Barclay Furniture of Holyoke, Mass. — in business since 1950 — gets started on my sectional

Construction of the new sectional for my Mahalo Lounge is finally under way. There was a big delay — I had to wait for fabric for an existing, second, vintage sectional that I am having recovered at the same time.

Above: That’s Mike and Ray from Barclay Furniture of Holyoke, Mass., which is doing the work for me. The were here Monday to pick up the existing sectional to take to Holyoke; that’s just the left-hand piece of it.

Another cool thing about Knoll fabric: They sell directly to the public.

Barclay Furniture started making furniture in 1950 and today, it continues to build furniture the old-fashioned way — using eight-way hand-tied springs, for example. Most of their business is working with designers. 

I learned about Barclay Furniture from the store that had my pinch pleats made up and then installed them.

Barclay had another client in Lenox, and after I called the company to talk, another Mike — Mike’s grandfather Mike, who owns the business — stopped by my house to see my sectional and to talk with me about the project.

Then, to look at fabric, I went to visit the company — I loved the place! And then, Mike came out again to measure to ensure I’d order the right amount of fabric and to get the estimate down.

Now, we are off and running. My project has two parts — they will (1) restore and recover my existing, vintage sectional and (2) build me a second sectional for my Mahalo Lounge

The all-new sectional will be covered in my pricey, precious Knoll Rivington in Palm fabric.

The downstairs sectional is getting Knoll Keaton in the “Pembrook” colorway (shown above). This fabric must be a good seller, because once I decided on it, I had to eight weeks for a new run.

Note: I am NOT being paid by Knoll or by Barclay Furniture or getting this for free or anything like that. I am paying for everything. Read how I make money on blog, including how I do disclosures (transparently!) here

The work will take up to eight weeks. That means: The clock is now ticking down. Time to get all the details of the Mahalo Lounge completed. I’m feeling: Small, soft-launch get-togethers with friends as soon as the sectional is in. Then: Big bash on Hallowe’en! 

And, both Mikes say I can come down to their workroom along the river in Holyoke to do some stories showing my sectionals in progress. That will be fun, too!

Categoriestiki and bars
  1. calea says:

    Looking forward to the big reveal, I love the fabric choices you made.

    We just took a trip to Chicago, and went to this amazing tiki bar – Three Dots and a Dash. It basically reminded me of everything you’re doing in your lounge! If you’re ever in that area you should pop in.

  2. Peter says:

    Definitely worth getting it reupholstered. They don’t make ’em like they used to! I get the impression that a lot of the reproduction mid century sofas are made offshore and not very durable, though they sure look good! I bought a used, high quality mid century sofa with walnut trim and legs made in Norway (not sure of the manufacturer) from someone on Craigslist, and I had to act fast before someone else bought it! My friends and family who are not into mid century thought I was crazy. I got it reupholstered in orange and it looks awesome. The upholstery work is really good, and maybe I’m being critical, but it doesn’t have that same look at the original upholstery did – I can tell it’s been reupholstered. But, it needed it. The original avocado colored fabric was beyond hope. Now I have a great looking, clean, comfortable, durable and well built genuine mid century sofa.

    A few weeks ago, I saw an awesome styled long, low and wide 50s mauve sofa and matching chair out on the sidewalk with a “FREE” sign on them. It was in a low rent neighborhood. One of the legs was missing, and some of the fabric on the sides was torn, likely from being forced through a narrow doorway, and in another spot from a cat scratching the corner. But it otherwise looked very clean and in excellent shape. Someone (not into mid century) probably inherited it, got it free or cheap and didn’t respect it. Just used it for a while, grew tired of it and then wanted to get rid of it for something newer.

    Aside from the (presumably) new rips, the sofa and chair looked to be in excellent condition. No odors, stains or burns. Probably used for the duration of someone’s one year lease, then, not realizing (or appreciating) the gem they had, they tossed them to the curb when they moved. I’m going to order new (and taller 12″ vs the original 8″) legs and get them reupholstered in a nice mid century appropriate color or pattern for my future mid century themed basement suite Airbnb rental. Unless I want to keep it for myself upstairs and put my other sofa downstairs!

    To be honest, this sofa and chair I found cast off on the sidewalk were in better shape than the other one I paid money for! And these were free! It will still cost money to get the new legs and reupholstery, but so worth it. Most sofas (even mid-range and higher priced ones) made since the 2000s seem to be made overseas and with inferior quality wood that was previously not used for furniture. And put together with staples instead of screws. They just don’t hold up and end up breaking springs or the wood frame in a year or two, even if the people using them aren’t overly heavy. Ask me how I know.

    So, yeah… it’s totally worth it to spend the money to get an old sofa reupholstered, even if you could buy a brand new one for the sam price or less. One exception might be very high end furniture. I bought low back mid century sectional (that would blend with a mid century decor) at a furniture liquidator. It was originally over $3000. Due to a minor rip, and it being discontinued, I got it for $1200. And three years later it’s still holding up well. And if you’re getting custom made furniture, I’m sure it will be to the same high standards like the old ones used to be. I’ve been following along with the progress of your Mahalo Lounge and can’t wait to see it all finished!

    1. Lisette says:

      While my sofa isn’t mid century, it dates from around 1918. It was my grandparent’s. It has had at least four recoverings. My upholstery shop tells me the springs are perfect, and, “they don’t make them like this anymore”. The right fabric will make a sofa blend in no matter what the decor.

