Well, it’s been another bumper year of wonderful upholstery triumphs and remarkable furniture transformations. As 2021 draws to a close, I’ve had a rummage through the archives and come up with my personal top five projects of 2021. I’d love to know what you think…
1) Modern makeover
I loved this challenge as it was reinventing something fairly modern and making it outstanding! I’d already completed a few projects for Sarah-Jane, so when she called me up and said she was looking to update her current kitchen sofa and was looking for a second one for her extension, I was happy to offer some advice. She had a Multiyork sofa and she wanted something to match it in a similar style. She’d already had a look around at new and couldn’t find anything quite right, so I went back to her with what I always recommend – buy second hand!!
After a quick whirl around Facebook Marketplace, Sarah-Jane found a fabulous Multiyork loose cover sofa very similar to the style she already had. Not one to mess about, she picked it up the very same day for just £150. Bargain!
Of course, there was plenty to do. For a start, I detested the loose baggy which hadn’t worn or washed well.
Fabric aside, the seat required some attention, so we fixed the broken front rail and replaced the seat padding. Finally, we also added new grey legs with castors to both sofas!
Sarah-Jane selected an amazing Prestigious Textiles Botanist print in Ebony. Not only a stunning style choice, but as a hard-wearing velvet it can withstand dogs, kids, spills and hide a million sins. Such a fantastic transformation and best of all… Another two sofas saved from landfill!
2) Very Vintique
Happy memories for this little number as it was the first piece that launched Very Vintique.
This collection of one-of-a-kind furniture features the most exquisite fabrics and beautiful detailing. It’s a truly exclusive collection of limited-edition pieces that have the true touch of a designer at their hearts.
This chair, from the Danish Mid Century modern era, was a real treasure. Just look at the sleek teak arms and the beautiful soft curved back. The fabric I chose is BlackPop Neo 13. In a design that’s a wonderful blend of colours and shapes, with connections to one of my local landmarks, Hampton Court Palace. Made using totally sustainable methods, the fabric bears all the eco credentials that I am so passionate about.
Blackpopvelvets are digitally printed in the UK using environmentally sustainable water-based inks and made from plastic drinking water bottles diverted from landfill. The chair was finished off with a pop of sherbet velvet piping from the Linwood Fabric Omega velvet collection.
This chair was a total one-off and – no surprises – was snapped up almost as soon as it launched online.
3) The perfect book nook
It’s always satisfying creating a vision from scratch and as ingenious transformation go, this one was truly spectacular! As well as having great taste and incredible vision, Crissi also happens to live a few doors away from me so this was a collaboration in real close quarters!
Crissi had recently had her kitchen and diner renovated and in doing so created this cosy little reading nook under the stairs. A brilliant use of space, she had a carpenter create shelving and storage plus somewhere to sit. We had loads of fun sampling some bright and bold fabrics and went for the eye-catching Kirkby Design Hue in orange for the bench cushion itself. For the two large cushions we chose Clarke & Clarke Exotica Passiflora in kingfisher and for the bolsters it was Linwood Fabrics Omega in grass – that trusty stain-resistant velvet I love.
For the finishing touch, Crissi sourced some pumpkin cushions on eBay to tie all the colour choices together and I don’t know about you, but I reckon the final result is the perfect reading nook! It just goes to show how you can be creative in even the tiniest of spaces with great vision if you have an upholsterer on hand.
4) Stunning statement
Knowing you’ve found the right fabric is always a pure joy and this modern, but slightly tired sofa was given a spectacular revamp. Les and his wife loved their bold butterfly sofa. But with my professional hat on, I could see where vast improvements could be made. This was a real case of taking something from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
For a start, the pattern wasn’t matched anywhere and the durability of the fabric clearly wasn’t up to scratch – it had worn right through at the front and the seat was practically threadbare. Not the quality you should be able to expect from a sofa manufacturer. I made it my mission to lift the sofa to new heights and make Les and his wife love it even more than the previous version.
Reupholstering any kind of Chesterfield sofa is not a straightforward – or cheap – job. However, style points aside, I knew I needed to steer the couple towards a fabric that would be resilient and button beautifully. When we had our video briefing, I spotted a lovely lamp in their dining room, which I picked out as colour inspiration. These were customers who weren’t afraid of a few bold choices so I sent through a daring selection of samples and they picked a beauty.
Arley House Navarra in turquoise is a rich 100% polyester velvet. Gorgeous but also hardwearing, it was a perfect choice! What a transformation. For me, it’s still the bold statement that Les and his wife wanted, but this time around the good looks were more than just skin deep.
5) Money for Nothing makeover
I may be slightly odd, but the more someone doesn’t want to touch an item and reinvent it, the more I do. This makeover featured on Money For Nothing and as anyone who watched the show will know, it was in a terrible state when Jacqui Joseph picked it up at the tip. Fabric came courtesy of the wonderful Becca Who, whose fabric was a dream and made my vision a reality. Even better, this total transformed ottoman sold in a record five minutes.
On a personal and poignant note, this piece has special memories as I was working on it during the last few weeks before my Mum passed away. I would do a few hours in the workshop in the morning and then go to spend time with my Mum holding her hand knowing the inevitable was very close. She died two weeks later. Just goes to prove again that upholstery is great therapy.
Drop me a line if you have a chair or other upholstery project you need help with by filling in the online contact form. You can also email me directly at email@example.com or call me on 07764 182 783.