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.
A family heirloom doesn't have to be roped off in a corner like you're visiting a gallery at the LACMA or the Getty. Both a proper technique and durable, environmentally safe materials create a timeless piece that you can appreciate in everyday life.
As a craftswoman, I use materials like cotton batting to add body and shape, feathers for insulation and cozy cushioning, and hemp spring string to hand tie springs and add strength in hardwood frames.
Check out the Materials page for a better idea. The materials are non-petroleum and are healthier than the plastic throwaway or pressed particle wood items we can snatch up from Ikea or Target—such furniture can contain toxic fumes that are released every time you sit down.
Sofas, love seats, or hardback chairs with cushioned seats are pieces of family history that can give our children and grandchildren a bigger picture of their identities. Like our Ready to Order pieces, each one of us is unique, and one of a kind.
This interior view (above) shows how webbing is used to create round shapes on any frame. I use jute webbing as the foundation for seats and backs of certain styles. Mass manufactured furniture commonly use elastic webbing made from plastic and rubber, which becomes brittle over time. Like an old rubber band, it dries, and then snaps. Unlike it's petroleum based counterpart, jute webbing just gets stretched out over time, rather than breaking.
Coconut coir is added. It adds buoyancy to the frame and latex infused coconut coir adds firmness to certain cushions. Are you familiar with sub-flooring beneath a kitchen or bathroom floor? That's how you can think of the jute webbing and coconut coir.
Natural rubber latex, made in the USA, is the eschelon of cushion foam. There's no off gassing which you can read about on the Non-Petroleum page. This latex is also biodegradable and lasts as long as it's polyurethane and hybrid counterparts.
When I restore a family heirloom or create a custom piece, I approach each project as if it were for myself. Here's another perspective in preserving furniture from none other than the Smithsonian Institution in an article Preserving and Restoring Furniture Coatings:
“It is very important to know what is an appropriate finish for the piece in question, so that any actions undertaken will be sympathetic to it.”
The quote is under the heading "What do we need to know" in case you want to read the full article. The Smithsonian curators and restorers take great pains with the "integrity" of furniture. While your sofa or love seat likely won't end up on display in MOCA, why not ensure it will be on display for generations to come?
Furniture is much more than something to just sit on. It signifies family memories and the circles that create history for a single professional, a couple, and everyone we call 'family'. It's worth using the right materials and craftsmanship to preserve and make it last.
You're invited to text or call to discuss a custom plan for your home or to see a piece of furniture for a restoration... 213-618-2143.