Friday, May 1, 2009

Eco Salvage

There's an excellent article in this month's Design New England magazine by Jill Connors on the growing trend she's calling "Eco Salvage". Certainly, this isn't "new", we've all heard of architectural salvage yards. But, there are now companies that specialize in the field of "Deconstruction" where materials are carefully removed from a building slated for renovation or demolition. Companies such as ReStore in Springfield, MA might go in and do a full 'whole-house' deconstruction or only a partial 'soft-strip' where they might remove only the kitchen, for instance. Even Habitat For Humanity is getting into the act and is just beginning to offer deconstruction services. Again, this isn't a new concept. The Shakers where known for deconstructing their unused buildings and salvaging all the materials. This is why there are so few original Shaker structures still standing.

Heller Furniture has also worked hard to make use of original materials - salvaged from older pieces - in our work. From horse hair to cotton batting - these all natural materials are hard to come by today and can be reused - once they have been sterilized. An Eco-Friendly alternative to expensive, and sometimes unhealthy, newer materials.

Here's a great example of a salvage project that we just completed:

Our client had this sofa with a handsome wood base including curved wooden arm fronts and arms. They wanted more seating in their room, but still loved the shape of this sofa. They came to Heller Furniture to seek a solution.

After an initial site visit, Walter presented the clients with his vision of a sectional sofa that could be created from their original piece.

We were able to carefully strip and disassemble the sofa, saving (or should we say salvaging) the arms and frame.

And here is this wonderful sectional sofa - providing our clients with plenty of seating for the entire family, all the while retaining the feel - and materials - of their original sofa.

And, this from the clients: "Thank you, thank you, thank you! We just wanted to let you know how happy we are sitting and lounging on our new sofa. Everyone in the family thinks this is the most comfortable sofa we have ever sat on. Thank you so much. Regards, K.B."

Heller Furniture is uniquely positioned to provide this type of extraordinary service. Call us now for your special upholstery project.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Designers are only as good as their workroom

Here is an excellent blog post by Renee Fineberg, an interior designer based in Florida about the value of a great workroom.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

For Sale: Antique Side Chair

We have in our showroom this gorgeous antique side chair that we just upholstered in an embroidered Chinese silk. Colors are pink, gold and green on a cream ground.

Outside dimensions are: 25-1/2"W x 29"D x 33-1/2"h.
Inside dimensions are: 19"W x 20"D

Price: $2,400.00

Shipping is available. Call for details.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Matchy Matchy

Sometimes, matchy-matchy is a good thing. Case in point: The Calvin Tub Chair (no longer listed in their catalogue) at Pottery Barn. I was wandering through the mall this weekend with a friend and we passed by Pottery Barn and this chair prominently displayed in the window. Nice looking chair with a very nice looking print on the cushions - but the mismatched pattern was fairly screaming out at me!

The pattern on the box cushion should be matched so that the front face of the cushion is a continuation of the seat pattern. As you can see, in this case, the circular medallion is simply lopped off. Nothing makes upholstery (or window treatments) look cheaper than a mismatched fabric pattern. And, this chair is upwards of $1,000!

And, this isn't the only example of this in the PB catalogue:

This is the Pottery Barn Brooks Slipcovered chair. The pattern on the top seat doesn't extend down the sides, nor does the skirt match up to the drop it's attached too. And, again, this is a pretty expensive chair, rendered cheap looking by bad matching.

Here is a similar looking slipcovered slipper chair that we did recently. Notice that the pattern on the seat extends down the sides of the seat cushion in the front. While it's not always possible to match up every pattern, at least the front of the piece should match.
Here is another example. The client selected a very graphic, yet fairly regular overall pattern. It was important that the front facing pieces match and as you will see - the fern like scrolls extend from the seat to the front face to the skirting - thus creating a harmonious and beautiful piece.
Here is an example of a very unusual block print fabric applied to a traditional wing chair. Clearly, the fabrics had to be very carefully matched, not only vertically, but also horizontally.

Some retail stores do get it right - such as Anthropologie's Antwerp Chair below. They do a beautiful job of matching the pattern from the seat down the face and onto the upholstered front of the chair. Of course, this chair is significantly more expensive than the PB pieces, at $1,400.00.

Matching patterns is more expensive, there is no question. It takes more skill and time on the upholsterers part and it takes more fabric. However, if you are going to spend real money on a piece of furniture - and at $1,000 for the Pottern Barn Calvin Chair, we are talking real money - then shouldn't it look as good as it can?

When shopping for upholstered furniture - always pay attention to how the pattern is placed on the piece. If you are having an existing piece of furniture recovered, or are selecting your fabric for a new piece - be very careful with the fabric you choose. A qualified upholster will be able to advise you on how to best lay out the fabric. And don't hesitate to ask to meet with the upholsterer (where available) in order to go over these issues and to make sure that they are going to lay out the fabric appropriately. Saving 20% on the cost of a job might leave you with a piece of furniture that looks 50% less appealing. And, if corners are being cut with the layout, what other corners are being cut?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Heller Furniture Showroom Makeover

We wanted to share our showroom makeover project that we tackled just before the holidays. Everyone can use a makeover and we were no exception! Our business has expanded to include The Classic Collection our new line of fine casegood furniture and we needed to make room!

Our large selection of fabric hanging samples and books needed to be moved and while we were at it, we stripped the walls of the dark maroon fabric and painted them a much lighter and brighter cream color.





We also re-arranged one of our back rooms and we now have this wonderful new fabric room with a large tabletop workspace for our residential and designer clients use as they make fabric selections.
Our new fabric room - all set up for our recent Holiday Open House!

If you are in the neighborhood, please stop by for a visit - we'd love to show off our new space and more importantly, our beautiful new furniture line.

Heller on the Big Screen!

Last year, we blogged about the move "The Women" that was then filming here in Boston. The set decorators had ordered a custom headboard for the movie from Heller Furniture. This remake of the 1939 classic stars Eva Mendes and Meg Ryan reprising the Joan Crawford and Norma Shearer roles, respectively.

It's been a long year waiting to see how this satin, fullsize, headboard would be used.

And here it is! Complete with Meg Ryan, a little girl, and a dog! What do they say about never playing a scene with children or animals??

A big thanks to the production design and decoration team for selecting Heller Furniture to make this piece!

Production Designe: Jane Musky
Art Direction: Mario Ventenilla
Set Decoration: Debbie Cutler and Mimi Watstein

With the movie industry heating up here in Massachusetts - Plymouth Rock Studios is just down the highway - we are looking forward to "playing out parts" in movie sets to come!