Most folk who live in Brighton UK know about Shabitat – Home of Magpie Recycling. Treasure trove and bargain hunters paradise. I came across some battered old foot-stall cubes in there a while back. They were upholstered in faux leather, that always starts peeling after a while. But they had potential so for £2 each I snapped them up.
They then gathered dust at my workshop for a while until I finally decided to give them the facelift they wanted. Compare to the armchairs and sofas I have been doing lately, I thought they would be a fairly straight forward job. But things always takes longer than you think right?
I had some velvet off-cuts from my patchwork chairs I upholstered a while back, which were just enough in the yummiest colours to wrap these cubes..
I do love a mid century Scandinavian chair. At the first glance you might think this is Danish, but Ben Chairs were actually made in Frome, Somerset in the late 60’s. They are recognised the world over for their fluid designs and use of bold colours alongside natural teak wood frames. So when I found this carver all on its own in Shabitat, looking all sad, I knew I had to give it a second life. These chairs would usually have a vinyl covering. Practical dining room furniture as you could simply wipe off any spillage.
So it was obvious this was not the original cover. Well used though looking at the state of it.
After taking the whole chair apart, it was a pleasure getting this ugly grey-green corduroy off it. I think Ben the chair was pretty pleased too.
The woodwork had some surface scratches too that was going to need much attention.
Can of worms!
After hours of sanding by hand, I used a tinted wax to bring out the natural teak colour. I was well pleased I found a piece of retro damask (from Shabitat again) that was just the right size for this project. Love it when that happens.
Well here it is in its full glory, happy with its new attire. Bold and beautiful again.
Looking at my previous armchair post, it was nearly three years ago I upholstered one of these. Well overdue! I found a bag of ready cut pieces of material from the last chair, added a few new colours into it, mainly all from vintage velvet curtains.
I thought people would be over patchwork armchairs by now but it seems they still fly off the shelves! This one has already found a happy home in Saltdean.
Need one in your life made in your favourite colours? Get in touch
Have you ever been searching high and low to find that very specific piece of furniture and eventually you find something that is close, but not perfect? Do you go for second best or try to find a way to make it what you want?
Sian wanted a corner sofa for her flat. Something comfortable that you could fully stretch out on. Preferably in vibrant but earthy colours. She found this in Shabitat. Comfortable yes, stylish and vibrant, not so.
Structurally it was in a good condition and she didn’t mind the brown, so I suggested we could just recover the seating covers and the scatter cushions to create the look she wanted.
I didn’t have enough material of what she was looking for at my studio so I recommended the Fabric Warehouse in Kemptown-Brighton. An amazing fabric shop with a quirky owner that knows his stuff and will try to guess your star-sign and probably get it right!
This is what she came back with. A thick stripy weave of jute in camel, purple and pink. Looks better than it sounds indeed.
And he had just enough of it, so meant to be right!
The vibrant fabric paired really well with the sofas earthy brown body and also with her pink feature wall. Three seat , two back and three scatter cushions later, voila! What a transformation!
If your sofa could do with a facelift you know where to find me!
I have lost count of how many of these giant floor cushions I have made and sold in Brighton. A lot of flats and houses in this town are very small, so it can be hard to fit enough seating. These cushions are ideal for those kind of spaces. Plus there is something quite cosy about a pile of cushions on the floor instead of a sofa. I have always wanted a cinema room filled with these… One day 😉
Synthetic stuffing isn’t very eco to produce and the natural ones are very expensive. However if people prefer these they can be used too. My normal method is using recycling duvets. I make sure they are washed and clean before using them of course. The outer covers are made from old curtains, end of roll, or any other fabric that are thick enough. I add a zip so they come of to wash as well. They are generally around 100 x100 cm and start from about £30 each depending on the fabrics used.
Can be found ready to buy in Shabitat depending on stock, or made with your desired fabrics.
If you need some of these in your life get in touch!
I couldn’t resist to make another one! Had all these gorgeous bits of velvet left from the wing back armchair project that I wanted to use and a tub chair came into Shabitat this week so perfect timing! Its up there with my favourites this one. I do have some more of this velvet left so if you want a tub chair in these colours its actually possible. Get in touch for more information.