Tag: Armchair

More Monkey Madness: Transforming a Wingback Chair

Before:

This wingback chair was originally donated to me by my good friend, super talented artist and fellow meditator Raksha Patel, which was found discarded on the site of Raksha’s old studio many years ago, at a time when she and a group of her fellow artist friends had to leave a block of studios they used in west London which were being converted into luxury apartments.

For a while there it took pride of place in my living room, giving me a place to sit after many long hours at the workbench. Although it arrived grubby and unloved, I knew If I held onto it long enough , eventually I would find the time to reupholster it.

Thanks to (repeated) episodes of Money for Nothing, a fan of the BBC show got in touch,  requesting a wingback chair to be recovered in my Monkey print, which they had seen on the show. I had other donor chairs but the shapes were not suitable so in the end I offered them the chair. Although I was alittle sad to see it go, I couldnt miss this perfect opportunity to transform the piece and, in my own fabric design.

The ” Rip down” process revealed a really shoddy build quality and a shocking use of really low grade upholstery materials, ripping out cardboard and plastic webbing , which I had ripped out and replaced with Strong elastic webbing , 120z hessian and rubberised hair behind, and to bolster the existing foams used to create the arm shapes. I went on to protect the existing foams in the back and seat suspensions, though the additional use of 12oz Hessian and Polyester Skin wadding, which was completely missing in the original chairs manufacture.

 

 

After:

Refurbished and transformed, the old chair did take a little longer to complete than I had originally hoped. However it was finally looking resplendant in my own signature Monkey print on moleskin Velvet, trimmed with Zoffany Velvet and complimented with Sanderson Brianza . With the new Beech wood Queen anne legs , customised in my own spirit-based grey woodstain.

 

My Many thanks go out to Stacey Lewis, a fellow upholsterer, who came in to assist me in getting this ready, as well as helping me work through many projects in my workshop (reducing my backlog). I also want to say a special thank you to Anna Frisch for her assistance , Heritage Upholstery Supplies for helping me source the new legs. I also wish to thank Anyvan.com for the swift, safe and affordable courier delivery up to Dunstable. My Customer had originally commisioned the piece for her sister, who  upon seeing it, said

“It was better than she thought,  loves the fabric used and was over the moon!”

 

 

Money For Nothing: Ray & Jay Moving, Making & upcycling ..

For any upholsterers and soft furnishers moving their studio to a new site, I feel for you. In my experience the process can be stressful, never-ending and exhausting! My Thanks to Anna F and Rowena Murphy for helping me with some logistics ( and some very heavy lifting!).

Imagine you have barely loaded in the last of your boxes, when an opportunity (not to mention a camera crew) arrives, to not only work with someone you’ve long since admired through social media, a certain Mr Jay Blades, but to do it on national television.

I felt exhausted after the move, but excited to finally work with a leading light in furniture up cycling. Jay was a new presenter on the TV Show Money for Nothing (BBC1 tv). He brought a couple of pieces for me to choose from.

I decided I get to grips with a sorry-looking (but full of character) Mid-20th century modern armchair.

With barely a pair of trestles and some hand tools unpacked, the “rip down” process revealed a piece which had already brought new life of its own: Among the creatures living inside the upholstery were a family of woodlice, and a particularly big green and plump garden Slug , which from the picture above, already made its presence felt by leaving a long , undulating slug trail all over the seat, inside back and outside arms and back.

An enjoyable bit of banter with Jay  and myself discussing fabric and design options unfortunately never made it into the final edit for that show. To be honest , after the studio move I was so mentally and physically tired , and the ideas I came up with for re-imagining the chair were in excess of the budget. Sometimes it’s better just to go with the flow too, as Jay supplied the fabrics and knowing the type of work he has produced in the past I had a definite idea of the type of look Jay was after. It was just up to me to put in the graft.

And so too the rip down. Having packed away my mask I had to improvise with “a knotted hanky” made from some scrap calico. I did indeed discover that this chair had plenty of life left inside it… some of it was still moving!!

Making sure no living creatures were harmed I carefully removed each of the woodlice and capturing them in a cup, went out to release them back into the wild (well, not so much wild, as the neighbouring public green/ recreational space across the road from the studio space. When it came to finding a slug , having isolated the chair from the rest of the furniture projects in the studio overnight, by the time I returned to finish off cleaning up the chair our little friend had managed to embed itself in the last bits of filling in the seat base, starved of moisture/ fluids it had dried out completely.

