Felted newts on the pond chaise

Case Study #2: The Pond Chaise

Dilapidated Victorian Chaise Transformed into Stunning Statement Piece

bedraggled old chaise

This chaise was an impulse buy at a local auction house by the client. It had then sat in her hallway for 3 years waiting for a makeover.

A chance discussion with her neighbours, (who I had done several pieces for), resulted in a telephone call to me.

Louise knew that she wanted ‘something really special’ for the chaise, but she didn’t know what that would be. I referred her to my portfolio on my website so she could get a feel for my style and some inspiration for ‘project chaise’. We explored potential ideas – the local landscape being one, possible colours, where the chaise would be situated when it was finished etc, etc. Louise went away to have a good think.

A few days later, Louise came back to me with tons of ideas. She had decided that the pond in her garden would be the theme for the chaise. She and her young son spent a lot of time around the pond as her son was fascinated with the wildlife it attracted. Not only all the insects, but birds, newts, frogs – even hares came to drink from the pond.

She emailed me a photo of the pond together with a list of all of the creatures and flowers she would love to be included in the design. It was quite a list and I knew nothing about crested newts. Who knew they had yellow toe nails?

But I knew a lady who did. She is an expert on newts and pond life! Cue my friend, Eve Marshall, Artisan Felter.

Badgers & bluebells original design footstool

I asked Eve if she would be interested in working with me on this very special project.

We had done some collaborative pieces and I knew that Eve would be able to get much more detail into the artwork (like the yellow toe nails), than I ever could.

We went back to Louise with a joint design concept, timescale and cost for ‘The Pond Chaise’. Louise had some concerns about the durability of the felted pieces, which we were able to reassure her. They would be double wet felted to make sure that they would be super strong and able to withstand a young child bouncing all over them for many years to come.

Louise and Eve liaised to finalise the pond design and I set about finding the perfect background fabric. Louise selected 4 samples in shades of blue from Romo’s Linara fabric range. When they arrived, we all knew they weren’t right, they were bordering on insipid and wouldn’t really do justice to the felted artwork.

I had worked with the colour Indian Green before, so I suggested that it would look fabulous on the chaise. Louise wasn’t sure. It was quite a bold colour. I told her to trust me; it would be the perfect backdrop to the very colourful felted designs. In for a penny, in for a pound, I then suggested a chartreuse colour for the trim and braid. Louise was a little taken back, I pointed out that it would match the crested newts toe nails perfectly and her son would love it!

She laughed and said ‘let’s go for it’.

With the main background fabric decided, I could crack on with upholstery work, whilst liaising with Eve about the size and placement of the panels. Louise said she would now leave it all up to us; she didn’t want to see work in progress, preferring a big Ta Dah reveal on delivery of the finished chaise.

It certainly turned into a statement piece of furniture that is very special to this little family. There are crested newts, damsel flies, frogs, toads, water marigolds, butterflies, moor hens. Everything that was on Louise’s original list is in this amazing design!

Victorian chaise upholstered with a bespoke design of a pond and the animals who visit it

Dear Ella and Eve, we all love the chaise!

My son will not stop sitting on it! Thank you so much for all the amazing hard work you have put into the chaise lounge. It is beautiful and will take pride of place in our home.

I will certainly let our friends know about you