|Hickory Chair is a brand you can just trust - no further research is necessary to make an informed buying decision!|
Having said all that, I thought I would review the first of two major issues in this blog:
- What to look for in used furniture to reupholster
- What to look for in selecting an upholsterer and/or upholstery shop
Choosing Furniture to Reupholster
Having made this decision for over a 1000 pieces over the years, I have developed a simple set of rules to live by (with some notable exceptions).
Look for good bones!
Look at the label if available (many already reupholstered pieces no longer have labels). If the manufacturer is Hickory Chair, Baker, Sherrill, or some others such as vintage Thomasville or Ethan Allen, you don't need to do any additional research on quality. You can do a basic review yourself to ensure a piece has good bones. I like to look for hand-tied eight-coil springs in the foundation of most pieces - particularly heavy ones. You can flip over the piece and look/feel underneath - the coils should be visible or feelable under whatever fabric covers the bottom of the piece. Some pieces do not need this type of foundational support particularly if they are smaller in scale, but is it is, as I always say, the GOLD standard of upholstered pieces.
Check condition of woodwork!
The woodwork should be adequate to support the size/shape of the piece (e.g., legs not too skimpy or wobbly). The woodwork should not have any damage or show obvious repairs. If you are going to redo the woodwork, the integrity of the finish is not as important. If not, however, make sure that the finish imperfections can be cleaned up and touched up with a finishing pencil and polish.
Check condition of cushions and innards!
It is not that difficult to tell if the innards are in good shape. The cushion should have some depth to it and some spring. It can be replaced and/or enhanced by the upholsterer, but it is good to know what they can and cannot do before choosing the piece. A musty (or other odor such as pet stains) smell can be overcome also by the upholsterer - but you need to know what they will and will not do to replace the stuffings. My upholsterer is very generous in replacing all dirty and smelly stuffing and bindings and it is important to check this out in advance.
Check for style and overall attractiveness!
Finally, I am willing to compromise some of the above if the style of the piece is exactly what I am looking for and will work well in the setting I have chosen (or, for me, should sell well). I am willing to buy French style pieces that do not have coil springs (if not too large) and have scarred woodwork because I have been using, and loving, Annie Sloan Chalk Paints (link to site). Before using these paints, I was very hesitant to buy furniture with uneven finishes.
That's it for now - I will do another blog on choosing your upholstery wisely soon! Here are some more before and after from my collection - link to website
|This chair and ottoman are photographed in my upholsterer shop - not the best setting. The chair has hand-tied, eight-way coil springs and down-composition cushions - enhanced by shop!|
|This Chair had some Fire Damage on Legs - ASCP (Old Ochre) worked well to refinish!|