Isla Simpson’s Visit to Parker Knoll - Parker Knoll
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Isla Simpson’s Visit to Parker Knoll

Isla Simpson’s Visit to Parker Knoll

We were incredibly happy to welcome Isla Simpson to the factory!

As you may have seen on social media, our Parker Knoll apprentices have been working hard to re-upholster Isla’s beautiful Penshurst chair.

We are always moved to hear of the stories of our chairs, and this one was certainly no exception!

Isla holds this Penshurst chair very close to her heart, having received it as a gift from a close personal friend. We were moved the hear how her friend’s grandmother requested that, whenever she came from Scotland to visit the family, the chair was to be brought with her! Since then, this proud Penshurst has been displayed in Isla’s lounge, draped with an elegant loose cover.

Image: Isla Simpson

Looking to give this beautiful chair a new lease of life, Isla kindly agreed to provide our upholstery apprentices at Parker Knoll the opportunity of reupholstering her beloved chair – providing them with a unique opportunity to work on a frame with over 60 years of life.

The first task for our Level 3 apprentice, Dean Saunt, was to strip the chair, removing the frame of its cushion filling and staples. This was a very delicate process, which took just under a day to complete.

The fabric chosen by Isla was an elegant William Morris fabric, a delicate print that brings this graceful chair up to date, without losing its classic look. The fabric was cut and sewn to fit the chair, before being passed on to our Level 2 apprentices for upholstering.

As the chair was being upholstered, we noticed an original label, stamped with the manufacturing date. Isla was delighted to learn that the chair dated back to 1964!

Daniel Grundy (Level 2 apprentice) did an amazing job of showing Isla how we approach upholstering a complex vintage chair – expertly using skills he has learnt during his apprenticeship, under the watchful eye of our apprentice’s talented trainer, Kevin Maillard.

The apprentices are still working hard on completing the final touches.

Once complete, we shall be revealing the brand-new look for Isla’s Penshurst chair over on our social media, so make sure you’re following us to stay up-to-date!

Why not take a look at Isla’s Instagram @Isla_Simpson, where you’ll find English heritage posts, vintage inspiration, and some lovely examples of Isla’s illustrations and designs.

Parker Knoll Upholstery Ltd


Parker Knoll



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