, green.

  • At first glance, I thought the shot of the chairs “before” were the “after”. I adore their former black finish and understated upholstery, and thought they were quite unusual. Now they look like…well, like something you see all the time on DS (no offense, Grace).

  • That’s awesome. Any hints for stripping a chair like that before you repaint? I have a few that are similarly detailed, and the thought of sanding all those small areas defeats me before I even get started. :(

  • love want the fabric for those chairs. reminds me of something my mom wore back in the day.

    they’ve got a serious summertime gin and tonic vibe!

    great redo.

  • I think the new b/w upholstery with the old black base would have been even more beautiful. with this blue they look too colorful to me.
    the benches are just great!

  • I think the chairs look very unique now…the before was too conservative. They look like they belong in the lobby of some chic little beach hotel in Malibu or Miami now….very nice choices!

  • Love the contrast of the two different blues! Sure, leaving the bold black base would have been classic and beautiful, but if the chair’s going to be an accent piece, why not have fun with color? Makes it more casual.

  • i love the chairs!
    i love the color.
    it totally made my day to open up the sight and see these beauties.
    so much more interesting now!

  • Thanks so much for the feature! I still smile every time I look at Jamie’s benches! This thread confused me when I saw Jamie’s Chairs and Gail’s benches. :)
    Because Gail made the benches for her daughter Jamie.

  • I’m not sure you should be eating from that bench without being properly sealed. Wood used in patios is usually treated with arsenic

  • I don’t usually feel so compelled to comment but how is the “after” an improvement? The craftsmanship of the makeover is excellent but the taste level is questionable. Over the top and far too trendy for my tastes…

    • kate

      i appreciate you noting the craftsmanship of the makeover. taste is pretty subjective so i understand if it’s not your taste, but i appreciate the time and effort that went into it.


  • the chairs were gorgeous black! now they look cheap and nasty in my opinion.
    also, why is everything that’s vintage/older style often painted blue on this site? i’m all for re-vamping but some new ideas would be a freat inspiration.

  • Love the chairs & I love Jamie’s blog! I think they look fun and inviting even if they’re not for everyone. :)

  • While I’m personally not fond of the blue choice for the chairs, I feel its relevant to mention that at least the colour suits the style of the chairs better. With the black frames and grey fabric the before looked a little too severe, no? (Funereal almost…) At least now they’re a little more fun, which suits the actual nature of the chairs. Great job!

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.