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!)
I absolutely love transforming antique furniture with clever colourful combinations of modern fabrics and colours. The process becomes all the more enjoyable when I get to employ traditional upholstery techniques, as was the case with these two antique cane-backed pieces of furniture on behalf of Nicola Holden Interiors, who had a client based in Kew who wished to use a combination of Robert Allen fabrics and plush velvet piping to give a contemporary twist to these two traditional furniture pieces.
A lot of work went into rewebbing, springing, stitching, stuffing and revitalising all the seat suspensions. Providing a robust foundation from which I made seat pads choosing a foam core/feather wrap, giving optimum comfort levels for the bespoke seat cushions and new and fully filled duck & down feather back cushions.
My many thanks to Anna F and Rowena Murphy for their assistance in helping me transform these pieces, and to Nicola & Nick Holden and their client for their patience as I enjoyed some memorable sunny days in the new studio space, listening to the sounds of “A Moon Shaped Pool”, the most recent album from Radiohead.
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.
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:
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.
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