Original Sofa Company director David Robinson recounts how inheriting an old Chesterfield sofa led to its restoration and the birth of a new upcycling business
In 2010, The Independent ran a story detailing how British landfill sites were just eight years away from being officially full. Three years on, according to local government statistics, that infamous milestone may well be upon us sooner than predicted.
The Original Sofa Company are a north-east based company embracing the ever fashionable upcycling trend to bring commercial success, and importantly, a helping hand to the landfill issues we are facing.
Shortly after the Millenium, I inherited an old, distressed Chesterfield sofa. Rather than taking the ailing couch to the tip, it was stripped back, recoloured, repaired and restored with a lovely new set of cushions. It was the birth of the company and the romantically named Pre-loved Range: a cheaper, rustic and restored alternative to the luxurious elegancy that new signature Chesterfield pieces offer.
Of course, it would be impossible to have this side of the business without there being some commercial profitability. But there’s something quite soothing about transforming an old, worn and once treasured Chesterfield into a cool vintage piece of furniture - from one family heirloom to the next we like to think.
The company’s buyers scour the globe for original, British crafted pieces that are no longer needed, heavily worn or even badly broken. Then the team’s skilled upholsterers and joiners get to work on strengthening frames, reupholstering torn or broken leather, re-spraying and ultimately rehoming these history-infused items of furniture.
There’s a great market out there for our Pre-Loved, Antique and Vintage restorations. We have literally shipped these pieces all around the globe to households and businesses, and the feedback we get back is often the best part about the whole process. Let’s not forget, original British crafting, prior to the industrial revolution, was widely regarded as the finest available anywhere, so why shouldn’t these lost items live on for decades ahead? Hence our name, The Original Sofa Company - we craft new pieces in the original ways they were crafted in the 18th century and restore old, original furniture, replicating those same methods the very best we can. The model guarantees not only stunningly finished furniture, but real love, passion and energy in the crafting/restoration too.
With one of the largest stocks of Pre-Loved, Antique and Vintage Chesterfields in the country, there are options to suit just about any style and budget. We call it our Aladin’s Cave. Effectively, if you tallied it all up, there’s thousands of years of history and tens of thousands of people that have sat on these pieces and loved them in their heyday.
We’re a hugely passionate family ran business trying to make a difference in the throw-away society that we live in today, and in giving these iconic gems a new lease of life for many more years to come, we like to think we’re achieving exactly that.