Saturday, June 18, 2016

Upholstery Archaeology

A year ago we opened our sister company New Orleans Dry Goods - a to the trade atelier/studio specializing in custom upholstery, furniture manufacturing and window treatments.  The talented team includes our head upholstery and carpentry expert Sergio Morales who is a master of his craft and has worked for years building custom cabinets and furniture.  

Since a major facet of our design business at Perch is to source antique and vintage pieces both for our showroom on Magazine Street, as well as for our design projects we (along with area designers & architects) keep the team at NODG busy revamping one of a kind furniture.   

I fell in love with this beautifully hand-carved Louis XVI settee I found at Round Top in Texas.    

 I knew it had some age to it, but I did not realize just how much until Sergio started carefully removing its top layer of fabric which revealed a bit about its long history and the tastes of its previous owners.

A layer of French silk brocade was uncovered beneath.  The style and color of the fabric was popular in Europe during the 18th & 19th centuries but was especially popular here in America during the Civil War.

Civil War Gentleman in silk paisley brocade in a Daguerreotype Photograph

The age of the settee was also made evident by the the casement of the interior filling which was a recycled grain sack.  It is filled with a combination of pine needles, & wiry animal hair, perhaps from a donkey or horse mane.

It was clearly gilded at some point early on which was discovered at it's interior.

As Sergio always says, "The old way is the best way," so he left the original interior as it was, but reinforced it underneath and added padding to smooth out the surface beneath it's top layer.  

While we kept the history & provenance beneath, we chose to breathe new life into this Grande Dame with a completely modern abstract fabric by our friends at The Blush Label.  

This beautiful settee will enjoy many reincarnations for years to come.