The weekend before last, I had the very exciting opportunity to travel down to Sam’s old university stomping grounds near Nottingham to visit the DFS workshop. I had been invited there in honour of the Joules & DFS collaboration on a new range of sofas and chairs.
Long time readers of Rhyme & Ribbons will know that I have a massive soft spot when it comes to Joules, and their clothing has been a staple for me (especially their Harbour tops) so I jumped at the opportunity to see all their glorious fabrics writ large for bigger pieces.
I’m such a nerd, and learning about any highly skilled job, and getting to “peek behind the curtain” so to speak, is always extremely exciting to me. The DFS studio is amazing. It’s independently equipped to be able to make all its models in house. From sawing the wood to cutting the fabric, you can do it all there. Something that I was shocked to learn about DFS was that they don’t have any “stock” so to speak. Everything that you order is made when you order it, they don’t have piles of sofas sitting around in warehouses!
But I digress.
I was there to see the Joules range.
The Joules x DFS Collection
The pieces are all handmade in Derbyshire and feature the stunning hand-drawn prints that have made Joules famous.
The collection runs the gamut of Joules themes from country to coastal to bright pops of colour and encompasses sofas, armchairs and footstools. What I love most about the collection is just how “Joules” it is. The quality is brilliant and there are quirky hidden details all over. You might spy the Joules hare on the foot of one chair, and a special Joules glass pheasant button in the upholstery of another. And the gorgeous hare lining inside all the pieces is a great example of the attention to detail paid in the collection.
My favourite piece of all was the stunning yellow Windsor sofa that you can see at the top of this post. It would be the focal point in any room. You’d have to be brave to buy it, but imagine it in an otherwise fairly minimal room with tall ceilings; it would be the definition of chic!
The seaside inspired Burnham designs would look beautiful in a cottage. (Though the gorgeous white with navy stripes rule Sam and I out – poor Harold’s fur would show up on it immensely!) The Ilkley – the green and partridge print, I envision in a country home next to a fireplace with hastily kicked off welly boots all around. And the Cambridge, the gorgeous colourful floral prints that I upholstered my own chair with, could do just about anywhere!
The collection also really plays with fabrics. Not only are the patterns and prints all so different, not to mention the design of the sofas, but everything comes with the option of either being in velvet or cotton. I’ve always considered velvet too formal for the relaxed household that we keep, but seeing how it can be dressed up or down (and easily cleaned) completely changed my opinion, and in fact, I chose to upholster my chair in the velvet fabric.
There really is something for everyone.
Trying my hand
Whilst at the workshop I had the further opportunity to do two more really exciting things. One was to paint my own pattern a la Joules to be printed on to a cushion, and the other was to upholster my own Joules & DFS armchair. I’m not a brilliant artist so I’m semi-terrified to see how my cushion will turn out; despite all the lovely guidance from part of the Joules art design team. Upholstery, however, I am somewhat more confident in. After having it demonstrated to me by a pro (and being carefully monitored by him the whole time), I grew more confident in my stapling abilities. And though I’d never want anyone to pay their hard earned money for something that I upholstered, I’m quite happy to have my chair in my own home.
I’ve made a cheeky little youtube video about my time in Derbyshire and down at the DFS studio. You can watch it below:
Do you fancy any of the designs? The collection goes on sale in DFS soon, so get to shopping!
Fingers crossed my upholstery handiwork holds up when my own chair gets here!
***I was a guest of DFS and Joules, but all thoughts and opinions are forever my own.***