ON DECORATING

FINDING NEW LIFE IN OLD FURNITURE
If you love hunting for furniture in antique stores, flea markets and the local thrift store, or surfing for deals on Ebay and Craig's List, you're among the millions who love to find treasures and reclaim them. Can you spot a gem that just needs reupholstery? Here are ten tips on transforming flea market finds with an upholstery facelift and fabrics from Calico Corners.
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MASSACHUSETTS CUSTOMER WINS $5,000 GRAND PRIZE IN CALICO CORNERS 60TH ANNIVERSARY DECORATING SPREE
Out of almost 50,000 entries, Reyna Simnegar of Brookline, Massachusetts was the lucky winner of the Calico Corners Decorating Spree contest. Following a friend's recommendation, this busy wife and mother recently became a customer of Calico Corners in nearby Natick. From the moment she walked into the store, Reyna knew that Calico was going to be a great resource for her decorating projects.
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NEWS FROM CALICO CORNERS - CALICO HOME.
OUR CHARLOTTESVILLE STORE IS MOVING!
Calico Corners in Charlottesville, Virginia is moving to a new location on Seminole Trail, a little north of Charlottesville Fashion Square. Our old store will close on Wednesday, January 28 and reopen in its new location on Saturday, February 7. The new Calico Home store is located just 3 miles from our old location. Please note that we also have a new telephone number:

1885 Seminole Trail
(between Garden Blvd. & Woodbrook Drive)
Charlottesville, VA 22901
(434) 964-1667
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FINDING NEW LIFE IN OLD FURNITURE

Tips on Transforming Flea Market Finds With an Upholstery Facelift
and Fabrics From Calico Corners
If you love hunting for furniture in antique stores, flea markets and the local thrift store, or surfing for deals on Ebay and Craig's List, you're among the millions who love to find treasures and reclaim them. Can you spot a gem that just needs reupholstery? Here are ten tips from Calico Corners - Calico Home:
1. Do you like the shape of the piece? Upholsterers can do wonders with tired old furniture, but they can't change the basic outline of it. They can plump up cushions, lengthen a skirt, or remove the channeling or tufting in the back of a chair. But just as a facelift can only improve upon what is already there, an upholsterer has to work with the structural frame of the furniture.

This Camelback Sofa will always have these lines - you can't remove the hump or the scrolled arms! It's a sculptural piece with nice proportions and definitely worth reupholstering. Note how the sofa faded above the cushion line from a bottle green color velvet to a yellow green velvet. Blue dyes are often the first to fade - and over the years, the sofa changed color.
2. Is the furniture frame solid? "If you take hold of the arms, does the rest of the piece wobble? Do all four legs sit evenly on the floor?" asks Rich Turkington, an upholsterer in Pennsylvania who works for Calico customers. "The back of the frame shouldn't move back and forth," he advises. "But don't be dissuaded by a sagging bottom - that can be fixed!"
3. Is the frame made of hardwood? If you buy a pre-owned car, you check under the hood. It's the same with furniture. Check under the skirt or beneath the fabric dust cover on the bottom. "If the piece has some weight, it's probably hardwood and a better quality frame," says Turkington. "That may also indicate denser stuffing and a coil-spring foundation — these all make a piece heavier." Such features also make furniture worth reupholstering. "Almost any chair or sofa can be made as good or better than when it came out of the factory," notes Turkington. "The trick is to know whether it's worth it."

Upholsterer Rich Turkington strips down a sofa
at his workshop in West Grove, Pennsylvania

