Monday, March 21, 2016

In Praise of Upholsterers

I cannot seem to stress enough, to anyone and everyone, how much better reusing old furniture is to buying new. To most people, it is not worth the trouble or the expense. It certainly requires some patience to find a good-quality old piece that has the right lines and character and it is, without a doubt, more costly than buying something from say, IKEA, (not that I don't LOVE their helpful instructions and handy tools), but to a vintage addict like myself, rehabbing old furniture feeds the soul.

Before ($60 Craigslist find)
I have paid to have a number of old pieces restored, and I cannot say for sure which one is my favorite. It is a toss up between my bright red mid-century sectional, (before and after), and my George Nelson for Herman Miller dining set, both of which were brought back to life by my dear friend, Eliseo, an upholsterer I used for many years while living in California. A good upholsterer is a godsend to a vintage enthusiast and I thank God I was able to find a new one when I moved to Maine.

Barrel Chairs
These chairs, along with my beloved red sectional, were damaged during our cross-country move and Mark, from Rainbow Upholstery in Richmond, Maine, ("the best upholsterer in Maine"), not only repaired my sectional, but turned these 70's designer barrel chairs into VIP's, worthy of a nothing less than a bay window position in my new Victorian home's back parlor. The brown, check-textured chenille fabric added a richness they always deserved but never had.

Another thing to think about, is that reusing old furniture is good for the environment in many ways! By keeping your old piece from going into the junk heap, it saves landfill space and it saves the wood that would have been used to build the new piece! It's an all around great option for getting superior quality furniture at a fraction of what it would cost you to buy the equivalent new, (not that anyone makes well-made furniture anymore).

So, next time you are in the market for a new item of furniture, think about giving an old piece a try. Instead of haunting Macy's or Plummers or, God forbid,  Bassett, check out your local Craigslist ads for something vintage. You can find upholstery fabric by the yard on Ebay or Fabric Guru and save on recovering costs, and all that's left to do is to find a good upholsterer!

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