Case Study #1: A Special Rocking Chair for a New Nursery
Sophie and her husband James were expecting their first baby and had been looking for a special chair for the nursery for a while, but couldn’t find anything they really liked. They had already purchased one of my chairs in the past, so, in late September, they asked me if I could create a chair in time for Christmas – the baby’s due date!
With Sophie based in York and myself in Stamford, there was no opportunity for a face to face meeting. This would be a long distance project with a very tight deadline. After an initial telephone chat, a budget for the chair was established and I had some key points to work with.
- Must be really comfortable! Preferably a rocking chair
- Mid-century look/vibe to co-ordinate with their existing decor
- The textile design to incorporate ‘Railways’ in some shape or form
- To have some longevity in style and colour – this chair was not just for the baby/nursery stage
I started the search for the perfect chair. Various on-line finds were shared via email. Some had a straight ‘yuk, No!’ response. Some were ‘umm maybe’ until I eventually found a lovely Parker Knoll rocking chair fairly local to me. I checked it out in person and reported back. It was sooo comfortable. It had a lovely balanced rock, just perfect for a nursing mum.
We discussed how to deal with the dark, badly marked woodwork and I encouraged Sophie to look past the existing dated fabric. Sophie decided to trust me and go for it.
Stage 1 complete!
Next came another telephone conversation, with me asking lots and lots of questions, gently exploring how we could come up with the perfect textile design incorporating a railway theme that wasn’t twee or Thomas the Tank Engine.
I found out that both Sophie and James worked for the ‘Railways’ in York, hence the suggested train theme.
Then Sophie mentioned her favourite poem was ‘From a Railway Carriage’, by Robert Louis Stevenson. A little bit of research/googling by me and hey presto! We had our design concept. I could now work on an initial design brief.
Stage 2 done!
Whilst I was working on the design, Sophie was directed to Romo Fabric’s Linara range, which has over 300 colours to choose from. It also a hard wearing, washable linen cotton/linen blend – an important consideration for a nursery chair. Sophie narrowed her choice down to 5 samples that would co-ordinate with their newly decorated Farrow & Ball colour scheme. They were sent direct to her home so she could confidentially choose exactly the right one for her.
Stage 3 finished!
With the main background fabric decided, I could now finalise the design brief and confirm the total price for the finished chair and the deposit payment was made.
My design concept was a railway carriage crossing a bridge with the landscape in the background which would feature the opening lines and images of the poem ‘Faster that fairies, faster than witches. Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches’. I would use the embroidered words to convey a sense of movement into the design.
It’s quite a complex design which required a couple of tweaks and decisions from Sophie as to colours, the style of the witch and the shape of the trees. Lots of photos and fabric samples were exchanged and then finally approved. The design brief was finalised. The construction work could begin!
The result is an utterly unique piece of furniture that is very special to this little family. Baby Henry arrived on the 30th December and the new rocking chair was delivered by courier shortly after. Stage 4.