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Is it Worth it?

One of the questions we hear most frequently from callers and customers is “Is it worth it?”
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This question is a hard one to answer, as there are a few different factors that come into play when determining the value of a piece. Ultimately, this is more of a question to ask yourself as you look at your project. A few things to consider as you’re trying to decide whether to reupholster your furniture, or perhaps buy something new:

First and foremost, do you like it? Is this a piece of furniture you’ve enjoyed having, that’s comfortable for you, and fits your style but perhaps just needs updating or upgrading? We have clients who just love the pieces that they have, but due to wear and tear need new fabric on them, and sometimes new padding and cushions. One of our clients had us redo a sofa that was horribly damaged by cats while their home was being rented, but asked us to redo it because it was always the perfect size for them, and with a low seat, it fit their shorter family members just right.
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Leather sofa with all new everything

Leather sofa with all new everything


Second, does it have sentimental value, or is it a family piece? In recent months we’ve had a few projects come in that had been in the same family for generations. One of the pieces was even built by the customer’s grandfather. Another client had us redo a sofa that was purchased by her grandparents in the 20s for a whopping $200 (which was a lot of money at the time). She has pictures of them sitting on it when they were first married. Another client recovered an old recliner as a remembrance of her father who had passed away, and who had spent hours in the chair every day.
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Vintage sofa after recover

Vintage sofa after recover


Lastly, how easy is it to replace? We see some pretty unique pieces of vintage and antique furniture that have no equivalent in modern stores. Sometimes the pieces do tricks, or are the perfect size or shape for a certain part of your home. Other pieces have travelled from other countries and have profiles that are exotic compared to pieces manufactured for sale in the US.
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Antique chair from New Zealand

Antique chair from New Zealand


Ultimately, when it comes to the value of furniture, as the owner it is good to know first what the piece means to you, and how it fits into your home. After that it’s much easier to decide what to do with a potential project.

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Furniture Refinishing

Our customers often ask us if we are able to refinish the wood portions of their upholstered furniture. While we do not have the facilities to do this part of restoration ourselves (not to mention the amount of lint we create on a daily basis), we have been working with some extremely talented folks at Aladdin Finishers on NE Alberta Street and have been thrilled with their beautiful work.

Just a few examples of some collaborations we’ve done in the past few months:

This client had some caned pieces from her grandmother that were so dirty it was hard to tell what color they were. The springs had fallen out as well, so they needed a lot of TLC.

A broken down caned sofa

A broken down caned sofa


We removed the springs and sent the frames off to Aladdin and they were able to not only find the right color finish (looking behind the cushions is always a good bet) but also to fix both the places where the finish was gone, as well as where it had been painted over. Steff and Mike were even able to replicate a damaged area on the frame that had broken off. The client opted not to replace the caning, but the sofa and chair turned out amazing regardless.
Sofa and chair after refinishing and reupholstery

Sofa and chair after refinishing and reupholstery


Another customer was ready to replace the caned seats on her dining chairs with custom leather pads, but wanted the frames tightened and cleaned before we added the new seats.
Antique chairs before

Antique chairs before


When we got them back, the frames were rock solid, and with the addition of the padded seats, they’re comfortable now as well.
Antique chairs with new leather seats

Antique chairs with new leather seats


This final story is the saddest, but with a happy ending. The client had brought chairs back from her father’s home in the Midwest, and the finish had dried out and yellowed, and the brass inlays were falling out. She took them to another upholstery shop who took all of the foam and fabric off, then proceeded to tell the customer that they couldn’t do the work. To the rescue!
Chair with old upholstery

Chair with old upholstery


Aladdin was able to restore the finish to its original color, and clean and reset the brass inlays. We then built up the padding and upholstered the frames with a reference photo from the client for guidance. The finished chairs just glow, and are now comfortable and attractive again. The client said “They’re just like I remembered them”
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We highly recommend contacting these folks for any refinishing projects you may have. Aladdin Finishers is located at 2127 NE Alberta St. Portland, 97211. (503) 282-6411. They offer free quotes via email at aladdinfinishers@gmail.com

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Commercial Upholstery

What is commercial upholstery? By our definition, it means projects for a business or company, rather than an individual or family. We’ve been doing a lot of this in the past few months, for office buildings, apartment common areas, colleges and restaurants.

Typically in restaurants we get requests for booth or banquette seating, but recently we’ve been doing chairs and stools for some of our favorite eateries.

The Charthouse on Terwilliger Blvd had us redo the rolling easy chairs in their bar area. The brown vinyl covers were a custom run from Kravet to match the previous upholstery.

Bar seating at the Chart House Restaurant

Bar seating at the Chart House Restaurant


Hayes Cabinets hired us to create some upholstered wool cushions for the library common area in a new apartment building in the Kenton Neighborhood. The client selected a beautiful grey wool felt from Designtex to compliment the new cabinetry, and create a cozy space in the lobby.
Wool covered cushions

Wool covered cushions


Rudy’s Barbershop gave us the fun challenge of restoring the seats to several of their vintage barber chairs in both of their Portland area locations. We had to not only repair the damaged springs and padding (some of these chairs were built in the early 1950s) but to find a synthetic leather to match the existing vinyl or leather.
New seat springs and cover for an antique barber chair at Rudys

New seat springs and cover for an antique barber chair at Rudys

A new seat with sewn channels to match the existing chair back

A new seat with sewn channels to match the existing chair back


And don’t forget the “elephants” we did for the West Apartments at Lewis and Clark College.
New upholstery on apartment furniture for Lewis and Clark College

New upholstery on apartment furniture for Lewis and Clark College


We’re currently working with both Expatriate on NE 30th Ave. and Hale Pele on NE Broadway to update some of their bar seating, and can’t wait to share the finished results. And perhaps try them out with a fancy beverage in hand!

