Tag: Modern

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!”

 

 

Turned out “Awight” : A two seater transformation

Before:

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.

After:

After a great visit to my workshop for a fabric consultation, my customer went for a very classy herringbone weave from Harlequin’s Parquet collection in colour Bramble .

finishing the arm scrolls, piping and buttoning in a dark chocolate leather to compliment the restained and polished legs.

 My customer was so pleased with the sofa he ordered an additional bolster cushion, which I created using a fantastic print from Morris & Co. “Forrest” in colour Charcoal, Designed by Alison Gee in 2013

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.

Bless this House(Boat)…A Virgin pattern match made in heaven

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.

Money for Nothing Project5: Jay VS Ray (Round2) Rocking a Pair of Farmhouse Chairs

Before:

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?

After:

May I present to you this re-imagined vintage farmhouse chairs, now in a stunning @timorous_beasties #Grand Blotch Damask.

Accented with Tangerine velvet piping from @kobe_interior_design “Real” velvet range and complementary border fabrics made from @sanderson1860 “Brianza” creamy velvet.

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.

 

 

To Be Frank, I think Josef is amazing..

Before:

Two sets of  four mid 20th century modern dining room chairs were given a smart refurbishment once they arrived at my studio.

From the look of the show wood they had experienced some water damage and the fillings had completely disintegrated beyond the point from which they could be re-used.

After:

A bit of love and attention to the show wood, some new composite foams protected with skin wadding, and a barrier cloth,

the chairs’ seats were finished smart linen from Svenskt Tenn screen-printed with an original 1930’s design called “Celotocaulis” by Josef Frank.

“Celoto” comes from an asian flower species characterised by a plume-like flower decoration and “Caulis” is the Latin word for flower stalk.

The thing I love about Josef franks’ work is you can clearly see and get a feel of the inspiration that Josef gained through his travels around the world,

which clearly informs the many dozens of designs he left to Estrid Ericson and the Svenskt Tenn company after his death.

A rich and enduring print and textile design legacy that transforms any piece of furniture brave enough to wish to have itself reimagined in.

A great little upholstery project which inspires me to continue to evolve my own sense of design.

With Many thanks To Nicola Holden Interiors

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.

BBC Money for Nothing project series 2 episode 14: Leather & Linen Love

2016-05-29 13.28.56

The second of the 2 projects I completed for the 2nd BBC1 Television series of  “Money For Nothing“, was a 2-seater “department store” sofa, which was saved from the rubbish tip (and potential landfill) by presenter Sarah Moore.

What started out as a concept recover working with an idea Sarah had in mind , ended up becoming (almost) a complete rip-down to the frame,repair, refurbishments , reupholstery & new concept cover.

The amount of cardboard and cheap materials used in its construction brought out the sort of language not fit for public ears , and thankfully was edited out/ “left on the cutting room floor”.

Even though I had an image in my minds eye of the overall look Sarah & I wanted to achieve it took a while for me to “get into” the overall concept.

However , I persevered  and after “ripping down” removing every last piece of “rubbish” cardboard, replacing the fillings in the arms with good quality webbing, hessians, rubberised hair and new foams forming the arms. Coming up with the hand stitched leather and linen “elbow patch” arm panels  and the ” raw “finished edges  and leather piping and the use of a complimentary simulated suede super fabric to bring together the leather and linen elements, the rest of the sofas overall look “came into focus” fairly quickly.

Introducing nice little touches like the leather & linen scrolls on the sides of the back , and more patches finishing off the front borders’ at the corners above the rubbed down stained & beeswaxed  legs, and replacing the worn out polyester fibre filled seat cushions with

high-grade, shaped ,quality foam (wrapped)cores , while at the same time making sure every element of the cover conformed to strict UK health safety & fire regulations through the use of a Flame retardent barrier cloth behind the top cover brought a rustic, raw, country feel with a superb level of comfort that thankfully, a couple were so enamoured with once they had seen and sat on it, had purchased it at Sarah’s Barnyard sale and at a “blinking good price” for the quality and labour which went into it which maybe should of sold for much more but hey, I’m just grateful that it sold at a profit which was returned to the surprised and delighted previous owner.

Sarah-Moore-&-Ray-Clarke-MFN

Before:

Knoll-style 2-seater chair BBCTV MFN

After:

 

Leather&Linen sofa By Ray Clarke For Money for Nothing

 

My heartfelt thanks go out to everyone I roped into helping me complete this particular project: Anna Frisch, Joanna Maeva, All the production team at Friel Kean Films, The Cloth Shop, my upholstery warehousemen/suppliers, Wendy Shorter, Louise at Shoreditch Design Rooms, My Dearest Louise Jinks, Nina, Jan Etoile and all my dear friends who consoled, counselled and fed me tea, biscuits, words of encouragement and support along the way.

 

 

2016-03-01 17.40.23

 

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.

 

 

 

A Tickled Pink Parker Knoll Story …

Before:

Even though I explained that the cost of repair, refurbishment and recovery was comparable to Buying a completely brand new sofa my customer definitely wanted to have this Mid/late 20th Century modern Parker Knoll sofa restored to better than its former glory, as she loved the shape and size and practicality of it; with its fold down arms and fold away back allowing it to provide a great place to rest for her guests.

 After getting it into the studio, the rip-down revealed the extent of the complete seat failure. So I replaced all the broken serpentine springs, lashing them together with the still in good condition steel rods and clips (which took a little time and were a bugger to remove and replace!)

This time I also fitted and lashed hessian to the springs (something that wasn’t done originally), before fitting new wrapped seat foams. Refurbishing the arms with rubberised hair and foams and wrapping them in polyester before  cutting, stitching and fitting the new covers (backed with F/R barrier cloth to make the piece compliant) in a lovely pink velvet called “Peony” from Harlequin

My biggest challenge came with refitting the drop-arm mechanisms: Just when I needed to look at some old photos on my phone with just hours left before delivery,  I managed to loose a number of photo’s on my phone! Which were supposed to remind me of how to replace the drop-arm mechanisms in the arms. On that (very early) morning start I contacted some fellow upholsterers online. Shortly after a coffee I quietly and calmly thought the process through. By the time I did get some great responses back from the forum I had already worked out how to replace them! (Many thanks to those ladies and gentlemen for your input in any case) Nothing beats being able to figure things out for yourself !
Parker-Knoll-Just-collected-and-in-the-studio

After:

Before taking on this project I promised myself I wouldn’t ever work with “Shiny” or metallic Velvets  (They are usually not to my taste) ..However this velvet grew on me as I used it, the colour was lush and deep and for me had just the right level of lustre and by the end result It not only brightened up my studio, but brightened up my customers face and livened up her living room!

Ps: A big Thank you to my mate JJ for helping me deliver it: You’re a diamond!

Finished-and-delivered

 

 

Parker-Knoll-sofa-bed-conversion

 

 

 

 

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

 

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