Funk Up Your Victorian


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Funk Up Your Victorian

Editorial By: Krista Ross | Photography By: Krista Ross


For those of us who love the look of the tet- a-tete, (pronounced tet-ah-tet) a term associated with 19th century Victorian furniture styles, but don’t want to feel as though we’re channeling our great grandmothers, recovering a piece in sumptuous materials, bold patterns and even using a combination of fabrics on a single sofa, settee, or chair can have surprisingly fabulous results.

My client and I came across a couch while we were out shopping for treasures at an antique market. Despite it being in rough shape, it’s graceful curves, and the decorative scrolls accenting the wood frame drew us like a magnet.  Claire wanted the couch to be a conversation piece, and she wasn’t afraid to be bold. With that in mind, I suggested we try something different, and presented her with a concept of upholstering it in several fabrics, instead of using just one. Claire was drawn to a particular fabric that had with a large floral pattern. We decided to use that on the backrest and chose fabrics which would compliment it.  A diamond pattern in a smaller scale covered the seat, while the arms and back of the couch were balanced out with a solid coloured fabric. The same fabric that was used on the arms was used to cover the buttons for the tufting. The piece was then finished in a contrasting trim.

What made this project a success can be attributed to a few basic principals used used in interior design. Repetition; in this case repeating the same colours from the main fabric, Scale; offseting the larger pattern with a smaller one, and Contrast; in this case the loose floral that is highlighted by a plain background, juxtaposed with the geometric pattern that is precise and uniform. To act as a ground I had the upholsterer spray paint the wood frame in a bold jewel tone we are using in other rooms.

Busy lives, pets and a love of entertaining dictated using fabrics for the main seat and arms that are meant to withstand heavy use. Each of the fabrics I used to complement Claire’s flowered linen were contract grade – meaning they have a rating of over 20,000 thousand double rubs (the fabrics I chose were over 100 thousand) which is based on the *Wysenbeek test (See Sidebar).

The fabrics I chose were each rated at over 100 thousand double rubs. Luxury fabrics such as velvets, vinyls and leathers have all come a long way in terms of durability and make excellent choices for upholstery.

So, if you have a pretty piece that needs some TLC or updating, that you know is not a valuable piece, get creative with it. Using more then one fabric adds a new dimension to any piece.


Article Author: Krista Ross | Owner/operator of Cambridge & Ross

Krista Ross is an Edifice Guild Approved Restoration Specialist in the province of Ontario. Krista specializes in heritage interior and exterior design as well as antique acquisition and refurbishment. Visit her page on our Guild Resource Directory for your next restoration/design project in Eastern, Ontario.




Sidebar

*The Wyzenbeek test is used to used to determine abrasion resistance of fabric, vinyl, leather, stitched seams, and other materials. Luxury fabrics such as velvet, vinyls and leathers have all come a long way in terms of durability and make excellent choices for upholstery.


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