These Upholstered Doors Are Top Designers' Secret Weapon

You'll see the studio's work in rooms by Alexa Hampton and Red Kaihoi.

Video Transcript


JOSEPH BOISNE: We're right here in Yonkers, New York, in our workshop.

TRALONA BOISNE: Where we produce custom room-divider screens and upholstered doors and panels for interiors

JOSEPH BOISNE: Yeah. We work with all kinds of fabric. And with the technique that I use, it has allowed me to work with fabrics that are very hard to work with, like silk, satin, horse hair, silk, velvet, leather, weaved leather. There's different ways to do wall upholstery but the technique that we use, which is like a semi-traditional French technique, allows me to work with this type of fabric, with a silk, for example.

So today we're going to show the process of doing a screen. So this is how we get the panel from the carpenter. The first process is going to be to draw on the panel where the nail heads are going to go.

In the second process, I'm going to use this cardboard to outline where the nail heads are going to go. I've been doing this for more than 20 years, and every new job is a new challenge. It's always something new, something I never encountered before. And even after 20 years, there's still learning and always adapting to the situation, to the room. It's always changing.

So right now, all the framing is done with cardboard. So we can already see where I left a groove where the nail heads are going to be. That cardboard is to make sure I have a nice and clean edge.

After that, I'm going to put padding. I'm going to staple padding on top, which here is a 3-mm cotton which will give a relatively flat finish. And after that, we're going to put the fabric.

So now we'll cut the excess padding. So now the padding is done. And we can see where the nail heads are going to be, these grooves, which is going to make it much easier for me, after, to put the nail heads in a straight pattern. So now we're ready for the next step, which is to cover the screen with the fabric.

TRALONA BOISNE: And today, the fabric that we're actually going to be putting on is a Trend fabric. It's part of their Environment Plus collection, in their green section. We wanted to use the Trend fabric with the treatable suede, or the cleanable suede, because it's a screen. So you're going to touch it. And being that you're going to touch it, you're going to need to clean it. So it's important for us that the products that we make, and the products that we use, you have to live with these things. And if you can't clean it, it's not livable.

JOSEPH BOISNE: The most intricate step is when you bring the fabric and put the fabric on the frame. Because here there is no error for any mistake. Every movement has to be kind of calculated. There is no mistake possible, because some of these fabrics are a few hundred dollars a yard. If I have a wall that's already [INAUDIBLE] with dozens of yards, every mistake can be very costly. And also, it's a lot of time.

All right. So now both sides are now covered. And this side, the first side, is wrapped. The second side is upholstered on top of the fabric and stapled on the first side. This one I'll finish with a nail gun. And now we're ready to start putting on nails.


Every project is different. Every fabric is different. And there's never any routine. It's always something new.

TRALONA BOISNE: And now he'll go back and just kind of even out the spacing between the nails to make sure that it's all equal. So visually, it reads the same in each spacing. The next step for us would be for us to fit the hinges on and then go deliver it to the client. Or we would-- if it's a screen that we're going to actually put together in the shop or bring to it client also-- we would attach the other panels, make sure it fits, make sure it closes, and then wrap it up, deliver it, and make it look pretty.

Because we have a more adaptable method of installation-- because there are other methods that are easier and faster, but we don't use them because we feel like this is the better delivery. This is timeless. It's going to last.

JOSEPH BOISNE: So what I like is transforming the space, basically. It's an amazing feeling when you enter a space where it's just blemish and sheetrock, and you really transform it. When you, at the end of the job, when you leave the space and it's barely recognizable. You really transform something blemished into something beautiful.