Friday, November 11, 2011

Is It Worth It?

A 1970s Early American style recliner, is well - shall we say "well worn"?

The thing weighs a ton owing to hard wood and all steel moving parts

The reclining mechanism moves smooth and silent and is simply constructed - that means easy for me to remove, upholster, reinstall. In fact it's more like the smooth Norway-made Ekornes I have for sale in shop right now:

than some of the cheap (in mfg + materials only - the retail price is usually right up there) Barca's I've done held together with drywall screws and stapled joints. Now that hardly seems worth it, but then most people
will not know the joints and type of wood of their frames to judge if it warrants a costly reupholstering job or not.  You nearly have to remove fabric + padding to know - a manufacturer may claim, but an upholsterer will tell you upon experience and inspection if a recliner, or any chair for that matter, is "worth it" structurally.

Then of course, there is the sentimental factor.

The thingies which helps kick out the foot pad have that ye olde colonial forged iron design to them so popular in the 70s .

Say what you will about the state of this recliner, it's solid as rock (Plymouth Rock) and it was made without a single bit of foam. All cotton padding, which is great - longer lasting than foam. Originally done up in a rustic woven green tweed that could be found covering furniture in any catalog you'd care to pick up in 1972, my customer has chosen this Kravet originally $80 per yd but discounted drastically due to limited stock of closeout, but just enough for this project. Score!

Here's how it finished, with wood all polished up, newly repadded and reupholstered.  Ready for another 40 years of lounging by the hi-fi!  A sweet thing about this recliner, is it belonged to pedal steel-guitar great Johnny Fields and the work was ordered by his daughter who was determined to keep and enjoy her father's favorite chair.  Very much worth it!

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Love Orange

Well I won't be making this party...

...and I wish I could! My daughter's in London - maybe she can go in my stead, she's the one who brought Apartamento to my attention with issue no. 5 purchased in 2010. Its my very favorite magazine, like a literary journal of interiors.  Brief stories, some only a paragraph or two, short and lengthy interviews,  photojournal  of living space and architecture ... sometimes with a colorbook section. Scarce in the US as each issue is (printed in Spain, sold in EU), I do have my 4 copies in the shop for sale at the current currency conversion rate - they are collectable!

Here's said daughter sitting down to a breakfast of our favorite color...

Orange has been a favorite since childhood. It harkens back to my grandparent's Fiesta Ware collection which were used as everyday dishes. The thick burnt orange plates were always paired by me with one of two tones of green, or most satisfying combo, orange with deep violet. It imprinted my color sensibilities at an early age.

Child of the 70's I am, I had one of these radios...

Just before the I Feel Orange invite, I was noticing how much of it I had around the shop, trends and favorite color aside,  it is the season for all tones of orange.  Artist Cynthia Dunaway's Rockport Massachusetts pleine aire painting is here...


Her husband/artist Paul Murphy's painted TV...


Jean F. Ross's block and silkscreen printed with foil textile "Flying Hat Head Men" .  This would be a perfect textile to hang in a men's store - one of the many fashionable and trendy haberdasher/tattoo/barbershops that sell men's stuff -  or vintage clothing boutique.  They should snap this up!  It's 44" x 62" and is for sale in the shop, along with some of Jean's other printed fabrics.

More orange eyecandy in the shop is artist Pamela Gaard's painting on barkcloth "Volupte"...


and her Spoonflowered fabric "Woven Pinks" was printed out by them more orange than pink, to my delight...

(restored 1940s sofa newly upholstered in crazy small check quilter's cotton also for sale in shop.  You can't believe the comfort of these super soft 30/70 down feather blend cushions on 36 handtied spring seat and 36 tied inside-back with curled hair stuffing!  An amazing WILL want to sleep on it)

I finished reupholstering this vintage Domore office chair just before Halloween and now have it for sale in shop, and on etsy...
It made the coolest sparse Halloween window, theme of black, white and orange.  A 40's black rayon dress with handbeaded spiderwebs over Lawrence Peabody's "Wherefore" 1960s fabric for Sears, a small 50s plastic jack o' lantern ornament and the hot persimmon orange Domore, mirrored chrome all shined up for the occasion...

