Manniquin Interiors Has Arrived!

Hold On To Your Hats Essex! Mannequin Interiors Has Arrived!! Crazy colours, larger than life wallpapers, a dapper pony/goat and sequinned mannequins, quite frankly the place is …bonkers! The latest addition to the ever-growing Simon Houlding brand has been a long drawn out thought process spanning over two years but will be ready to launch in October 2022!The Mannequin Interiors furniture range will offer quality bespoke made upholstered furniture to fit the space for which it is intended and in the fabric choice of the customer. Mass produced furniture has its place in the world but you will not find better quality than a specifically tailored piece built by a skilled upholsterer who will add a level of expertise and artistry that factory furniture just can’t compete with and the sustainability that only built to last furniture can give you. Alongside our furniture we will have for sale vintage furniture fully restored in beautiful fabrics, concrete furniture by Lyon Beton and a range of home accessories from Pad Home including lighting and wallpaper and of course our own beautifully tailored curtains and blinds. Everything needed for any interior design project.For the full colour experience come on over to our Stock Chase showroom and prepare to be wowed! #QualityInEverythingWeDo

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Let The Light In…

Interior design has come a long way since the days of the suburban net curtain! Voiles offer an elegant and stylish window treatment giving privacy while letting the light filter gently into your room.

When decorating a room there are many different dressings to consider for your windows and doors, one option that is becoming more popular is the voile.  

Far from the chintz look of its predecessor, voiles have a gentle elegance and create a relaxing atmosphere. Voiles work well on their own but can also be used as an accompaniment to blinds, add softness to shutters or create layers to curtains.

Many voile fabrics come in a wide width, typically to accommodate a floor length curtain to allow for wide curtain with no joins or seams. There are a huge variety of density, patterns and colours that work well with different headings to achieve the desired look.

In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, voiles add a practical element to a room. A lighter alternative to curtains, voiles make the best of natural daylight but at the same time protect the interior of the home from direct sunlight. Voiles provide privacy while keeping the room bright and cheerful and can be used as a barrier for flies and mosquitos on an open window in the summer.

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Going To Even Greater lengths for customers!

The team at Simon Houlding has been to Wembley to deliver the longest curtain they have ever made at a whopping 7 meter drop!

Simon Houlding’s amazing curtain maker Dawn was housed in their new showroom, the only place that could accommodate the 3 benches that allowed her to work on such an epic project.

The curtain looks stunning in the super lobby of Canada Gardens, as do the rich, rust coloured curtains made to line the privacy booths which are for residents to read or make private calls in luxurious comfort

The Canada Gardens building – a key part of the 85 acre regeneration of Wembley Park and the whole team is proud to have worked on such a prestigious project

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2020 A Most Bizarre Year!

From making scrubs for our heroic NHS workforce to sofa beds in tree houses, night shifts in Selfridges and seven meter long curtains for Wembley Park! A diverse year to say the least!

Lockdown 2020 has drawn attention to the home with many investing in improving the environment in which they are spending more time than ever before. The biggest trends being bold colourful designs on printed velvets such as Garden Treasures, our most popular range that has been used for a variety of projects to create an impressive feature in many of our customers homes. Electric tracks have also been a popular choice this year, allowing the user to operate curtains and blinds at the touch of a button while creating a seamlessly sleek aesthetic when eliminating the need for chains and cords. 

Here are just a handful of pictures from some of our favourite projects from the year. Simon and the team would like to thank each and every one of our customers who have shown support and patience during this difficult year. 

We wish you all a happy and healthy end to 2020 and throughout 2021.

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Get switched on to a smarter home

Electric blinds and curtains are becoming ever more popular. An electric track can accommodate any style of blind or curtain so there is no need to compromise your desired aesthetic and can be operated by a switch, remote, smart phone app or integrate with your existing smart home system. If you think they’re an indulgent luxury read on to learn some of the many practical benefits to closing your blinds and curtains at the touch of a button.

Let’s face it, many of us position bulky furniture in front of a window in a bay as it’s a good way to maximise the space in a room but not so easy to reach a blind chain or pull curtains across in the evening. Electric blind and curtain tracks are a great solution. Roman blinds in a bay window can be set to close at the same time to draw them for the evening and individually to gain some relief from the sunshine on a hot day, all from the same remote. Another common conundrum for tricky window dressing solutions are skylights and conservatories. It is uplifting to have sunlight overhead indoors but can be uncomfortably warm on a summers day. We can supply and fit made-to-measure blinds for all shapes and sized windows with a UV filter that does not block out light but offer some relief from the heat.

In older age or for people with limited mobility pulling a chain on a blind or drawing curtains can be tricky and often painful. Electric tracks can be operated by your smart speaker “Alexa, close the curtains” it’s that simple! 

There is also an important safety aspect for the younger members of the family. In the UK it is law for a blind chain to hang no lower than 1.5m from the floor to avoid risk of injury or death to a child. Many children in the UK have been killed or harmed from becoming tangled in the chain of a blind. There is no need for a chain when using an electric track so you can rest assured your little ones are safe from harm.

An additional benefit of electric window dressings is the capability to operate your blinds from your mobile phone. An effective deterrent for possible break-ins is the ability to draw your curtains from anywhere in the world or alternatively set a timer prior to travelling that will close your curtains at a regular time. If someone is watching your home it will not be obvious that you are not there so preventing an unwanted intruder.

Electric tracks can be powered by a rechargeable battery which is so efficient recharging is only required after many months of use, they can also be hard-wired to enjoy endless enjoyment both at a low cost.

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Stay Home, Stay Safe

Lockdown 2020. The closest comparison a bizarre Christmas Day. Shops closed, car parks empty, high streets deserted and the roads quiet as if it were 2am, over eating and drinking to excess but with the absence of our loved ones. Simply odd. With most locked into a tedious life of enforced house arrest let us look at ways we can help to improve your home environment. 

