Chester's Before and After

My friend Chester is an incredibly gifted artist. He's most known for his metal work where he incorporates unusual materials to create functional home furnishings and accessories. He recently showed me a 975 square foot apartment he and his partner, Steven bought in Atlanta which he planned to renovate and then sell. First he showed me the before, then 5 weeks later...the after. 

For the main living area, Chester refinished the hardware floors, added lighting and a coat of warm-toned white paint. He also closed off the doorway to the right in lieu of a very appealing clarestory that allowed more room for furniture and artwork and added instant charm.  

Chester has created all manner of art through the years. For this installation, named "Letters Never Sent," the idea was based on regrets over not sending a letter. He used vellum paper as he loved the texture and how it wrinkled. Copper wire finished off each one and each letter is different than the next. The repetition is pleasing to the eye and just shows that great art doesn't have to be complex or costly. Chester adds, "I like the nuances and I especially like how all the shadows are different at night." 

Alex is one of my favorite pugs and he decided to join us for the photo shoot in exchange for treats. As he kept his eye on Chester, I took notice of the long, pretty curtains in the apartment, which are actually painter's drop cloths from Home Depot. They have a great texture and look like linen. To tie each curtain back, Chester used a metal braided oversleeve, a type of material that's used in hydrolics on airplanes. When I asked him where he found it, he just smiled. Chester likes to keep a few tricks up his sleeve...

Chester used to be a prop stylist of sorts and it shows. Every square foot of this place is a thoughtful mix of well placed items- from the pricey and economical, to the vintage or new. The worn suitcases above were handed down from his great aunt. 

What a difference darker cabinets can make. Chester added some much needed contrast to the kitchen by refinishing the cabinetry and installing new hardware, via Ikea. This one change created a huge transformation and gave the space a more modern feel. Chester redid the cabinets himself via an innovative do-it-yourself cabinet refinishing system called Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations. It was a three step process that included deglossing, paint and a topcoat. 

These silver chairs are anything but ordinary. Steven and Chester scored these gorgeous and indestructible Emeco chairs, designed originally for the US Marines, at a yard sale for $10. (they normally sell for $440 a piece!) And this long, intricate rug was found in Albuquerque, New Mexico, comprised of pieces of antique cloth. 

Closing off that doorway really did wonders and I love the large sliding door, which Chester smartly kept in place. 

Again, by changing the cabinet color in the bathroom, a transformation is quickly made. Hardware and fixtures were found via Ikea. What would we do without Ikea? 

One way to brighten up and transform a space is to paint it white, which Chester did to the entrance walls and floor. An Emeco chair fits perfectly in this office nook. Shelving adds storage space and smartly utilizes the height of the room. 

Sweet Alex posed for me again, this time with his proud pops. Thank you Chester...

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Photos and Content: Sweet Peach