Delivery to Essex

Delivery to Essex

Covid 19 and lockdowns have made running a business so difficult over the last 18 months. We can now see a light at the end of a tunnel, but what has been amazing is the support of both local customers and visitors. We have been here for 20 years and I think this year I have seen more visitors than ever. What is also great is that they are enjoying the Shropshire experience and are spending in our local shops. All very welcome and needed to help all of us recover from this dreadful pandemic.

A lovely couple from Essex had just arrived on holiday as we were changing stock around in the shop when they came in at 7 pm. We were more than happy for them to have a look, so we chatted and they promised to come back the next day. They did come back and fell for our handmade 1920's style sofa. As it wouldn't fit into their car, we agreed delivery for when they returned home. We headed off to Essex at 5.45 yesterday morning, very little traffic and arrived three and a half hour later. They had the perfect space waiting for it and were happy for me to take photographs. 

If you are looking for a handmade sofa, then please have a look at what we can make for you. Shopping independently and with small businesses does not send us into space, but helps provides for our families. Thank you.

1920's style sofas 

1960's style sofas

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Hardwood Timber

Hardwood Timber

Our 13 year old son has been talking to his Dad today about rainforests. He loves geography. At school they had been discussing the destruction of the rainforests and to plant trees for the use of palm oil. He was telling his Dad they were talking about mahogany and teak which have been cut down and how its having a huge effect on the world and global warming. He asked Dad if he used mahogany or other hardwoods. Mark sat and explained. Yes he uses mahogany, teak and rosewood, but these are hardwoods that were cut down many many years ago before anyone had even heard of global warming. Some of the hardwoods were cut down well over a hundred years ago. Mark was not ashamed of using these woods and explained that we have been reusing hardwood timber for many years. One of the reasons why it has lasted it because its hardwood, slowing growing and had been around for probably hundreds of years before it was cut down. Mark also explained that he does not feel guilty when making new sofas and chairs. The reason for this is we use hardwood beech, a timber which is specifically grown in Europe for the use in making furniture. This beech will last for probably a hundred years so rather than have cheap disposable furniture, this type of furniture is actually better for the environment. Mark also went on to explain that the UK was once covered in oak trees before we cut them all down to make ships and other things needed to expand our Empire. We are now asking some of the poorest countries not to chop down their forests when they are doing this to provide for their citizens. As we are now much more aware of what we have done to the planet over the last two hundred years, we need to help other countries, educate them and give them an alternative to clearing the rainforest. 

As our son said, we all need to do our part and he now wants me to check that our light bulbs are energy saving. I think he's on the right track but as a country and world, we all need to do our part for the sake of our children and grand children.

If you'd like to see more of our beech handmade furniture the click here

If you'd like to see more of our furniture for restoration click here 

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Edwardian Chair

Edwardian Chair

When we first opened 20 years ago, Edwardian chairs were popular. This was due to the fact they were small, comfortable and good for posture. The problem we sometimes had was that when the frames were stripped, the rails could be warped, full of wood worm or just broken beyond repair. Although its great to re-use old frames, they often have a life span and do come to end end. I think if a chair has lasted 100 years then that's pretty good going! Its sometimes just isn't economically viable to replace rails and there is still no guarantee than once rails are replaced, the frame isn't wobbly!  Any wood we haven't used goes to a local artist who creates interesting pieces to sell, so the timber isn't wasted.

With this in mind and the fact they were a popular style, Mark decided to copy this style of chair. In fact we still have the original which we keep for reference. A beech hardwood frame, traditional coil sprung seat and a feather cushion on top for comfort. The original chairs didn't have a cushion on, just a sprung and stuffed seat. In the 21st century, most customers would find this too hard which is why we make a feather cushion so its more forgiving. There is still the support with the traditional sprung seat. These chairs also have a higher seat which is good if you need a chair that bit higher than some of the modern squishy chairs.

Over the years, we've made and upholstered these chairs in lots of different colours and fabrics. That's the beauty of what we do. A unique chair just for you.

