Howards Custom Upholstery
Demand for Custom Upholstery work does have it's "peaks & valleys". For example, the greatest demand is in the fall, when most people want to have their home looking good for the Holiday Season. A traditional ""slow time" is right after the New Year. Shops need to keep their work crews busy, so take advantage of sales, when you see them. It is only natural for shops to minimize their "Discounts/Sales'' when they have accumulated a substancial work load. Most shops may discount their fabric much more than their labor. If you see discounts on both fabric & labor charges, that should be your "green light"! Go !
Quality Craftsmanship, Upscale Performance & Superior Service results in the selection Howard's Custom Upholstery to:
Angie's List's 2012 "Super Service Award"!
Just being included on Angie's List is a favorable acknowledgement, but to be in the top 5% of those businesses, really seperates us from the rest. We thank the members of Angie's List for your selection. It is an honor that we will strive to keep!
For more information on Angie's List, please visit angieslist.com.
When it comes to upholstered furniture and upholstery fabrics, thank China for "Cheap"! Most consumers don't know any better, but to those with discriminating tastes, this is a "Cancer to Quality"!
If consumers could only see the frames that are in 95% of new upholstered pieces and compared them to what used to be a standard in upholstered goods, they would be very disappointed. Sadly, most consumers still feel that they should be able to get a "good sofa" for $1,000. Can't blame them, when we are bombarded with advertising from sub-par stores and distributors. Most people want quality for cheap. Yet, no attention is given to value. What am I getting for my hard earned $1,000? ........trash. Yes, it will be unconfortable and yes you will trash it! You certainly don't want an upholsterer to try and improve junk. Most of my "genius" customers that chose to invest in these cheap pieces, come in or call to ask what I can do to improve their comfort and sitting experience. This usually happens, six months after they purchase. If they are lucky, I may be able to replace their seat cushions with proper foam & wrap.
So, what is my point? Think well before you unload your older quality frames. In today's market, they are like gold! Reupholstery is a fraction of the cost of what new, quality furniture would cost. If you do decide to replace them, either spend more in new, quality furniture, or let us custom build a sofa/chair/ottoman for you. We use the old standards of quality.
Unfortunately, your choices for quality upholstered pieces is very limited. Thank China. Go online and check out the prices of quality pieces, such as Century, Baker and Bernhardt. We can custom build pieces for you, using the same or better quality, at a fraction of their prices.
If you have any questions, give us a call at Howard's Custom Upholstery in Mission Viejo.
It seems that every upholstery shop claims they do "custom" upholstery, when in actuality, all they do is recover furniture. Today, most upholstery shops don't even know the difference. Yes, the definition of "Custom", in this application, is - made specifically for individual customers. Our customers assume that "quality" goes hand in hand with custom.
It's unfortunate to what's happened to our trade. The lack of mastercraftsmen is more evident now, than at any other time. It seems that my Dad's generation was loaded with plenty of expert mastercraftsmen. Over 90% of current upholsterers would be lucky to be apprentice's, to these past Masters! My dad, who is now retired, is now 80 yrs. old, and most of his contemporaries have either retired or died.
Fortunately, my Dad left our shop with an extremely well qualified staff. He led by example. Whenever decisions need to be made, we always refer to what my Dad would have done. Since the early 1950's, he was an upholsterer at different furniture factories. He joined his friend and past co-worker, Lee Marble, and George Howard in the late 70's. When George & Lee decided to relocate to Salt Lake & Palm Springs, respectively, my Dad bought them out and I came to help him.
What a transformation our shop has taken from then till now! The quality of our work was very good then. Now, we are at "the top of our game"! I've seen the quality of work that surrounding upholstery shops produce. They call it "Custom", I call it generic recovering. In order to generate a profit, most of them crank out the work so quickly, one can't help but know, the lack of time & attention that was given to the "ïnsides" of the upholstered pieces. Not to mention, the lack of new quality materials that should replace old existing padding. Other shops, farm their work out to "butchers" that work out of their garages. Yea, the same garage in which, their pet dog or cat sleeps! Then there are those shops, that literally take furniture to Tijuana to be "custom upholstered"!
