Sarah Peterson restores furniture salvaged from skips with BBC1’s programme ‘Money for Nothing‘ programme. She has a furniture upcycling shop in Perth called Sarah’s Attic where she restores anything from chairs to retro cabinets. Her creativity also breathes new life into unwanted fabric that she converts into lampshades and cushions.
Money for Nothing
Last November, Sarah got in touch. Jay Blades from ‘Money for Nothing’ had rescued four 70s era cane dining chairs and commissioned her to refurbish them for the current series.
Only the frames of the chairs were respectable, so Sarah decided to upholster the seats. She wanted to do something special with the backs though. Her idea was to have four identical plywood panels laser cut with a geometric pattern and asked if I could help.
Creating a design
I explained to Sarah that I need vector artwork files for laser cutting. My tips for creating vector artwork are here. As the chair backs would be identical, only one artwork file was necessary. It simply needed to outline each shape to be cut out, including the outer rectangle to show the panel outline. The laser follows the outline lines when cutting the shapes.
Sarah created a file with lots of geometric shapes and asked for a quote for four to be cut from 6mm plywood.
I sent the laser cut chair backs to Sarah. She hadn’t been too sure what to expect, but when they arrived, she loved them and knew they would work with her design.
She decided to upholster the seats in a 1980’s style with blocks of colour provided by bright fabrics. Each chair was to be different, and the colours would work together so if viewed through a class table, the colours would flow from one chair to the next. Sarah screwed the plywood backs to the existing wooden frames to continue the graphic theme.
As seen on TV!
It was very exciting to see the photos of the chairs that Sarah shared on Instagram last November when she’d finished them. Their transformation was incredible! They really had looked fit for the skip when Jay rescued them, and Sarah had worked wonders.
Sarah warned me that it would seem a very long wait until the show was aired. The great day was last Friday, 19th October, about eleven months after we’d worked together on the project. It was really exciting to see a project I’d helped with on the telly and the chairs looked even better than in the photos. And Sarah was a joy to work with.
You can see the episode featuring Sarah’s upcycled chairs here. Someone fell in love with them and bought them too!