If you would like to see more click here

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SCALA Radio

SCALA Radio

I was very excited and happy to have a request featured on SCALA Radio today. Its been a week of celebrations, Mark's birthday on Sunday, our eldest sons birthday this Sunday and its our 20th business anniversary this week too. With this in mind, I thought I'd drop Mark Forrest an email to see if I could have a request. Today he called me and we had a great chat. He asked me about our business so you can imagine I was thrilled to give ourselves a plug. We talked about how we must be doing something right to still be here after 20 years and I told him that Mark was currently making sofas at our workshop. 

Our boys had bought Mark the  Midge Ure Orchestrated CD which we had heard on SCALA Radio a couple of weeks ago. Well I can tell you now its an amazing CD (yes we still listen to CD's) As 1980's teenagers, Ultravox were huge, but I have to admit that I much prefer the orchestrated version. Maybe its my age but I think Midge Ure's voice has improved with age. If you've not heard it then do have a listen. It gives me goose bumps.

You can hear me on SCALA at 12.30 which is 2.5 hours into the show. SCALA Radio 

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Boucle Fabric

Boucle Fabric

Bouclé  fabric appears to be the fabric everyone loves in 2021. It is on trend and everywhere. I think we were trendy before bouclé became trendy as its a fabric we've been using for years. We love the texture and range of colours which are available.

In the late 1940s, Florence Knoll requested that Eero Saarinen design a chair that she could “really curl up in,” she likely didn’t realize the industrial designer would interpret her description down to the upholstery fabric too. The result of her request, Saarinen’s Womb Chair, premiered in 1948 in Knoll's Classic Bouclé, a nubby textile made from a yarn of, fittingly, curled yarns.

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Velvet fabric

Velvet fabric

Velvet fabric, luxurious, plush and lovely to feel. Remember that velvet has a pile. It will crush, mark and leave finger prints all over it. This is what it is supposed to do and does not mean that it is not hard wearing. If you want a fabric which will look perfect at all times then velvet is not for you. Its like having a deep pile carpet. It get squashed when stood on and velvet works in the same way. 

Velvet is not an easy fabric to work with. Fabric has to be stretched, pulled and moulded into place. When working with velvet it is impossible not to mark it. When a piece is ready to be delivered, it is brushed and sometimes steamed gently so the marks vanish and it looks almost perfect when delivered. Don't you think velvet looks much better after being used for sometime? New velvet will eventually has that lived in look. 

Velvet looks different colours depending on which way you look at it. It has a nap or pile so one way can often look completely different if you turn it upside down. Don't make the mistake of having a fabric sample the wrong way so always check if you are unsure. The pile runs down a sofa or chair.

Velvet is made in a range of yarns. 100% man made polyester to 100% cotton. Its all down to preference and price as there can be a big difference in price per metre. Velvet is also available is so many colours, you would struggle to find a colour which wasn't available.

It is suggest that velvet first originated from China in the 13th century and arrived in Europe via the silk roads. Probably made of silk, it was only for the very rich or royalty. Fortunately, modern manufacturing means that velvet is now available for everyone to buy. If you are unsure which is the right velvet for your home, then we are always happy to advise. We have a range of velvets including a washable velvet which would be unthinkable a few years ago. Please do get in touch to find out more.

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Pierre Frey Colette Fabric

Pierre Frey Colette Fabric

One of our favourite fabrics from Pierre Frey is the Colette collection. It is woven in one of their Northern France Living Heritage Mills, and looks beautiful on the 1920's style sofas we make. 

Tone-on-tone fabric with a tiny feather pattern available in a variety of colours.  A high-quality chenille fabric thread is used for the weft. In addition to its soft, comfortable feel and outstanding resistance, the chenille thread reacts to weaving by coiling and adds a wealth of highlights to the colours available in this collection. A cotton and viscose mix makes this a hard wearing fabric. Luxury at an affordable price without the advantage of not having to worry if it will wear out.

Pierre Frey have some amazing fabrics at some eye watering prices, which for most us, are out of reach, but this is one of their fabrics which is timeless and worth spending your hard earned cash on.

An inventive family business with a strong sense of eclecticism by combining craftsmanship and modernity, Pierre Frey was  founded in 1935. Maison Pierre Frey creates and produces fabrics by taking inspiration from classical and contemporary art, or from faraway ethnic groups, always interpreting it in a very French style.

