My workshop is endlessly filled with pieces that have a family history or sentimental connection, but this was a project that had extra meaning…
Mr Evans’ chair is a project that sums up why my job as an upholsterer is such a joy and a privilege but so emotional sometimes. This job wasn’t just about transforming a chair. It was about creating a legacy.
Mr Evans’ daughter Morag contacted me about a chair belonging to her father, who was in his 90s. A stunning example of an original G-Plan chair, he had bought it with his late first wife sometime around the late 50s / early 60s. It had a huge amount of sentimental value for him as his wife had sadly fallen ill with MS early in their marriage and was wheelchair-bound for the rest of her life. She would always sit in this chair when at home, so understandably, it was linked heavily to his memory of her.
Honouring the past
The chair had been re-upholstered once already about 15 years ago, but all the springs in the base had gone and needed replacing. Even so, it was big, comfortable, well looked after and 100% worth saving. Mr Evans wanted it brought back to life, and he was VERY particular about what he had in mind. In a FaceTime meeting with him and Morag, he told me he wanted it to look as close to the original G-Plan orange colour as possible, ready – at some point – to hand down to the next generation. Not only was Mr Evans clear on what he wanted, but he also wanted it done as soon as possible.
Deciding on the details
We confirmed fabrics, and one month later, when I went to collect the G-Plan chair, I was met with the news that Mr Evans had passed away the week before. A total shock. I know what it feels like to lose a parent, and understandably the family were raw with emotion. I also felt devastated not to have met him in the flesh. He seemed so well and vibrant in our FaceTime call.
Even so, Morag and I had the most wonderful chat about him (through our tears), how he was a proud man who wanted to make sure everything was in good order so that his family would inherit his fantastic pieces in the best possible condition.
“What a wonderful gift to leave his family, knowing he’d had a hand in this re-creation and was leaving something irreplaceable behind.”
Maybe something in him had known that he didn’t have much time left. What a wonderful gift to leave his family, knowing he’d had a hand in this re-creation and was leaving something irreplaceable behind.
I take great care of every project I take on, but something about this task had even more significance. The webbing had gone, so we replaced that, fixed the seat platform and added a new seat cushion. Finally, we covered it with Romo Fabrics Linara – a cotton linen blend in colour harissa. It was a perfect reinvention and provided the bang-on match that Mr Evans himself had planned.
A lovely Legacy
The armchair came back looking so good and with such incredible sentimental value that all the family wanted to claim it. The chair meant everything to everyone – what a lovely legacy. While this was undoubtedly a project tinged with emotion and sadness, it was also a joyous story because Mr Evans’ G-Plan chair lives on.
I always say to anyone, even if the furniture when someone passes away isn’t to your taste, don’t overlook it too hastily. Keeping a piece of your family history is a wonderful way to remember someone in a practical and thoughtful way.
It was a real honour to be a part of this job. You don’t get the quality – and the story – from a new piece of furniture, that’s for sure.
If you have a piece you’d like to transform from ordinary to one-of-a-kind, get in touch.