Eclectic Chair

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vintage footstool reupholstered by Eclectic Chair using recycled coffee sack

We’ve got a fabulous range of sponsors at the moment – lovely products, lovely people – perfect for a short series of blog posts throwing the spotlight on them & their businesses.

We’re kicking off with Leeds-based Eclectic Chair – aka Heather.

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Hi, I’m Heather of Eclectic Chair which is a small upholstery studio in Headingley, Leeds. I’m 48, and didn’t start to study upholstery until I was 36, proof that it’s never to late to change career, or learn how to do something that you have always fancied doing!

portrait of Heather Linnitt

I started to study upholstery in the year 2000, as I had an untapped creative side itching to get out, and I was looking for a way out of the restaurant industry, in which I have enjoyed working for 25 years, but knew that I didn’t want to continue to. For those of you who know South Manchester, I was the manager of the lovely Lime Tree restaurant in West Didsbury for 10 years.
I studied upholstery at the Traditional Upholstery Workshop, in Ceredigion, Wales.

vintage armchair reupholstered in plush bronze coloured velvet fabric

I absolutely loved upholstery from day one. It’s not easy, it’s very physical, messy and dirty, and there are a lot of skills to learn, as chairs have been made in many different ways over the years. I’ve become a better upholsterer as time has gone by. I’ve made mistakes, had to unpick my work completely and do it again, sought advice from more experienced upholsterers, and I have loads of books on the subject. There are tough days, when jobs don’t go the way you expect, and I’m lying on my back on a dirty floor supporting a huge sofa above me with one arm, but the good times when I create something amazing, make up for them.

vintage Art Deco club chair reupholstered by Eclectic Chair

I called my business Eclectic Chair, because I am a big fan of an eclectic mix of periods, and styles. People are attracted to a whole host of styles, and it’s very difficult to restrict yourself to one. We all pick up a collection of personal possessions from our travels, before we settle down, and I think vintage, modern, ethnic and antique, can all work together, if you style it well. Here’s an example of that from my house, with a 1960s couch upholstered by myself!

Teal upholstered studio couch in Heather Linnitt's sitting room

My trademark style is colourful, patterned, vintage and recycled, I particularly love furniture from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

vintage wing-back armchair reupholsetered in vintage Welsh wool tapestry fabric by Eclectic Chair

And I like to mix it up a bit, for example reupholstering a 1970s Parker Knoll armchair using vintage Welsh tapestry fabric, or recovering some 1950s diner chairs with traditional African waxed fabric.

set of four vintage 1950s diner chairs recovered in vintage African fabric by Eclectic Chair

I have recently been upholstering furniture with recycled coffee and grain sacks. I really like the printing on them and the industrial, and rustic feel that the jute gives. The coffee sacks are recycled by Taylors of Harrogate, they are big on sustainability, they donate them to a place called Scrap in Leeds which recycles waste materials from business, and that is where I buy them! I love the fact that I’m reupholstering a chair with sacks that have come from Honduras, Kenya, India and Brazil, via Harrogate to me in Leeds, and re-using them, but making something beautiful in the process.

vintage armchair reupholstered by Eclectic Chair using recycled coffee sacks vintage armchair reupholstered by Eclectic Chair using recycled coffee sacks

For more examples of Heather’s work, or to contact her if you have a piece of furniture that you would like her to upholster, go to her website Eclectic Chair.

If you’re interested in becoming one of our sponsors just get in touch and we’ll send you our stats & rates!