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Small Sofas

Small Sofas

Why in this day and age of smaller homes and small rooms are sofas from many of the national retailers so huge? I do giggle to myself every time I see that sofa advert with Owen Wilson sat on a huge sofa in front of a window which looks out to sea (I had to google him as I didn't know who he was) . How many of you have that view and a home that size which would fit that sofa? We can all dream but that aside, there is nothing worse than having to sit on a sofa or chair which is not comfortable.

Many sofas and chairs are very deep which is fine if you are six foot tall or have long legs, but for most of us, they can be just too deep. We have lots of customers who say they cannot find a sofa or chair so their feet touch the floor. If this has been a problem for you, then you could consider one of our traditional hand made sofas. Because they are based on older traditional designs, they are smaller and not so deep. Because we make the frames ourselves, we can alter them to suit your needs. Because we make them ourselves, we have 1000's of fabric to choose from. Because we are a family run business, you can speak to us, come and see us and even see your sofa frame.

If it sounds complicated, its really not. If it sounds expensive our prices are comparable to high street chains, but if you are comparing, make sure its like for like. We do not use chipboard, our frames are beech. We do not use serpentine springs, but a traditional coil sprung seat. This means your sofa is made to last. We don't make furniture to throw away in five years time.

If you are looking for a restored sofa, we do tend to buy small sofas. If you see a sofa on our website which has yet to be restored and re-upholstered, then you can choose the final fabric. You can visit our workshop and see the sofa in its original state. You do need some imagination, but having an old piece restored is much better for the environment than buying a sofa which is not going to last.

Before you dash off to the nearest retail park, then do consider speaking to us and coming to see us. We don't have a huge showroom, but what we will do is give you the best advice we can and help you find a comfortable sofa for you.

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Environmentally friendly, sustainable living

Environmentally friendly, sustainable living

It looks like everyone is jumping on the environmentally friendly, sustainable living band wagon. Call me cynical, but when have the big manufactures cared about anything but profit? I now see that a large national "sales ends soon" company are offering a range of sofas which are made from sustainable wood (its actually quite difficult to buy wood which isn't from a sustainable source). They don't actually say what type of wood they are using, so sustainable it may be, long lasting doesn't mean the same thing. Their springs are made from recycled steel. They are still only zig zag springs which don't last and are one of the cheapest ways of putting springs in a sofa. Fabrics are made from recycled bottles. The fabric is still plastic, and whatever fabric you use, a huge amount of energy and chemicals is used to produce these fabrics. I love the idea of recycled fabric and using plastic is better than it going into landfill.

I'm all for saving the planet as much as we can, but I do believe you have to delve further into this matter. Where is your furniture made, UK or quite often the Far East. Lets face it, its much cheaper to have sofas mass produced in countries which don't have the same employment standards as we do in the UK. These are then shipped in containers from the other side of the world. Not very environmentally friendly. I often wonder how much these workers are paid to make this type of furniture. 

Wool is a better fabric to use in my opinion. Its a natural product and will compost without harm. Many wools are made in the UK, but the wool does come from the other side of the world due to the UK not having the correct sheep to produce enough wool needed for the demand. Not as green as we would like, but it is all compromise. If you are wanting to have a more sustainable lifestyle then small things do help. Not replacing furniture every five years because you want a change. When buying replacement, do you want new or restored? If you want new, buy new which will still be around in 30 years not 10 years. Each and everyone of us have to make these decisions if we want this planet to survive, but if we all try and make small changes, these can make a difference.

Shop locally, buy quality and as Vivienne Westwood once said, "Buy less, choose well, make it last" Handmade sofas

 

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1960's Style Chair heads to Sheffield

1960's Style Chair heads to Sheffield

As lock down continues, so does our business. In November I had a call from a lady who had seen the 1960's chair we make on our website in the two tone lime green fabric. Unfortunately, the fabric was not longer available so it was decided that she would like a raspberry colour to bring a splash of colour into her living room.

