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Vintage club chairs; before and after

This was a house we (Orlando and I) designed 2 years ago (at least), but I had hoarded the content for my maternity leave. Ha. I can’t believe that I thought that I would have more time in my maternity leave to write long design posts. But since I’M BACK (in the figurative sense) it’s now time to start blogging about this house and showing you the ‘before and after’s.

One of the things I love about this makeover/transformation so much was how different it is than other projects I did that year. It wasn’t bright poppy colors. It wasn’t mid-century at all. There wasn’t anything hipster about it. Why did she hire me, you ask? Yea, that was my first question, too. Her daughter was a fan and they saw an episode of the show that was a hip french country and they reached out. Lisa wanted ‘French Country meets modern Hollywood’.  Basically rustic meets glam, with a bit of industrial. I’ll get more into the design next week as we are prepping all those posts now but I thought that I’d share the quick ‘before and after’ of these flea market chairs today as an appetizer.

We found these fugly chairs for I think $150 for the pair. What I loved about these chairs was the cute little lines of the arms, the piping that made them look all tailored and the price. When we saw them I thought that they could go more modern, and obviously a more sophisticated color. Remember (am I a broken record?) you can always change the finish of pieces but you can’t change the shape. The finish (fabric) was this gross gold boucle. But the shape? Adorbs. (@!@#$%^^^!!!!!) We also thought it would be a good opportunity to create two tones – do the back under the piping in one color and the front in another. So the wonderful Orlando (now creator director of HomePolish) did a couple of drawings, because he’s, like super talented like that. This is why you go to art school, folks.


We knew that we would get rid of the skirt, ASAP … like even before we got home from the flea market. And we also knew that we were working with cream/ivory and a navy blue. So the first drawing shows the cream on the back and the navy on the front. This looked really front heavy (like me) and just didn’t feel right. It felt off-balance. So he tried it the opposite way with the back/sides in the darker navy and the seats/tops in cream linen:

chair3 That felt much better to us – the back being a darker color grounded the chair, and the cream created a fresh contrast. Here were our fabric choices:


Of course without you knowing much about the fabrics this might seem just random of weird, but we wanted the space to be filled with pretty neutrals (no bright whites) to create a warm rustic feeling, and then some deeper tones to create contrast and depth. So it was ‘tonal’ but with some deeper hits of blue. Oh and as far as pricing goes I think that they were both probably $300 each to recover and the fabric was on the more expensive side at $30 a yard (since it was upholstery weight belgium linen). And here is how the chair turned out (and a sneak peek into the space).


I kinda love it. Especially for this house/style. Its polished, updated, feels high end, but since its linen it still has a casualness about it.

EH Sherman Oaks Shoot 1-16-146

I think that this chair is really elevated by the alternate welting. It really highlighted the lines of the chair. That weird circle was just the sun’s reflection on the camera, don’t worry.

For more upholstery ‘before and afters’ check out this vinyl chair, this velvet chair, these office chairs, and this pink sofa

Photographs by the lovely Bethany Nauert


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