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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Covid 19 update lock down part 2

Covid 19 update lock down part 2

As a non essential business, I had to close the shop from 5th November. The door is locked but full of completed furniture looking for a new home. If you would like to buy anything and have it delivered, please don't hesitate to get in touch. The phone is diverted to my mobile so if I don't answer, leave a message.

I am in the workshop helping Mark with the orders we have. I will be stripping furniture, sanding legs and helping Mark build frames. An extra pair of hands in the workshop means we can get some of the furniture completed a bit quicker. We are therefore able to take orders for footstools should you want one before Christmas. Please do call or email.

In the meantime, please stay safe and take care of yourselves and I will hopefully see you next month. If you can support independent businesses during this difficult period, then please do.

Thank you for your continued support. Its our 20th birthday next year so looking forward to celebrating in May.

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1920's Style Sofas

1920's Style Sofas

Our handmade 1920's style sofas are probably the most popular style we make. They are not too big, or deep but are comfortable and can be made to the size you want.

When we first opened almost 20 years ago, we sold restored and re-upholstered original 1920's sofas. Customers loved them but if they didn't like the fabric we had covered them with, or they were too big or small, we lost a sale. After a few years of selling the 1920's sofas, we were struggling to find them. Some we bought had warped rails, broken rails which meant the framed had moved, so some had to go to a friend for her wood burner. When a sofa lasts 80 or 90 years I don't suppose its bad value for money .

After some consideration as to how we could solve this problem, we came to the conclusion that customers bought our sofas because they liked them. The size fitted and we always used fabrics which were a bit unusual. Mark had been taught furniture making when he took his City & Guilds in the 1980's so he decided he would look at a frame and make one. You may think its an easy process, but getting the angles right, making sure joints fitted correctly, making sure rails were in the correct place so they could be upholstered, all took time to work out. He made a prototype and made a few adjustments, and today we have our 1920's style sofa which can be made to size. 

A square back or more rounded back, a lower back to fit under a bay window, not quite as deep due to not being 10 feet tall are adjustments we have made for customers over the years. 

When your 1920's sofa is made by owners who care about quality and attention to detail, you can be sure that we will talk to you and make sure its the perfect sofa for your home.

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Ergonomic chairs

Ergonomic chairs

Since lockdown, more of us are working from home which has lead to an increase in musculoskeletal complaints according to a recent survey. This is not really surprising with many sitting at work stations not designed for this and sitting in uncomfortable or inadequate chairs. This can lead to an increase in neck and back pain which can in turn lead to sleepless nights.

Investing in furniture which is both comfortable and stylish will lead to a more serene ergonomic home.

As home working shows no sign of abating, a good supportive desk chair is paramount. It should be supportive but also allow for plenty of movement. Standing and stretching throughout the course of the day will also help with circulation and will help ease strain.

Good sofas and chairs will also help support your posture. Mid century furniture and antique furniture is often more supportive due the lifestyle we lived. Sofas and chairs were in proportion so you could sit and your feet would touch the floor. 

All this type of furniture can be found here at A Little Furniture Shop. Many customers have found that our furniture is perfect for them as their feet can touch the floor for the first time when sitting on a sofa. Our furniture fits. 

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Tartan wool footstool

Tartan wool footstool

Who doesn't love a tartan wool especially one made in the UK? There are so many to choose from with some wonderful colours, there is bound to be one which suits your home. 

If you're not brave enough to have a tartan sofa or chair, then a tartan footstool is a great compromise. Tartans work really well with leather and can bring some extra warmth into a room. A tartan wool footstool can make a real feature of your living room but is something which is useful too. Use it as extra seating or as a coffee table with and a tray. You can of course just put your feet up in style.

We love tartan wools which have been manufactured in the UK. Our favourite companies are The Isle Mill and Abraham Moon and Son. Both companies manufacture their own tartans and have been doing so for over 150 years. We are proud to use these upholstery fabrics and always keen to support British manufacturing. Wool is naturally fire retardant so we don't have to use any chemicals to ensure it meets UK fire regulations. 

Wool is eco friendly. It uses significantly less energy during its production than manufacturing man-made fibres. Wool production produces lower carbon dioxide emissions and hence has a low carbon impact on the earth.

Old wool fabric and fibre can be recycled for many uses including insulation, as well as being an effective compost as it slowly releases nitrogen rich nutrients back to the soil.

