Brands Interior Design

The footstool project, mixing vintage European and modern African design

footstool halsted design

It’s not a secret that I’m from South Africa (my accent gives me away immediately) and while I always champion local British design, I also spend a lot of time researching and following ‘local’ design in South Africa. I consider England and South Africa to both be my home so when I heard that South African based Halsted Design was starting to push their marketing efforts here in the UK, my ears pricked up and I jumped at the opportunity to meet with them.

Here’s a bit of background for you, Halsted Design is the little sister company to the world renowned South African ceramic art studio Ardmore Ceramics. They are HUGE in SA and the US and have dedicated followers and collectors. Their ceramic designs are bold, unique, tell beautiful stories and are so very African, you can almost feel the beat of the Continent when you see and hold these pieces.


A ceramic crocodile by Ardmore.

Ardmore wanted a way to share their designs that wasn’t on ceramics and would reach a new audience and market, so they decided to do this via fabric and formed Halsted Design. It’s a fantastic idea and brings the bold and bright ceramic designs to a medium that we can all use.


The Qalakabusha Sofa from Halsted Design, showcasing their fabric designs.

I met with Halsted and proposed to them that I select a piece of furniture and have it recovered in their fabric, as a way of showing others a neat way of using their fabric. I chose the Crocodile Lime Light pattern, I liked the way that the small crocodiles only became visible when you looked closely, from a distance, it draws you in by the unusual shape. It’s often that we fall in love with a fabric design but just not quite sure how to use it.

Crocodile Limelight fabric

A close up of the Crocodile Limelight fabric.

To help me find a suitable piece of furniture I approached Faith at Layer Home, a curated online marketplace for vintage and preowned design furniture. Browsing through their large range, I selected a Vintage French Stool that was ready for upholstery. It’s great to find pieces that are already prepared to be reupholstered, it reduces the cost from your upholsterer as he just needs to cover the piece.

halsted footstool project

The footstool ready to be upholstered.

I loved the idea of mixing a vintage European piece with modern African design; in a way it represents who I am and my style. The vintage stool is an unusual piece, it’s a ‘square’ shape which you don’t often find as most footstools are rectangular. It’s places like Layer Home that makes it easy to source unique pieces.

I took the fabric and stool off to my local upholsterer and within a week he had professionally covered the stool. It looked great, and I immediately spotted it when I entered his shop!

halsted footstool project

Can you spot it?

I strongly believe that you need a few pieces in your home that are a little bit off the wall, a crocodile print in lime green and black might not be your taste (you do need to check out the orange and turquoise colour way), but it really appeals to my sense of adventure, a link to my South African roots and it’s a lot of fun. I challenge you to find a really fun and bold piece of fabric and get something small upholstered.

Now I’ve just got to find the right spot for it.

halsted footstool project halsted footstool project halsted footstool project

Contacts: Halsted Design; Layer Home; Barnes Upholstery & Ardmore Ceramics.

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