I arranged fabric samples to be sent and she chose the fabric which is on the chair. The textured weave is a new fabric from Romo's Oxley collection, an upholstery weave with modern charm; an intriguing combination of bouclé, undulating chenille and knitted yarns, with a tactile quality and colourful appeal. This was for the seat cushion and the inside back, with contrast detail buttons in the plain fabric.  The arms and outside back are from the Linara collection, an exquisite cotton-linen blend, Linara has a beautiful brushed finish with an exceptionally soft, peach-skin feel that adds a luxurious quality to this versatile plain. Highly acclaimed, Linara is practical and durable and with 360 colours available, there is always a colour which suits most homes. Both are hard wearing fabrics.

Delivered to its new home to be used as a reading chair, these 1960's style are chairs are both comfortable, practical and perfect if you have a small space.

These 1960's style chairs are individually hand made. It takes 32 pieces of timber to make these frames. The angles are complicated and not easy to get right, but if you look at the shape, you can see its not a simple design. This was copied from an original 1960's arm chair which we adapted for the 21st century.

You can view more here 1960s chair

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Welcome back

Welcome back

We were finally able to re-open our doors on Monday and its been a fantastic week. After 14 long weeks, its lovely to see so many customers, old and new, and to see Shrewsbury buzzing again. The weather has been kind (a little chilly) so many have been able to support the hospitality industry by eating and drinking outside. It feels like we have our freedom again, although we must remember this can change quickly if we do not continue to social distance.

Free parking is available in the council car parks for another week, so make the most of it whilst its on offer. Wyle Cop and the High Street is closed to through traffic from 11 am to 5 pm, so you can wonder around Shrewsbury at a safe distance.

If you've not ventured out yet, the please do come and see us. You have been missed.

 

 

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One month to go -12th April

One month to go -12th April

Keeping everything crossed that non essential retail will be open on the 12th April. I don't know about you but I'm so looking forward to re-opening the shop and seeing customers. This latest lock down has been tough on everyone.

Our youngest son has only been back to school a few days and his mood has improved, he is much more talkative and I think he is pleased to be back at school (he may say otherwise) Its not good for teenagers not being able to socialize. Our eldest son has still not been to university but we are hoping for some news after Easter.

Talking of teenagers not being able to socialize, its not good for me either. Those who have met me know I like a good chat. I have customers who quite often call in for a catch up or just to say hello. I love that they can do this with me. Having been open for almost 20 years, many of my customers have seen my children grow up and will call in to ask how they are getting on. Some of my customers live on their own and will call in for a bit of company. I don't mind this one bit. I have missed this enormously. I'm hoping by the time we are able to open, I will have had the first vaccination. I know many of my customers will have already had the first vaccination and will be keen to meet their family and friends. Things won't be normal for sometime, but getting out and shopping will be a step in the right direction.

Until the 12th of April, stay safe and I can't wait to catch up with you all.

Heather xx

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Kilim Footstool

Kilim Footstool

A kilim footstool in your home is the perfect compromise if you are looking to add colour and texture, without having to replace other furniture. The Linwood kilim fabric is a heavyweight soft upholstery fabric, available in five designs, inspired by Persian rug found in the bazaar.

Alti - Warm shades of ochre and burnt sienna imbue this horizontal stripe fabric - woven from a soft linen blend - a charming rustic feel.

Mahan - A timeless geometric, inspired by a Turkish motif. Woven using a linen mix, this fabric has a soft handle that makes it perfect for upholstery.

Pirot - Classic, earthy colours bring this vertical stripe, based on a Turkish rug to life. Woven using a soft linen blend, this is a great fabric for statement upholstery.

Sarouk - This classic kilim design, woven with linen/viscose space dyed yarns, is ideal for loose covers, upholstery and curtains.

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Cocktail Chair

Cocktail Chair

We've restored and re-upholstered many cocktail chairs over the years, but not had one for a few years as there are so many cheap reproductions about, and ours can look expensive. However, you do have to look much closer and understand an original cocktail chair, is a million miles away from the cheap ones available. First of all why are they so cheap? They are often made in the Far East where materials are not the same quality and the workers are often paid a pittance. These mass produced pieces are made to a fixed price so quality and attention to detail go out of the window. If you don't want a piece to last then these chairs are disposable chairs and eventually end up in landfill.

