The Chair Restoration Process: Part Two, Green Upholstery

This is the other half of a mini series reviewing the green restoration process.  We now delve into the world of cushioning and fabric, and explore the many layers not usually seen underneath the final outer fabric.

Just as restoring the frame has multiple steps, see ‘The Chair Restoration Process: Part One, the Frame’, upholstery also has many steps that together create a final product.  Each material used is in itself a step since one of the principles of upholstery is working in layers of tension to create strength and shape.  We continue in the spirit of ‘quality over quantity’ and happily share the craft that makes green, custom upholstery an art.

The Chair Restoration Process: Part One, The Frame

This is the first of a two part blog series describing the green restoration process.  This first part begins by repairing the frame and refinishing the wood.  The second part will cover the upholstery process, or anything related to textiles and cushioning.

The art of upholstery, like the art of any cool skill, has many steps to achieve the desired goal.  Custom upholstery, unlike the fast and cheap deals of ‘chop shop’ upholsterers, focuses on total restoration from the ground up.  Sometimes new clients are surprised by the cost of restoring a couch or chair, and innocently unaware of the extensive work and quality inside the seat.  This restoration process reflects the spirit of ‘quality over quantity’.

Preserving Your Family's Furniture

Preserving your family's furniture whether you're in downtown Los Angeles, placid Pasadena, or hip Silverlake is a deeply personal decision that links the past with the future. 

Furniture does more than provide a function.  Furniture should be experienced as a comforting way to establish a home as a respite from work and urban lifestyling.  A treasured item, ranging from Granny's TV seat to a secretly sublime thrift store find, can be restored to full health.

The Gesture of the Hand

The mind and the hand are frenemies

My earliest memory of making something was some time before I was three years old.  My parents divorced when I was three and I moved from that house, so I was definitely three or younger.  I remember sitting on the kitchen counter, somewhere between concentration and curiosity, wrapping a ball of tissue with transparent tape.  

 

Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics

I believe in the power of green upholstery, non-petroleum materials that are non-toxic and sustainable, but the use of synthetics are sometimes unavoidable.  Sourcing the materials I currently offer, especially the natural rubber latex and coconut coir, took much research and time to find.  I am happy to report that the only synthetics I use are sewing thread and invisible zippers; the strength of synthetic nylon is currently irrefutable.  The last, and only wild card between natural and synthetic, is the decision of which outer fabric to choose.

The Big Bigger Picture of Recycling

Next to lowering the thermostat and switching to energy efficient lightbulbs, recycling is one of the easiest ways we can practice environmental savvy.  Everywhere you go, the mall, the library, street corners, amusement parks, recycling bins are a common fixture.  I remember as a child, my mom separated and washed all our used plastics, drove us to a recycling center, and we would dispense each piece according to their recycling code.  

 

How Nature Inspires My Life

Something has been growing in me these last few months.  It’s the urge to be in nature, especially old growth forests and moving water.  This is an unexpected and new feeling considering I’ve never been the super outdoorsy type.  Although I grew up in Santa Cruz County, a town known for it’s old redwood forests and outdoor sports, I preferred relaxing at the mall.  

DIY: Painted Metal Glass Dishes

Back in college, I wanted metal dishes cuz I just thought that would be so cool.  That was right before the everyday convenience of Amazon Prime, and an internet brimming with product data and consumer reviews was still evolving.  I was quite the the thrift store junkie, but never found any metal dishes I could make a complete set of.  Retail stores were also unhelpful since the mainstream consumer's idea of metal dishes are generally enameled for camping.  The non-microwavability of real metal dishes was also a bummer, and normal ceramic and porcelain dishes didn't offer any styles close to what I imagined.