Monday, 23 October 2017

Mid Century Sofa in Kvadrat fabric

A very large mid-century sofa reupholstered in Kvadrat Halingdal wool fabric.

This sofa is either home-made or at least heavily modified with an 18mm ply base and rough-sawn plank back. We just made a couple of huge cushions upholstered in one of the best fabrics on the market and look at it.

7 feet long and total class.

This was a commission.

Large armchair in Designers Guild fabric

A huge Laura Ashley armchair reupholstered in Delahaye fabric by Designers Guild.

Amazing fabric, it's an oil-on-water print.

What about that eh?

This was a commission.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Bus Shelter chair at Lydstep

This chair now available to bus travellers on the A1439 at Lydstep, Pembrokeshire.

I liberated the chair from a skip and covered the seat in the quilt cover I made for my daughter when she was very little - it's an Andy Warhol Camo copy.

I then got completely carried away with paint after I'd had a few drinks - I'm calling it the 'Drunk Pattern' camo (trademarked).

And there's an amputee Grenadier Guard just to round things off.

1960's Bed Settee in Bute tweed

A 1960's bed settee reupholstered in Bute Fabrics tweed

Once again Bute came up trumps with the fabric

Terrific for an afternoon nap eh?

This was a commission

Monday, 25 September 2017

Large Ottoman and Lloyd Loom chair in Melin Tregwynt wool

Large ottoman and Lloyd Loom chair reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Vintage Rose Savannah fabric

Over the past three years our lovely octogenarian neighbours who were so welcoming and helpful to us since we moved to this great little village eleven years ago became ill and died within a very short time of each other. As the house was being cleared some of the family decided to leave a few pieces of furniture with us for reupholstery. The above box and below chair were among them.

Sometimes it's the sentimental value of furniture that matters. Reupholstery can transform things that may have little monetary value or may not seem to 'fit' in our contemporary homes and give them huge importance in our lives again. They can connect us to our past while being resolutely contemporary - both old and new at the same time.

It's amazing, give it a go.

In memory of the lovely Ollie and Marion.

Lloyd Loom in Melin Tregwynt wool

Nice little Lloyd Loom chair reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Carew wool - great how the wear on the chair seems to match the colour range in the fabric

This was a commision

Cane Chair with the perfect fabric

A 1950's open armchair with canework back - new seat in Melin Tregwynt Nexus Ochre 100% wool

Our customer picked up this chair with no cushion and dropped it off saying 'see if you can find me a fabric that suits this'. This is one of our repeat customers for whom we have done many jobs in the past and it's great when someone trusts you to come up with the right thing.

When I spotted the similarity between the weave pattern and the 6-way cane weave pattern I knew we had a match, what about that eh?

This was a commission

Bus Shelter Chair at Defynnog

This chair now available to bus travellers on the A4067 at Defynnog.

The chair came from a load in a skip and is now covered in my old German parka.

If you're wondering where the usual toy soldiers are, they're in the pockets.

I can recommend a pint at the nearly Farmer's Arms if you're thinking of visiting.

Large Edwardian armchair - the Blitz Survivor

A large Edwardian armchair reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Elements Aqua 100% wool fabric.

This huge armchair has an amazing story attached - the owner's grandfather bought it in London at the turn of the century and had it in his Ilford home. Just before WW2 they moved out to the country and rented their home fully furnished. During the Blitz the house suffered a direct hit, killing all the occupants and destroying pretty much everything else EXCEPT THIS CHAIR.

Like St.Paul's Cathedral, this chair has had a few repairs and modifications over the years but remains as a stoic reminder of the quality of British manufacture. To those who try to defeat us we defiantly turn our backs on your attempts...

This was a commission

Wingback Armchair in Melin Tregwynt wool - a birthday gift

An early 20th Century wingback armchair reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Vintage Rose Savannah 100% wool fabric.

This beautifully appointed chair is a much-loved family heirloom that was in daily use, just a bit saggy and in need of some attention. I was contacted by one of the owner's sisters to see if the family could afford to club together and have it reupholstered as a surprise birthday gift for her and after a few simple questions I estimated a cost and it transpired that indeed they could afford to and would go ahead.

Knowing that she loves the various British wool fabrics we specialise in but wanting her to pick her own fabric (and to have a present to give on the birthday) they came by for some fabric cuttings and other bits and pieces and made an 'upholstery mood-board birthday card' - the lucky birthday girl then brought in the chair, picked the fabric, we took care of business and the family paid the fee. A simple and very enjoyable process.

Come on families, give the gift of reupholstery - what are you waiting for?

Monday, 19 June 2017

Second Sitters exhibition at Geffrye Museum, London

I was asked to take part in an exhibition of contemporary upholstery at the Geffrye Museum in London by the ever-wonderful Second Sitters and what an altogether wonderful thing it was.

