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Out with the old, in with the old

by: Vern Uyetake, Using new striped fabric in soft caramels and maroons, this chair has been given a new life —  comfy, cozy and begging for sitter.

A rainbowed row of colors greets visitors at Rosewood Upholstery. Different patterns - striped, polka dot, plaid, flocked - garnish sample fabrics. And in an oversized back room, Mi and Sam Kim give torn up, forgotten furniture a new life.

'Each item is really important and really special. When they bring in their old furniture and when it goes out and it looks bright, it makes the customer happy. And that makes me really happy,' said Mi Kim, co-owner.

After spending 15 years at their Gresham location, the married couple says they have enjoyed their two years in Lake Oswego, reupholstering local items to transform nearby homes. The company repairs, restyles and refinishes furniture.

While usually homeowners bring in chairs and couches for a facelift, sometimes just freshening up outdoor furniture or pillows can transform a living space into something new.

'(Sometimes) people bring in a photo of what they want to be recovered. We work together for what style and pattern,' said Kim. 'I find out the mind of the customer and we can work together.'

Altering the height of a chair or sofa is also an option when recovering furniture.

'People want a different design. Like our last customer (had) a low back couch and wanted to make it six inches higher. We can do that,' said Kim.

The Kims use their residential and commercial experience when approaching new jobs, they say. Previously the upholstering duo recovered the dining chairs at the downtown Embassy Suites Hotel. They have also recovered 3,000 chairs when the Keller Auditorium - originally known as the Civic Auditorium - was remodeled in Portland.

But, what about right now?

The couple agreed that bright colors are preferred for the outdoors, while striped and plaid patterns seem popular for interior furniture.

Sambrella's outdoor fabrics have proven popular this season while Duralee and Beckford are classic interior fabric favorites.

But what is the reupholstering process?

For a medium-sized round chair with a skirt encircling the bottom, first all fabric must be removed. Then all springs in the chair are tested for tightness. If the springs need replacing they can be replaced on-site. Next, the frame is examined to make sure alignment is correct. With new batting, the seat is replaced along with fabric. And lastly the skirt is attached.

Typically, the process takes about a week for most jobs, says Kim.

The Kim's work with about nine to 10 local designers on a regular basis because sometimes updating current furniture can help when remodeling a room, says Kim.

'I love re-design projects and work with Rosewood on transformation projects, which are almost instantly rewarding,' said Di Barker, re-design specialist with abundanceforlife located in West Linn. 'Often times a client wants to update their home without re-doing the entire house and spending an absolute fortune on new pieces. Re-upholstery is a great way to reinvent old pieces and inject a fresh new look.'

And with Rosewood Upholstery's close proximity to Barker's clients as well as other local designers and homeowners, it may seem as if everyone goes home happy - and freshly updated.

'I really love the location (in Lake Oswego). We've met a lot of nice people and they always take care of us - just really lovely people,' said Kim. 'It's really great, this job. All the old things come in and all the bright new things go out and it really makes people happy.'

Rosewood Upholstery is located 17750 SW Pilkington Road in Lake Oswego. Reach the company by phone by dialing 503-699-3290. The company offers pickup and delivery of furniture within the Portland-Metro area.