Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Dream Of The White Settee Revealed

First I must thank Leonels Upholstery for making my dreams come true.
From Rosie, who answers the phone and takes all the orders with knowing expertise, and who has all the information, and who patiently listens to me unravel my creative process; to handsome son Leonel Jr. who picks up and delivers and helps his dad in all aspects of the business; and finally to dad Leonel Sr. who is an artist and craftsman of the utmost quality. Dealing with this firm has been a joy. Mind you I have never met them (except for Leonel Jr. when he came to my door to pick up the first job they did for me, my camel back sofa) in person: I have done everything by phone, having chosen them from the Yellow Pages after talking to a half dozen others listed there. I never even looked at the web site until today. It's called intuition and trust.
Having trained in the furniture shops of Honduras and the manufacturing companies of New York City, Leonel Valladares Sr. brought his furniture expertise to New Orleans in 1980. The company began in a humble apartment room in Kenner, Louisiana serving local clients. Shortly thereafter, Leonel hired his first employee, his father, who is still working with him today. Over the years, as the reputation of quality and originality spread, the company expanded dramatically. Leonel’s craftsmanship now resides in some of New Orleans’ most exclusive homes and businesses (and humble homes like mine), including the Windsor Court Hotel. Leonel’s long history of creating fine furniture and focusing on customer service has lead the business to become one of the largest in Louisiana. The company’s quality is assured for years to come as Leonel has trained his son Leonel Jr. in the art of the custom upholstery.
Here are some photos from their web site HERE
They do so many different kinds of furniture, each one becoming unique to its owner.
Look at this incredible Mid Century Mod piece! Check out the immaculate tufting!
I know my dining room chairs are going to look fabulous!
This little guy loves Leonels upholstery!

The cow hide on the French chair is very kicky, but not as kicky as the white leather I dreamed up for them to do.
Ideas come from things dreamed and imagined. I dream of beautiful things to do for my home, and for any project I take on for a client.It's a beautiful morning in New Orleans. I've thrown open the doors and windows to let the balmy Fall breezes cleanse the house, and welcome in the dappled sun light to play in the rooms. Cholo and I are waiting for the Leonel, Jr. to deliver the settee, and pick up the dining room chairs to be taken away and renewed.
And here it is! I feel like Steven Martin in The Jerk, wanting to run up and down the front fence yelling and dancing with glee: Thephonebooksarecomingthephonebooksarecoming!!! Only in this case I'm yelling: The settee is here! Maybe Leonel will put Cholo and the settee in his gallery on his web site!
I've used the same faux white leather as the sofa. If you decide to this with your furniture, look for a matte finish leather. This fabric has a slight pebble grain. It is very soft and fabric like, and that's why I like it so much. I think it looks like (and feels) like any heavy cotton fabric, but with the ease of just being able to wipe it clean. Also no dog hair attaches itself, and since Cholo owns every piece of furniture in the house (as Cavs were bred to do), it's perfect. Choose a leather with a fabric backing. Upholsterers prefer it, it's easier to use, less labor intensive, so it helps with the price. I also chose the French natural nail head again.
The gilding is original, and I'm leaving it alone, in all its tattered glory.
The 150 year old settee has been completely stabilized by Leonel, and it is very sound with nary a wobble or a fear of it falling to pieces crashing the sitter to the floor! It was in rough shape: Alberto and I did the best we could with fixing it, but the back felt like it would snap off if it wasn't resting against the wall. Leonel fixed it so it can stand alone.
It's going to live in my office for now. I can take a break from sitting at my desk to read or even work on the laptop, and of course it's long enough for me to take a little power nap.
I'm using my French metal folding chair as a magazine rack. It's an antique and not too comfy, and it has a wide stance, and always seems a bit in the way when its open. So now I think re- purposing it this way which is just so cute.
I'm using my French metal folding chair as a magazine rack. It's an antique and not too comfy, and it has a wide stance, and always seems a bit in the way when its open. So now I think re- purposing it this way is just so cute.
The hubs made this tray table for me! I found an old gilt table in the trash, and sadly the top was beyond repair. But I saved the legs, and bought the tray at Wal Mart, and Alberto put it all together for me!
So there you have it. Such a simple thing on this beautiful day makes me happy! I can hardly wait for the dining rooms chairs to be done!


Topsy Turvy said...

Valorie, your settee is a thing of beauty. I love it!


plangal2002 said...


Design Junkie said...

leonel's is the bomb. They are the best upholsterers in the city. They're quality level is amazing

Sabina said...

It looks fabulous, especially with Cholo sitting on it!

Cote de Texas said...



ok, one more time just for cholo


London Calling said...

The setee looks wonderful. The office perfection.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

It is perfect! Just darn all over lovely!