Your home environment could be the biggest factor in changing your view of the current situation. Our surroundings affect the way we think and feel, shape our thoughts, emotions and actions. We all have those jobs we have been procrastinating over so now is the time to make your home somewhere you enjoy spending time. Make the most of life under lockdown. Have a plan that outlines the tasks to follow, work towards a goal, be driven and motivated. 

Humans reap tremendous benefits from exposure to nature, introducing a comfortable seating area in your garden will provide a calming space and an additional room to your home. Simply replacing tired garden furniture cushions with an amazing print can make a seating area look and feel brand new. It doesn’t matter if you have a small patio, a large terrace or a roof deck, when an outdoor space is decorated well it’s a pleasure to spend time in and with the summer weather imminent this is the perfect time to start planning.

Don’t have a garden? Introducing the Garden Treasures range on scatter cushions or a statement chair will bring amazing vibrant colours and the outside in, filled with so many critters this amazingly designed fabric will certainly lift a mood. All too often small rooms are kept neutral and simple in the hope that this will make them feel larger. This often backfires and you end up with a space that is both small and dull, it’s much better to inject some personality and what better way than with pattern. 

Move your furniture around! It will dramatically change the appearance of your space and change is energising. We have all been sitting on the sofa more over the past few weeks so give yourself a different view! You may be noticing the cushions have become soft and saggy we can refresh them with new foam that will literally take years off them. 

Our Stock Chase workshops are spacious enough to allow us to work safely, using a rota system to distance and with strict hygiene measures in place. Fabric samples can be sent directly to you by post from our manufacturers. Smaller projects can be collected and delivered from your doorstep with no need to enter your property. All collections and deliveries in line with government guidelines regarding distancing and appropriate PPE and hygiene. 

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Scrubs up!

So, if you’re making scrubs for the NHS I will safely assume that you can already follow a pattern so no need to teach any grandmothers to suck eggs! We, being upholsterers and definitely not dressmakers as we found out! Did have to devise a simple reversible seam which could still be sewn relatively quickly. So lets pass that on to you.

Firstly well done and hats off to you for joining the army of sewing enthusiasts who are doing their bit for our front line people.

Sewing scrubs so they are reversible makes a) the seams much stronger so survive more washes and b) can be worn inside out if they become stained, stained scrubs are normally thrown away. So all in all prolonging the usable life of the scrubs. As well as making the scrubs reversible a couple of other requirements to consider is that the sleeve must sit above the elbow and the neckline must be wide enough that the top can be removed without touching the face.

So, this is was we did…

Overlap your seams, this will reduce the bulk when turning.

Open up your garment, turn the edge of the longer seam and sew along the fold. You see! Told you it was simple! Easy when you know how. Happy sewing, be very proud of yourself. Stay Safe.

#sewingscrubs #helpforNHS #protectingourfrontline #howtosewscrubs #simpleseamsforscrubs #reversibleseams #keepingthosesafewhokeepussafe #sewingskills

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A Night in a Department Store

It’s a Wednesday evening in Oxford Street at 10.45pm. The world renowned Selfidges has just closed for business and Simon and Jack are waiting in a van full to the brim with sundries, tools, trestles and an industrial sewing machine. It’s not long until a flood of Selfridges staff leave for the evening, dispersing in different directions to reach their individual destinations. This is their cue to enter the building. The eerie quiet is seemingly loud in a place usually bustling with life but now empty and abandoned. Their assignment? To renew three seats in the central men’s department to their former glory. 

And so to work. With a work bench replaced by the floor and only the estimated tools to hand it’s teamwork all the way and by 5am the seats are complete in glorious electric blue fabric, internally re-enforced and ready to meet their public! Mission accomplished!

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Built To Last

Many will be attracted to their sofa of choice by its overall aesthetic. Finding a piece with a striking look can often be love at first sight but the saying that beauty is only skin deep applies to many sofas on the current market. Mass produced furniture is often upholstered in materials that are inferior and prone to premature aging which quickly lose the new sofa feel leaving you with something you no longer enjoy and regretting your purchase.

Here are a few points to consider when buying a new sofa:

  1. A quality sofa needs a well-made frame. Imagine this as its skeleton, its strength and structure. Hardwood timber has served upholstered furniture well throughout history and to this day, beech wood is most commonly used for quality furniture as the tree has a long un-bending trunk with few branches. Beech is a hard timber which has a straight grain with no variation to encourage warping or twisting and its consistent strength through its length will maintain the frames shape over the years.
  • The internal structure: In partnership with the frame will allow the sofa to retain its shape over many years of use. Sprung seating is considered a vital component for all quality upholstery and is far superior to any other method. Over centuries, upholstered furniture that was built to last has springs in the seat. In traditional upholstery coiled springs are hand tied individually into the seat and covered with natural fibres and horse hair, when re-upholstering antique furniture this traditional method is still used to retain the authenticity of the piece. Modern sprung seats are a complete unit which is held together by wire mesh. Either method is most effective for both comfort and durability.
  • The Upholsterer. Measure the quality of a sofa by taking a closer look at the people who created it. The majority of mass produced upholstered furniture is manufactured in individual parts then assembled requiring a largely un-skilled workforce, each covering one specific piece part with no understanding of the item as a whole. An artisan upholsterer will be able to complete a sofa from frame to finish, understanding the complete process so that all the components work together leaving no weak link in construction. It takes many years of training to become a fully skilled upholsterer, there are many skills to learn. 

The distinction between the two are a sofa that will look and feel tired in a short time in comparison to one that still looks and feels great in ten to fifteen years or more.

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