4. How do the arms feel when you squeeze them?  If the arms feel squishy inside, the chair may have been made with cheap foam that has disintegrated—one sign of an inferior piece of furniture that isn't worth reupholstering. If the arms are lumpy or sagging a bit, that can easily be corrected with new stuffing. An upholsterer will retie sagging springs, replace lumpy stuffing and redo cushion fillings so that you have the equivalent of a new piece of furniture.
A Duncan Phyfe style sofa purchased at auction has good lines beneath the busy velvet stripe fabric. The cushions are too small —  but that was easy to fix. The frame was loose, but it was re-glued, the back and seat springs were retied and new stuffing was added.
Yes, this is the same sofa with a new bench cushion in a Calico Corners - Calico Home solid linen texture that doesn't compete with the lines of the sofa. The upholsterer rebuilt the interior of the sofa and now it's good for decades more.
5. Do you recognize the brand name? If you find a deck label of a reputable furniture manufacturer — Baker, Calico Corners, Century, Drexel-Heritage, Henredon, Lee Industries, Michael Thomas and Vanguard are several — that bodes well for the quality of the frame, no matter how bad the outer fabric looks. Fabric is cosmetic and will be completely replaced in reupholstery. "When buying a house, a lot of people are distracted by bad wallpaper," states Jan Jessup, director of communications for Calico Corners. "If you can squint your eyes and visualize it in a beautiful new color and texture, you may find a great bargain — both in a house or in a piece of furniture."
This fan-back chair has been stripped to its frame and burlap covering. A layer of kapok stuffing softens the springs beneath. A new cushion will sit on top of this base. The chair frame is in good shape and needs minimal work on the interior before reupholstering.
6. Can you send a photo of the furniture to the upholsterer? Before you take possession, you may want to get an opinion from an upholsterer. He'll be able to tell you about styling options and approximate costs for the custom labor needed to transform your piece from trash to treasure.
7. Does reupholstery make sense economically? Reupholstering furniture is often close in cost to buying new furniture. There is almost as much labor involved in rebuilding an old piece as crafting a new one, and the fabric cost is the same. However, no one can put a value on the worth of your grandmother's sofa or your dad's favorite chair. And distinctive antique pieces may be difficult to find as new styles at retail today.
New wood bracing has been added to the corners of this frame by the upholsterer. Despite the "wormy" look of the base rails (from holes left by upholstery tacks from past jobs) there is plenty of wood here to attach new covering materials. Many of the finest antiques look something like this when stripped bare. A piece in this condition needs repair and refinishing before the fabric is applied — if you love it, it's worth it!
8. Have you considered the environmental impact?  Reupholstery was one of the first forms of recycling, and keeping chairs and sofas out of landfills is a very good thing. That's why it's worth investing in good furniture to start with — it can be reupholstered again and again. If you are on a limited budget, it's better to purchase good furniture from a thrift store and recover it than buy cheap new furniture that won't have a second life. If shoddy furniture ends up on the curb after a few years, that's bad for all of us.
9. Can you funk it up? Or go against type?  "If you have an old overstuffed chair or sofa, it's fun to redo it in a fabric that makes a statement," says Jessup. "A leopard print, a graphic floral or a big stylized leaf design will make the furniture unique. It won't look like it came off a department store furniture floor. I also like to use a more contemporary fabric on a classic frame or vice versa — such as a large scale damask on a sleek frame with more modern lines," adds Jessup. "It goes against type — and that's intriguing! It enlivens the room and makes more sense of a design statement."
This customer chose the graphic print SILHOUETTE in the color Kiwi
from Calico Corners to give a fresh look to this Camelback Sofa. This is a far cry from a solid color velvet. The sofa will appear less formal and more inviting. Can an antique sofa be a hip piece of furniture? This one will be!
It's hard to believe that this is the same Camelback Sofa that arrived in a faded
green velvet! Reupholstered in a great graphic print, Silhouette/Kiwi, the sofa has a smart new look. The print makes it less formal, fresh and updated.
If you're unsure about the visual effect of an upholstery fabric in your room, Calico allows customers to take home large samples to drape on their furniture. "You see exactly how the color and pattern will look in the light of your room and how it marries with the other furnishings," states Jessup. "Calico has done this for 60 years — customers love it because it saves them from making a mistake.
10. Have you shopped for furniture in your own home? A piece of furniture that's been banished to the basement could have a great new life if reupholstered in a new fabric. Even leather pieces can be recovered in new hides (Calico sells hides in a variety of colors). Pieces that don't seem very comfortable may feel very different with a change in cushion filling or plumper arms.

This reproduction settee, purchased on Ebay, has nice lines and delicate proportions that make it perfect for a foyer or bedroom. The original fabric cover is not only boring but also dirty, and the seat cushion is lumpy - a perfect candidate for reupholstery!  A perfect marriage of fabric and frame, this Jacobean floral in updated colors complements the wood tones in the settee. The frame was touched up and waxed to enhance the finish. The floral print fabric was positioned and cut so that the pattern on the seat continues up the back — pattern matching is one mark of a good upholsterer.
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MASSACHUSETTS CUSTOMER WINS $5,000 GRAND PRIZE IN CALICO CORNERS 60th ANNIVERSARY DECORATING SPREE
"I'm so excited I won - now I can finish decorating our master bedroom!"
Out of almost 50,000 entries, Reyna Simnegar of Brookline, Massachusetts was the lucky winner of the Calico Corners Decorating Spree contest. Following a friend's recommendation, this busy wife and mother recently became a customer of Calico Corners in nearby Natick. From the moment she walked into the store, Reyna knew that Calico was going to be a great resource for her decorating projects.
The Simnegars bought their home in Brookline three years ago. "This is the home we're going to stay in for a long time," she notes — perhaps a very long time, as they are raising five boys. A home has to be a place that you love, added Reyna. "It's worth investing in. And the fabrics in it should express your style, your personality." Reyna will be using her winnings to have window treatments, cushions for window seats and pillows made.
Reyna has been working with Natick sales associate Jean Konopacz on window treatments for the master bedroom and her husband's study. "Jean has spent hours working with me," noted Reyna. "She keeps track of everything and helps me stay on course. I didn't know where to start in terms of color — now it's all coming together." Reyna took advantage of Calico's Fabric Approval Plan, and has taken many fabrics home to view in the light and setting of the actual room. Home decorating has been a passion of Reyna's ever since she studied interior design at UCLA and also at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Congratulations to the Simnegars!
Calico Corners 60th Anniversary Decorating Spree contest winner Reyna Simnegar beams as she claims her $5,000 award from Natick Store Manager Suzanne Gawronski (L) and sales associate Jean Konopacz (R).
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