In business: Restoring vintage furniture

Helen Linehan has set up her own business restoring chaise longues

Helen Linehan has set up her own business restoring chaise longues - Credit: Ian Burt

In the first of a series on interesting new businesses in Norfolk, we meet Helen Linehan, of Norwich, who sells restored vintage furniture

Helen Linehan imports 1930s to 1960s daybeds, chaise longues, sofas and chairs from Germany, renovates and recovers them with gorgeous fabrics, and sells them through her online business (which means couch potato in German). “My background is in children’s TV and I have to admit I’d never been bothered by interiors until I moved to Norfolk,” says Helen, who settled in Norwich three years ago with husband, Graham - writer of the TV comedy series Father Ted, Black Books and The IT Crowd - and their two children. “Yet here I found myself falling in love with vintage and all the fantastic outlets here, like Looses Emporium, Paffron & Scott, Norfolk Upholstery and the Arminghall carboot. My home now is stuffed with the lovely things I like to buy.

“But I’m a stay-at-home, 41-year-old mum and I’d started to get a bit bored - I didn’t want to get to 50 and suddenly realise a decade had gone by without me doing something else. So, when someone told me I had a good eye for it, I did some research and discovered these lovely daybeds, which are mainly of German and Swedish design.”

She launched her website in September, and has worked with French polisher Peter Alden in Norwich, upholsterers Perkins and Gibbs near Bungay and fabric suppliers from Scotland, as well as Carol Lake of Studio at 91 in Norwich, to create beautiful restored furniture from the vintage pieces. The armchairs start at £500 and the chaise longues at £700 going up to £1,600 for those with mechanics that transform them from sofas to occasional beds.

Helen, who is currently writing a children’s TV show for CBBC with Graham, adds: “I’m really excited about the new business. I love seeing the chairs when they arrive, stripping them right back to their wood and springs, then finding the fabrics that will transform them and give them many more years of life.” 07728 776651

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