A few weeks ago I inherited a large, threadbare armchair. It was quite old, but not old enough to be an antique. Old enough to smell like one though. I thought to myself, I need a chair. And I liked the shape of this one: low and deep, long of seat and short of leg, precisely the sort of chair that's almost impossible to find these days. So I kept it and rang Revival.
I first came across Revival - and the owners, Shay and Imelda - several years ago when I decided to get my husband's old sofa from his student days (aka the "hangover seat") re-covered as a birthday present. It was - and still is - an intrinsically worthless piece of furniture; but it has sentimental value.
On the recommendation of a friend I gave it to Shay, not expecting a lot back. What was unveiled three weeks later was the furniture equivalent of one of those ladies you see on 10 years Younger. Still recognisable; but restored, resprung and re-covered in a blazing red chenille with matching piping.
Shay is that rare creature: an artisan who loves his work and doesn't charge a fortune for it. He does everything, from banquettes to headboards - and is also one of the few longstanding (25 years) inhabitants of Notting Hill who hasn't turned into a rip-off merchant.
This time, when I explained the problem, he said he had a new wheeze: patchwork. He would cover the chair in scraps of leftover material (his workshop is like the fabric department of John Lewis after a tornado has passed through it). Leave it to me, he said, so I did.
The chair is now possibly the most beautiful thing that I own.Shay's unerring eye for colour has ensured that, while no two panels are the same, the whole matches beautifully. The fabrics, scraps and remnants, are much nicer that what I could ordinarily have afforded; and the craftsmanship is exemplary. For considerably less that the equivalent on the high street, I not only have an old chair that's as good as new, I also have something that's unique. Plus the whole thing is so recycled that I feel saintly just sitting in it.
By Sarah Vine for The Times Tuesday April 7th 2009