Sunday, March 13, 2011

The saga of Lucey Blue's Sunbrella Saloon Cushions

The story about Lucey Blue's saloon cushions is a long one, but thankfully it now has a happy ending (wish we could say the same about the start).

The cushions were made of a lovely (not so much) white vinyl. My issue with these cushions was that on hot days…you tended to sweat profusely on them, and then your legs and back would stick to them, and that was just plain icky. Also, being white (or at least once upon a time they were white), they tended to show up all the dirt and sweat and kiddy bits that landed on them…this said, at least with vinyl you could wipe it right off (or hose them down if it came to it).

Vinyl was also a good choice when you wanted to sleep on the cushions on the floor of the cockpit…which I did at least once when feeling a bit green around the gills in a big southerly swell near Manly last year.

After a bit of badgering, I finally got my way and Nick and I started to look for marine trimmers. We ended up getting two quotes, and the one we went with was David Fisher of 'Cover It Australia' in Drummoyne (we found his advertisement in the Afloat magazine).

We had him out to see Lucey Blue while she was on the hard at Woolwich last year. Then, once we had decided on a fabric (we chose Sunbrella Mediterranean Blue exterior fabric), Nick took all of the cushions, and a $700 deposit to David. After one or two phone calls determining the timing of our job, we never heard from David again. Nick went to the Drummoyne premises, but David had packed up shop and scarpered with our deposit AND our cushions (what on earth he would want with some custom saloon cushions that, I guarantee you, were never going to fit another cat [except perhaps one of the 50 other Lagoon 42 TPIs in the world] was beyond me. The deposit was hard to lose, but the cushions were the real killer. They were such irregular shapes and were going to cost a MINT to have professionally replaced, not to mention that subsequent quotes just to cover the now NON-EXISTENT cushions were in the $5000 range (OMG…Maybe I forgot to mention to them that we did not need silk thread!!). David….if you ever read this, what you did really sucks!

Anyhoo….we eventually moved on (although it was not without a fair amount of ranting, raving and tears on my part…I was about 6 months pregnant at the time…so I do have an excuse ;-). Nick then spoke to Andrew, a school friend of his. Andrew used to be a marine trimmer, and offered to visit Lucey Blue with Nick and talk him through the process of cutting new foam to shape. Thanks so much for your help Andrew! You were a lifesaver. Nick bought the foam from Clark Rubber, and prepared for the cutting phase. The whole cutting process didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would…given we were using an old, blunt bread knife, this surprised me considerably!

I should mention at this point that Nick spent an age marking the cushions with detailed measurements in black marker…which the trimmers then told him he should remove as it could run through the fabric!! He had to go back and carefully slice it all off…a trick for new players!

We then decided to look for an upholsterer/trimmer in Canberra (our faith in the Sydney trade having taken a serious hit). Nick scoured the Yellow Pages and came up with Steve's Car & Boat Upholstery:

The guys there have been absolutely FABULOUS. They took our hinky, home-hacked, foam shapes (raggedy edges and all) and covered them beautifully in just two weeks….and let me tell you, that was no easy job considering they did not have the boat at their disposal (to make measurements and fit the curves precisely).

While we were stewing on the whole cushion replacement issue, I also decided that the Sunbrella Mediterranean Blue was was a bit darker and blander than I wanted (see, every cloud has a silver lining ;-), so we changed to Sunbrella Dupione Galaxy instead. This fabric is a lighter shade of blue, and has a nice light line through it. We bought it for a very reasonable price through another friend of Nick's, Ben of Gemmell Sailmakers. I also managed to talk Nick into letting me purchase a couple of metres of the coordinating Sunbrella Seville Seaside so I could make some throw cushions too. I had to think long and hard about making the cushions myself. I had a few dramas putting zips in those suckers (the first cushion took me about four hours to finish), but thanks to lots of helpful advice from Robyn and Ruth (a couple of lovely friends that I met in a 'new parents' group seven years ago), I managed to turn out something that looks pretty presentable (in my humble opinion).

So…(DRUM ROLL PLEASE) without further ado…I present to you, Lucey Blue's new saloon cushions…

I don't mind telling you that I am stoked with the way they turned out. They are lovely to sit on (no sweaty, sticky legs and back), and are very pleasing on my eye. They even seem to clean off pretty well….the kids having already trialled them with cereal and milk (as you do).

Nick and I have joked that we are now fit to go into various boating fit-out trades. He is going to move into the vacuum toilet installation trade….his minimum quote will be AUD$20,000. We are also going to have a sideline enterprise in custom cushion shaping….our minimum quote for cushions will be AUD$10,000 (each ;-). Don't call us, we'll call you!

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Some people are just awful, aren't they? On the plus side, the finished product looks FABULOUS!