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Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Shrewsbury, a medieval town on the banks of the river Severn. Higgledy-piggledy streets with names you want to say out loud - Bear Steps, Wyle Cop and Grope Lane. A river that scoops up the town in a loop. Two bridges, each with a different nationality. Wonky buildings left, right and centre. Bread, still warm, made with flour from a water mill a few miles away. Mick Jagger and Margaret Thatcher watching from a 1500's building. A blockbuster in a Tudor cinema. The world's tallest town crier. 921 years of wine buffs.

Shrewsbury's name has evolved from Old English Scrobbesburh, its later Welsh name Amwythig means "fortified place"

Charles Darwin was born in the town and went to Shrewsbury School which was then housed in the library buildings. Follow the Darwin Trail around town. Look out for the Quantum Leap sculpture on the riverbank opposite the Theatre which was created to mark Darwin's 200th birthday.

Founded in 1083, the Shrewsbury Abbey was once the centre of Norman and Medieval power in the region as well as the centre of a daily prayer, study and work for a community of monks. It's still a place of worship today and well worth a visit.

From the red sandstone castle walls, you'll see why Shrewsbury Castle was once a place to guard the town. Inside the walls lies the Museum of the Shropshire Regiments, which is dedicated to the King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

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Love Seat

Love Seat

The love seat or snuggle chair or cuddle chair is a versatile piece of furniture. It is perfect for a cuddle with your favourite person, or great for curling up in if you don't want to share!

Our version of the love seat is a shorter version of our Danish sofa. When we decided to make these, our initial thought was this is perfect for ladies who want to curl up with a good book and a favourite glass of wine. 

It could be in a bedroom where you can escape from all the madness and relax in your favourite arm chair.

It could be the perfect tv chair where you can relax and watch television.

The love seat was originally designed for courting couples so the history books say. They could be close together without compromising their decency in anyway. They were designed in an S shape so two people could talk to each other whilst looking at each other and retaining a modest barrier.

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Delivery to Somerset

Delivery to Somerset

Somerset delivery today. Why do you travel that far I hear you ask? 

As a small business with a very specific market, our customers are not just local. This customer has seen the 1920's style sofas we make on our website and made an enquiry back in February. He'd been looking for quality sofas and couldn't find what he was looking for until he found us. We discussed size, shape, fabric and after sending samples, a decision was made. He had seen on our website a small sofa with just one cushion, but he wanted a bigger sofa. We worked out what size sofa he could have based on the width of the fabric. A 50" single cushion and the overall length 63". Measurements all fine and the order was placed.

Lock down happened in March and we usually have 12 weeks waiting list. Although we worked in our workshop during lock down (it was very quiet on site), we ran out of sundries to finish and start jobs. The sundry companies were closed for the first six weeks, so we had to make and upholster what we could. When they re-opened, the NHS took priority so we had to wait longer. The sundry manufacturers were closed so nothing was being manufactured.

Gradually as businesses re-opened, we were able to take delivery of fabric and sundries and try to catch up. 

The sofa we delivered today was three months later than anticipated, but the customer was patient and after a six am start, we delivered just after nine this morning.

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Danish Chairs

Danish Chairs

Danish Chairs, such a huge choice of styles, and designers. What we love about Danish furniture is their core principles. Their designs focus on functionality and simplicity. Inspired by nature, you can see from the grains in the timber that it has been carefully chosen to ensure only the best grain is used. Expert craftsman have spent hours shaping the curves, making the joints which are designed and made to last a lifetime and more. Comfort is also at the core of design. Danish chairs are ergonomically designed so you can sit in comfort for hours. Many of our customers have told us they are the most comfortable chairs they have ever sat on.

What we do find it that many of our customers don’t necessarily buy a Danish chair because it Danish. They buy it because they love it. This should always be the case. Buy something you love and want to keep forever. Whether you want a statement chair or something more subtle, buying a quality Danish chair will hold its value and will be able to be recovered at a future date. When you buy Danish furniture, you buy for life. Now this has to be good for the environment.