I enjoy windows as much as upholstering and sewing.  I have a million ideas on presenting how vintage fashion informs interiors past and present.  All in this window is for sale of course - everything is always for sale at Miller Upholstering! 
I've been collecting for years, and also have a few dealers and artists who bring their textiles here to sell. Some of my faves is a bunch of Mexican wovens, Saltillo's and serape's sporting orange and vibrant reds, violets, black and blue.  Pillows or outside backs, I think rather than higher traffic upholstery applications, as the fibers will tend to pill.


and the brilliant rust of surface design artist Joan McGee's heat transfer fabric made into pillows is an edgy accessory.  I purchased this yardage last summer at The Surface Design Association's Conference in Minneapolis -

I stock handpicked vintage books on decorating, history of furniture and craft of upholstery technique - the good ones...!    Other trend- in-textile related mags + reading material in shop is HandEye...

Selvedge from the UK is a regular must-read for any self-respecting textilophile garment making fashionista -

 Yes, I've been fabric and book collecting low these many years and now have a place to put shop, offered to any and all interested!


And now - a month after the original date of this blog post, I find out Pantone has named "tangerine tango" or 17-1463 TCX the official color for 2012.  If you are loving orange as much as I am this year (what's left of it) or next, come in and let's get going on fixing you up with some orange!  How about some -

New suede?

Velvet pillows?

Reupholster retro seating originally orange with new fabric orange - who needs change all the time?

Location: Miller Upholstering Minneapolis

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vintage Clothing, Jewelry and Textile Show

Cats Pajamas Productions hosts a vintage sale twice a year in the Twin Cities. I've attended in years past as a shopper. Last weekend, as a vendor to show a selection of vintage yard goods I sell at Miller Upholstering and to invite people to visit the shop on East Lake St.

We load in and begin set up.

Soon enough we've created a little mock-up of the storefront at 3614 E. Lake St. In Minneapolis...

Fellow vendors are also ready well before doors open early for pre-sale shoppers. This is Jojo's from Minnetonka...

Some ladies with fantastic antique hats and footwear

As a dedicated follower of fashion, this season's runway shows haven't offered much to me in the way of inspiration in women's wear - just not seeing anything that really grabs me. But what I find most exciting is the growing awareness locally in fashion and accessories for men. Not in years has individual expression in men's dress and grooming been so accessible, attractive, wearable - and i suppose socially acceptable, but this would require a lengthy socio-political post on why this is happening. But it's nice to see the influence and integration of a "vintage philosophy"; quality materials, excellent and personal service in retail and online environments, and a variety of unique design. The same is being said about (slow)food, (independently produced/fringe)music and entertainment, (slow)clothes... (slow)government ... Well, that doesn't ring as well, probably need a different word for the much-in-demand movement for a people's democracy as opposed to a multinational corporation-run world of manipulating big box capitalism run amuck. The awareness is happening everywhere though and lots of people we talked to during the show said the same - people are wanting to talk about it - but I'll say more later on all that - or not!  More pics, please, of the show...
My vote for Best In Show - vintage wingtips, boots and brogues reworked by Zen The Freshmaker for Greenwich Vintage.

A professional cobbler, here he's resoled the classic styled shoe and sewn in Pendleton plaid.

This is so Andrew Martin to me, which I love and find inspiration for interior applications. When Greenwich Vtg Ltd makes a bricks and mortar presence, Miller Upholstering will be a strong supporter - I'm already a huge fan.
Next, I loved Nancy Adomeit's vast collection of cuff links and necktie barclasps.

 many others did. Minneapolis' own The Missing Link is also supplier to the fine and popular Martin Patrick 3, so if you missed the show, you can select something fabulous at this carefully curated store in the warehouse district.

Even better than the collections of vintage clothing, textiles and jewelry were the stylish and creative shoppers...

Baskets full of vintage fabric - just the tip of the iceberg of the collection held by LulaVintage and for sale at Miller Upholstering.

A shopper stops to talk textiles with Rhesa Schwartz of RagsAndHollers on etsy, who also sells her vintage fabrics at Miller Upholstering

Good friends who shop together ...

And finally the show was over, we pack up and return to our shop in the Longfellow neighborhood of East Lake St.

Where you can always find vintage and new fabric for your DIY projects or custom interior orders!

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Location: Mpls/St. Paul

From Start To Finish

Here's a post from a while back that had lost it's image links.  Someone was asking about Cogswell chairs just yesterday, so...