By Drake the Dog
Reader Pet Columnist
Where am I taking my humans today? Spring is in the air, and it’s time to find some fabric to re-upholster my dog bed. The Missus is out of town on a biz trip, so I get to hang out with the Mr. and live my dream job as the official shop dog at Sandpoint Upholstery located at 102 S. Second Ave.
I love to sit in front of the big windows and watch for customers. The Mr. told me the story of how he became a master upholsterer. He grew up in Duluth Minn., served in the Navy as Corpsman and rose to the rank of Second Class Petty Officer. Using the GI bill, he graduated from the University of Washington. After college, he accidentally got into the furniture business (vinyl repair) with a college friend. The twosome split and he started upholstering individual pieces in his garage. Then he hired a semi-retired associate and learned the specifics of the trade. A few years later, he opened a more sophisticated custom furniture manufacturing business in Bellevue, WA.
The Mr. had the barkin’ experience of working for customers such as the Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Phil Condit residences, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Boeing Company, and a number of high end architects and designers. (I bet they had some awesome dog treats…. wish I would have known the Mr. then!). Frequently his company won custom upholstery awards during the Seattle Street of Dreams.
When the Mr. and Missus first crossed the long bridge in 2005, Sandpoint got them at “hello.”
After 38 successful years in WA, the Mr. sold the business, retired, and the duo moved to Sandpoint (where folks wave all five fingers!). They wanted to live in a small vibrant arts community town, closer to a ski mountain, hiking and water sports. After three months of retired life, The Mr. needed a creative outlet. Two years ago, he opened Sandpoint Upholstery, collaborating with a with full service designer, Dion Williams of DW Design. Local satisfied customers include – John Sayler, Georgia Shonk- Simmons, Kally Thurman, and designer, Barbie Buchanan, just to name a few.
Sandpoint Upholstery specializes in antique restoration, custom headboards, and custom upholstery. They have the largest fabric selection in Sandpoint – with access to global fabric distributors. And they specialize in pattern matching (do your stripes match?).
Folks don’t know what they want until they start looking at fabric. The Mr. gibber jabbers with his customers to create a visual conversation about the room where the furniture (and dog beds) live. Once he formulates that illustration, he can then use his knowledge of fabrics to guide the customers to an appropriate array of sample selections. He offers complimentary fabric sample checkout to ensure that the particular fabric sample colorways don’t change when they take up residence in the room. (Who knew that lighting, paint color, carpet and four-footed children could have an effect on how a fabric appears in a room!) Once the fabric has been chosen, the project completion takes a couple of weeks to a month, depending on workload and fabric availability.
Folks re-upholster furniture for a number of reasons. The piece could be a family heirloom or keepsake, or to enhance the quality of the furniture compared to the newer manufactured versions (plywood/particle board/padding). Individual pricing is based on the particular item, which might include tufting, skirting, new cushion filler, decorative nail trim, or details. While re-upholstery is not necessarily inexpensive, it’s better bang for the buck. And that’s a tail-waggin’ good piece of advice!
Sandpoint Upholstery Rules:
1. Hours are by appointment or short notice (retirement rocks!)
2. Leashes required
3. Nose art on the windows is welcome
4. Dog friendly K-9 customers please
5. Bring healthy treats to share
6. Do your business outside, not on the fabric samples.
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