Getting to know Re:Style Studio

Good Morning!  Today I’m very excited to be featuring Re:style Studio, a workshop and event space offering upholstery classes, decor seminars and DIY parties in the west end of Toronto at the Branding Factory.

The studio was founded by the lovely Andrea Ford, a stylist and market editor with a love of re-upholstering and re-styling furniture.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, when I first started to learn how to upholster, finding classes/courses in the Toronto area wasn’t easy, and there weren’t any that were approaching upholstery in a fresh and modern way. So you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon Re:style Studio! Andrea launched the studio in December 2010, and VOILA, she has filled a huge void by offering modern upholstery and restyling classes, plus she now has a great space to do her own re-upholstery projects in! Needless to say this studio is right up my alley, and so when I contacted Andrea to find out more about how Re:style came to be, I was thrilled to hear she was looking for someone to help teach some of the upholstery classes and workshops.  We are still sorting out details such as which courses I will be helping with, but I will definitely be spending more time over at Re:style in the coming month and I am pretty excited about that! Stay tuned!

As part of today’s post I asked Andrea to participate in a mini Q and A to get a little more insight into Re:style, and she kindly obliged….

Q: What do you like the best about upholstery?

A: It feels like forensic design. I love that I can strip a piece down and learn something new about construction with every layer. I also find stripping very cathartic and therapeutic. Rebuilding a piece gives me a chance to give it new life and restructure it. Transforming is my favourite part.

Q: What do you like the best about teaching upholstery?

A: The thing I love about teaching upholstery is how satisfied people are at the end of the courses to have either created a headboard or ottoman from scratch that looks like they bought it at a boutique, or totally transformed a piece of furniture by refinishing and reupholstering it.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece you have completed? And why is your fave?

A: The black and white settee is my favourite and has become a bit of a signature. I have a design degree in fashion so that settee is a perfect example of how I take my garment skills such as draping and apply it to the curves of the couch. I knew the stripes would be a challenge but also pay off on the look of the final product.

Now, I was lucky enough to visit the studio a few weeks ago, and let me tell you it is gorgeous.  A sleek, modern, black and white space, perfect for both a crafty workshop or a cocktail party! Did I mention that the space can be rented for events?  Trust me, this space is totally event worthy – here are some pics to give you an idea….

What did I tell you?  Great space.  Now a little on the classes! Upholstery classes offered include the Head of the Bed DIY Headboard class, Put up you Feet DIY Ottoman class, the weekend BYOP Re-Upholstery Workshop (Bring your own Piece) and well as the Learn to Restyle class. Class sizes are small enough so that you can get the one-on-one help you need and you get to complete your projects in a great atmosphere. More detailed descriptions of these classes, as well as other offerings, can be found here and the fall schedule is up on the Re:style Studio website! Here are some pics showing finished projects and before and afters from the classes…..

All Photos via Andrea Ford and Re:style Studio

There are still spaces left for the BYOP Re-upholstery workshop this Saturday and Sunday (Sept 10 and 11), so if you have a piece that you want to transform into something fabulous in just 2 short days contact Re:style right away to get booked in! I will be at the studio this weekend during the BYOP workshop working on a new project, so I hope to see you there or in future classes!

I hope you have enjoyed today’s feature and many thanks to Andrea for taking the time to give us a little insight into Re:Style Studio!  Have a great day!

A Tale of Two Round Back Chairs – Part I

Hello all,

I’ve spent much of this weekend working on my latest upholstery project.  I’m reupholstering 2 round-back chairs for my friends, and I’m very excited about it!  They bought the pair for $150 at the Elegant Garage Sale, which was a real bargain as the chairs are in great shape, albeit in need a a serious upgrade and modernization.  And I adore the fabric they choose, and when I love the fabric it makes whole process so much nicer.  Here’s a little update on the progress to date,  in photos….


This is one of the 2 chairs (they are the same).  I got a little ahead of myself with the deconstructing before I remembered to do my “before” photo, but picture a skirt around the bottom.

This hot mess is what the skirt was helping to cover up.



the curve around the  the back…


98% stripped to the bare bones


The legs were a bit rough and didn’t match my friends new hardwood floors, so I sanded them down…

…and performed a quick re-finishing/staining job.


Tools and supplies: jute webbing and a web stretcher.

Crisp new webbing!


I love the fabric, a light grey with green, yellow, and brown accents.  An my favorite part is that we are doing a contrasting piping in the yellow fabric you see on the right!  I have seen this done on lots of pieces, by have never done it on any of the pieces I have reupholstered.  I’m pretty excited to see how it turns out.

Today I get to start working on the stuffing and fabric on one of the chairs, which is the part where the piece really starts to come together, can’t wait.

Happy Sunday All!

Upholstery in the English Countryside

Hello! Happy Monday and Happy Election Day fellow Canadians! I hope you all excercised your priviledge and right to vote today!

With so much press coming in from the UK around the recent royal wedding, I decided it was a good time to discuss the upholstery courses I took last year in the UK.  Upholstery courses are few and far between in Canada, but in the UK they are fairly common.  This makes sense when you think about it.   The volume of antique furniture is the UK is much greater than here in Canada.  The older the furniture, the more value it holds, and so people are more likely to have these pieces restored/re-upholstered rather than buying something new. Therefore, there is a bigger need for trained upholsters, and so upholstery classes/courses are much more common.  There is a full curiculum of upholstery training developed by the thier accreditiation body, the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers.   Getting through the full accreditation would take months to complete, and alas, my available time was limited.  I completed two one-week courses instead. 

In the spirit of seeing more of jolly old England, I took a one week course from two different upholsterers/schools.  The first was at Kendal Upholstery located just outside of the Town of Kendal in the Lake District.  The town was lovely, and I learned alot.  I only completed part of a chair in the week but it was great practice.  And I met some great people while I was there as well.  Here are some photos of Kendal.

Entrance to the workshop in Kendal Upholstery

Progress on my chair on my last day

 The second week was at Tresithick Upholstery & Restoration, the Barn Workshop which was on the beautiful Trewithen Estate near Truro in Cornwall. Again, the setting was lovely.  Early spring in Cornwall is beautiful.  At Thesithick, my focus was to learn tufting!  I love, love, love tufted pieces, so I really wanted to learn to do it myself.  Here are some photos of Tresithick: 

My morning walk to the workshop through the Threwithen Estate property.


My Tufts!

 I had great experiences during both weeks, and I would recommend both as great places to take a course or to do a full accreditation.