"The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you." — Coco Chanel
These two Briarwood leather handbags were sent to me from Taupo with the request that I recolour them to match specific colours in the supplied fabric swatches. As you can see from the rose-petal design on the front of each bag, this was not a straightforward job. One of the bags had small metal studs which I was happy to mask off, but my client said not to worry about them. She was thrilled with the results shown below.
"Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age." — Booth Tarkington
After a few years, seat cushions can feel as though they have lost their bounce. Foam, after all, doesn't hold its shape forever. Rebolstering seat cushions is a relatively inexpensive option compared to replacing your suite.
The owners of this gorgeous Scandinavian leather and oak suite had owned it for 20 years and asked us to restore its original colour and re-pad all the cushions—not just the seat cushions but the armrests and inside back cushions as well. The suite also had a matching coffee table which we had professionally refinished by a local craftsman. The owners were thrilled, saying the suite looked (and felt) as good as the day they bought it!
Give us a call or send us an email to enquire about options for rebolstering your flattened cushions.
"One who finishes, lasts." — Jeffrey Fry
The majority of leather upholstery found in homes today is what we describe as "finished" leather. While there are a range of finishes on the market, much of what we see is leather coated with a pigmented resin, followed by a clear protective coating. (In a future blog post we will describe the different types of leather finishes.) It is this combination of colour and clear sealer which acts to protect your leather, providing wear, stain, and fade resistance.
Without proper maintenance, however, the finish on your leather can deteriorate prematurely. Such deterioration is usually unnoticed to the untrained eye, and your leather may look ok even though the original finish is no longer protecting the leather.
The owner of this beautiful cream wingback armchair recognised the need to give attention to the chair's appearance after discovering that the colour was starting to break down on the armrests and seat cushion. This was because the clear sealer on the high-wear areas had worn off, exposing the colour pigment to contamination and wear. Once we had cleaned and decontaminated the heavily soiled areas such as armrests and head areas, we restored the original colour and applied a new clear coat, leaving a showroom finish.
Maintaining finished leather is simply a matter of following a basic cleaning and protecting regimen. (See our Leather Care Tips page.) If you have any concerns or questions about the condition of your leather, give us a call. We cover the entire Wairarapa region (or further if required), our advice is free and if you live in Masterton we offer a free on-site inspection service, with no-obligation quotes.
This job illustrates why leather restoration is often more an art than it is a trade. This handbag was badly faded and decorated with handpainted flowers. I was asked to restore the original colour of the bag but to leave the artwork untouched. As masking off the decoration was out of the question, I resorted to applying the pigments around the artwork using an artist's brush, which requires patience, an eye for detail, and a very steady hand. It probably helps that this type of skill runs in the family—my father was a signwriter, as are my brother and sister. Once the colour was applied, it was finished off with a clear coat and ready for its owner, who was delighted!
"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function." — Garrison Keillor
I like cats. I really do. And not because they bring me work. But there are times when I commiserate with cat owners over what their pet has done to their furniture. Sometimes the damage is minor, at times it's extreme.
Take this leather three-seater couch, for example. The owner's elderly cat had taken to using the seat for a toilet on at least a couple of occasions. The damage caused by the cat's urine was significant, contaminating not only the leather and adjacent synthetic materials, but also the foam, the wooden frame, and even the metal bolts!
Remedial work involved replacing the contaminated leather and foam, as well as treating the wood and replacing the corroded bolts, among other things. Finally I recoloured the replacement leather to match the existing. Fortunately, our client's insurance company came to the party. And the cat? It had used up all of its nine lives.
"I do love a good handbag… I think no one should make fun of anyone else’s handbag choices." — Hillary Clinton
It seems that a month doesn't go by where I am asked to restore that most treasured of fashion accessories — a woman's handbag. The owner of these two bags felt that they needed some love before she could be seen with them in public, and of course the beauty of leather handbags is that they will last a lifetime if you look after them. So, look after them we did!
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." — Red Adair
A local car dealer asked me to take a look at the damaged driver's seat of a late-model Holden Monaro which had just been sold. Damaged bolsters are a common problem in cars, especially on the driver's seat which receives the most wear, and particularly on bucket seats where the bolsters are protruding at the point of entry.
I was quite surprised to find, however, that not only was the bolster worn, but a previous owner had tried to "fix" the problem with a layer of paint over the top, which was coming away and revealing the damage beneath. In some areas, the original "fix" had actually caused more damage. Therefore, I had to remove the DIY layer, repair the damage underneath, and prepare the leather surface before mixing and applying our specialised leather pigments and sealers. The photos below show the results and, needless to say, the new owner was thrilled.
“The man with the boots does not mind where he places his foot.” — Irish proverb
Every now and again a customer comes to us with a personal item that they would rather restore than throw away. That was the case with this pair of leather boots which were very much loved by their owner. After I had refinished them, she fell in love with them all over again!
The owners of this poor old leather lounge suite were reluctant to replace it because of how comfy it is. However, the sofa was in a bad way. Not only did the leather badly need attention, but one of the seats had also collapsed. The photos show the restoration work undertaken, and for much less than the price of a new suite!