Danish vintage chairs for restoration where you can choose the fabric

Danish vintage chairs ready for delivery


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Made to measure bespoke footstool

Made to measure bespoke footstool

Bespoke footstool, made to measure furniture, that's sounds like I cannot afford it I hear to cry. Before you dismiss our offering then please read a little bit more. We make our own footstools. By this, we mean we buy the timber and cut it all to size. We have some sizes on our website which are popular and work, but if you want something bigger or smaller, we still have to cut it out. Our prices are based on the size, legs, fabric and finish you have. If you choose a £150 per metre fabric then it will be more than a £40 per metre fabric. The decision is yours.

If you are considering a bespoke footstool but not sure how to work out what is the best size, then a top tip is to place newspaper where it will be and play around to see what works in your space. If you are not sure about height, place books on top on each other to find the perfect height. 

Fabric is another decision. If you have neutral carpets and sofa then a jazzy fabric can really lift a room and add some colour. We are always happy to advise.

A bespoke footstool is also versatile. They can be used as a coffee table with a tray, and because they are made from a timber frame, they can be sat on and used as extra seating.

Have a browse at our bespoke footstool page to find some inspiration

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Danish Chairs by Kai Kristiansen

Danish Chairs by Kai Kristiansen

Kai Kristiansen has designed and produced furniture since the early 1950’s. Born in Denmark in 1929, he first started his apprenticeship as a cabinet maker, before enrolling at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1948. working with teak, oak and rosewood.

His designs are well know for  curves but also for comfort.  Kai Kristiansen collaborated with some well know makers including Fritz Hansen, and Magnus Olesen. Because his designs were so difficult to produce, they eventually went out of production. In 2014, Kai Kristiansen  collaborated with Miyazaki Chair Company in Japan to re-imagine some of his classics designs, which resulted in the Handy Chair, 4110 Chair, and Paper Knife seating collection.

Today, his vintage designs are highly collectable, and he is recognised as one of the most talented Scandinavian designers of the 20th century.

Kai Kristiansen continues to live and work in Copenhagen, working with designers and manufacturers.

We often have Kai Kristiansen chairs either re-upholstered or to be restored so please do get in touch to see what is available or browse through our website.

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We are Open after Lockdown

We are Open after Lockdown

We are finally open after 12 weeks of lock down. It’s been a strange time for everyone, one day rolling into another, but we have been busy in our workshop. We’ve had orders to full fill, chairs and footstools to make and we’ve made a few deliveries too. We’ve delivered to Birmingham and Devon during lock down. It was rather easy with little traffic on the motorway. Social distancing was not pleasant when we delivered as we do like to stay and have a short chat with customers, especially when they are far away. We had to refuse coffee and cake when we would normally be thrilled to be offered but we were concious of not staying “just in case”.

We celebrated our 19th shop birthday whilst closed too as well as ours son’s 18th birthday. All very subdued and unreal.

We’ve been tiding up the workshop as we had a new delivery of Danish stock ready to be restored for when the shop re-opened. The workshop is full to bursting so we do hope you like some of our latest buys and that you may be tempted to invest in a piece for your home. Times have changed but with everyone working together and doing their bit, we can all get to some normality soon. Stay safe and please do come and see us very soon.

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The Benefits of Wool in Furniture

The Benefits of Wool in Furniture

We use wool lots on our furniture. The wool we use is made in the UK which is one big benefit but here are many more reason to choose natural wool.

Wool is safe. It’s naturally fire retardant. It doesn’t drip, melt, or emit harmful fumes.

Wool is tough. Its individual fibres are comparatively stronger than steel.

Wool is cosy. It insulates noise.

Wool is fresh. It can help purify the air in interiors for up to thirty years.

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Danish and Mid-Century Furniture

Danish and Mid-Century Furniture

Mark was trained 33 years ago as a traditional upholsterer, so when we ventured into the Danish and mid century furniture about four years ago it was initially a little bit alien to him.

Figuring out how to re-upholster something so different from a Victorian chair was both challenging, and a huge learning curve. You are constantly learning when you are a skilled upholsterer and craftsman.

We fell in love with Danish furniture. Its quite often simple, small but what was surprising is the quality. Quite frankly the build quality is superior to some of the British designs.

The attention to detail is also what we love about this Danish mid century furniture. Gorgeous grain in the wood, elegant shapes, we were converted! The other beauty is that style wise it fits into all styles of homes, and if you happen to be in a small space, it fits. With all the mass produced furniture out there, we cannot understand why you wouldn't want a unique piece for your home.

Restored and re-upholstered saves waste, timber and will probably last longer than some of the new furniture which is made today.

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