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Beds and Headboards

We’ve been having an increasing number of requests for custom bed frames and headboards lately. There are so many sizes, shapes and styles to choose from that many of our customers don’t know where to start! Headboard shape is usually the first question we ask and I recently found this image to help clients find the right vocabulary.

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In most cases, we’re creating just a custom headboard, like this one we did for the TV show “Grimm” for their first season. Tufting is incredibly popular for headboards, both with and without buttons, as it creates a soft look and a comfortable feel if you’re sitting up reading.

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Sometimes we’re building a whole upholstered frame. This client wanted some turned legs to make a king sized bed look a little less massive in scale.

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Our most recent project was for an adjustable bed in a contemporary home. What looked like a huge piece of furniture in our shop fit perfectly into their space, and balanced the tall and deep mattresses.

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Ultimately the things to take into consideration when planning a custom bed are size, shape and use. Make sure you have enough room for side rails and a foot board in your room, if you want that sort of look. If you like to have lots of pillows on your bed, make sure the headboard is big enough to have presence above and around them. And most importantly, make sure that you measure your mattress and box spring for the project, so that you have enough clearance for making the bed, but not so much that you can get lost in the space between.

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Upholstered beds are a great way to make a bedroom more cozy, and make a personal decorative statement. They are a great way to add comfort and style to the room where most of us spend a good 8 hours of our day.

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This sofa is just right!

One of the best things (in my option) about doing what we do is the potential to change or modify existing pieces to suit the needs of the customer. In this case the customer (who happens to be me!) needed a small sofa/loveseat because of limited space, and preferred something without a right-hand arm to keep the room feeling more open.

I was lucky that a customer contacted us to see if we were interested in fixing up an old Ethan Allen frame that fit the bill, but was just too long. The frame had great bones, but needed all new padding, and about 20” cut off of the length. The seat springs were also sagging a bit in the center, and needed to be tied and reinforced. No problem!

The first step was to decide the optimum length for my space, and order the down cushion envelopes of the correct size. 58” turned out to be the perfect length, so I took the fabric and padding off, and cut the frame to the correct length, then reattached the end boards.

Sofa with extra length removed.

Sofa with extra length removed.


End boards reattached

End boards reattached


From this point, it was mostly measuring and redesigning. The striped fabric I selected needed to be matched on both the front and the open side which faced the front door as you enter the living room. I was able to pattern most of the shapes from the old cover and modify the dimensions to suit the new size.
Partially completed sofa

Partially completed sofa


The result is a two cushion sofa which used to have three cushions, and is now the perfect size and shape for my space! I call her “Sofie”.
Reupholstered one arm sofa

Reupholstered one arm sofa

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A dog’s favorite chair

A client came in with a very cute chair with an even cuter story:

When she was a child, she was given a small red rocking chair, which she kept through adulthood and used when her children were small. Her oldest son, now in his 40s, had a black Labrador retriever, who found that the rocker was puppy sized as well.

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As the kids grew older, they outgrew the chair, but somehow the dog was never quite convinced that she was too big for the chair.

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And who was going to say anything when she looked so cute and happy in her rocker?

After years of dog use the rocker finally gave up the ghost, and the client was able to bring it in for repair. It was in sad shape indeed when it arrived, having spent the past few years in storage in the garage.

poor broken rocker

But with some time and a LOT of new padding, we were able to make the client’s (and dog’s) favorite chair look like new again.

Tiny rocker all fixed up!

Tiny rocker all fixed up!


It’s a shame none of us are small enough to try it out!

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New books!

duralee books

We just got in a new selection of prints and textures from Duralee, and they are gorgeous!  Check out the Ikat book , a really popular pattern that everyone is asking for.

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Color color everywhere

We’ve recently had some mulit-fabric projects come through the shop, meaning one fabric is just not enough for these folks.  And for good reason!  Pinterest has scads of images of furniture with the same idea.  And it’s a great break from neutral solids that we see a lot of around here.

A French Bergere chair in a vibrant print with contrasting welt trim

A French Bergere chair in a vibrant print with contrasting welt trim

A multi-fabric loveseat with 3 different fabrics from Duralee

A multi-fabric loveseat with 3 different fabrics from Duralee

Multi-fabric chair

Multi-fabric chair

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Don’t be afraid of big patterns!

A contemporary camelback sofa in a beautiful vintage inspired fabric

A contemporary camelback sofa in a beautiful vintage inspired fabric

 

We wind up doing a lot of solid and small patterns here at Rose City Upholstery, so when we get a client who wants a large scale pattern, it’s a pretty exciting project!   This contemporary sofa looks so rich in this red and gold chenille pattern from Barrow Fabrics.

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Mid-century outdoor furniture, take 2

Mid-century outdoor chair

Mid-century outdoor chair

The same client brought us an outdoor lounge chair for new custom sunbrella covers.  Once again we had to start from scratch, but the new padding is very comfortable!

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