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Before and After

Style | Upcycling Q&A at the Museum of Vancouver

I love a good upcycle. In fact, the early days of The Anthology were all about reinventing vintage pieces like this dress, this formerly comical piece, and even the odd piece of furniture, like these stools from Habitat for Humanity for the Vancouver Home and Design Show.

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But designer Evan Biddell (of Project Runway Canada fame) has taken upcycling to a whole new level. For Eco Fashion Week’s 81lbs. Challenge, he has created an entire line using the volume of textiles the average person discards in a year. (I covered last year’s event for Vancouver is Awesome — read up on it here.)

On Sunday, April 2nd, I’ll be moderating a Q&A at the Museum of Vancouver with Evan and stylist Ellen Balsevich. It starts at 2:00; you’ll find all the details here.

Want to come? We’re giving away a few tickets. Email me at with subject line: Museum of Vancouver for your chance to win.

Home | DIY Dining Room Table and Mismatched Chairs

For a lot of people the thought of re-covering a chair is intimidating. But that’s easy. So, so easy. It’s the re-painting that tough, messy, tiring work. When I upcycled a pair of stools for the Vancouver Home and Design Show a few seasons ago, I spent minutes with the staple gun putting on new fabric but I spent hours and hours sanding and painting.

So this DIY from A Beautiful Mess would be an undertaking and a half. Not only is the table made from scratch, but the chairs were all sourced at different flea markets, sanded down and painted a million coats of vibrant yellow. But man, would it be worth it.

Style | Skinny Fatties

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a before and after. Okay fine. It’s been a really long while. But I was pregnant and what’s the point of scouting a dress that looks like your mom’s kitchen curtains and getting it reworked if it’ll only fit for one week? Exactly.

So. Anyway. Skinny Fatties had me feeling nostalgic. Because it’s as brilliant — and simple — as before and afters get. They’ll take your no-longer-favourite ties (or your dad’s ties or your baby daddy’s ties — hello Father’s Day!) and tailor them so they look a little more of-the-moment. And if you’d rather shop off the virtual rack, they have a collection of already skinnified vintage ties.

Either way, one size fits all.

[Photo from Skinny Fatties’ Instagram]

P.S. I haven’t taken any photos of reinvented ties but you should follow @KelseyDundon on Instagram anyway.

Thank you | Vancouver Sun

Thank you, Vancouver Sun, for featuring my upcycled stools in the pages of your home and garden section. Y’all are the best!

P.S. Want to keep creeping The Anthology’s features and appearances? (I know you do, mom.) You’ll find the highlights here.

After | The upcycled stools

It was a long road from the blah brown stools I found at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to the stage at the Vancouver Home and Design Show.

But I made it. How? A little paint and a lot of staple gun magic. If you’re into upcycling (so fun! so green!) and you want to reupholster a pair of square stools, you’ll find a step by step (ooooh baby!) guide below. And trust me, if I can do it, you can too.

Unscrew the stool’s top and set it aside.

Prep and paint the wooden part of the stool. And don’t believe your friend Justin when he tells you sanding will take two minutes. It will take much longer, but it’s worth it to ensure the paint won’t scratch off. Prime (if you like) and paint. You may need to do two coats.

Choose your fabric and buy way more than you think you’ll need to allow for accidents and overhang. Fabrics with straight lines and/or symmetrical prints (like the one I chose, which I found at  Spool of Thread) are the most difficult to use because you have to line them up carefully so they don’t get warped. Fabrics with random prints — or none at all — are much easier to work with.

Iron your fabric if it needs it and then lay it face down on a flat surface. Lay the stool top face down on the fabric. Fold the fabric over one edge, paying close attention to make sure lines in the fabric’s print don’t warp. Then, before stapling, tuck in the edge of the fabric to create a kind of hem so it won’t fray.

Pull out that staple gun and start stapling from the centre out to an inch or so from each corner. Don’t worry about completing the corners yet. Repeat this on the opposite side, pulling the fabric taught. Complete the other two sides.

Finish the corners by folding over the triangle of remaining fabric. Pull it tight toward the centre of the stool. You’ll end up with a few pleats, but that’s a-okay. Staple until they’re secure.

Screw the tops onto the legs once the paint has dried.

Et voila! New stools!

[Blouse c/o JNBY, pants by Lifetime Collective, socks from Gap, boots by Matisse, bag by Longchamp.]

P.S. I post photos to Instagram as I go so follow Kelsey Dundon there or on Twitter @TheAnthology.

Giveaway | Tickets to the Vancouver Home and Design Show

These ugly stools are about to get a whole lot less ugly. I hope.

I’m going to DIY my little heart out and rework these babies as part of the Vancouver Home and Design Show’s Upcycle Challenge in support of Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. Want to see my finished pieces (and Jillian Harris and HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler) in person? The Anthology has teamed up with the show to give away three sets of two tickets to the show, which takes place October 11-14 at BC Place.

The first three people to email me at with the subject Vancouver Home and Design Show win!

UPDATE: Congratulations Heather, Stephanie and Dilara — you’re going to the Vancouver Home and Design Show!

P.S. Speaking of giveaways, you could win a MINI Adventure from MINI Richmond! Enter here.

Home | Kartell’s FL/Y Pendant Light Sure Beats This Old Ugly One

I’ve hated this light fixture since I moved into my house almost five years ago.

But the thought of dealing with this was daunting. And, to be honest, I had no idea it was something one could tackle without the help of an electrician.

Until I ordered the FL/Y Pendant by Ferruccio Laviani for Kartell from Design Within Reach and discovered that, with many YouTube tutorials and a lot of safety precautions, I could install it. All by myself.

Take that, New York Times.

Before | The Purple Colour-blocked Shirt

Hilary Banks would have loved this shirt. She probably would have worn it with pearls, a long-strap bag, pleated pants and some sort of sassy hat. It would have been one of her more conservative looks, but she would have rocked it.

I am not Hilary Banks.

Though I do find it interesting to see how different decades interpret the colour-blocked trend. I’m not convinced the ’90s did it very well.

I’m going to get this blouse altered in the hopes that I can actually wear it in this millenium. Stay tuned for the “after” shots!

P.S. Like The Anthology on Facebook and you’ll be the first to see the transformation.

P.P.S. Take a trip down The Anthology’s memory lane with these Before and Afters.

After | The Striped Floral Dress

This vintage dress was quite the find. Especially after giving it a few nips and tucks. Now instead of looking like your mom’s kitchen table cloth, it looks like your mom’s dish towel. There’s less of it, see?

I shortened it, belted it, climbed a tree in it and chased my dog in it. Soon enough I’ll be having seaside picnics in it.

When photographer Sherry Lu shot these photos in Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park, I wore this dress with Converse Chuck Taylor Daintys (thank you, Converse) because walking my dog often turns into chasing my dog, so I needed to wear sensible footwear.

Another thing I need: a better-trained dog.

[Photos by Sherry Lu.]

P.S. You know what you need? To follow @TheAnthology on Twitter.

P.P.S. You’ll find the rest of The Anthology’s Before and Afters right here.