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I'm the Interior Designer behind Janelle Steinberg Interior Design. I'm also a wife, mother, social tennis player, candle connoisseur and an avid list maker. I like wine, pearls, rainy days, museums and houses. I craft and bake on the weekends in my college sweatshirt and yoga pants. During the week I balance my toddler's playdates, my businesses and working with my clients throughout the country, (not in said sweatshirt or yoga pants).

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Maison Classique
Maison Classique

{Behind the Scenes} Evolution of a Wingback Chair

· August 19, 2009

This is a story of a petite wingback chair. In every project, there is an issue (well, lets be honest, sometimes there are more than one!). For this project- it was these chairs. I won't go into the details (or out the vendor!)- but lets just say that the normal, nice and cooporative Ms. Janelle Steinberg can turn into a hard-hitting, sharp shooter when anything having to do with my client's project is on the line. This was the case with these chairs. BUT! In the end, all turned out fine and my client is happy (which, at the end of the day, is all that really matters). I am constantly amazed that everything always works itself out. So, the "Behind the Scenes" evolution of this pair of wingback chairs is as follows...

We needed some great head chairs for this gorgeous dining table (excuse the Sharpie- we marked up the spec sheet when sourcing for this project):

 

We went shopping at the PDC (one of only a few trips- this client was a pro at fast decisions...an interior designer's dream!). We were looking for upholstered chairs for the heads of the table. Possibly a wingback, maybe something else if it struck us as "perfect". I pre-sourced a few options and we visited the showrooms to sit, touch, feel (basically ohhh and ahhhh), and we both decided that this petite wingback with Fruitwood finish was perfect in every way for my client's Dining Room and for the above table:

 

Now that we had the furniture piece selected, we could find the fabric for it! For me, selecting fabrics if one of the most enjoyable ID activities- its like picking colors for a painting or selecting jems and baubles for making jewlery- both of which I enjoy as hobbies. (Oh, any by the way, you really want to select fabrics after finding or designing your furniture, that way the scale and porportion will be right on.) We went shopping again and my client fell IN LOVE (she really, really loved this fabric!) with this gorgeous and fun stylized Jacobean flower motif printed on silk. Its by Quadrille (lovely, lovely Quadrille!). This was the *first* (see where I'm going with this?) fabric selection:

 

I received the yardage estimate from my vendor for those perfect petite wingback chairs. Wrote up the PO. Then realized they severly underquoted me as I was double checking everything (you always want to double check EVERYTHING!). Even though I gave my vendor the fabric info...they were wrong. At the very last minute, right before ordering, I realized something wasn't right- thank goodness. I went back to the vendor, waited on emails from their factory on the other side of the country...and they wanted double the fabric they initially quoted me. DOUBLE! Since I take budgets pretty seriously, I was not happy about the situation, and the fact that they misquoted me AGAIN. This fabric is nearly $200 per yard. On top of that issue (which turned out to not be an issue for my gracious client), the REAL issue was Quadrille does custom yardage runs and there just wasn't enough on hand to fulfill the extra yardage needed. The leadtime for European production for more yardage was about three months. This was the straw that broke the camel's back and made us reselect. I was disappointed, knowing how much my client adored this fabric!

So, naturally, I take her to Schumacher (one of my favs). Almost instantly (remember how I told you my client has that super-decisive thing going on?!) her eyes met the gaze of this super fun linen by Celerie Kemble:

I was thrilled (thrilled!) my client went for orange. Anyone who knows me, knows I've been obsessed with orange for awhile now. So, we took a memo (a "memo" is loaner sample of the fabric that showrooms loan out to designers) so I could find trim. The Dining Room has this great shell chandelier with lots of corals, orange-pinks, bisque yellows, pinks and whites.

I thought pink trim would be super fun against the orange and incorporate some of the pinks from the shells (which you can't really see in the photo- but its in there). I found this at Kravet a few days later, on a solo shopping trip:

The trim was perfect in every way. It was simple (I am known as the anti-trim designer with my fabricator...I stay away, far, far away from frilly trims! They have their time and place- but aesthetically, I am not a fan of drippy and goopy trims), AND it had orange with two shades of pink....perfect! I got back to my studio and sent a mock up to my client via email:

She loved it and approved it for purchase. Now...back to the chairs. My vendor quoted me on the yardage. I double checked, *specifically asked* and made sure that their quote was okay. I got a confimation. I then ordered the yardage they told me to order and has it sent to their factory on the East Coast.

A few weeks later, I get a call. They need to back the linen. Okay- fine. This sometimes happens. (They do it to add support to certain fabrics, and/or make it easier to work with.) Its extra money, okay, fine- its not that much and it needs to happen. Client understands, I understand. We submit the paperwork which pretty much says if they mess it up in the backing process, we can't blame them (kind of a scary document!).

A few weeks later I get another call. The knit backing won't work on this fabric (even though they already told me everything would be okay....not to MENTION this is WEEKS after we submit both approval AND payment for the backing....why are they just calling me NOW about this?!). They need to upholster in muslin first (which means more money), then apply our fabric...oh, and....they need more yardage! I was not happy. At. All. My rep was caught in the middle- shes just the messenger. My client has no idea anything is wrong or that we could possibly go over budget (afterall- it is my job to make it easy on my client! and Im happy to do it!), and these chairs which should be IN my client's house already are not even half way done. It was a headache.

I double checked with MY fabricator that fabricates all my custom designs from the smallest pillow to custom upholstery and drapery to just about anything else I need created. They told me the yardage my vendor had should be enough and that I donn't need more. So...after going over everything with my client, we opted to have the chairs shipped to my workroom to be finished.

After all that....the chairs came out amazing (and with no extra yardage or double upholstery needed- which means my client didn't have to add more to the budget for this room). This is the type of situation designer's handle for our client's. Its all in a day's work! (Well, it was actually spread out across a month or two!). Here is the latest photo I took from a design meeting at my factory. It still needed one more row of brushed brass nail heads...but it came out great! Now, I can't wait for the photoshoot in the beginning on 2010! (We are waiting on the custom rugs!).

And, here is the drapery right after installation (it stays tied the first few days for shape)

 

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