    2. kddomingue says:

      Every so often I’ll wander into a furniture store to take a look around. I almost always walk out simply appalled at the low quality of what I’ve seen and really appalled at the prices being charged for this low quality stuff. The husband and I have few things in our home that are new-ish. The youngest furniture item that we have is the recliner that he’s currently napping in which is almost 20 years old. We’ve got pieces ranging in age from the late 1800s (iron bedframe) up to the late 1960s. Nothing that was very high end or expensive when it was first sold but well made out of good materials with the intention that it would last a good long while. A good old piece can be refinished, reupholstered, refurbished and repaired and it’s worth the time and/or money to do so. Most new stuff? Not worth the original price much less any additional monies.

      1. Kristina says:

        Oh yeah- tell me about it! Low quality, indeed. Reason being all of our manufacturing is moving overseas- the plan is ALL of it overseas. Not just “some of it” but all of it. It’s called “Tough Choices or Tough Times” Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. Their touting this as a viable and honorable plan (it most certainly is not). They want to move all labor to ‘developing nations” and save the US for only “innovation, marketing and global supply chain”. That means nothing made here whatsoever.
        The only furniture store in town I found that has decent furniture is a place that sells Stickley stuff. There is another store close by that one that has all the Danish “Euro” furniture too, and that’s it for well made stuff. Barclay I am pleased to be reminded of, and that gladly it is still in business. I have fond memories of dad’s Barca-lounger! What house didn’t have one that dad worshiped in the household? Ah, the old Barca-loungers. Those are a part of American history 🙂

    3. Pencils says:

      I’ve been tempted on seeing upholstered pieces on the street, but my area is full of bedbugs these days. Apparently. I’ve never had them, or seen them, but my old office had warnings several times when employees had bedbugs at home and they warned us they may have sneaked into the office–their office furniture was fumigated or disposed of. Just not worth it to me to deal with possible bedbugs. I do have a gorgeous Scandinavian chair that my sister bought on Craigslist that I inherited when she needed more space in her cottage. Actually, I think it’s been on this blog….
      It’s the one with the “Love” pillow on it. It needs to be recovered, but I haven’t decided which room it’s going to live in permanently yet, so I haven’t chosen a fabric.

  3. Vic says:

    Look forward to seeing these completed, your fabric picks are beautiful.

    I would ask Barclay to save you the scraps of fabric from the job.

  4. Jay says:

    I’m laughing because the color way for your downstairs sectional looked familiar – it’s similar to the Knoll chairs in the office here at work. Turned one over, just a bunch of numbers on the tag. Looking forward to additional sectional stories; It’s like we’re all living this project together. Slowly but surely it’s falling into place. Good thing it will be finished by Halloween, that’s when you’ll be ramping up for Christmas craft projects.

    1. Mary Elizabeth says:

      Yes, Jay, she must get started by then for Christmas. Now, here’s a problem: how to decorate the Mahalo Lounge for Christmas? We need to put our heads together and make suggestions for Pam. For example, ornament wreaths in the new colors of the room? Santa figure in a Hawaiian shirt, saying “Mele Kalikimaka”?

  5. Susan Halla says:

    I can’t wait to see the “in-process” stories. I love watching things like that – I love “How it’s Made” on the Science Channel because I am a big geek.

    And maybe, just maybe, it will inspire me to get my reupholstery projects done.

    1. linda h says:

      On Kate’s blog, she always had new years decorating resolutions and I always commented that I would try to get my vintage sectional sofa re-upholstered , too, but I still haven’t.

  6. Chad says:

    It’s funny, I spent 3 years remodeling and dreaming of the day when things wrapped up cleanly and I’d have a big thing to celebrate. There never was a tidy ending and I never had anything but soft openings.

    1. Mary Elizabeth says:

      I think you should have a party at the completion of the kitchen cabinets for sure. And another party (garden party, perhaps) when you finish the outside walls in back. Your crooked house is small, and you need small parties for all the small victories, not a huge bash for the whole city. 🙂

  7. Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Will be cool to see it in progress. If it were mine, I’d be there at least once a week!

  8. Rick S says:

    I am so excited to see your project moving forward. I wanted to suggest the reupholstered sectional get signed and dated by your craftspeople. Something for posterity.
    We have a workers wall in the garage to sign when someone makes their mark on our home. They are part of our homes history.
    We had a family piece refinished and signed and dated on bottom. We know it is there and it makes us smile.

  9. Janet in ME says:

    Oh wow! I REMEMBER Barclay Furniture! My father carried it in his furniture store in the 60’s and it had to be very good furniture for him to carry it as Dad was fussy! I wonder if the grandfather or his father remembers him – he had a store in Rockville CT and I used to love to go with him when he picked up furniture in Holyoke and Gardner in Massachusetts. So you picked a good company to work with! Best wishes on the completion of your lounge project. Say HI to them on behalf of Al’s daughter. You don’t know how happy I am to know that some of the old furniture businesses in Massachusetts are still operating. Almost all of them where we would go pick up are gone. The four seater sofa that was left behind in my house here in Maine looks nearly identical to yours. Same legs, same arms and similar tight back, and I love it.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      I already have a sectional in the downstairs (walk-out basement) family room. That one is getting recovered – it’s the one being carried out in the photo. In addition, I am having a second one made for the upstairs living room/dining room Mahalo Lounge.

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