Traditional headboards go in-and-out of style. Today, they're making a comeback.
A headboard is typically coupled to the side rails of a bedframe, allowing the bed and headboard to move together. This custom-made headboard (below) is engineered for a different purpose -- to fit inside an alcove specifically built for a queen-size headboard. Instead of being connected to the bed, this headboard will attach directly to the wall.
Custom Headboard Frame
Scrim Covers Foam Padding
Scrim Rolled Over Top
Scrim & Dacron Covers Base
Before designing it, the contractor consulted with us. We recommended covering the surface with two-inches of polyurethane padding. With that in mind, he built a two-inch gutter to accomodate the foam. After fitting the foam, we draped a pink, quarter-inch scrim over the facing then added a layer of Dacron for softness. This resulted in a smooth, seamless surface on which to fasten the fabric.
Fitting Top Corner
Attaching Fabric To Base
The fabric is a blended weave selected to match room decor. We're careful to align it so the pattern angles-up around the edges. Since the headboard fits snugly inside the alcove, the sides won't be seen. Even though they're not visible, we sew snug corners all the way around to keep the fabric from wrinkling. When finished, the headboard is a fine addition to an elegant bedroom.
Aladdin Travel Trailers, originally built in Oregon from 1963 through 1969, were King of the Road in the sixties and seventies, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Most were built to be affordable, using relatively inexpensive materials and manufacturing techniques. Owners were sometimes called "Tin Can Tourists". For obvious reasons, you don't see many of these 50-year-old trailers on the road anymore. Most are either long gone or in pretty bad shape.
This vintage Aladdin from Omak was all but abandoned when J.E., a University of Washington alumnus, had a brainstorm -- transform the old thing into a state-of-the-art tailgater for Husky Football games. What a great idea!
It took lots of elbow grease to get the old Aladdin back together, not to mention roadworthy. By the time it reached the parking lot of our shop, it looked fresh off the production line! Well, maybe not that good...but, J.E. had done an excellent job renovating it.
With the trailer back in shape, it was time for new upholstery.
Instead of restoring the interior upholstery to its original look, she decided to have a little fun. Husky Purple -- in a nice assortment of prints, solids, and faux alligator leather -- was a must. Add in some eye-candy green and blue and you end up with a tailgater even author Ken Kesey might have envied. Then again, who cares about Kesey? He went to the University of Oregon.
One of the more challenging tasks in our craft is upholstering a concave or extremely cupped surface. It's not the sort of project we see every day, but when furniture with a severely rounded surface does come through our door, Upholstery Seattle takes special care to upholster it properly. This curved restaurant booth is a great example of how its done.
Pre-Cut Foam Pad
Fabric For Cushion Top
Sewing Sections In Place
Sliding Fabric Over Foam
The first thing we do is order a specially shaped slab of polyurethane foam. It's pre-cut to match the foam it replaces. There's little room for error, so we measure carefully and work closely with our foam suppliers. When the foam arrives, we turn our attention to the critical piece of fabric on a concave surface, the cushion top. This section is cut to precisely match the curve in the foam. If it's not just right, the fabric will pucker and wrinkle.
Using the curved fabric as an anchor, we sew the other sections in place, then slip the upholstery over the foam like a glove.
As you can see, the fit is a little loose at first. There's also a big gap between the fabric and the cupped surface (bottom row, left). This is where years of experience counts. We tug the upholstery so it's flush with the foam, then staple it to the base. This has to be done with just the right amount of tension; too much and the fabric tears, not enough and it wrinkles.
A judicious application of steam erases all but the tiniest flaws. After steaming the fabric, we bake it under the afternoon sun for a couple of hours. This shrinks the gap between the fabric and foam resulting in a perfect fit.
In the end, the restaraunt booth turns out just right!
You may think the recliner was invented by the same guy who dreamed up the TV remote control and pull top beer can. The concept actually goes all the way back to 19th Century France and Emperor Napoleon III. Early recliner designs were loosely based on the chaise lounge, another French invention.
Old Powered Recliner
Recliner Lift Mechanism
Recliner Massage Unit
If Napoleon III was alive today, he'd probably demand a powered recliner with all the bells and whistles; something like this motorized recliner equipped with a built in heater, a mechanical massager and a control panel worthy of the Starship Enterprise.
This top-of-the-line powered recliner retails for roughly $5000. With that much money invested in comfort, you don't want to cut corners on upholstery.
As you can see, everything but the kitchen sink is built into this thing. The chair weighs more than an NFL linebacker. Moving it takes plenty of manpower, but the hardest part comes when we get inside the shop. Before reupholstering the recliner, we have to literally take it apart. Carefully dissasembling all the mechanical and electronic parts takes nearly a day.
After stripping everything off, we reupholster the recliner in a heavy duty Acrylic/Polyester Chenille. The foam is in good shape; all it needs is a little Dacron padding and we're done.
A few hours to reinstall the mechanical bells and whistles, and the powered recliner is out the door looking better than ever.
Ruching is a shearing technique that produces small ripples or tiny pleats in a fabric. You'll often find ruched or fully pleated fabric on upholstered furniture. It's a stylish way to upholster an arm front or side back, for example. After ruching a fabric it's important to cover the edges or the final product will look unfinished.
Buttons are sometimes used to cover the edges. In this case, the manufacturer chose welted side panels.
Our customer selected a heavy-duty beige and bone colored jacquard fabric. It's an excellent choice for reupholstering this overstuffed lounge chair.
As is often the case with print fabrics, aligning the pattern can be a challenge. Some upholstery shops will slap fabric on a side panel "any which way". The artisans at Upholstery Seattle take special care to align the fabric so its pattern appears nearly seamless from a distance. As you can see from the second row of pictures and the snapshot to the left, the vine pattern aligns all the way down the chair -- a near perfect match.
Little things, such as aligning the pattern on a side panel, make a big difference.