Anyone familiar with the Geffrye Museum in London's old furniture district of Shoreditch will know it's the perfect location for a show about upholstery - you walk through a long corridor of rooms displaying furniture throughout the ages until you reach the gallery space in which you'd expect to find a timeline of the history of upholstery with a great display of all the components of stuffed furniture and then a nice display of lovely contemporary upholstered chairs.

But it was nothing like that. Well the first bit was, the history of upholstery was excellently researched and the wonderful range of upholstery bits and pieces would be fascinating to anyone but as soon as you turned the corner to the 'contemporary upholstery' you were faced with the weirdest gathering of furniture made by the biggest bunch of nutters you'll ever see in your life.

This is where Second Sitters are so strong - they are utterly uncompromising. The show included: whoopee cushion chairs that make various noises when you sit down, a hanging burnt armchair, a chair upholstered with only flotsam and jetsam, a chair half upholstered in Hermes scarves, a chair about Hiroshima, a chair with horses' hooves for legs, a pair of stools somehow wired into the walls and an armchair emblazoned with the word RIOT. These are chairs that make a POINT.

Don't get me wrong, these are not unlovely chairs, they are all beautifully upholstered and perfectly appointed. But this is not a furniture showroom, it's a showroom of ideas. And these ideas are not for the faint hearted. The show wasn't called Evolution to Revolution for nothing.

For my own part, I included 15 framed photographs of my guerilla upholstery bus stop chairs and two of my 'conjoint chairs'.

The Beast with two Backs

and, wait for it...

The Beast with Three Backs

The 'point' of these chairs is not exactly obvious, I know. They're experimental and slightly daft which is exactly how I like things. Like the bus stop chairs they're saved from landfill and using waste materials, particularly the tapestry fabrics which I love and that everybody still hates (they're coming back, you mark my words) but the 'point' has something to do with joining things together and joining people together - that's as far as I'm letting on, you'll have to fill the rest in yourselves.

Apparently some choice comments were overheard from people looking at these - one lady was convinced that the Beast with Two Backs was "for a baby, it's for a baby, yes that's what it is, it's for a baby" before quickly moving on. I love that many visitors probably don't come across this type of thing in art galleries, etc and among them may have been some bemused visitors but it was quite clear that people were well able to take away the idea that as well as doing their jobs, upholsterers might have a point to make too.

My favourite comment came from upholsterer and chair caner extraordinaire, Rachael South who whilst stood looking at my chairs asked me "have you got access to my nightmares?"


Because Second Sitters are thorough in how they " promote independent UK and international upholsterers through publications, exhibitions, collaborative working and education days" there were also lots of upholstery demonstrations, workshops, discussions and other events held during the three weeks. The Geffrye Museum were also very supportive, promoting products made by exhibitors (including mine) free of charge. And a host of volunteers came forward to help with invigilation, etc, so  the whole thing was very well supported and visited (see the World Upholsterers Map at the show) by those in the upholstery business. By that I guess I mean the REupholstery business as I don't think anyone from DFS would have got out alive.

The exhibition is over now and the world has gone back to normal - most of the exhibitors are making beautiful but 'normal' chairs again. But it DID happen and who knows, it might happen again. Maybe some forward thinking art or craft gallery might come forward to take the show elsewhere or maybe there'll be another, similar thing in the future. I will certainly keep experimenting with slightly daft/slightly worrying chair experiments and the world will keep turning and the world of upholstery will move slowly but surely on. It just won't be quite the same as it used to be. 

Second Sitters we salute you.


Second Sitters are Jude Dennis and Hannah Stanton, contact via their website

Many thanks to Corrine of Frame & Cover whose photos I (and everyone else) nicked numerous times during the show  - her excellent review of the show with pics of all the chairs can be seen here
and you can check out her great upholstery fabrics here

Exhibitors were:

Jude Dennis
Hannah Stanton
Miss Pokeno
Polly Granville
Alex Law
Electra Read-Dagg
Rachael South

1990's armchair in Camira Fabrics wool

1990's armchair reupholstered in Camira Fabrics wool

Really love the colour of this, it's called 'beetroot' but it's not like any beetroot I've ever eaten. When you get close up with the camera it really changes hue.

Whatever colour it is it's going to look great in its new home - strong colour for single armchairs, that's the rule. No wimps among our customers I can tell you.

This was a commission

Long stool in William Morris print

Long piano stool reupholstered in William Morris Golden Lily print fabric

Designed by J.H. Dearle in 1899 and still in production today, the Golden Lily print is one of Morris & Co's greatest legacies. Here he is working it out with a pencil

Thanks John Henry, it looks alright on this stool doesn't it?

