Something Old or Something New?
What are you going to do with that chintzy old sofa that granny left you? As much as you hate to admit it, its heyday as a fashion statement is over, and even worse, it has a gaping hole in the armrest where her pet Pekinese used to bury his biscuits.
It’s time to say a sad farewell to the sofa. Or is it? Rather than sending it to that great big furniture store in the sky, you could consider giving it a modern re-vamp.
Vince from Centrepiece Furnishings is an expert in re-upholstering and restoration, and, when he’s not doing that, he’s busying himself with custom-making sofas, chairs and soft furnishings. He has been working his magic since he was 14 years old. (Apparently he didn’t like school, but who did?) Now he owns a thriving business, and what we like about Centrepiece is that everything is produced on-site in his workshop. There isn’t a middleman in sight.
I popped along to see him and he showed me around. There is nothing slick about the place – no gleaming floor, no spot-lit works of art on the walls, and no well-groomed salesman to guide you through carefully styled displays. This is good, honest, spit-and-sawdust furniture-making. To the untrained eye, it might look like a furniture graveyard, but the truth is quite the opposite – this is where sofas are born, or reborn.
Vince and I soon get to the topic of custom-made sofas and it would seem that if you haven’t been blessed with granny’s (God rest her soul) favourite armchair, then he will happily whip one up for you. He will even pay a visit to your home to help him evaluate any designs you have in mind. “I often take into account a painting on a wall or the colour of a carpet before advising on the colour of the furniture,” he says.
Once both parties agree, Vince and his artisans get to work, using quality fabrics imported from Europe. About one month later – voila! A new sofa. Even before that, however, clients are invited to try out their semi-completed piece of furniture, and can request changes – perhaps a higher back, or a squishier seat.
One month is an impressive turnaround time, considering you can wait up to three weeks for a ready-made sofa to be delivered. Plus, you have the advantage of being able to incorporate your own je ne sais quoi.
Whether you want to breathe new life into an old sofa or create an entirely new piece, here are some tips to get you started.
Choose a cotton-and-polyester mix for durability, particularly on sofas that are subject to more wear and tear. Some people, especially in hot and humid Singapore, prefer 100-percent cotton because it breathes. When re-upholstering a décor piece, such as a hallway chair that isn’t used often, you could choose a more delicate material, such as silk.
Choosing a colour really depends on your individual taste. We have a range of European fabrics from classic to contemporary.
Any money-saving tips?
Go bargain-hunting. One of our clients found an amazing armchair that is at least thirty years old, and she only paid $30 for it. It has seen better days, but it will look great once we’ve restored it.
When it comes to cleaning your sofa, you can choose either machine-washable fabric or a fixed material that we will Scotch Guard to prevent staining. If you have kids or animals, go for machine-washable!
(+65) 9030 5057 or email to : info(AT)centrepiece.com.sg
written by Expat Living 2010