After:

After putting in some hours and with great help from my assistant Rowena Murphy (A big thanks!), the chair came together quite well. Covered in a light grey and Charcoal Wool, accented with baby blue piping in just the areas I thought Jay would appreciate. As a homage to the dead slug the seat base used a limey-green wool (not sure of the source, It felt like Kvadrat’s top quality Davina range)I did pull a few all-nighters to get the last bits ready and the morning of the final shoot/big reveal I felt little “ropey”to say the least, and perhaps a little bit touchy as well,  after I got a little miffed for a millisecond there at the way one of the crew spoke to my assistant, who arrived at the studio towards the end of filming, having also put in a shift to help me get this ready ). In the end it was a job I thought reasonably well done and my big thanks to Rowena , Anna F and the irrepressible Jay Blades and the crew for their enthusiasm. Unfortunately the chair did not sell within the filming schedule so I hope it eventually finds a great home.

When George met Ray: A chair for an Old House New Home.

Before:

In May 2016 , after completing the first 2 shows for the BBCTV show “Money for Nothing”, something wonderful happened: I was approached by another production company to produce work on a project for a Channel 4 TV show :

George Clarke’s ” Old House New Home.”

The Chair I was asked to re-upholster was an 19th Century Crapaud armchair. The chair turned up at my studio first, and then later George turned up with a film crew larger than life and full of beans.His enthusiasm was infectious.

My initial enthusiasm gave way little once we started to rip down the chair. Once stripped down to the bare frame I could see that this piece needed a complete overhaul as it was riddled with woodworm.

After:

To restore this piece, I enlisted the help of master woodwork/craftsman Tom Foy, who did an excellent job returning the stripped down frame with fresh new support and stuffing rails from which I began applying new suspension and fillings.

I decided  to apply a fully traditional approach to the suspension, fillings  and top cover , which became a point of pride for me as I wanted to produce a piece that would last many many years, using the finest traditional materials afforded in the budget.

During the process a nice travelling South African upholsterer visited my studio  lending me a hand. During the process and while under pressure to reupholster the works within the film scheduling,  he tried to convince me to use staples in certain areas which, perhaps would have speeded up the process, however, I so wanted to produce a fully  “traditional finish” I stuck to my guns.

It took a few all-nighters and even by the morning the piece was due to be collected to go up to Leicester I confess I still hadn’t fully finished stitching the final covers on!  However , with a little skill and a few tricks of the trade the chair did finally appear in the final edit and after filming I went up to Leicester and finished the chair in the clients home.

If you click on the link below you might still be able to watch the episode on Channel 4 on demand:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/george-clarkes-old-house-new-home/on-demand/62968-004

Many thanks to Wendy Shorter Interiors, Rowena Murphy, Amazing Productions, Tom Foy, Anna Frisch, George Clarke

A splash of colour to chase away those winter blues..

After:

A parting shot of this winged Parker Knoll-style armchair, completely re-upholstered using modern techniques and materials,

is now hopefully brightening the cold dark and grey winter months at a lovely home in Ealing, West London.

Covered in #SvensktTenn #Joseffrank #Teheran

 

Before:

Every genuine Parker Knoll I have ever worked on carries a manufacturers stamp on the frame with a product number. This chair did not carry that stamp and so I had to treat it as a mid-century modern winged armchair in a style similar to a Parker Knoll.

As I had no idea of the true origins of the chair (make and model) I treated all the aged foams on the inside back and seat as not fit-for-purpose as I was uncertain as to their flame retardancy. Fitting new rubberised hair and medium grade foams, wrapped in polyester skin wadding was, legally, the best choice I thought I could make , ensuring the fillings didn’t exceed the shapes and thickness of the originally fitted foams.

The elastic webbing on the seat disintegrated upon removal so there was no sense trying to refit already damaged seat webs into a chair which needed new fillings and an expensive fabric top cover to be fitted. So the seat webs were upgraded to Pirelli webbing, fitted to prolong the suspension’s life within the chair.

As for the seat cushion itself;  the original filling, which in itself had degraded had no protection between the original foam and it’s top cover, this would have made the seat unusable within a short period of time of constant use. Simply recovering in the manor it came in would have worn out both the seat foam and the new linen top cover , as well as not necessarily conforming to the relevant health safety & fire regs. for domestic furniture.  I replaced the old foam with a medium soft grade foam, wrapped in white polyester skin wadding and stockinette, which protects the foam and the top cover from excessive wear through friction and ultra violet light (which degrades foam) while keeping all the fillings in place, having cut and shaped the foam and stitching its cover to the same size and shape as the original cushion .

My favourite aspects which I brought into the treatment and application of this wonderful fabric include the 7-colour topstitching on the seat cushion border, and the two velvet colour-coded cover buttons fitted into the inside back.

As the fabric itself was not compliant, the use of a wool safe flame retardant barriercloth was used between all of the fabric used in the chair and the fillings, additionally helping to prolong the life of the fabric from excessive wear.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Rowena Murphy who assisted me in the full re-upholstery of this statement piece.