If you would like to see a legitimate Custom Upholstery Shop, come visit us at Howard's Custom Upholstery, in Mission Viejo. You are welcome to see the quality of in stock supplies that we use, but more importantly, come see "the art of upholstery", in progress!
To those clients who's priority's are in quality and style; To those "who know the difference" and acknowledge that outstanding work is worth paying extra for, we are your shop.
Wondering about the hot paint colors for next year? Wonder no more: The 2012 paint palette will draw heavily upon the natural colors in the American landscape, according to Debbie Zimmer, color expert at the Paint Quality Institute.
"Native plants and flowers, oceans and lakes, and rocks and minerals are the sources of inspiration for the paint colors that will be 'in' next year," says Zimmer. "If you're thinking about repainting your home interior, look to the great American outdoors."
Here are some highlights:
Blue, the Jewel of the Sea
Blues gained popularity in 2011 and continue to be red hot in 2012. "From sparkling sea-glass blue to colonial blue-grey, blues are suitable for all living spaces, being a naturally soothing color that is loved -- in one iteration or another -- by almost everyone," says Zimmer.
Green, From Farm to Forest
Greens, ranging from celery and asparagus to fir and fern, allow homeowners to bring the comforting feelings of the world outside into the world within. According to Zimmer, dining rooms and kitchens are the "natural" spots for in vogue greens, but the hue is also at home in family rooms and bedrooms.
Violet, Majestic Purple Mountains
"A harmonious combination of patriotic blue and red hues, violet can add 'punch' to any room when used as an accent color, or serve as the dominant color in a bedroom," says Zimmer.
But natural hues aren't the only news for 2012. Zimmer predicts that three paint and decorating trends will gain prominence next year:
In 2012, patterned paint will take center stage, with increased interest in hound's-tooth finishes, lacy designs, and bold color blocking techniques. "In some cases, pattern will be the main decorating feature in a room; in others, it will provide a subtle, textured backdrop for fine furnishings and artwork," says Zimmer.
Black and White
The classic combination of black and white isn't just for Cape Cods any more. You'll see much more of it in all sorts of settings, from contemporary apartments to historic homes, says Zimmer. "The pairing is a great way to freshen an interior with something smart and stylish," she says.
Exterior Paint Combinations
On the home exterior, shutters colors will begin to shift away from the traditional look of high-contrast green, red, or black to a more monochromatic palette. "You'll see more shutters that are painted just a shade darker than the siding," says Zimmer. "Owners of homes with stone exteriors can get in on things by matching the shutter color to the dominant color of the stone."
Despite all the new colors and trends, Zimmer says some things in the paint world will remain the same in 2012: "Top quality 100% acrylic latex paint will continue to provide the best performance and the best value to budget-conscious homeowners," she says.
And since paints are locally produced, consumers can easily support the growing "Made in America" decorating trend.
From antimicrobial properties to ultra durability, textiles for interiors have more than good looks.
Uses for fabrics in interior applications are seemingly endless, from wall treatments to window coverings to furniture upholstery. Although commonalities exist among fabrics, not all textiles are created equal. Furthermore, what’s needed in a medical clinic is not always necessary in an office setting or residence. The fabric choices available for interior use offer an array of capabilities, carefully manufactured for specific end uses—and tuned in to expected growth areas in this market. For more Info: http://upholsteryjournalmag.com/articles/1211_ld_interior_fabrics.html
Many of our customers come in asking the right questions. Other times, it's obvious that they got a list of generic questions from articles or magazines such as Home & Garden. Frankly, the source of their questions really don't bother me. It is almost impossible for the average lay person, to cover all bases when contracting for an upholstery job. I find it very rewarding when a customer sees his/her newly build or re-upholstered piece, and appreciates the attention to detail. More importantly, they notice what they got, in addition to, their contracted job! We pride ourselves in "covering your back". When needed and if applicable we include armcovers, if we find that we have enough left over fabric. Sometimes, again when applicable, we install anchor hooks on loose seat cushions, so that it might minimize any unwanted movement. Once you contract us, we are on your side, not on ours! Basically, we prefer to work with you as if we were a team, both parties interested in producing the best piece of upholsted furniture!
