Who’s the boss?
Boss Designs’ Katherine Cherry channels her creativity by bringing classic furniture back to life.
Katherine Cherry knows a thing or two about starting over. She’s moved a lot, and the arduous process of packing things, shipping things and leaving things behind has taught her a lot about furnishing a home, and investing in pieces that are worth holding onto.
After studying at NSCAD, Cherry moved on to working in non-arts industries, but could never quite shake her creative, hands-on side. “I always tried to find a design in whatever work I was doing,” she says. But it wasn’t until years later—when she returned to Halifax after a stint of living in the Us—that she refocused her path, and discovered a passion for the world of furniture-making and upholstery.
“It’s something I love, but I fell into it,” she says of her career, which she kickstarted by working as an apprentice at a Dartmouth refinishing and repair shop. “There are not many places that teach upholstery. It used to be taught in some vocational schools, but I learned that it actually is mostly taught in prison.”
After taking in tips and tricks from seasoned veterans for a couple of years, Cherry decided to branch out and launched Boss Designs—she’s “obsessed with Bruce Springsteen”—a business that allows her to focus in on her refinishing skills, and her own mid-century inspired designs from a workshop attached to her home.
“You see at Winners, or Walmart, you can go buy a sofa for $200—why would anyone want to get their stuff redone? But you learn that there’s no comparison,” says Cherry. “The gentleman that I worked with before has been doing it over 40 years and his rule was if it’s more than 10 or 15 years old, you’re better to reupholster than to buy something new.”
She’s into textiles, colours and dynamic design, but the stories behind the old, tired pieces she works on are her most inspiring muses. Recently, she was commissioned by the Halifax Naval Museum to help bring old pieces from ships back to life for the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.
“One of my favourite parts of this job is coming across something I haven’t seen before, and doing the research,” she says. “The historical aspect of it I love.”