Provincial Upholstery is a small business located in the scenic area of the Southern Highlands, NSW. The owner Carlos Rodrigues prides himself on professional workmanship which he has learned since the age of 14 in the small town of Sintra, Portugal. Throughout the years Carlos has refined his skills in traditional upholstery, by incorporating years of knowledge and experience, but also by studying the various eras and the techniques required to re-create authentic furniture.
By traditional upholstery, he means just that. He employs traditional techniques, methods and of course materials which are sourced globally. All of which have been approved by The Historic Houses Trust, when Government House enquired about Provincial Upholstery’s craftsmanship to restore the antique furniture in the ‘Drawing Room’ for the 2007 APEC meeting. That has led to an ongoing work relationship between Provincial Upholstery and Historic Houses Trust.
As with any successful business, one must adapt to the demands of the market, so Provincial Upholstery also provides exceptional upholstery for contemporary and Art Deco furniture. To cater for all tastes and budgets, often clients are provided with a quote outlining both styles of craftsmanship. Their most recent expansion has been the launch of their fabric store, with their own current fabric lines as well as providing thousands of meters of fabric that have been discontinued by notable fabric houses. By only accepting quality discontinued fabrics, Provincial Upholstery is able to sell gems such as embossed silk and mohair velvet and rustic 100% linen at a fraction of its original price. The only gimmick is that being discontinued, once it’s gone, it’s gone. The manufacturers are no longer making that particular color/design.
One skill Carlos prides himself on is that of staining and embossing leather. This is an ancient art that traditionally is done by hand, to impart character and charm. Unfortunately, like so many other art forms its dyeing out. However, Carlos keeps it alive by maintaining to stain and emboss the leather by hand because, as he says, “Each piece is unique and tells its own story. It is up to us to keep that story alive for the appreciation of future generations.”
Carlos Rodrigues has worked on some significant items of the Government House Collection over the past few years. Most recently, Carlos and his team have restored 5 banquettes (originating in the 1860’s) to their original design. This was a long and considered process – sourcing fabric, filling (horse hair) cord and tassles to ensure their integrity with original – and then, the actual construction works. Carlos spent many months hand working the items to be finished to the high standard required. The items are now housed within the Ballroom at Government House and their design complements the overall style of the room. Carlos has a pride in his work – he is considerate and attentive and the works produced are of high quality. – Dayn Cooper | Estate Manager, Government House Sydney