Wild and wonderful upholstery

Polly Granville’s way with vintage chairs gives them an artisanal edge

Polly Granville describes what she does as “Creative Upholstery”. And so it is. Just one glance at the furniture she covers makes one realise that this is not upholstery of the sort we normally see. Every chair is different, each one approached almost as a work of art using traditional techniques. She tracks down old pieces at salvage fairs and auctions, then she covers them meticulously in an idiosyncratic, wild and wonderful way. When I spoke to her she had just finished breathing new life into a pair of art-deco club chairs (one pictured; £4,000 for both). “I sewed 450 shell buttons on to some beautiful wool waffle fabric made on the Isle of Bute, as I thought this was the proper way to pay tribute to the chair.”

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But while she always has a stock of found, bought and recovered furniture for sale, she will also come to people’s houses, discuss with them what sort of bespoke piece they’re looking for and then track it down. She will even “cover Granny’s old sofa in whatever fabric a customer chooses”, working with embroiderers and stitchers to make it utterly special. In particular, I love a chair she has covered in a beautiful Zoffany fabric, the shell print of which is echoed with machine-worked embroidery on the seat (£1,395). She has a small studio in Brixton, south London, for those who want to “come and see, jump and buy”, plus a quirkily stylish website.

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