Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Knowing when to consult the professionals

Of course there is always a time to call in the professionals.

PreviewLet's take UPHOLSTERY. 

So you've painted that chair.  If it has a drop-in seat and doesn't require new padding, a relatively small amount of fabric will give your chair a new lease of life. 

Just choose your fabric, going practical for a reguarly used seat - dark colours or patterned to hide spills. Make sure you choose a fabric of reasonable weight, avoiding flimsy fabric which will easily wear.  If it is a small seat but you crave a pattern make sure the scale suits the seat, so carry your measurements round in a notebook for when you happen to stumble across the perfect remnant (you never know).

Once you have the fabric, arm yourself with some space and a staple gun.  Place the seat face side down onto the back of the fabric. Fold one side over to the back and staple using a handy staple gun, leaving about an inch/ 2.5 cm between staples.  Note to self - do not leave the staple gun around near children and for goodness sake make sure it is facing the right way!  These things are vicious in the wrong hands!  You will need to press down hard to drive each staple firmly in. 

Pull each side of fabric up in turn making sure it is pulled flat (but not over-stretched), stapling as you go.

Now for the corners: putting a finger on the corner, pull the fabric back so it forms an inverted V and staple in place on each side. 

Turn seat over, put back in the frame and voila! Stand back and admire!  

Fabric examples courtesy of:   GP & J Baker, Jane Churchill, Jab
Try gingham for a kitchen seat

Beware larger checks which can be infuriatingly hard to get straight

What about some spotty oilcloth to finish off a kitchen seat and provide a wipeable, practical solution - cute as a button
Stripes look smart and formal on dining room chairs
Go bright for a splash of accent colour on an occasional chair with scatter cushions to match around the room on sofas/chairs
Centre a larger pattern to provide interest
Textures work too but make sure there are no loose ends to catch and pull

White painted chair plus Toile fabric for seat - tres jolie

If we are talking upholstery upholstery; that is, taking an armchair for instance back to it's bare frame, repairing the frame, padding it back out with horsehair whilst also re-springing etc etc then ask a professional! 

It is often not the cheapest option but it is well worth saving up to give an old chair you love some tlc because old chairs - be they Victorian, Edwardian or 1950s - are built to last....they have GOOD BONES. 

What you will end up with is a thing of beauty and comfort that is unique to you.

What's not to love.

Floral reupholstered antique chair                                                                  

Monday, 22 August 2011

When times are hard people get creative

It's no secret that financially speaking the news is still fairly depressing.  We are in the fourth year of a recovery and there are no quick fixes around the corner.  We have gone seemingly overnight from a country of people who have everything but still want and keep buying more, to a country of people who have had a massive wake up call.  Yes, there are still many out there buying what they want when they want it but for most of us it is a time to buckle up and get creative.

In terms of interiors think improve not move; think Kirsty's homemade home; think Help my House is Falling Down but I'll get on and repair it using a bit of initative and hard graft because that's what I can afford to do; think upcycle and Freecycle.  Think old furniture given a new lease of life with a fresh coat of paint. 

People everywhere are getting creative.  

With the recession has come an appreciation of quality not quantity.  People are saving up for something special not blowing it all on a quick cheap fix.  The more is more ethic has largely been abandoned and style and substance have been embraced not just substance over style.  When money is tight people want quality but they also want value for money.  With the tightening of belts has come a refusal to be fobbed off with cheap rubbish.  If it's a bargain it must also be a worthwhile bargain that'll last longer than 5 minutes.

And what's more creative is good, thinking outside the box is healthy, finding skills you never knew you had - how can that be bad?

So go forth and stretch your money to produce something you can be proud of... dust off a sewing machine, brandish your knitting needles, paint that old table instead of using it for firewood  - in short enjoy being creative.  To coin a phrase used by a well-known supermarket - 'Every little helps'.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Today I got to thinking....

.. why I'm beginning to dress in my customers' colour schemes?

After my first few months as an Interior Designer I have today realised for sure something I'd previously been suspecting:

I have begun to dress in colour schemes I've created for customers the week/day before.  In some cases I even anticipate the day's colourways, subconciously picking out colours that will work with what I am going to show the customer.  Oh dear..

Each and every one of us likes to think that we are able to cherry pick from the vast array of clothing around us and forge our own unique personal style.  But are we pleasing ourselves or trying to please others by fitting in?

When I listened to Naomi Cleaver at Grand Designs talking about how we are all creative when we choose what we will wear for the day (poo-pooed by George Clarke by the way) I nodded sagely.  Constantly creative of course!..but how much do we consciously control and how much are we merely responding to colour 'hits' around us? just creatures governed by cause and reaction? 

Hmm... been looking at Manuel Canovas today... what shall I wear tomorrow?