If you are looking for originality, quality and attention to detail then you've found the right company. When we buy furniture to be restored, we look at what potential it has. We love chairs which are a great shape and the curves on the back of the cocktail chairs are real head turners. A plush luxury velvet is a fabric which suits the cocktail chair style. The cocktail chair made an appearance in the 1950's but has features from the Art Deco era which was a glamorous decade. 

This cocktail chair has been stripped backed to the frame, a new traditional coil sprung seat, and the top cover is a teal velvet from Kirkby Design. If look closely at the piping around the back, you won't see a single stitch. This has all been hand stitched to ensure a cleaner smother finish. All these details matter to us as we pride ourselves in offering furniture for customers who are looking for something different, and individual.

You can call on 01743 352102 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like further information.   

https://www.littlefurnitureshop.co.uk/ready-to-buy/1950s-cocktail-chair-detail

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Lock down 3, month one

Lock down 3, month one

One month of lock down 3 already gone. January did feel like an eternity if I'm honest but we are into February now, snowdrops in the garden, daffs poking their heads through so it feels like Spring is fighting its way to get through, and our shop will hopefully be open soon.

I've been in the workshop almost everyday with Mark. I can tell you its not easy. There is only so much tidying up to do! We've made and sold some footstools in January, re-upholstered chairs for customers, finished off a chair which is heading to Sheffield, and currently Mark is in the process of making two 1920's style sofas for a customer in Chester.

We've restored a few pieces for the shop which are on the website, taken some orders for new pieces to be made, so keeping busy. It does feel different from the first lock down. There are more vehicles on the road than before, but its feels scarier than the first lock down as so many more have been ill with the virus. Thankfully, we've been lucky but taking care to make sure when we deliver we are masked and sanitized before and after delivery. Customers have been brilliant, staying at a safe distance but it doesn't feel good having to leave quickly when we have delivered. I do like a chat with customers but now is not the time to do so.

It's also our 20th birthday in May. Yes 20 years since we opened our shop in Shrewsbury. I still believe that there is a future for the high street but you need to come and support the high street retailers before its too late. Shrewsbury has many independent retailers who are here to offer great service which you won't get from Amazon. We all will be welcoming you back as soon as we are allowed to.

In the meantime, I will continue to be the apprentice in the workshop until the shop can be opened. Please do get in touch if you wish to discuss any pieces for sale.

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Here we go again lock down 3

Here we go again lock down 3

Just four days into 2021, and the UK is back in lock down. It wasn't unexpected if we are honest as this virus has been spreading more than ever. Although the shop is now closed, you can still buy anything which is in stock and we will deliver in a Covid safe way, into the room of your choice. If you'd like to order anything, we are working in our workshop so taking orders as we are allowed to. There is only Mark and myself in the workshop, so all safe if not a bit cold.

Your support is now welcome more than ever before so please do call or email any queries, questions, or to place an order.

We look forward to seeing you when its safe for our shop to re-open. Thank you.

Heather & Mark

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Goodbye 2020, hello 2021

Goodbye 2020, hello 2021

Well, 2020, what can I say? It's been tough. January was a great start to the year. We were busy and looking forward to our best year. Then we were hit by rain, and more rain which caused Shrewsbury to have the worst floods for decades. We had to close the shop because we couldn't get in. All roads in and out were flooded. It was pretty grim. Shrewsbury even made the national news.

Just as we thought things couldn't get any worse, Covid 19, Corona virus hit the UK with vengeance and we had to close. Schools closed early for Easter, but it will be over in a few weeks, perhaps a month or by the end of April we thought. How wrong could we be. We carried on working in the workshop as we had orders to fulfill until our supplies ran out and we couldn't get anymore until our suppliers opened. They re-opened and ran out of stock as the factories making upholstery sundries had been closed. They were now having to social distance so less people working and less stock being made and going out. The NHS (quite rightly) were given priority over anyone else, so we had to make do, and do what we could. 

June re-opening was a bit of a damp squib if I'm honest. I think many people were still too scared and worried about coming out. July picked up and we had a great month. 

