This week we are so proud to host Molly Andrews in our Guest House. Molly is the creator of Chairloom, a local Main Line design service that specialises in the reinvention of antique furniture by reupholstering pieces with fun, fresh fabrics. We love her creative vision, her passion for reusing and reinventing and her childhood memories of Lilly clothing. She used to watch her Lilly clad grandmother rescue injured pelicans with her bare hands and walk them gently to the vet. Now that’s a woman to be admired! With Earth Day this Friday we thought her story was the perfect focus. A few weeks back, we gave Molly some of our left over Summer 2011 fabric, she provided a chair that she found while sifting through a thrift store and we headed to her upholsterer. It was amazing to watch the chair’s transformation. Upholstery is a true art and now one of our lucky readers will be the proud owner of the finished product. Entry details will follow soon but in the meantime check out our q&a to learn more about Molly Andrews and Chairloom.
How was Chairloom started?
Chairloom came into existence when two vintage loving Main Line neighbors were continually wowed by fantastic Philadelphia furniture finds. Both had and obsession for textile design by undiscovered artists so they started upholstering thrift store purchases and their creations received unexpected and noticeable results. Chairloom was featured on Philadelphia Daily Candy as well as popular design blogs such as Remodelista and Design Sponge. It was through these features that Chairloom was invited to be a part of a green design showroom in the D&D building in Manhattan. Next came the Brooklyn Flea where Chairloom was noticed by The New York Times, House Beautiful and Country Living. Chairloom believes strongly in making good with what has been given to you, a core principal, says Molly, that seems to be more and more at the forefront of design minded people.
We love Print and Pattern and so do you. Tell us why.
I’ve always had an appetite for color and pattern as found in textiles. I know I’m not alone with that. I remember discovering Hable Construction in the early 90′s when they had a tiny store in the west village. Their patterns and colors have always been a favorite of mine. Living in the east village in Manhattan I bumped into Virginia Johnson’s design, too and eventually John Robshaw & I was hooked. So when I moved to Philadelphia and learned that vintage & antique furniture in need of re upholstery was everywhere & affordable – I found a way to involve myself in the textiles I had such a love for and back to a city I felt so connected to. The Brooklyn Flea was perfect for me to grow Chairloom and feed a creative part of me that was longing to express itself. A very rewarding part of running this business for me has been getting to know the textile designers and owners of Hable Construction, Rubie Green, Mod Green Pod, Studio Bon, Oliveira textiles, Victoria Larson, Michael Devine and others.
Tell us about the artistry of upholstery.
I am fascinated and extremely appreciative of the art & skill of re upholstery because it is a TRANSFORMATIVE craft. The ability to restore something and transform something to a better state is an incredible skill. I feel great satisfaction in seeing a discarded, neglected worn out piece of furniture get a makeover. I’m a huge fan of transformation and regeneration. Daughter of a minister – what can I say?!! But, I also love the challenge of having a vision for something & following that through. In a way, that’s faith in action.
We love the family photos you shared with us. Tell us about them.
I love that picture of my sisters & me, too. Susie, Molly and Lilly!! My grandmother was the fashion plate who dressed us alike and taught us to find the name LILLY on all the dress patterns. I believe our first Lilly clothes were the cute bottoms they used to make for girls to swim in. Just bottoms, no tops!! This picture was taken in Delray Beach, Florida. We’d go with my grandmother to Lilly in Palm Beach on rainy days. She was (and still is at age 98) an amazing role model for great taste in both antiques and beautiful textile and pattern. But, she also showed us all by example when it was time to role up your sleeves, get dirty and explore and appreciate nature (flowers, trees, birds, animals) as well as art and culture. She & I share a birthday & I know her influence on me is expressed through Chairloom.