This was a commission

Milking stool in vintage Welshwool

Hand made oak milking stool from our 'Welsh Vernacular' range upholstered with real horse hair and handstitched to a piped edge.

Not sure which mill the wool comes from but I'd say 1960's - if anyone knows please get in touch.

For sale - £75

Parker Knoll armchair in Melin Tregwynt wool fabric

A Parker Knoll 720 armchair reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Vintage Rose Olive 100% wool fabric

If you look through the pages of this blog you'll see lots of these chairs dotted around, I've lost count of how many we've done and I have no idea how many of them Parker Knoll have sold over the years but they're still in production (they're called Penshurst now) and for good reason -they're very comfortable and they reupholster very well. Add some Welsh wool fabric to the equation and you have a real winner.

You can buy a new one for about £1800 or you can find an old one for less than £100 and bring it to your local upholsterer. If you bring it to us we can make it look like the above - what are you waiting for?

Here's a short film about how Lynplan (now out of business) would reupholster them. We do it similar to this but with rubberised hair, hessian and all closures hand-stitched because we like to do it that way. And why not eh?

"Bring out your 720s, bring out your 720s"

This was a commission

1930's armchair in Melin Tregwynt wool

A 1930's bentwood armchair reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Nexus Ochre 100% wool fabric.

More terrific fabric from Melin Tregwynt that seems to suit everything we put it on - I love how it hugs the shape of this chair without distorting the pattern.

Quality like.

This was a commission

Laura Ashley armchair in Sanderson fabric

A 1990's Laura Ashley armchair reupholstered in Sanderson trilby fabric

Something of a reproduction Victorian button-back chair, we decided to shallow-button it because there really wasn't enough room for the pleats and according to the customer they had gone baggy very quickly. As the seat was constructed of a moulded-foam shape with no springs in the seat we had to modify it a great deal, but it worked out fine in the end.

And orange too. I know I live in wales but I'm a lifelong fan of Luton Town Foottbal Club so anything in orange is always in favour with me. Actually, given recent political events and the attempted 'coalition of chaos' with the DUP, that statement is no longer as simple as it was. But let's try to keep politics out of upholstery eh?

This was a commission.

Wingback armchair in Melin Tregwynt wool

1900's wingback armchair reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Vintage Rose olive 100% wool fabric.

This is the first time we've used the lighter side of this doublecloth and I have to say it's pretty terrific as I'm sure you agree. It's perfect for this type of chair giving you a traditional look that's somehow also very contemporary - how do Melin Tregwynt keep managing that?

 The chair had been picked up at auction and was in poor repair so we stripped it right back to the frame and reinforced the wobbly arms, put right the various amendments to the shape that had been made over the years and reupholstered it in the traditional way. Sometimes reupholstery is like getting a haircut - the upholsterer might say 'who upholstered this last time? it's terrible' but unlike in the hairdresser's you don't have to suffer the shame of it because it has nothing to do with you. Here's the bottom of the chair with the springs removed

...that's a huge bit of foam prolapsing through the hessian and the front edge had a piece of bent ply nailed into it to keep the foam in place. I love a good bodge, particularly some of the Heath Robinson have-a-go-at-home jobs we come across but this had been done in a proper upholstery workshop - quite how some people operate beggars belief.

Anyway, the seat has been properly made now, here's the new springs after the tying and lashing stage - we don't do fancy tying or beautiful lashing, nor do we do perfectly measured and stitched horsehair pads, but we work quickly, we use the proper equipment in the right way and we make something that we hope will last for years to come. And if for any reason it doesn't last for years, we make it clear you must bring it back and we'll do it again.

It's my guess the last upholsterer doesn't offer that kinda guarantee.

This was a commission.

Parker Knoll 720 in Melin Tregwynt wool

A Parker Knoll 720 armchair reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt wool

Tidy Tidy Tidy.

1960's bentwood suite in Bute tweed

A 1960's bentwood suite reconditioned and reupholstered in bright orange Bute tweed.

As ever we made a new bench seat from foam and bespoke back feather cushions to better expose the woodwork.

Smart or what?

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Ercol Armchair in Welsh Wool

Ercol 203 armchair in dark finish reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Vintage Rose Olive 100% wool fabric.

Once again we replaced the back cushion with a bespoke heavy-stuffed feather cushion to better display the spindles - surely what this chair is all about is those spindles...

The fabric is a new colourway for Melin Tregwynt and is already very popular with our customers - you'll see a whole host of chairs on this blog done in this fabric in the coming months. Again it's a doublecloth and the reverse side is very different to this. This combo looks great with the dark wood.

This chair is for sale at £600 directly from us. We also have another with accompanying ottoman, a two seater and a three seater daybed all in the same series - these can be done in any fabric of your choosing. If you're interested, get in touch.