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combinations A BAY AREA DESIGNER TACKLES A TRIO OF SEATING PROJECTS THAT EMPLOYS CREATIVE TEXTILE IDEAS Text by ANH-MINH LE Photographs by KELLY ISHIKAWA

JOHNELLE MANCHA likes to keep an open mind. This

is true of her nine-year-old Berkeley business, Mignonne Décor (mignonnedecor.com), and the revamped furniture for which it is known. Her entrepreneurial endeavor began as a shop, carrying small household goods and some furniture. Over the years, she phased out the new products and starting bringing in “vintage textiles, rugs, glassware—things that I personally scouted,” says Johnelle. And, observing that customers were especially interested in furniture, she decided to showcase her own designs—again vintage finds, but in this case, she had reimagined them with paint, fabric, and a dose of originality. “The store has grown and changed, just as I have,” says the Bay Area native, who studied painting in college. “The concept is now creating these statement pieces.” Mignonne also offers interior design services and custom makeovers (for those who bring in their own furniture for updating). Johnelle’s husband, Brian Hill, is a carpenter and his skill set definitely comes in handy, too. According to Johnelle, “the fun part is seeing things in a new way.” On the following pages, she demonstrates how a couple of dining chairs, an armchair, and a settee can be transformed with unconventional and inexpensive upholstery: thrifted leather jackets (the seams add more character), textile remnants (supplement them and you easily have enough fabric to re-cover a chair), and a painting DIY (a simple way to make your own one-of-a-kind textile).

“The age and construction of a piece can determine whether to DIY or enlist a professional. A simple dining chair that only requires fabric, new batting, and a staple gun, is a good starter project. But if there are springs, webbing, horsehair, etc.—or if it’s something large—the job can get a lot more involved.” —Johnelle Mancha

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