The Battle of Chesterfield…

In spite of the many upholstery projects I have undertaken over the years I still feel relatively inexperienced and still enjoy the challenge taking on projects which teach me something new. Earlier this year I took on the task of recovering a Chesterfield-style sofa bed using my customers own fabric, a hard wearing velvet of unknown description which had to be backed with an flame retardant barrier cloth, in order for the piece to comply with the relevant UK Health, Safety and Fire Regs.

Although I have completed many deep-buttoned upholstery projects in the past, they mainly involved tackling the buttoning process on a “flat” shape. Even though this was a “modern” piece It still took me a while (and a good day with many thanks from Louise Boyland from Shoreditch Design Rooms )to help me build the confidence to button this shape and get to grips with Van dyking (a method of joining pieces of fabric or leather so that the joins wouldn’t be seen when buttoned).

Yes this project did take slightly longer than my estimated time, however it was my first piece of this type and certainly was worth doing, if not just for the experience but also being the first piece I was able to deliver using the New Nissan e-NV200 all-electric van which I loved using during a 2- day test drive.

My customer was so pleased to eventually have it finished  and delivered(the picture below was the only time I could get a half-decent shot of the piece still partially finished with the decorative nails “) She thanked me with an extra £50 tip.

 

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Non-Identical Twins..

Before:

The first of these pair of G-Plan E-Gomme chairs arrived in my studio last year from a lovely couple near Blackheath/Lewisham area,  who in my past many years ago had been great employers and have grown to become good friends and loyal supporters of my work, having seen my previous projects online and personally knowing what its like to run a business they were more empathic and sympathetic to the (daily) challenges faced being a self employed artisan/craftsperson

 

Cass-&-Neil-Staintons-1st-E-gomme-G-plan-chair

 

After: 

These pieces were a challenge because there not only had to be a fair few changes to the design; having prepared the show wood with the intention of developing one of these pieces to showcase a fabric textile print I had designed,  using the whole process to finally bring to market some of my previous skills in textile design into my current creative manifestation. Even roping in some fantastic help from a talented illustrator (Thanks Sarah McCarthy, your efforts will not be in vain!x)I couldn’t bring the design  to market as I couldn’t bring together enough resources  (I was attempting produce a specific fabric in time and so my customers had little choice but to choose fabrics they had sourced.

Luckily for me these customers had great taste (as well as tremendous patience), choosing 2 fabrics from Osbourne & Little:  Soumak , from their Tabriz Collection of weaves and “Dovetail” from their Abacus collection, making their use in these pieces compliant through the use of a flame retardant barrier cloth. Complimenting these fabrics,  I put together a custom wood stains for each. finishing the wood with layers of shellac and rubbing beeswax to create the right lustre. My heartfelt thanks to Katy Chaytor-Hill and Anna Frisch for their assistance.

 

G-plan-E-Gomme-chair-in-Osbourne-&-Little-'Dovetail'-from-Abacus-collection

 

 

 

 

G-plan-E-Gomme-chair-In-O&L-Soumak-Weave-from-Tabriz-Collection

 

Coming to you in Glorious AWT (African Waxblock Technicolour)…

Since producing the first of these a few years ago these custom African Waxblock technicolour patchwork Ottoman stools are becoming steadily very popular. I produced the latest one of these in July this year for a fan who saw my work on Facebook. Paying in instalments, I got little nervous and concerned when I couldn’t contact her as she had simply “Vanished” off the internet and hadn’t responded to my phone/text messages or emails!..I was delighted and surprised when one fine day in August my customer just randomly wandered into my workshop with her final deposit, explaining that she had become a victim of online fraud and hacking and had to wipe all presence of herself off the net! At that point I had almost finished the stool , needing a base cloth and custom feet attached (hence the lack thereof in the photo below)Upon finishing I delivered the stool to her parents’ address ,who were surprised and delighted that such a colourful piece had come to stay.

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Mid-20th century Modern Metamorphosis

Before:

This mid century modern armchair and footstool used a cleverly

stitched together fitted loose cover. My customer wanted to use

Flock’s Northmore Minor in Teal designed by Rachel Parker.

People don’t realise that sometimes cutting , making and fitting a loose cover can be as much work as refurbishing and producing a fitted cover.

Getting the curves right and bringing together this gorgeous textile design to “flow” throughout the shapes.

As this textile is printed on 100% Cotton, the use of a Flame retardent barrier cloth was essential for the pieces to comply with the relevant health,Safety & Fire Regs.

To make the cover more versatile and washable, I opted to make the seat cushion separate from the armchair unlike the original which was fixed.

The second piece, A Modern tub chair was tricky too: Each Pattern piece involved seams which were piped and then topstitched before

My many thanks to Jenny Wingfield For referring this lovely customer to me who sent me the following comments:

“Just mailing to say how much I love the work you have done on my three items, the chairs and the stool.  They have been done beautifully and make my room a changed place.  Your skills are just great and I appreciate all the work that has gone into them.  Thank you so much. Many thanks Pearl Brown”

 

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After:

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After

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Afrotechicolour therapy.. A wax block print patchwork chair

 

Before:

Rick Holland Donor chair4


This Mid-20th century modern piece was given to me back in 2010 by super talented artist, print & textiles designer and all round lovely lady Hannah Edy.