Today I had an old customer came by to get some cushions recovered. Once she selected her fabric, she just wanted to write us a check and be on her way. How rewarding it is to us, that our past customers believe that we will be fair and give them the best product available. Lucky her ... lucky us! - Tavy
A recent study has found that rounded, curvy furniture actually makes people feel more happy, hopeful, and relaxed. Oregon State researchers have recently conducted a study to aid interior designers and architects create a more welcoming environments, and found that round and curvy is where its at. So if your were thinking about the same old rectangular furniture, think again. For more info check out this link here: http://upholsteryjournalmag.com/articles/061511_curvy_furniture.html
People always ask me, "Why are foam prices so expensive?" and I always tell them that foam is a petroleum based product and as a result rises with the price of oil. I would say it fluctuates with the price of oil, but I have never actually seen the price go down, so "rises with the price of oil" is more accurate. Recently we at Howard's Upholstery received a letter from one of our foam providers stating the price of foam will go up 9% after July 1, 2011. Not unreasonable, unless we had just received a letter last year stating the prices would go up 12%. Together that is a 21% increase in foam prices in the last year. Outrageous. I included the recent letter on the top of this entry so that our customers can see that we are not raising foam prices arbitrarily, but rather the foam companies are raising prices. I cannot speak for their reasons, I can only say that this increase is outrageous, and a burden to our customers, especially during these economic times.
First off, I have to say that I respect all living creatures. If a living organism can experience suffering, then it deserves to be left alone. However, human evolution has not gone far enough to make this ideal so. As a result most people eat meat, and cover theire furniture in exotic animal hides. I personally do not have any exotic fabrics on my furniture, except for some leather pieces, and I won't push my beleifs on anyone else, so with that said..."Customers who crave unusual upholstery can choose from a menagerie of available hides, including alligator, ostrich, shark, stingray, snake, lizard, eel, crocodile, caiman, python (prohibited for sale in California since 1970, so West Coast upholsterers take heed), elephant, zebra, bison, kangaroo, wildebeest and hippo. Each exotic hide has its own look, feel, history and sometimes-surprising characteristics." Wow! I didn't even know there were that many. Stingray suprisingly seems to be very popular this year and because of the economy caiman also is popular, being that it looks so much like alligator. "Exotic hide trends for 2011 and beyond will include metallics, antiqued and varnished looks, and for budget-minded customers, cowhides and vinyls embossed to resemble exotic hides." for the entire article check out: http://upholsteryjournalmag.com/articles/0411_ld_exotic_hides.html
Upholstery Journal Magazine has recently reported that pink is in, in a little way. "Don't look for hot pink sofas anytime soon, but look for fabrics that incorporate stripes in pink and other bright, clear colors against navy backgrounds. You may also see pink piping on sofas and chairs." Pantone, which provides color standards for the printing industry and others,also named Honeysuckle, a lovely pink hue, as its color of the year."Neutrals still dominate with major upholstered pieces, but one of the other ways that color is creeping back into the upholstery world is with accent pillows that change with the season or the homeowner's mood. Bright accent pillows can change the entire look and feel of a sofa and chair upholstered in a neutral color...for the entire article check out http://upholsteryjournalmag.com/articles/0311_ld_color_trends.html
We at Howard's Upholstery had the honor of working with David and Roberto from COMMA, both Californian Natives, and found their designs to be inspiring, functional, and visualy stunning. I personally like their "Mary Jane Console", a bar like table that has the bottles backlit and seen through opaque glass. It isn't upholstered, but definetly makes an impression. Their upholstered pieces are great too, I like the T.V. Cushions, the whole thing looks so different, and the concept is great. David and Roberto prove again and again why they are worldclass architects and designers. But don't take my word for it, check them out at http://www.comma-nyc.com/. Prepare to be amazed!
