If you’ve ever re-purposed a piece of furniture, chances are you’ve worked with the lovely Ashlee Lampshire. She sat down with us to talk about her nearly decade long career as the Denver Chair Lady.
Let’s start at the beginning. Before you started Denver Chair Lady, what did you do? Did you study art? Design?
Before I started DCL, my life was deeply intertwined with the world of art and design. I have always been drawn to creative expression and the power it holds in shaping our perceptions and emotions. Whether it was studying various art movements, or experimenting with my own artistic endeavors, I was consistently immersed in a world of aesthetics and visual communication.
I originally wanted to become an art and antiquities dealer, kind of like a fancy Indiana Jones. I was captivated by colors, shapes, and compositions, and pursued formal education in art and design. I’ve been lucky enough to work in the interior design world for over 20 years. Before DCL I was working as an interior designer during the day and running my online vintage-clothing shop in the evenings. My love for vintage fashion led me to antique furniture. I started fixing up old chairs and knew I was on to something special.
What inspired you to begin Denver Chair Lady eight years ago?
The inspiration behind starting DCL was a strong commitment to art-inspired design, environmental consciousness, and the desire to contribute positively to both aesthetics and sustainability.
I believe that functional items like a chair can also be artistic canvases, expressing individuality and creativity. Transforming these everyday pieces into unique, art-inspired designs resonated deeply with my artistic sensibilities.
The growing concern for environment was another driving force. I recognized that the furniture industry contributes significantly to landfill waste, with prematurely discarded sofas and chairs. By up-cycling and re-purposing, I am reducing waste and minimizing the carbon footprint associated with producing new furniture.
I’m inspired by the concept of giving new life to existing furniture. This approach adds value to the pieces themselves and provides customers with unique, handcrafted furniture that told a story. This concept aligned with the broader movement toward conscious consumerism and thoughtfully designed goods.
Can you tell us about your process and day-to-day in the studio?
I try to keep the process simple for my customers. The first step is getting an estimate on your project. We can arrange a time to meet and talk about your specific design needs and/or style. I order all of your materials and manage the project for you. After some time and design magic, your furniture piece is transformed! Design ideas are drawn from various inspirations, including art movements, nature, culture, the customers’ existing interiors and individual preferences.
Fabrics are selected with both aesthetics and functionality in mind. Durable, high-quality fabrics are chosen to ensure longevity. Before the artistic transformation can begin, the furniture pieces undergo necessary repairs.
A thorough quality check is performed to ensure the piece meets my high standards. The completed piece is now a functional work of art!
We’re impressed with your ability to transform a decades old piece into an impressive, modern piece. Tell us about your process. Our fabric sourcing process is a blend of careful selection, sustain-ability, and quality. We collaborate with suppliers who offer a wide range of fabrics, including durable upholstery materials and unique textiles that can bring character to our designs. These fabrics are chosen not only for their visual appeal but also for their durability and suitability for the furniture we work with.
We encourage clients to actively participate in the decision-making, as we value their input. We ensure transparency by discussing fabric properties such as durability, maintenance, and how well they might age over time. This empowers clients to make choices that suit their lifestyle.
Are all of your pieces custom works, or do you sell your own re-furbished furniture as well?
Currently I’m working on my client’s furniture pieces, but in the past, I have released some of my personal designs and I would love to do that more. Whether it’s a cherished family heirloom or a beloved old chair, we work hand-in-hand with clients to bring their ideas to life.
When you’re not in the studio, how to you spend your free time?
When I’m not in the studio I spend the majority of my free time with my two boys and husband. We spend time with family and friends, hike, travel, and go to museums and concerts. My husband and I also love to collect vintage furniture and records.
Do you ever collaborate with other local designers?
Absolutely, collaboration with other local designers is an exciting and enriching aspect of our work. We believe that collaboration fosters creativity, promotes innovation, and allows us to tap into a diverse pool of talents and perspectives.
Thanks for sharing yourself and your craft, Ashlee! Learn more at denverchairlady.com.