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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Major cover-up

For quite some time, we've been looking for a reliable, fast, talented local upholsterer...and it's harder to find all these attributes in one person than you might think. My son-in-law has decided to send me (and maybe my daughter) to upholstery classes in January. The plan is for us to do all our own in-house reupholstery, and in our spare time, we'll do small jobs for the public.

If you live in the Baltimore, Maryland, area, I envy you. In my constant quest for fabric, I visited winterbeachmodern, one of my favorite online fabric sources, and found a link to Modern Chair Restoration...and a person who is everything we desire in an upholsterer and more, with the exception of being 1,400 miles away.

As the name of the company implies, owner Katherine specializes in restoring mid-century modern chairs and other small pieces. She began upholstering for herself, family and friends 30 years ago but developed a particular affinity for Danish Modern after living in Denmark for a year in the late 1990s. She works closely with the owners of Home Anthology in Catonsville, Maryland, a shop specializing in mid-century modern design. She does work for them, meeting customers, showing swatches and talking about the possibilities for various pieces. She even goes on fabric-buying trips with them. (That's the "and more" I was talking about!)

She sums up how she feels about her work by saying, "I pretty much just love making ratty stuff look great again. It's so satisfying." Take a look at some of her amazing work. Great it most assuredly is!

Danish recliner lounge chair - Before
Danish recliner lounge chair - After
Danish recliner lounge chair - Close-up
Tall back teak lounge chair - Before and After
Tall back teak lounge chair - Close-up
Danish Modern lounge chair - Before
Danish Modern lounge chair - After
Danish Modern lounge chair - Close-up

Executive office chair by Vincent Cafiero for Knoll - Before and After
Executive office chair by Vincent Cafiero for Knoll - Close-up

For me, the real treat was seeing the transformation of this Hans Wegner CH23, which was completely rewoven. Katherine did a phenomenal job but admits it's very hard on the hands.

Hans Wegner CH23 chair - Before
Hans Wegner CH23 chair - After
Hans Wegner CH23 chair - Close-up


  1. So funny you posted this. I was going to ping Joe today about finding out who you might recommend for local MCM upholstery repair! I have a few ratted out pieces that need some love.

    I think its awesome you will be learning how to do this, if the classes are local I too would be interested in learning.

  2. WOW - that will be so much fun for you guys. You will have to tell our friend over at the Temporary Nest. She will be so excited for you. Upholstery skills will definitely come in handy for you!!

  3. @Tanya: Yes, I'll have to tell Gina I finally found a class. I had so much fun watching her chair's transformation, and I'm so impressed by the work of Katherine at Modern Chair Restoration. They've really inspired me!

  4. @DFWPhotoguy: The basic upholstery classes are offered by TCC, and the cost is $185. They're on Monday nights, from 6-9 and run from January through sometime in April. They're held at the Meacham Hangar location. They also offer an intermediate course.

    The guy we use is very slow. He's had one of our chairs for two months or more, and we can't seem to pin him down on when it will be finished. Joe needs someone who is a little more invested in how fast we get things on the floor to sell. :)

  5. This is great! What a difference upholstery makes.

  6. Those are awesome before and afters. I'd love to be able to do upholstery too, but at the same time I soooo do not want to do upholstery! Good luck with your class.

  7. @I dream lo-tech and Vintage Hunter: It must be wonderful to be able to bring a piece of furniture back to life like that. I'm really looking forward to upholstery lessons.

  8. Having spent a number of years training as traditional upholsterers, we're sure you'll enjoy your lessons no end! Wishing you the very best of luck - and we look forward to seeing some of your work!

  9. @chairsmith: I know it will take a lot of dedication and practice before I'm anywhere nearly as good as some of you "old hands," but I'm somewhat of a perfectionist and have rather extensive experience as a seamstress making very tailored articles of clothing (and putting in zippers), so I'm hoping that will give me a start.

  10. This is some really good work!

  11. @Pat Bradley: Yes, Katherine does some of the best upholstery work I've seen. It's flawless.