16 Nov IN CONVERSATION WITH GEORGE SMITH – HOW TO CHOOSE A SOFA FOR A GEORGIAN PROPERTY
Image features George Smith Tiplady Sofa, Signature Chairs, Brewster Chair, Empire Stool and Georgian Desk Chair
This week I have had the pleasure of speaking Ben Norris CEO of leading upholstered furniture brand George Smith who has shared the firm’s top tips on how to choose a sofa for a Georgian property.
George Smith has become synonymous with beautifully crafted upholstered furniture. Every sofa, chair, chaise and stool is hand made in George Smith’s workshops located in the North of England.
The original George Smith was an early nineteenth century furniture maker and he is still a strong influence in how the current George Smith brand make and design their furniture today.
George Smith are widely renowned as one of the best quality makers of upholstered furniture what is it that is unique to you that has gained you that reputation?
It is all about the attention to detail in both design and craftsmanship that allows George Smith to be in the discussion of being the best upholstered furniture manufacturer in the world.
We look for all our designs, whether inspired in the 17th century or the 21st century, to be timeless and classic and able to inhabit a myriad of interior schemes. Great design allows an ambiguity that facilitates the designs not being easily pigeon holed into one certain style.
Our greatest asset is our craftsmen and women at our factory that bring these designs to life with knowledge, skill and love. Only the very best materials and processes are used to make what is a product of style, comfort, luxury and the ultimate in sustainability.
How do you construct your sofa’s and what elements of the process are handmade versus automated?
This is a completely handmade product using tried and tested traditional methods passed down through generations, but always keeping an eye on what’s new and integrating these into the manufacturing process where we feel it improves the integrity of the piece. The foundation is the kiln dried beech or birch frame which is hand jointed to give it the ultimate stability. Steel coiled springs are then expertly eight way hand tied into the frame supported on jute webbing.
Boar bristle is then added to envelope and cushion the springing, followed by a cotton-feather mixture to provide thick padding and comfort a muslin pad is then sewn in to provide a smooth and seamless base for the application of the fabric in the upholstery phase. The fabric is skillfully cut, sewn and applied to the frame. Finally hand filled feather and down cushions are made for maximum comfort. Thus producing a product of great comfort and with unparalleled sustainability.
What sofa styles suit a Georgian property?
Georgian properties are about wonderful scale and proportions, whether that be Houghton Hall, a Nash House in Regents Park or a Georgian townhouse in Harrogate.
There are many sofas in our range that will work well in a Georgian home. Our Georgian and Regency Sofas have their roots in Georgian times and both have a sophistication and elegance that will fit perfectly in a Georgian home.
Image of George Smith Georgian sofa, button backed in French blue
Image features George Smith Regency Sofa and Signature Standard Arm Chairs
Our Early Victorian Chesterfield would be a great addition to a Georgian home with its ample scale and it’s buttoning detail.
Image features George Smith Chesterfield Sofa
As would the Brompton Sofa which is inspired more from the 1940’s and 50’s, but the integrity and timelessness of the design will allow it to shine in a Georgian home. The Tiplady Knole has been and continues to be a happy resident in many of the great Georgian country homes across the U.K.
What Chair styles suit a Georgian property?
The Georgian Chair will again be right at home in a Georgian property as will our Somerville Chair who has inspiration from the 1850’s. The Low Scroll Wing Chair also is based on the great wing chairs of George I reign with its enveloping high back and carver leg detail. Georgian Homes are about evolution and are often filled with items of style from the many periods of their lives. The William IV Chair will certainly not look out of place in any Georgian home.
What advice do you like to give on how to best choose upholstery, fabrics and colours etc.?
A sofa is one of the foundations of a great interior. Look for integrity in design and craftsmanship and make sure it fits the needs in the part of the house it inhabits. I think comfort is just as important a style and do not underestimate this as you may be spending hours curled up in the sofa of your choice doing the things you love. The fabrics should work with the interior scheme you are developing in terms of colour and style. The durability of fabrics in high traffic areas should always be considered.
How to choose a sofa for modern day living which also fits well within a Georgian property?
Form and function is a very simple way to answer this question. A majority of Georgian properties, like George Smith furniture, have a timelessness and an integrity in design. This allows for items with a similar ethos to thrive in these properties. Modern day living is no different than Georgian day living and is about comfort, luxury and style.
What considerations do you need to make when deciding on fixed back or loose back sofa’s?
This is a completely subjective call and is based on what feels right for each individual. The considerations are simply what makes you feel best.
In addition to its own collections, George Smith also offers a full-bespoke service. You can choose to take one of their existing designs and adjust it to fit with your design preference or practical requirements. Alternatively should you wish to create a piece using historical Georgian and Regency designs, George Smith can ensure that they meet your bespoke requirements to create a piece in keeping with your property.
For more information on George Smith and to view their furniture collections go to www.georgesmith.co.uk