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

The Stunning Pond Chaise

This rather bedraggled, Victorian chaise was a somewhat challenging project. My client had had this chaise for quite a few years – an impulse buy at an auction. She was not quite sure what to do with it, she wanted something a ‘bit special’ but was not quite sure what that was. Her neighbour, for whom I have done a few pieces kindly recommended me. She took a look at my website and got in touch.

bedraggled old chaise

We had a brief chat over the phone, she mentioned how much she and her young son loved the large pond in her garden and the animals it attracted. Could I do something based on the pond? ‘Err yes, I think so’ I confidently replied in a hesitant way.

Just a little bit of a panic ensued on receipt of the email containing a few photos of the pond and a list as long as my arm of animals, insects, flowers, flora and fauna that the client really wanted included. Let’s just say it was the first time I had ever been asked to include a crested newt! Did you know they have yellow toenails?

Time to call in reinforcements! Cue Eve Marshall, Artisan Felter extraordinaire. Eve and I have worked collaboratively on several projects in the past. It’s always fun and there is never a dull moment as Eve’s work is colourful, quirky and often whimsical. She pushes my boundaries.

Turns out Eve has a thing about ponds and especially newts. In fact I would go as far to say, in comparison to me, she is an expert on pond life. I happily handed over the design aspect of the project to Eve who had deep and meaningful conversations with the client about different types of newts, water marigolds, damsel flies and moor hens.

Four Fabulous Felted Panels

Eve created four wet and needle felted pieces, then wet felted them again to make sure they would be super strong and last for many years to come. The detail is absolutely amazing. Eve managed to include all the wildlife the client wanted and much, much more. My favourites are the irises and the moor hen? What’s yours?

I carefully appliqued the finished felted panels onto the upholstery fabric – Romo’s Linara in Indian Green and then upholstered them onto the frame of the chaise.

The chartreuse cord and braid was chosen to contrast strongly with the colour of the main fabric, but it also picked up beautifully the colours of the flowers in Eve’s felted artwork. I know it looks like the cord is just wrapped around the back bar but every single one of those 20 pieces were all individually cut and carefully put into a marked position and tacked onto the frame.

A fix was required to one of the legs that was a little wobbly and missing a caster. The woodwork was carefully cleaned up and polished to give the finished chaise the perfect finish.

Ta Dah!

There were no photos or sneaky peaks of the work once I started to upholster the chaise. In fact our client hadn’t seen anything other than Eve’s outline designs – she said she trusted us implicitly and left us to it. So she didn’t have an idea of how it would look until it was delivered to her front door. (Thanks to my lovely neighbour Duncan with his trusty, but noisy, van).

I am pleased to say she was rather delighted with the finished pond chaise. I am sure you will agree that it is a bit of a showstopper!

My client was so impressed with our work, she bought the Badgers & Bluebell Woods footstool a week later!

Badgers & bluebells original design footstool

If you have a piece of furniture that you would like transformed into something a little special and personal to you, please do get in touch – I am always happy to have a little chat. Newts now a speciality!

Ella Jenkins Designs
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