The Survey Research Center at High Point University released results from a poll that reveals how North Carolinians get information and make decisions about buying furniture and accessories for their home. Very interesting. Apparently friend referrals and website info is on the top of the list. Surprising, twitter and facebook, are not as used as I thought. Just might be too early for this type of media to assist people in being informed, but may be in the future.
This Spanish born artist-designer has a strong design education background rich with learned technique and finely crafted skill. But Jamie is most recognizable for his whimsical structures and his creations that "blur the lines between art, decoration and design and a renaissance in finely-crafted, intricate objects within the context of contemporary design culture." His work is amazing. The only suggestion I would make is to use more fabric in everything. Okay, I am biased because of my love of upholstery, but that does not mean that a little more fabric would hurt. The above examples are exceptions, they use fabric perfectly.
Can you believe that this is considered to be the second most expensive office chair in the world. The most expensive is only available in the United Arab Emirates, So unless you are visiting Dubai this chair is where its at. Estimated at $65,000 this chair is pure design, by award-winning designer and architect Hadi Teherani of Germany. I would choose a different fabric, but otherwise what a cool chair. Just in case you are curious the most expensive office chair is this one, estimated at $1.5 million, very cool.
"Like a great midcentury screen siren, the Valentine sofa refuses to be upstaged by anyone or anything in the room.The 84-inch sofa is a a piece designed in 1950 by William Haines, a film actor in the 1920s & 30s...Mr. Haines became an interior designer, working for Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford and Carole Lombard, and often collaborating with his partner, James Shields." Milioti-NY Times
This Sofa is awesome. I always support interior designers desire to be creative. Custom furniture brings so much character to a room. If you can afford to customize your life, why not?
So recently it has become harder and harder to find certain fabrics. So many are now made in China; which, would be fine, if the lower price accompanied the same or better quality. Unfortunately that is not the case. Fabrics from China are inferior in every way. The quality is so much lower that I only recommend going with a lower quality import if cost is of the upmost importance, but the life of your upholstery will be significantly affected. Also, I recommend buying American. Currently the Textile industry jobs have been significantly diminished.
Occupations that will decline the most from 2008 to 2018 (measured by percentage change in jobs)
AN INDUSTRY HANGING BY A THREAD | Story
Bureau of Labor Statistics projections:
Textile winding, twisting and drawing out machine setters, operators and tenders 41%/14,200
Except for Postal positions being on the list, as you can see the American Textile industry is being destroyed by inferior qualilty foreign competition, we can still find you a great fabric, it's just a little harder.
Check out this chair. This expensive armchair belonged to a Paris-based art dealer before finding its way into the hands of Yves Saint Laurent, founder of the eponymous YSL luxury brand. Reportedly, that very same art dealer is the person who paid ten times the chair's estimated value to procure it at a Chrisities auction. The chair was made by Irish designer Eileen Graw sometime between 1917 and 1919. Called the "Dragon's Chair, it is one of Gray's Masterpieces. We always say older furniture was more valuable and made with right stuff, but this chair breaks the mold.
People always ask me, why foam costs so much? Good Question. I wonder the same myself. Recently five furniture manufactureres in the southern United States have brought suit to foam manufactures claiming they are breaking anti-trust laws and price fixing. I haven't done that much research myself, however; I have been told the price of oil affects production, yet I wonder why when oil prices go up foam prices go up, but when oil prices go down, foam stays the same price. This question of foam prices for now remains a mystery to me. For now, all I can hope is that in the future, information of the goings on in the foam world will come to light, and make some sense.