EXIT the tacky bamboo chair that Aunty Skye from Nimbin gave you, enter the chic new line of upmarket wicker furniture that has decorators and designers in a tropical tiz. The international furniture designing fraternity and Filipino manufacturers have put their collective heads together to produce stylish sofas, chairs and entire settings that are drop-dead chic, expensive and utterly desirable.
Importer and wholesaler Jim Hussey, of World of Difference in Annandale, has gained a hold on the new products at the beginning of what is tipped to be a resurgence of cane furniture. Reclusive millionaire James Fairfax has already despatched his people to select some of Hussey’s unique seagrass chairs for his Southern Highlands mansion.
“I have an exclusive contract with a major manufacturer who has had design input from the best in Paris, New York and Australia,” Mr Hussey says. “It’s all top of the range.” Hussey recently brought in a sample of the Havana seagrass chair that so impressed the visiting head of a Madrid fabric house that he insisted on buying it and ordering another for his Paris operation.
“These chairs are truly beautiful. The style suits the temperate climate of Spain and Australia and designers are just going mad for them,” he says. Huge, slug-like sofas made of woven rattan by artisans who have been weaving all their lives are a hot item as much for the winter conservatory as a formal setting.
This follows the Bali-inspired styles of the mid-90s and has been adapted into a complete cross-cultural look. A 1950s-inspired chair can be coupled with an Art Deco sideboard in a city apartment while a winged-back seagrass single-seater is the perfect match for a Victorian terrace stuffed with antiques. “It’s a wonderful blend that travels well with anything, from the heavy Italian marble coffee tables of the 80s to Asiatic ornaments and palm trees,” Mr Hussey says. “The beauty of these sofas and chairs is that they are so cross-cultural. The only thing they don’t go with is the cheap, old split bamboo chairs that were so popular in the 60s and 70s. The only thing they caught was women’s stockings, rather than their imaginations.” For stockists phone World of Difference on 02 9550 6246. Informer Don’t let winter get you down.
Innovator Elle Macpherson and Cindy Crawford tried to show it was cool to drink milk: remember their white moustache ad campaign in the US a few years ago? But glass maker Ritzenhoff began it all in 1992 with the first of its funky milk tumblers. Seventy-five architects, artists and designers from around the world have created their own milk glass. At $19.50 each they are not exactly for the kids. But who says adults shouldn’t enjoy milk?
The Pacific sofa is a plush kidney shape couch of rattan with timber inlaid arms and overstuffed cushions, selling for around $1995. Top: Mequeni club chair of split-bleached rattan on rattan poles, $795. Below: Seagrass winged back chair in a bleached Bali-style twirl, $750.
Choosing a glue for repairing furniture would be easy if all you had to do was pick out one that included wood among the many materials it bonds. But the array of glues available today can be quite bewildering, and choosing the right one is not so simple. Yet, if you stick to a brown, white or yellow liquid glue, all of which come in plastic containers, and refrain from using transparent glues, epoxies, miracle and wonder type glues, you won’t go too far wrong.
Workers in the wood of a bygone era had no choice of adhesives. But it didn’t much matter, for animal glue served them well. This type is still available in a granular form and some furniture builders and restorers – purists, especially – swear by it. But it is not convenient for the occasional home repair.
Today, brown glue (made only from animal hides) comes in ready-to-use liquid forms, and is handy and ideal for repairs to old furniture. For good results, this glue should be used when and where it is 70 degrees or warmer, so it will set slowly and not gel. Continue reading
FOR those with more than passing interest in furniture, the professional dismantling or cannibalizing of old pieces – whether for spare parts or for the creation of a new antique – can be an impressive spectacle. This is particularly so when observing a demonstration of how to lift veneer by using a putty knife and blowtorch.
Disassembling good pieces requires a knowledge of cabinetmaking and patience galore, and it involves the removal of hardware, fittings, moldings and whatever else may come away. But more important, joints that have not budged since the piece was made may also need to be parted. When the wood is irreplaceable, care must be taken to insure that none is lost to damage, including where possible the finish.
Although the caretaker of the family furniture may never need to have such skills tested in a dramatic way, there are common repairs that to be effective and lasting call for the separating of loose joints – but only where practical. Obviously one would be hindered trying to separate the parts of the seat frame in an upholstered chair. Continue reading