Swanky Swell Settee

By Kate Riley July 28, 2010

Oh the fabulousness just keeps on coming!   I received pictures of this settee revamp from a reader, and I am loving it.  Nina is a textile designer in San Francisco with a company called Swanky Swell, don’t you just love that name ?

Nina writes:

“I love your blog! I’d like to share with you the before and after of an antique settee I recently restored.  When I found this old settee, the fabric was outdated and the webbing was a complete shot. However, I was drawn to the shape of the frame and its Victorian style.  It had great bones to work with and I really saw potential in it, so I decided to give it another life.

I am a textile designer from the San Francisco Bay Area and I decided to restore this settee using one of my organic prints for the front and a matching solid in eggplant color for the back. The fabric is an upholstery weight certified organic cotton.  The frame was lacquered in high gloss black and new webbing and foam were installed. Double welt in the solid eggplant finishes the look.”



settee before


settee after 2

settee after 1


Nina’s original textile designs are available for you online at Swanky Swell.  Here’s a few of her stylish prints I’d love to bring into my home!

swanky swell fabrics

Aren’t they lovely ?  You can also purchase Nina’s fabrics in her Etsy shop




  1. Hot Dog! That’s what I thought to myself when I saw that settee! I’m planning to feature that too, it’s amazing! And I’m also trying to get up the nerve to try the trellis thing in my little girls room (do you think it would work in a baby room? In … yellow? I don’t know, am I way off?) I really love how it looks though, yours is FAB! I hope I can keep my ADD at bay long enough to see it through, maybe I’ll just find a REALLY BIG stencil and only have to paint it once or twice! ;) ha ha!

  2. Absolutely stunning! I’d so love to do something like this to pieces of furniture, what an awesome talent! It looks gorgeous!

  3. Oh my word!!! That transformation is AMAZING!! I wish I knew how to recover furniture. The fabric choices are so pretty.

  4. So incredible! I am actually on a hunt for a settee for my kids t.v room/loft area! I thought, how funky if you could do it in bright bold fabric and a down cushion for cozy!

    Great post!


  5. That’s an amazing piece of furniture. It’s huge, classic, almost regal. She did a great job refinishing it.

  6. Whoa!…I saw a chair like that at a thrift store & I let visions of hard work restoring it ,overwhelm me.Beautiful piece sette this is.Very Nice!!

  7. Lovely transformation! Inspiration like this makes me want to rescue every antique piece I see from craigslist!

  8. I have an old Duncan Phyfe Sofa someone gave me that is in really good condiction except for
    cat scratch on fabric. The wood is in such good condition I would not want to paint it. What do
    you suggest for fabric to recover to update?

  9. I am so glad to see this antique piece upholstered in a modern fabric. My mom has some furniture that has been in our family for a long time, and though the pieces themselves aren’t my style, I can imagine recovering them in a really snazzy modern fabric someday. The setee is gorgeous! Wish I lived in SF!

  10. WOW! I have been stalking the digital cutting machines for some time now…. the time just comes when you need (yes, need… not want) to be able to add professional shapes and trickier… words to your designs. I’ve been working on embellishing vintage suitcases but have been stymied by inability to paint the lettering on them…. The Silhouette is going to work out great.

  11. This is awesome! I keep looking on craigslist and ebay for a setee to redo like this. I’ve acutally been looking for over a year. I’d like to use it in my kitchen.

    Anyways, how much does a reupholstery job like this cost? I’m trying to save up so when I find one, I can handle it! :)

  12. BEAUUUUUTIFUL! I WENT THRU EVERY ONE OF YOUR BEFORE AND AFTER PICS LAST NIGHT! There is nothing better to me than finding a beautiful piece at a thrift store and making it into a gem! Thanks for all the beautiful pics to look at and all the inspiration!

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