Here at Reloved, Simion offers bespoke upholstery services andcreative workshops for budding furniture fanatics. What’s more, Simion also upholsters skip-salvaged seating for the BBC One show Money for Nothing.
Simion has always been interested in interiors, especially when it comes to making and restoring things. When he was a child, his mum caught him stripping the dark stain off his bedroom furniture to bring it back to the pale wood.
After studying design at college, he ended up working in the barindustry, before opening his own cafe and art gallery in Manchester. He worked hard to perfect the interior, designing it himself andworking on the upholstery. The challenges of renovating a house in France, led Simion to learn how to properly upholster furniture.
He met upholsterer Dennis Gilligan, who taught Simion how toupholster the traditional way. You can read more about the brilliant Dennis in this blog.
Simion has a meticulous eye for detail and painstaking process when it comes to upholstering vintage chairs. He believes that chairs from this period deserve to be restored sympathetically to how they were produced in their original workshop. So, with each chair that arrives at the Reloved Works studio, he begins by stripping it back to the frame and repairing any breakages or wobbles that there might be. There are occasionally some surprises when stripping back old chairs which offer clues to their past – from old chocolate bar wrappers and pennies, to the china dinner plate Simion once found down the back of a Chestefield!
Simion then builds up from the bare frame by replacing all thematerials and adding the chosen fabric, before topstitchingeverything by hand. One of Simion’s favourite chairs, the iconic Egg™ by Arne Jacobsen, has over 400 individual hand stitches. Every chair is different, but a typical lounge chair, such as Simion’s signature chair, the Parker Knoll Statesman, will usually take him a week to upholster from start to finish.
Amongst many beautiful statement chairs, Simion loves upholstering the GPlan 6250, Greaves and Thomas Egg chair and many classic styles of Ercol such as the Ercol Studio couch and Ercol Jubilee. He would never let a chair leave the studio that he would not be proud to have in his own home.
Simion’s favourite part of any restoration is choosing the fabric. Working with fantastic suppliers such as Kirkby designs, BUTE fabrics, Linwood, Camira and Abraham Moons & sons. He has a real eye for fabrics and loves to champion the work of new designer makers, collaborating with the likes of Divine Savages, Studio Flock, Rachael Taylor Studio, Patternistas and Charlotte Jade. Visit the fabric page for some inspiration.Simion also offers an interior styling service. He is involved in a brilliant community of makers and designers here in Manchester, which means he can always access advice and inspiration. He can source amazing vintage pieces for your home, including mid-century furniture from Ercol and Gplan, along with Soft furnishings and advice with your scheme.
“I’d like to be like Iggy Pop. His house is filled with beautiful chairs and apparently he makes time to sit in each and every one of them” - Simion Hawtin-Smith