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Custom Upholstery


How many layers have been removed from this upholstered bench?* (copyright ThrowMeAPillow 2012)


  • Your custom upholsterer knows YOU;
  • They know where your furniture sits in your room. 
  • They know how you USE your furniture.
  • They have years or decades of experience

David Ira Youngdahl earned the much coveted bid for Apprenticeship at the prestigious Fred Sisto Associates in 1977.  Sisto's was the premier decorator's workroom for the Capitol District of New York.  Located behind the old Mayfair Design Studios at 1 Washington Avenue, Albany NY, Sisto's was frequented by the finest ASID designers in the region.

     Among the highlights of his apprenticeship was learning from Harold Rasmussen, to "spit tacks". This not to be confused with chewing your nails (which is NOT recommended!) Born in the 1890's, Mr. Rasmussen was pleased to share the secrets of the trade with willing learners.

     When teaching some technique on an antique frame, Mr. Rasmussen would ask, "D'ya know what they used to call an antique like this when I was learning to upholster?"

     He couldn't resist answering himself, "New Furniture!"

     The sum of this is that Mr Youngdahl draws upon over 100 years of experience when he restores your quality upholstered furniture.  We typically send 3 or 4 days on a chair, 5 to 7 days on a sofa. As with painting your interior, it is not the painting that takes the time. It's the clearing the room, set-up, masking, wall prep, clean-up and re-setting that take the time.  Applying the paint is what people think of as the job.  Once you've done a painting job yourself, you can see how much more goes into painting a room.  

     I cannot tell you the number of people over the years who have brought a set of dining room chairs to the shop, with part of one seat stripped, or one seat completely finished, willing to pay to have the job done by a professional.  As an inside joke, within the upholstery trade, when people say, "It's as good as new" we consider that an insult.  We never say so; we thank the client for their compliment; but we know that quality custom upholstery yields a better job than has been found in any store since the Second World War.

     In 1978, the Youngdahl's established Renaissance Custom Upholstery. The following product pages will break down the upholstery process into it's elemental components. This is intended to demystify the process for designers trying to understand prices as well as to educate upholsterers as to how they ought to value their craft and trade.


* the answer is 8; after the twines came burlap, hair, more burlap, curly hair, cotton, muslin,
more cotton,
and two finish layers of fabric, because the last upholsterer had not stripped the piece.

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