Life & Style


Reioni is shaking up the world of upholstery here in Newcastle

I really do enjoy working with my hands and seeing a piece transform. The most rewarding part is when you start to see it come together.

Ever given the craft of upholstery much thought? I know that I certainly hadn’t until I sat down for a chat with young, local upholsterer Reioni. Who’s shaking up the world of Upholstery here in Newcastle with a fresh and quirky eye to design.

Originally from the South Coast of NSW, Reioni has quite literally done and been everywhere. From studying at Tourism Management at University to traveling across the globe, living in London to even working on Super Yachts in Europe.

After gallivanting across the globe for a number of years, Rei moved to Melbourne to study upholstery and really threw herself into the craft and hasn’t looked back since.

“It was kind of one of those things where I just really dove head first into it and within six months I’d nearly bought all of my equipment,” Rei told me. 

Whilst the course and the skills Rei had been building on were on the right path, the city life of Melbourne wasn’t really sticking so she packed up and moved to Torquay to undertake her apprenticeship. She met a whole range of skilled individuals who have gone on to become her mentors in the industry.

“From a young age I’ve been drawn to creative industries with a passion for sewing and re-purposing.

“By seeing our wasteful society, and how the rich live I just wanted to do something that was creative and with my hands but had that nice impact side of it too.”

The service is ultimately the recovery and repair of second-hand furniture, breathing new life into that piece of furniture that’s been sitting in your house collecting dust for god knows how long.

“I like the idea of things not going to landfill. If someone gets tired of a piece of furniture, hopefully, I can change their minds and help them to create something they'll love again.”

Rei’s work really showcases a fresh take on vintage and retro. Really sticking with her environmental consciousness, Rei sees the strong foundations of vintage furniture as something we should all hold onto, rather than throwing away.

“I think they took a lot more care years ago, with the foundations of how things were built. There was much more care and consideration to furniture lasting a lifetime.

“I can’t tell you how many couches that I’ve seen that are only ten years old, but because they were done in such a fast and cheap way, I don’t feel like the quality is there. Whereas this old stuff is just so solid.”

This marshmallow lounge was a replica of one of the most iconic modernist sofas, that Rei picked up on the side of the road that was waiting to sit in landfill. Taking it back to the workshop for a complete refresh, Rei worked tirelessly on each and every cushion separately, over a period of four days. Now the sofa has a totally new life breathed into it.

Rei offers services to both residential and commercial clients and is guaranteed to work on a case-by-case basis to ensure you’ll get the most incredible final product.

“I’ve done anything from caravan cushions to poker machine chairs, to people commissioning me to source particular chairs out for them.”

So, if you’re thinking about throwing out an old piece of furniture, or thinking it could do with a refresh, Rei from Upholstrei is your girl.