This article on Lloyd Bush Upholstery first appeared in our Winter 2019 Bayleys Marlborough Preview Magazine.
It’s a choice that many people have to face at some point in their lifetime. Your cosy chair has lost its shine. It may be grubby and torn, but it’s your favourite seat, and it has memories. Do you toss it out or breathe new life into it?
Introducing Lloyd Bush Upholstery:
Ask Marlborough based upholsterer, Lloyd Bush, and he will tell you the choice is simple, “In our throwaway society where too many items end up in landfill, it just makes good sense to restore a quality piece of furniture, allowing future generations to enjoy it as much as you have.”
Lloyd and his wife Ang established Lloyd Bush Upholstery almost three years ago. Lloyd has a keen eye for design and attention to detail. These traits have ensured that he has become the go-to man in Marlborough when a lounge suite needs some love.
Like many other artisans, Lloyd learned the skills to his trade from a family member. His uncle, Graham Rogers, had spent over four decades in the upholstery industry. But it has not been a straightforward route to Lloyd’s current career. He left school and started his working life in the horticultural industry. Then after nine years and a family bereavement, he became a funeral director and embalmer. Lloyd, however, explains that both roles equipped him for his current job. He says, “When I started out in horticulture I discovered I was really good at fixing things, and in the funeral industry I learned to listen, combine both of those skills with the knowledge I received from my uncle, and you end up with comfortable, good looking couches and happy customers.”
There’s a popular misconception that reupholstering is all about the final fabric choice. But, in fact, Lloyd must consider comfort and purpose. This means stripping furniture back to the bones, and carrying out frame repairs where necessary. The secret to what lies beneath is often determined by the age of the piece. Modern furniture might have elastic webbings and foam to support the seat, whereas older pre-1960s pieces are more likely to have jute webbings and big coil springs covered with a layer of Floc (shredded cotton), coconut fibre or horse hair. Although Lloyd says that in some cases, he has even found straw stuffing. Lloyd will replace these worn fillings with modern foams or loose fill polyester fibres that retain less dust and are fire retardant when necessary.
Once any frame repairs and the base work is complete, Lloyd can begin the recovering. He works closely with Warwick Fabrics because they carry an extensive range of reasonably priced fabrics, but he’s also happy to use materials sourced by his customers or their designers. Lloyd stresses the importance of using the right fabric for the job saying, “We want your reupholstered furniture to last another lifetime. So, it’s important to consider how and where the piece is going to be used in your home, we can help you choose the type of fabric best suited to your particular needs.”
Lloyd believes the items we have in our homes and workplaces can have a dramatic influence on our mood. So, for him a client’s delighted reaction when he presents a transformed piece of furniture to them, especially when it has great sentimental value, is what makes the job worthwhile.
You will never find Lloyd far from his scissors, staple gun and trusty sewing machine, his workshop at 6 Nicoll Street is a hive of activity, and certainly worth a visit if you have a couch that needs a little TLC.
For more information visit lloydbushupholstery.co.nz