Comfrey Designs is a re-upholstery and furniture restoration business owned by Steve Arnold. He has been based in West Devon since 1998 and has over 35 years’ experience in his trade.
Steve carried out his training at the London College of Furniture, Whitechapel, where he learnt many traditional skills including French polishing and cabinet making as well as his stock in trade, high quality upholstery.
The London College of Furniture itself was part of a merger with The John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design which took place in 1990. The Cass, as it is now known, has over 2,500 students studying more than 70 courses.
Steve moved to Devon some 14 years ago with his wife, and two dogs. They left Basingstoke for a better quality of life. Originally the move took them to Lifton in mid-Devon but they finally settled in Germansweek.
The name of the business is a play on the words Comfort and Comfrey. Comfrey is a herb described as being of great versatility and usefulness and comfort due to this being a soft furnishings business.
What A Resume!
This on-site work required many overnight stays at such establishments, much to Steve’s delight. These projects were not only of exceptionally high quality but the designs and range of fabrics used were also very diverse.
Steve has since had commission work for customised beds from Harrods and the London Bedding Centre and has made individually designed bespoke furniture for interior designers all over the country.
His typical client requirement is for custom made furniture or the re-covering of domestic furniture in a variety of styles, from the creation of ultra-modern originals to the revival of well-loved antiques such as in the image shown on the left.
Steve’s Services are :
- Cushion making
- Customising interiors for Boats
- Caravan interiors
- Horse Lorries
Hotel Clients From The West Country
One of his more recent clients is the St Enodoc Hotel, Rock, Cornwall. Comfrey designs carried out extensive work in the hotel bedrooms. This work included soft furnishings, cushions, bedheads and window seats.
Comfortable Seating And Great Food On The Cornish Coast
For all of you foodies out there Steve also provided the custom made seating in the Nathan Outlaw restaurant. Nathan gained his two Michelin stars in 2011 and his restaurant has been named as the Best Seafood Restaurant in the UK by the Good Food Guide. Nathan has also written a cookery book called Nathan Outlaw’s British Seafood
Only The Best Of Fabrics
Comfrey Designs can supply a stunning selection of high quality fabrics from designers such as Rubelli, Bennison, Sanderson and Designers Guild. Steve is also happy for you to provide your own fabric.
Rubelli, of Italy, make sumptuous textiles in rich colours that are featured in top end hotels and on luxury cruise ships.
Arthur Sanderson established his imported French wallpaper business in 1860, Islington, London. In 1902 Sanderson commissioned C.F.A. Voysey to design and build his new four-story factory in Chiswick, London. The now well established and successful Sanderson empire broke into producing their own textiles in 1919 which had been commission printed since 1914. Today Sanderson is the oldest surviving brand name in it’s field.
Designers Guild established in 1970 by the brother & sister team Tricia Guild and Sam Jeffreys are at the other end of the spectrum. They specialise in modern design and combine creativity with innovation in their collections.
You’re In Safe Hands With Steve!
Rest assured that Comfrey Designs are highly experienced technicians and are passionate about their product. Steve is highly skilled and uses traditional techniques. He loves nothing more than to bring a tired piece of furniture back to life.
Comfrey’s customers tend to have their own individual style – and that can be applied to the recovering of an old piece of furniture or to the restoration of a special piece.
Many years ago whilst working near Reading I re-upholstered two Gainsborough Chippendale Chairs – they were very special.
As you can image they needed to have special insurance just to bring them into the workshop.
Comfrey Designs would like to increase their client base. Steve feels that moving to a remote part of Devon has made it harder to establish a large volume of clients. Most of Steve’s clients hear about his services via word of mouth but he would like to make more in-roads into the South-West marketplace.