Recover, Refurbish, Repaint

Recover, Refurbish, and Repaint are the three R’s to decorating on a budget. Like most designers, we’re constantly reinventing our favorite furniture pieces. Suzanne has recovered the sofa she bought in London in her early twenties (it now sits in the living room) more times than she can count. And Lauren has painted a pair of Salvation Army-found campaign dressers three different colors in the past two years. When we’re out shopping, we’re always looking for well made, budget friendly pieces that we can either paint or recover to suit our style. Below is an image from our new book of the Salvation Army campaign dressers in their third iteration so far, a high lacquer peacock blue. We recently re-painted our treasured dressers (we bought the pair for $60) a fresh, minty green.Which color do you prefer? The mint is a little more neutral and seems to go with more around the house, but the blue really did make a statement.Another one of our recent reinventions is this pair of slipper chairs, below. We found them in a dusty corner at Braswell in Norwalk, CT. We’re slipper chair freaks and are both waiting for the day that we uncover a pair of original Billy Baldwin’s at one of our local haunts (a girl can dream!). After turning the chairs over, we found out that they were custom and made by the very reputable work room, De Angelis. They were a steal but needed to be recovered. Not ready to recover these guys right away, they sat in our basement for a few months. Can you believe how miniature they are?!Our basement in Rye basically looks like a furniture store. We’ve accumulated SO much stuff in the past few years we can’t keep up with all of the pieces we want to recover, repaint, or refurbish. A few months ago we got the excuse we were waiting for when we had to design a set for the segment we did with Martha Stewart. In need of a pair of small chairs, we recovered our slipper chairs in a pale blue cotton linen.
Here they are in front of the campaign dressers in the house…We made the pillows on the love seat out of this fantastic Raoul fabric (right). The blue and white chevron from Brunschwig & Fils was used for the mini pillows on the slipper chairs. What have you all revamped lately? We’d love to see!


  • Kate

    Love the colors you chose from the campaign dresser!

  • Donnarino

    Love the mint color. Would you mind sharing the exact make and shade of paint used?

  • Jessemy

    Just painted a Queen Anne style dining chair in “Blue” by Benjamin Moore. I cannot believe how much more I love it now.  Just need a flashy blue ikat fabric to finish the seat.  Or maybe a contrasting yellow/orange?  Not sure yet.

  • Jessemy

    Oh, and I like the peacock blue best.  Although you can tell that I’m totally blue-biased.

  • Lauren

    love the ikat idea!!

  • Lauren

    Fresh mint by Benjamin Moore! 

  • Susan

    I am in the process of painting an antique farm table with Annie Sloan chalk paint and soft wax, it’s an exciting transformation.  What brand of paint did you use on your dressers and did you have to sand or prime?  Thank you, Susan

  • Suzanne

    Yes, always sand and prime before you paint to even everything out. We like to use Benjamin Moore (makes a great high gloss version you can buy at Home Depot) paints for furniture, but we’ve also used Glidden and it’s been great as well! 

  • Donnarino

    Thank you.

  • Flora

    My knee-jerk reaction was that I preferred the blue but like you said, the green is far more vertsatile!  In a neutral room though, the blue would be amazing.

    I’m thinking of painting a side table in my living room, either black or white. 

    Do you two recommend professionally spraying furniture or is it just fine to do it yourself with a brush?  Either way, my husband is going to kill me.

    Love your book, by the way!

  • Artemide

    You are right dear. I Also think that  Good lighting, in a home or business, is one of those things that’s invisible – if it’s done well. You only notice the lighting of a room if it’s too bright or too dim, not if it’s just right.

  • emilie

    Love everything in the first photo! The butterflies immediately caught my eye — did you frame a scarf? If so, who is the designer? Or, was it one of your secret flea market finds? 🙂

    – emilie

  • Jessemyneiger

    Thanks for the encouragement, Lauren!  Found some lovely Uzbekistan silk/cotton on eBay and here is the finished product.  The blue is a bit more subdued in real life.  The pattern reminds me of dinner forks!