Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Green Sofa - When what is old is new again

Why a green sofa?

The craft of custom upholstering gives you the choice of owning furniture that is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, yet insures that you are surrounding yourself with materials that are healthy for you and the environment.

What is “comfort”? It varies from person to person. The perception of comfort changes with the use – what we find comfortable in a dining room or office or formal living room is not at all comfortable in the great room or media room. The style and sizing of the piece as well as the materials used all need to work in harmony to create a truly comfortable –really livable - piece of furniture.

There is no doubt - all of the options and benefits of a custom upholstered piece of furniture come at a higher up-front cost. But like our ancestors, shouldn’t we get back to the mind-set that furniture is meant to last a lifetime?

It is becoming more apparent that the chemicals that allowed for less expensive woods and materials to be used in our homes and furnishings have come at a long term cost – to our health and even to our pocket books. Overtime, many people have experienced an overload to their immune systems causing, among other things, higher rates of allergies and asthma in children. Additionally, products made from lower quality materials have a much shorter “shelf” life than those made from the old school methods. It’s hard to imagine that much of what we purchase at retail today will become tomorrow’s antiques. Yet, it is the antiques in our homes that are actually the “greenest” products we own. Made prior to the “chemical” revolution, antique furniture and rugs, made with all natural materials such as silk, cotton, wool, hardwoods and vegetable dyes, have lasted longer and are ultimately less expensive to the pocket book and the environment over their lifetime.

The Green Sofa by Heller Furniture is based on a design by Benjamin Thomson, FAIA, renowned architect and founder of Design|Research, Cambridge.

Available exclusively through Sedia, Inc. Boston.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Mohair Wing Chair

This wing chair was recently recovered in a luxurious russet colored mohair.

Mohair is shorn from the Angora goat. No to be confused with an Angora Rabbit, the angora goat is thought to originate from the mountains of Tibet making their way to Turkey in the 16th century. Until 1849 the Turkish province of Ankarra was the sole producer of Angora goats. Charles V is believed to be the first to bring Angora goats to Europe. In 1849 Angora goats made their way to America as a gift from Turkey. Today South Africa and the United States are the largest mohair producers, with the majority of Amerian mohair being produced in Texas.

Mohair is composed mostly of keratin, a protein substance similar to wool. Mohair is one of the oldest textile fibers in use. It is both durable and resilient. It is notable for its high luster and sheen, and is often used in fiber blends to add these qualities to a textile. Mohair also takes dye exceptionally well. Mohair has great insulating properties, making it warm. It is also durable, moisture-wicking, stretch and flame resistant, and crease resistant. Mohair increases its diameter with the age of the goat, growing along with the animal. This means fine hair from younger animals is used for finer applications such as clothing, and the thicker hair from older animals is more often used for carpets and heavy fabrics intended for outerwear.

Furniture upholstered with mohair fabric is undeniably beautiful. One needs to take care, however, with how it will be applied. Because it's so thick, it is best to use mohair on pieces that have basic tailoring - such as this chair. Mohair would be a poor choice for anything with skirting or gathers.

Even the welting is usually done in a different material, such as the leather shown on this piece. (Welting is the cording that runs between joined pieces).

It's always important to remember that not every fabric will work for every job. When in doubt, ask a reputable upholsterer for his or her advice. They've generally seen it all and can help you steer clear of disappointment.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Carved Furniture Program

In addition to custom furniture and reupholstering of antiques, Heller Furniture offers a carved furniture program. There are many styles and size frames available which are then upholstered in the fabric of your choice. From a single accent chair such as this lovely bergere chair covered in embroidered linen, to a set of dining room chairs - there's something for everyone with this option!

Frame images courtesy of Ressler Importers, Inc.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Preserving Family Memories

This sad looking chair was actually a cherished family piece, as it belonged to our clients' Grandmother. At some point in its long history, it had been treated to an at home upholstery job. As you can see, time had taken its toll and this little antique chair was in need of some major TLC.

All the webbing and padding was replaced and the original springs were cleaned and tightened.

We refinished the woodwork and re-covered it in a classic style fabric. And now our clients have a lovely piece that will be able to take center stage and honor their family memories in style!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Media Talk - Heller Furniture in Patriot Ledger

click image for readable view

Valerie A. Russo included Heller Furniture in today's "In the Shops" column in The Patriot Ledger. Click here to see how this beautiful sofa was made.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Anatomy of a Custom Sofa

Hot off the workroom floor is this lovely custom built sofa. This piece was made to the exacting specifications of a successful Massachusetts designer and her equally exacting client. This piece was designed to be used as a banquette for the table in the clients' newly renovated kitchen. Set within a niche and a curved shelf, the sofa was templated on site so that it would fit perfectly within the space.

Here are some images of the making of this lovely piece.

Spring coils are attached to a base of strong webbing for a supportive and comfortable seat.

The springs are then hand tied together . Wrapped coils are applied to the back as is coconut fiber - an all-natural product - for padding.

The fabric - in this case a soft tapestry chenille - is applied. The skirt is fully lined, the arms well padded and comfortable and the back is tufted.

Although this piece of furniture was designed to fit into a niche, it will be usable for years to come in any location the homeowners look to put it.