It’s hard to decide what to do with that tired, worn sofa that just got passed down from Grandma’s estate, but Nichole Taylor, of Coastal Restorations Upholstery & Décor, is there to help her clients make the right choice, whether they are updating heirlooms or changing color schemes in their homes. Buying new furniture isn’t the only option, especially when the piece or pieces being rehabbed are heirlooms, or special for other sentimental reasons.
Tucked just off Frederica Road on Sylvan Boulevard, Coastal Restorations has been in business since 2018. Taylor, however, is no newcomer to the craft.
“I started in 1997, apprenticing in a custom drapery workroom, (and) later, apprenticing in an upholstery workroom,” she said. “I love every aspect of the trade.”
She’s been in that trade for 22 years, but even at the beginning of her career, sewing was nothing new to her.
“My grandmothers were always making beautiful clothes and sewing with me,” she said. “I would say that is where my love of the art was developed.”
One of her favorite aspects of the trade, she said, is working with customers to find the perfect fabric to create a beautiful new piece of furniture. Customers who enter who storefront will find a generous selection of fabrics, some completed pieces that are for retail sale, as well as custom-covered pillows. Furniture and pillows are also available at Uncle Don’s Market, on Frederica Road. If a customer can’t find a fabric to their liking in Taylor’s inventory, they may also supply their own.
It’s not only hand-me-downs that people have reupholstered, however. There are a number of factors that can lead to a person to a decision to take their furniture in for an extreme makeover. There’s a simple explanation for the No. 1 reason to recover furniture – people are just looking to update, or freshen, their older pieces. Oftentimes, a favorite chair, or sofa, gets damaged by a pet, and reupholstering provides a way to save that piece of furniture.
“Styles change, things get worn; our children and pets can put a lot of wear and tear on our furniture,” Taylor said. “Also, we have many rental properties in that have to be maintained in our area, and that also keeps us busy.”
Taylor’s favorite jobs involve upholstering a family piece, perhaps a chair in which generations have rocked their children.
“You can update it with a beautiful fabric, and enjoy it for many years to come,” she said. “It is very rewarding to see the joy it brings to the client.”
According to data from interior designers and other people in the trade, and published by Angie’s List, good candidates for reupholstery include unique, antique or Craftsman furniture, because of their cost. Many designers discourage people from sacrificing sentimental pieces and personal style. Rather, they encourage their clients to keep the pieces with which they simply cannot bear to part, but make them over with more modern fabrics and color choices.
Comfort also plays a role, and the folks at Angie’s List have a test for measuring it.
“If you can’t wait to relax on your couch with a movie and some popcorn at the end of a long day, then you probably have an exceptionally comfortable couch. Would you risk replacing it with a less than comfortable version, or would you rather reupholster the couch so that it keeps its comfort and integrity?”
Some people assume that having a piece of furniture reupholstered is less expensive than replacing the piece in question, but Taylor says that’s not necessarily the case. However, the benefits often outweigh the cost. People who choose to have their furniture reupholstered will frequently receive a more custom fit than was on the original piece. That’s because upholsterers pay more attention to detail than most manufacturers. Reupholstering also gives the consumer a wider selection of fabrics, and more personalized service.
“It’s not always less expensive to reupholster,” she said. “It is beneficial to reupholster when you have quality furniture. You can customize it and add your own personal style. With upholstery, you will have a higher quality piece that you will enjoy for years to come.”