Although it was very much the worse for wear I faithfully kept it in storage thinking “That’ll be a great chair again someday..”

The opportunity to transform this piece came just after Xmas 2014, when a lovely couple contacted me from Mill Hill, NW7 and then made a few journeys’ down to my studio to chat with me about a piece they had previously seen online of my first attempt, a tub chair, at an waxblock patchwork print from a collaboration with Chantal Koning YouMeWe .

The process of transforming and updating this piece was a totally different challenge from my first version.

..A chair can take 8 hours or, in this case 40+ . It depends on your customers budget & ultimately how much love and care you wish to put into its re-upholstery.

This chair alone involves 74 carefully selected , cut, made compliant and stitched panels.

AFTER:

With new fillings of new rubberised hair and foams replaced the hopelessly deteriorated & crumbly foams.  A brand new serpentine spring suspension system, all lashed together(so the springs move in unison)upgraded and replaced the broken dried out Pirelli webbing which was originally stapled to the frame . The buttons are Nobilis Velvet, along with the fabrics, were chosen specifically and carefully between myself and the customer with all fabrics made compliant to the Health,Safety & Fire Regs (1988) through the use of a flame retardant barriercloth.

The Ottoman stools were built from scratch, along with a pair of duck,n,down feather-filled Scatter cushions

My deep thanks go out to Anna who assisted in the rip-down and was a great help for me to bounce off fabric selection ideas, Chantal Koning of YouMeWe for fabric inspiration and sourcing

and to Rick Holland & Katie Pomklova for their patience and input while I put together this work for them.

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Double trouble ..

I cannot deny that finishing these pieces of mid-century british furniture from G-plan was a tremendous relief for me (as well as the customer) It represented overcoming a real mental hurdle as for some reason I had got myself mentally “stuck”: I had previously upholstered a type 6250 in fabric for a friend before however this time I was asked to refurbish and recover these in a beautiful “Cowboy Burnt Tan” hide from Wildman & Bugby. So converting the fabric meterage to “hides” was a new lesson. I was recommended to the owners of these chairs, who are a lovely family living up In Chalfont St. Giles. They  also gave me  a matching footstool, a bent plywood G.A. Jenkins /Tecta chair and a children’s toy to re-upholster, recover and repair   respectively) of these pieces by  Photographer and friend Roulla Giorgio.  They showed me great patience during the process of producing these I went for an “advanced buttoning tutorial from my old tutor through which I gained more confidence to tackle both pieces.

I didn’t do myself any favours by going for full deep buttoning whereas the “original” cover only had “floating” buttons through sewn seams and also choosing to create a custom suspension system; re-enforcing the base of each seat first to accommodate carefully positioned Serpentine (zig-zag) springs, lashed together  between the original rocking mechanisms so that they provided optimum support without interfering with the rockers. This replaced the elastic green webbing which the seats bases had been previously fitted with.

..before

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and after

 

 

 

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Presenting the final of the two chairs gave me an opportunity to invite Roulla to accompany me to the family home to finally shoot the chairs and that evening  we were both treated to a Sushi dinner made by the family

My sincere thanks to Emilios & Julia , Roulla Giorgio and Wendy Shorter Interiors for the training.

A Sherbourne Satire?: Refurbished and recovered

I don’t know..sometimes my customers come up with strange and wonderful requests!

After discussing at length this Fabrics “suitability” (I.e; This “Tea-towel” Linen had to be backed with an F/R barrier cloth)

Adding my own touch of a “Lemonade” Piping from Todays Interiors Palermo range and delivering it back to the customer, we both found this refurbished and recovered Sherbourne footstool rather amusing.

Royal-Footstool

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Returned to sender: A reproduction Louis XIV in vintage French Postal Sackcloth

To meet my customers’ budget , this reproduction French Louis XIV was  rewebbed and resprung traditionally. The old degraded foams were completely replaced with a combination of rubberised hair, composite foams and a linen scrim-covered tack roll which was tacked in place for a much improved feel to the seat. The reupholstered fillings and suspension were covered in an F/R barriercloth before an original French postal sackcloth was carefully cut and fitted. Finally trimming the piece with a lush Lemonade velvet piping from Today’s Interiors.
Many thanks to Katy Chaytor-Hill for the rip down

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Refurbished & recovered

Using the customers own chosen fabric yesterday I refurbished and recovered these pair of barstools as part of preparation for a lovely apartment in Narrow street , Limehouse, London E14

Refurbished-and-recovered-bar-stools refurbished-recovered-Barstools-

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Atelier Ray Clarke Ltd T/A Ray Clarke Upholstery & Design Company registration number :12018355