Is it just me or has this year just seemed to fly by?- Now we’re in Mid October 2019 and It’s been an incredible year. With social media it feels so quick and easy to post pics and keep followers updated on my most recent projects. However I must include this beauty here.
A rare opportunity to refurbish and recover a modern design classic : The “Baby Elephant “ sofa, Designed by Richard Stump for Sir Terrence Conran.
It was a tricky one because the wings, or elephant “ears” were designed and built with speakers fitted into the wings and there is a space directly under the seat designed for a suitably sized amplifier or sub-woofer. Reupholstery involved carefully partially dismantling the sound units to ensure the fitted cover , a plain wool/polyamide/lycra mix called “Front 2” by @ludvigsvensson, chosen for its weight, durability and (hopefully), sound-allowing qualities . My many thanks to Anna F @irreverentsideshows for giving me a hand and to the owners , a lovely and patient couple from Bermondsey, south London, for giving me the opportunity to work with them on such a rare beast!
I fully re-upholstered the first of these two J.C & M.P Smith Ltd Winged Mid-late 20th century armchairs for an award-winning interior designer Nicola Holden Interiors,
Covered in one of my favourite textile designers, Josef Frank, who designed “Teheran” in the mid-1940’s, however, it’s first print run came in 1991, Available exclusively from Svenskt Tenn
In my perhaps over eagerness to provide the most optimum suspension it had to return to the workshop so I could change the webbing back from Pirelli to jumbo elastic I guess that chair was so pleased to return, it brought its twin with it!
I totally stripped it back to the frame, and like the first, made sure I fitted the appropriate barrier cloth so the chair met all the UK health, safety and Fire Regs. Finally covering it in another earlier design, circa 1928 called “Aralia”
Re-staining and polishing the show wood , the abundance of colour and the overall finish with nice personal touches from me, like the multicoloured top-stitching on both seat cushions and velvet buttoning in complimentary colours served to deepen my appreciation for this inspirational designers work and gratitude to my client for giving me the opportunity to produce such statement pieces.
My heartfelt thanks also go out to Anna F for assisting me in this process.
This Cocktail Chair, a family heirloom from Bavaria, arrived in my studio workshop (via Erith), at the recommendation of the owner’s partner, a mutual friend who had been following and appreciating my work since we both used to be members of an east London housing co-operative.
Moth-eaten and in need of some love and care, After a fabric and design consultation my client agreed to go with a Herringbone weave from Harlequin, called “Parquet” in colour “Bramble”
Keeping in constant contact with the client during the process of reupholstery was a joy which resulted in some lovely touches, which I feel enhanced the overall new look, including details like the decorative close-nailing in “French Natural” nails and the dark chocolate leather piping detail which gave the chair an air of contemporary though classic elegance.
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.
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!”
Producing work for the show @MonForNothing has been a privilege and a pleasure. As well as the exposure, you never truly know who’s watching.
So it was a massive suprise when a television celebrity whom I used to watch on Saturday evening TV shows like “Strike it lucky” and “Family Fortunes” as a kid, calls me up to tell me how much he enjoyed the show and that he would like me to transform an old 2- seater sofa that needed a little love and attention, going into his fantastic newly refurbished and redecorated west London apartment.
It was a great pleasure to complete the works for this customer who has been very kind, gracious, patient and supportive of my work. His wonderful home has been a great resource of artitic inspiration and it is an
honour to have my work among his great collection of art & furniture.
My Heartfelt thanks to Rowena Murphy and Anna F for their assistance in helping me re-create a lovely piece.
Getting the opportunity to transform a piece of “High-end” furniture for an high profile customers Trish Evans & Baz Bamigboye was more than a pleasure. It was a complete privilege. From the moment the owners of this statement piece of 20th century modern furniture contacted me. I knew that something special would emerge. The fabrics and colours chosen complimented the other existing pieces as well a wall hanging sourced from their adventures in India. Trish very kindly brought over the first sections and as time progressed the sofa would involve a tremendous amount of cutting, sewing , hand-stitching, stuffing, buttoning and finishing. The process of re-upholstery was delayed as my studio had succumb to an “unimaginable”flood and a clean-up operation, which in and of itself tested my resolve greater than the project itself (more about that flood perhaps in another post)
This Roche Bobois Mah Jong sofa reimagined in a selection of sumputous Designers Guild velvets in Azure, Granite and Pale Jade from their Varese range. Combined with an additional Teal velvet from Iwantfabric.com.
All fabrics were made compliant to meet UK Health safety & Fire Regulations.
My hearfelt thanks go out to Rowena Murphy and Anna Frisch for their amazing assistance during the process of re-upholstery and special thanks to Trish & Baz for their patience, compassion, understanding , support and custom.
Producing these saloon-style doors was a challenge. Some pretty nifty shaping and fitting by James and cutting and pattern matching by yours truly was acheived with on these saloon-style bespoke padded doors, covered in a linen print of the Virgin Mary (customer’s fabric choice). All while ensuring that fabrics were made compliant through the use of a flame retardant barriercloth. My Thanks to Alice & James of the “Toady” boat for their custom and support. Stay blessed.
Whenever an opportunity to reupholster furniture comes with a fairly open brief in terms of design I always meet it with a sense of excitement, anticipation and just a little anxiety.
So when Jay Blades and the Money for Nothing film crew came to my studio with these two sorry-looking farmhouse style rocking and static armchairs, despite my initial reactions I did have a few ideas bubbling up for the cushions the overall look, however, unfortunately, due to time pressures and other projects on the bench, There wasn’t enough time to come up with another of my own completely original fabric designs.
I did, however, have a vision in mind of some types of fabrics I wanted to use. Being a Massive fan of Timorous Beasties work in Scotland I had to get my hands on one of their amazing designs.
How I treated the show wood was a question I pondered on for a while:
With great respect to the growing numbers of upcyclers, hobbyists and others keen to revamp their furniture, I wanted to treat the wood to a finish which was a bit different than just simply repainting, and consequently hiding the wonderful grain patterns, knots and characteristics of these Beech wood frames.
Inspiration came within a few feet of my cutting bench when I noticed while sewing some offcuts of a Designers Guild fabric under the cutting table I had used earlier on this year. A wool from their Capisoli range which had a vertical Ombré effect. I thought: ” What If I translated that effect into the wood using a wood stain as opposed to a paint?
May I present to you this re-imagined vintage farmhouse chairs, now in a stunning @timorous_beasties#Grand Blotch Damask.
These chairs had to be fully restored: All joints, back rails, and broken spindles fully repaired and all suspension systems cleaned and refitted.
I created a custom wood stain with a “3D Ombré” effect. Featuring deep forest greens moving through to autumnal moss. enhanced through many polished layers of Beeswax.
To be honest this project became more a labour of love than money folks. Hopefully, these two lovelies will feature in a future episode of @monfornothing for BBC1
Many thanks go out to Olga Mackenzie and Rowena Murphy for their assistance, and Tom Foy for all his woodworking advice and masterful craftsmanship in replacing the broken inside back wood dowel.
Completion of this Mid-Century sofa bed in brought it’s own pleasures and heartbreaks: Producing the cover buttons broke my button pressing machine! Plus removal of the original seat/ daybed fillings revealed hair infested with a particularly vicious dust mite (they bite!)
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