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“Linda has always shared innovative ways to use artwork and furnishing I already owned to maintain the unique character of our home, and stay within budgetary limitations. For example, Linda suggested reupholstering my husband’s grandmother’s chair for our living room and helped me select a lovely Asian type fabric which complements the room. Linda certainly understands the importance of using family treasures to make a home unique and special.

…throughout our working relationship, Linda consistently goes the extra mile, and her pleasant nature makes her a pleasure to work with. Friends who visit our home regularly compliment Linda’s work. I have and will continue to recommend Linda to family and friends without reservation.” -M.A.O., Winchester,MA

The Difference Between Custom Reupholstery and Custom Slipcovers
You know that something needs to be done about that piece of furniture. You like its shape, its comfort, and perhaps there are memories of someone, or another time or place, associated with it, that are important to you. Do you reupholster, slipcover, or replace it? We can help answer that question during a Reupholstery consultation.

Reupholstery usually involves structural work on the furniture: re-tying springs that are sagging, or re-webbing the furniture if there are no springs, and replacing foam and Dacron or cotton padding on arms, backs or just cushions. A frame may need regluing. All of this work to restore the chair to soundness and comfort can only be done while the fabric is removed. Reupholstery also allows you to use reupholstery fabrics, which are woven for durability, and designed to be stretched tight on a frame.

Why reupholster, when there is new furniture available for about the same cost? These questions are answered by examining whether your furniture has sentimental value to you, whether it functions well for you and is comfortable and easy to get in and out of, whether the frame of your furniture is as good or better than new furniture available for the cost of reupholstery, and whether the fabric choices in new furniture will work for your room. Perhaps the scale of your existing furniture is not available in new furniture options. Often, we reupholster one piece of furniture to work with other new furniture purchases.

Slipcovers today fit the furniture like a glove, unless specifically fabricated for a looser look, and at first glance may even pass for reupholstery. They still offer a seasonal change, if used that way, but more often are used year round for a new look on furniture which is functional. Slipcovers require more fabric than reupholstery, and are usually fabricated out of multipurpose fabrics, lighter in weight and feel, but ones woven for stability, rather than durability. They do not need to be stretched tight on a frame, and may be used for a seasonal change to a room, or to change the look at lower expense. While prices vary widely depending upon the cost of the fabric, the repeat of the fabric, and whether you are replacing cushion cores (the foam and Dacron inside loose seat and back cushions) when you are slipcovering the furniture, slipcovers may save you 30% over reupholstery.

Today’s slipcovers bear no resemblance to those of generations pre-dating the invention of air conditioning. Yesteryear’s slipcovers were fabricated of unbleached muslin and contrast trims, washed in harsh lye based soaps, but served to protect the tapestry, brocades and other upholstery fabrics from sweaty bodies in the summer heat. The rumpled wrinkled slipcovers were in everyone’s homes, and were accepted as a necessary summer look.

Reupholstery Design: A Relationship between Fabrics and Frames
“ Form follows function – that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

Upholstery should be a harmonious combination of structure and shape with its fabric covering, including texture and pattern. The visual rhythms and harmonies of the frame should not fight the lines and rhythm of the fabric. Ideally they will complement each other, as well as the room. And just as in clothing it makes sense to wear what you wear better than other persons, as well as clothing which reflects your personal style, in furniture, there are good combinations, and then there are great ones. A wing chair, or Federal “easy chair”, has a long interior inside back which is ideal for the display of a large curvaceous pattern, which reflects the flowing form of the “wings” at each side of the back. Use a very “safe” solid or plain texture instead, and the chair which could have been a strong contributor to a room instead becomes a wallflower, a large galumphing presence that has nothing to add to the visual dance of the room. In the same way, taking a sleek contemporary chair or sofa, with intriguing form, and sculptural impact, and clutter it up with a busy pattern, or muss it up with a very lumpy texture, and a shrinking violet takes the place of the functional sculpture.

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Reupholstery Before and After

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Reupholstery Evaluation and Quoting
Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” - Coco Chanel (1883-1971)

At Masterworks each reupholstery project is evaluated structurally, for a sense of the value of the frame, and what would be needed to restore it to strength and support, and evaluated for its form and inherent presence. Combined with the use which the piece of furniture will received, the history of the piece, and the desired color palette, we first let you know whether in our opinion it is worth reupholstering, and then, if it is structurally sound, we recommend fabrics which complement both its form and the personality and design of the room. Furniture which floats in a room may also employ a second fabric for the back view of the furniture, whether dining chairs, occasional chairs, or sofas.

If the furniture has nailheads, and new decorative nails are desired, we always specify that old nailholes be filled prior to new nails being used. This helps keep the frame from becoming dry and brittle. Our quotes will include removal of the old fabric, any structural work needed, the new fabric selected, pickup and redelivery, and tax. We want you to have a real price, not a price to which we later must add delivery and tax.

Occasionally we will need to confirm with the workroom before giving you a final price. Even less often, a workroom may run into an unanticipated repair once the old fabric is removed. In this situation, we would call you if the additional costs required additional payment. With your permission, we will also usually take before and after photos of the furniture being reupholstered.

Slipcovers: The Delightfully Easy Way to Achieve a New Look

Unlike Reupholstery, Slipcovers involve no structural repair, although occasionally we do replace cushion cores as a part of a slipcover project. Slipcovers are cut in your home during an initial appointment with the slipcover cutter, after the fabric has been ordered and received. The furniture never leaves your home. Once the slipcover is sewn, the cutter returns to install the slipcover on the furniture. On rare occasions this “final fitting” points out an additional adjustment needed to the slipcover, which would require the return of the slipcover to the workroom for one final adjustment. With the right choice of fabric for the frame, the skill of the cutter is essential to a finished transformation – a new look that fits like a glove.

Should the upholstery be a dark color, and the slipcover fabric a light one, a full cover in muslin may be also needed. Couture detailing, in the form of buttons, trims, ribbons or ties, may also be added to a slipcover.

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Cushions: Upholstered Comfort for Chairs, Benches, and Window Seats

Custom Cushions have a primary purpose of adding comfort to a seating surface, whether it is a Chair, Rocker, Bench, Piano Bench, or Window Seat. The shape and type of the seating will affect the shape of the cushion. For chairs and rockers, embellishments which also have the practical purpose of anchoring the cushion to the chair are also needed. These may be simple but sturdy snap tabs or Velcro tabs, or graceful chair tie tassel pairs sewn into the seam. Butterfly sash bows may anchor cushions in a romantic room, or simple string ties may be used in a casual environment. For piano benches, we assess whether an attached cushion or fully upholstering the top of a wood bench is better. For window seats, precise measurements and pattern placement is required. We have done cushions for many banquettes and shaped benches. Each one has its own challenges; our attention to detail and our experience in this area will be at your service.

Custom templates are needed in many cases, and the type of interior cushioning must be planned. If down and feathers are preferred, a cushion should also have a foam core inside so that at no time is comfort missing. Where foam and Dacron wrap are used, the balance of the two materials will vary according to the cushioning desired. Our experience will help you in the selection process.

The secondary purpose of the cushion is to contribute to the visual harmonies of the room. The choice of the fabric must be based on durability and compatibility. A stretchy fabric will not contain foam well, and will require an interior muslin cover if selected. Occasionally a particularly challenging cushion will require more than one fitting, due to the particular combination of fabric and filling. Be assured that we will solve the challenge. And you will love the comfort of a custom cushion!

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