If you’re looking for unique seating with a vintage twist then look no further than the work of Irish designer Kelly Swallow. She transforms individually sourced vintage pieces, each with their own unique charm, reupholstering them to create an entirely new chair or sofa.
“The personality of every piece is rediscovered by painstakingly and lovingly choosing an exciting collection of fabrics to create unique pieces with newfound splendour.” – Kelly Swallow.
Kelly’s work is sold through her website and via retail outlets and she has grouped her furniture into two distinct collections.
The Patchwork Collection features fabrics ranging from vintage to designer including Kenzo, Zoffany, Liberty, Andrew Martin, Designers Guild, Osborne & Little, Lorca, Mulberry – an eclectic mix with exciting and surprising contrasts.
The Vintage Fabric and Grain Sack Range features seating reupholstered with Art Deco mangle cloths, vintage linen from Hungary and Germany, French grain sacks – fabrics with a history and telling a story.
The chair above is part of Kelly’s Vintage Grain Sack range. The vintage buttoned chair is covered in art deco, Hungarian Mangle cloths. Kelly gives some historical background to the fabrics used:
“These cloths were used to protect garments and sheets when being pressed/squeezed through a mangle. They were made to accept a lot of wear and tear. Often they were found in sets of 3 identical cloths – as a set of 3 seemed to be a typical wedding present when mangles were still in use. The cloths I used here are beautifully embroidered with the name and initials. I included the darns, patches and embroidery to show the history and the story of the fabric and mixed up the stripes for added interest”.
The Warrior Chair above is a classic wing-back shape, in jewel shades featuring deep turquoise and red and green from Designer’s Guild, Zoffany and Sanderson with glimpses of vintage patterns thrown in as well.
Kelly’s use of colour and pattern is fun but balanced; her patchwork designs are bright and eye-catching but considered.
The Circus Thrills Chair features bright pom poms and frills on a contrasting neutral background with a few hints of balloon fabric from Mulberry. This design is still playful, but not as colour-dominant and would blend in to a more subtle interior scheme.
‘A swatch of vintage fabric is a little piece of history…’ says Kelly Swallow and I agree. I think Kelly’s seating is a great example of ethical luxury – reusing materials to create bespoke designs.
Sophie brings a love of design, styling and interiors to her blog - always with a vintage, eclectic twist. She prides herself on finding and unveiling beautiful and unusual creations and ideas. Take a look at her blog here - hiddenblossom.com. You can follow Sophie on Twitter @ahiddenblossom. Read more posts by Sophie.