Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Benches, Trim, and Makeovers

Since spotting these benches with the fun-yet-elegant vintage trim at Coleen & Company last year, I've been thinking about reinventing this old piece, below, rather than discarding it.

Now the idea has moved higher on the priority list because over the holidays I gave my bedroom ottoman and a few other things to my sister. (Great fits for her living room in progress.)

[Carolina Irving's Robert Kime ottoman photographed by Francois Halard for Vogue, October 2006]

Tassel trim, which seems to be coming back in vogue, might be one means to successfully transform this rush seat bench into an upholstered piece (perhaps add a box cushion.) But there are other options in my head that wouldn't involve fringe or tassels. I'll try to document everything of note that I learn from the upholsterer.

[Cottage Living editor, Anne Turner Carroll, with her chair upholstered in Home Couture's "Contessa," and Ruthie Sommers' bed canopy of same fabric, photographed by Ngoc Minh Ngo for In Style Home spring 2007]

In general I want to avoid fabric that has received loads of press -- with two exceptions: Home Couture's "Contessa," and the little black dress of prints, Brunschwig & Fils "Le Zebre." Samples of each are on the way.

[Carolina Herrera, Jr.'s ottoman covered in "Le Zebre," photographed by Eric Cahan for Domino, spring/summer 2005]

See also Carolina Irving Textiles.


Brilliant Asylum said...

Fantastic idea--please document for us! This clever treatment never would have occurred to me. Can't wait to see your sophisticated transformation.

LallaLydia said...

love the tassels on both those ottoman pictures and of course the zebra skin rocks.

Mrs. Blandings said...

This is my favorite parts - can't wait to watch the project unfold.

Things That Inspire said...

I love a good transformation project. Are you going to use the same upholsterer that did your guest room chair? There is an upholsterer near Pieces that I have heard good things about - Top Notch Upholstery.

Style Court said...

Thanks for the tip Sarah. But yes, I'll use the team who has done so many projects for me over the years :)

Everyone, I appreciate the positive thoughts. Hope I'll have valuable new tips to share!

cotedetexas said...

Great minds think alike - I've lusted after those stools before!

I can't think of a light blue fabric exactly like that. - I like Scalamandre - they have a lot of wonderful silk brocades that might look similar to that fabric but nicer irl. It appears to be a chintz fabric - B&F has the best selection of those - I wouldn't be surprised if it is a B&F fabric. so are you thinking of removing the rush altogether? Is it for your bedroom? It might be good to match that fabric to a headboard fabric down the line = give the room a finished look. how exciting and what a nice sister you are!

Anonymous said...

I realize that Home Couture's "Contessa" is to the trade only... but I've been trying to determine a way to purchase a couple of yards for a small reupholstery project without having to use a designer. Any thoughts on my options? I'm madly in love with this fabric!

Style Court said...


In the past Quadrille/Home Couture had a number on their website for the public. Try that and also designer Barbara Karpf's site, -- she sells to the public. Good luck!

Style Court said...

Joni, as always thanks for answering my question!

The Peak of Chic said...

I believe Chapman Radcliff also had some fab benches/stool with tassel trim? I think both fabrics are lovely, but you know, I've never met an animal print that I didn't love! Le Zebre is a classic.

Style Court said...

Great point Jennifer!

beachbungalow8 said...

love your comparison to the l.b.d. you're so spot on!goes it's lovely, timeless, chic and works with everything.