August's drama was our son's A level results. Not what he was expecting but after a stressful few days, the results were over turned and he got what he deserved. University at Liverpool Hope was waiting to welcome him. When the virus started to spread again in September, our son's Computer Science course was online only. As parents we were worried that he wouldn't be able to come home for a weekend if he got homesick so we all waited a few weeks to see if things improved. It got worse in Liverpool with the city going into the highest lock down in the UK. Our son, initially not happy about staying at home, was then somewhat relieved that he was able to study from the comfort of his own home. When some of his friends caught the virus from other universities, he understood our concerns and was happy to continue working from home online.

November lock down arrived. It was cold and miserable in the workshop. I can honestly say that I was not enjoying being in there and I now have more sympathy with Mark when he is grumpy from working in a cold environment. Is there such thing as a warm workshop?

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Danish Sofa Restoration

The Danish furniture we buy to restore and re-upholster is quite often unusual pieces which you may not have seen before. We like interesting individual pieces, and we can see beyond the sad upholstery. We can see shapes and detail that lots of people would miss or would not even entertain! The skills Mark has lets us buy furniture which some would turn their nose up at and dismiss without a second glance.

This particular sofa caught our attention for a few reasons. Its actually bigger than we would normally buy, but what struck us was that it wasn't deep. We have so many people come into the shop complaining that lots of furniture is so deep, their feet don't touch the floor and its not good for posture. This hit the spot and the teak arm tops gave this simple looking sofa, style and elegance without being fussy. We don't like fussy show off furniture! 

It hadn't been long on our website when a local couple came into the shop to enquire about it. They had been looking for quite sometime but couldn't find anything new they liked and most sofas were just too deep. They came out to the workshop to see the unrestored sofa and decided it was for them. They chose the orange wool from Abraham Moon as they liked bright colours. Most of the modern furniture they had been looking at was beige so beige was not even and option on this piece. Orange works so well with teak and is one of our favourite fabrics. Natural wool and hard wearing so ticks all the boxes.

The sofa was delivered yesterday, so take a look at the video to see the before and after photos. If you don't have imagination then hopefully this will help.

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We are open

So we are back open after lockdown part 2. The month has gone quickly but to have the shop closed for a month before Christmas has not been easy. We've not been twiddling our thumbs though. I've been in the workshop helping Mark and we have made a new style of sofa. It's based on another Danish sofa but with a liitle bit of detail. We are having some legs turned especially for this new design but the good news is its still small but very stylish. Watch this space!

If you are out Christmas shopping, you will find a great variety of independent shops in Shrewsbury. We've all been supporting each other through these difficult times so we would all appreciate your support. Whilst there is lots of doom and gloom on the high street, you will find everything you need from our lovely independents. You will be able to receieve great customer serice, help and advice with your purchases. What is also good news is that from Thursday 3rd Decemeber, you can park for free in any of the council car parks after 11 am. Take advantage, shop and support your independent retailers. Thank you. 

 

 

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Lock down week one

First week of lock down done. As I've not been able to open the shop, I've been in the workshop helping Mark. Lots of tidying, sorting and trying to make some space in a busy workshop. I also hasten to add a cold workshop and the key to keeping warm is to keep moving!

Last week Mark made the frame for a bespoke 1920's sofa he is making for a customer who loves just a few miles away. You can follow some of the progress on our Instagram page if you'd like to see more. I've also been taking some short videos of him working. It's not something he particularly wants to do but many of you will find this interesting. It also shows what is underneath one of our sofas. You can see the beech frame, the jute webbed seat and the springs which are all hand tied and lashed in. It how traditional seats are done. No cheap elasticated webbing, no spring units where they are nailed into a frame, just good old fashioned hand made and traditionally done. Hard work,a great deal of skill and expertise is required to do this, but Mark has been doing this for 35 years so I'd like to think he has got the hang of it now! 

If you'd like to see more of our new sofas and chairs, handmade in Shropshire then take a look here Handmade sofas Handmade chairs

 

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Latest News from A Little Furniture Shop

A Little Furniture Shop
Covid 19 and lockdowns have made running a business so difficult over the last 18 months. We can now see a light at the end of a tunnel, but what has ...
A Little Furniture Shop
Our 13 year old son has been talking to his Dad today about rainforests. He loves geography. At school they had been discussing the destruction of the...
A Little Furniture Shop
When we first opened 20 years ago, Edwardian chairs were popular. This was due to the fact they were small, comfortable and good for posture. The prob...