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Home Design with Kevin Sharkey

Luther Quintana: the Art of Upholstery

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For many, the art of upholstery is a mystery. You drop off a sofa/chair/headboard and a few days later, a new piece of furniture appears. Over the years, I have sent master upholsterer Luther Quintana many items, each with great bones but some well-worn and each returned looking new and fresh.

In the September issue (page 78), we asked Luther to demystify the process and explain why recovering can cost so much and, more importantly, why quality is a great long-term investment.

More recently, Luther and I have been talking about sofa options for my apartment's living room and library as well as re-upholstery options for a set of twelve Warren McArthur chairs for my dining room. Do I want to build a new sofa or work with an existing frame? Should the chair seats be removable in order to turn them over or remove for cleaning? What are the best filling options?

There are many questions, and I am lucky to have an expert on hand. It's very important to have a frank conversation with your upholsterer and give him/her as much information about color, style, and use as possible. I, like everyone, want comfort but something durable that will last. I have a feeling that Luther and I will be talking for a few more weeks before we come to any final designs.

Chair

Here is one of my chairs and as you can see, it is in need of serious care from Luther.

 I would like to see a large-scale sofa fill up the living room with upholstered chairs sitting opposite.

I would like to see a large-scale sofa fill up the living room with upholstered chairs sitting opposite.
The sofa in the library should fit from one corner to the other, stretching across the room, but deep enough to be comfortable and cozy.

The sofa in the library should fit from one corner to the other, stretching across the room, but deep enough to be comfortable and cozy.

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Comments (2)

  • Reupholstery is a wonderful way to be green while supporting local craftspersonship.

    It can also serve a societal function. When I was in Boston, I saw a segment on "Chronicle" about a program that helps rehabilitate men and women by teaching and employing them to reupholster worn furniture! You can even submit your own furniture and they will provide an estimate. Cool idea, no?

  • Hi Kevin, you have a beautiful open space area, can't wait to see the final project. I like your Warren McArthur chair. Kindly post a picture of your dinning table. I am really interested to know what kind of rugs you are going to put in your apt.
    Bonne chance!

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