Visions in Svenskt Tenn & Zoffany for Nicola Holden Designs..

May & June were spent refurbishing and recovering a 2-seater Henderson Russell Balzac-style sofa, which involved replacing a broken front beam (and refitting the serpentine spring suspension system), with a piece of reclaimed oak, found at a local recycled timber merchants just down the road from my studio, along with an armchair, in Zoffany’s Romany Grey , a vanity stool in clients own fabric (unknown) and a set of 4 Mid-20th Century modern dining room chairs in Svenskt Tenn “Celotocaulis” , designed by Josef frank in the 1920’s, and a late 20th century rocking chair in Svenskt Tenn “Elefant“, designed by Estrid Ericsson. All for a lovely home in Ealing, west London on behalf of Nicola Holden Designs.
Henderson-Russell-Balszac-Style-sofa-in-Zoffany-Romany-Grey

 

Henderson Russel Balszac-Style Chair

 

Henderson-Rusell-Balszac-Style-Sofa-In-Zoffany-Grey-Studio

 

Vanity Stool Nicola holden

 

Rocking chair Nicola Holden

 

Dining-room-chairs-in-Svenskt-tenn

From Tangerine to Aquamarine Wingback Dreams…

Fresh-off-the-bench-Finished-Cathy-Green-Chair

Before (below): 

This reproduction Edwardian-style wingback had seen better days: The right hand facing wing had begun to “flap” around, the seat cushion contained Feathers which had totally degraded and it’s arms has seen better days

Wingback-Chair-before-Cathy-Green

I had brought a selection of my finest velvet ranges to my clients home, where I presented them to choose from I looked over their chair to check its condition. Once a fabric had been agreed  (An FR version of a Kobe “Real” velvet, after some discussions between myself and my client, it was decided to go for some special decorative nails as opposed to the original piping detail,  to provide a different finishing detail to the front arm scrolls. I also instead of using the fillings from the original seat cushion decided to discard and make up a completely new foam & feather combination bespoke seat cushion.

The original arm fillings were removed and also discarded having lost their density and “return”, giving me the opportunity to fit hessian in front of the jumbo elastic webbing. Replacing the old crumbly fillings with upgraded rubberised hair and foams .

 

 

 

 

 

 

After:Fresh-off-the-bench-Finished-Cathy-Green-Chair

 

 I couldn’t get this piece ready in time for xmas, for which I was extremely apologetic. However just before new year this piece was collected and my clients reaction said it looked fab and  “Soooo comfortable”. A dream realised in aquamarine. Many thanks to Richard & Cathy Green for your patience and custom.

 

 

 

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”

 

2015-04-14 17.34.26

 

2015-04-14 17.33.56

 

 

After:

2015-06-01 17.02.31-1

 

2015-05-25 15.43.07

 

After

2015-08-12 17.19.50-1

 

2015-08-12 18.10.32-1

 

 

 

[portfolio_slideshow id=1979]

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.

 2015-05-16 11.27.44

 

 

[portfolio_slideshow id=1914]

Club chair Leather Repair

Leather club chairs can be stubborn beasts. They don’t like to be confined into small spaces (like put in storage)and crushed up against other objects.
As you can see from the image below the (outside) arm’s on this Michell Gold armchair suffered internal as well as external damage.

Julachair before


 

Club Chair arm repair1

Jula Armchair repair2

 

Having serviced the outside arms (restoring the fillings, restraining the hide and then feeding it with hide food & Carnauba), a snap on Instagram ,

some viewers useful feedback from my peers and then a chat to my customer  confirmed what else I had suspected needed to be sorted out to prevent any further

damage. To which end I created and fitted a new seat unit, which would help prevent the seat cushion borders from excessive wear and tear.

 Jula Krutsinger Club armchair restoration

After:
Jula Armchair leather repair & seat cushion replacement

Definitely worth doing the seat. Now this happy chappy has rejoined its family. (Many thanks for the brief visit!)

[portfolio_slideshow id=1806]

Back to school …Go and stand in the corner

That “back to school” feeling always returns to me at this time of year..

One of the very first traditional upholstery exercises I was taught was a drop-in seat. This one inside this antique corner chair has a 1st stuffing layer of coir fibre (coconut hair)and a second stuffing layer of 80/20 animal hair. The show wood was cleaned up with wire wool and Beeswax bringing out the woods beautiful grain and colour, I hope the finish will bring even more smiles to cosmic couple Katie & Dominic Search who celebrated their 1st wedding anniversary during September.

 

Finished-drop-in-seat

 

 

 

 

 

[portfolio_slideshow id=1585]

  • 1
  • 2

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