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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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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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!

Bespoke Upholstery Essex, made to measure curtains Essex, made to measure blinds Essex, bespoke Shutters Essex, Design Essex.

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Mid Century In The Modern Home

When flicking through the glossy pages of todays home magazines you’ll find pages broadly encompassing styles from the 1950’s onwards. Retro living means different things to different people, it can incorporate mid-century Scandinavian, curvy 60’s mod or plush fabrics and bold earth toned patterns from 70’s

In the past a retro space commonly had lots of layers of bold colours and pattern, a chaotic space which may not be conducive with todays hectic lifestyle. Retro furniture can become the hero in an otherwise modern home by layering a clean, more subtle palette. One item will be the star of the room where everything else should compliment it not over whelm it with too many pieces vying for attention. Alternatively for an eclectic feel try to blend more subtle pieces of several styles rather than using just a few statement pieces as accents. Using furniture belonging to different periods of design history will create boho chic, a décor that exudes personality, depth and interest allowing vintage pieces to blend neatly rather than commanding attention. 

Bespoke Upholstery Essex, made to measure curtains Essex, made to measure blinds Essex, bespoke shutters Essex, fabric Essex, design Essex.

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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.

Bespoke Upholstery Essex, made to measure curtains Essex, made to measure blinds Essex, bespoke shutters Essex, fabric Essex Design Essex.

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SEVEN GOLDEN RULES WHEN DECORATING YOUR HOME


Let’s be honest, putting coherent schemes together can be a daunting business. A living space should draw you in and be a pleasure to spend time in, your home should reflect who you are and what you love.  

  1. Be brave and have confidence! This is the biggest obstacle to overcome. Trust your instincts, if you like something don’t be afraid to have it in your home, decorate with your heart and choose things you truly love. Even if you don’t imagine it’s your exact style, it will blend in and make your home an extension of you. Avoid following fads or choosing a style because you think your friends would like it, be true to yourself and your own style will follow. 
  • Invest in classic pieces: A few key pieces really do make the rest of your room look beautiful. If it’s expensive, but you love it, save up to avoid compromise. Its ok to take your time and let the look evolve. Discover what a space needs, live with it and review it. 
  • Once you know what these inspirational pieces are, work from there to create a setting that will show them off. Carefully choose your palette, co-ordinating colour and pattern in a home is so important. Having a colour palette for each room can really change the mood of each space. A good system to help balance your colour scheme is to proportion 60% of the scheme for your dominant colour 30% for your secondary 10% for your accent colour. 
  • Three is definitely a magic number as are odd numbers in general. Not only for your colour choice but grouping odd numbers of items such as cushions, vases, blocks of accent colour forces the eye to move around the display to create a level of visual interest that symmetrical even numbered arrangements simply can’t compete with, in addition, repeating shapes through a scheme is a subtle way to help the human brain read a space as a harmonious whole. 
  • Include a good mix of overhead lighting, mood lighting and accent lighting to help your room look and perform its best. Many under estimate the value of lighting. Yes of course the light fitting should be in keeping with the over-all aesthetic of the room but most important is that the light produced will create the evening mood that you desire. 
  • The seating in a living room is generally dominant and can be a great way of making a statement. A good quality, well-designed sofa is a valuable investment. It is well worth buying a quality made sofa, whether new or restored, as the reasonably priced sofas from the high street are rarely a bargain and need to be replaced after just a few years. There are many chairs and sofas available online at a reasonable cost that have solid frames and were built to last, to have these pieces restored and reupholstered is comparable in cost to purchasing a great quality new piece but are the perfect choice when designing a living space as the design and fabric choice can be tailored to the desired look.  
  • Soft furnishings are the finishing touches to a décor. Curtains can make a room, hang them high to create a grand impression and to make the room feel taller. A well-made curtain will look tailored and compliment a pleasing view. If there is an undesirable view from a window then voiles are perfect to disguise with softness and provide privacy without compromising on light. Coupled with plain walls, curtains can become a stunning statement in a luxurious pattern, with complimenting scatter cushions you’ll create a look which is effortlessly harmonious.

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Making A Statement!

What makes a piece of furniture a statement in your home? Unique in material? Exaggerated in design? Bold in fabric choice? Oversized for the space? – The answer? Yes, all of the above.

Look-at-me pieces can push the envelope from wonderful to wow! Leaving your guests questioning their own design ethos. This design decision is not for those who wish to play it safe but for people willing to take a risk, for people who want to be different.

So where to start? 

A key point is that when using colour and pattern for your statement piece the room remains largely neutral to maximise the impact of the statement. Combining tactile textures such as silk, satin and velvet, verses canvas, leather and tweed will create an interesting contrast of rough and smooth allowing you to be experimental and creative even with neutrals, too many statement fabrics in one room can look chaotic and confusing. Another consideration is that colour can affect emotions, brights such as red/yellow/orange can energise so may not be the best to use in a bedroom, a deep indigo has a calming effect and can be just as impactful without shouting from the walls and furniture before the light goes out. Colour, texture and balance can take your living space to the next level. Your overall design aesthetic to show individuality should be achieved through cognition.

Statement pieces become conversation pieces, everyone loves a well-designed statement. Using an unanticipated fabric is a fun way to make a feature from upholstery to put a twist on an originally average chair, it makes the piece as brave and individual as you are.

The power of pattern is a fairly obvious path to create a statement, there is a myriad of choice at all levels of bravery but in the furniture world, size matters. An oversized footstool can be a fantastic central point of your room, a flared wing back chair such as the iconic vintage G-Plan ‘The Sixty Two’ (Originally known as The World’s Most Comfortable Chair) will stand out for being different in its design alone, the more ostentatious amongst us may well combine the two and a well-chosen pattern on a well-designed exaggerated style will shock the eye of the viewer and incite awe!

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