Who’s the boss?

Boss De­signs’ Kather­ine Cherry chan­nels her cre­ativ­ity by bring­ing clas­sic fur­ni­ture back to life.

The Coast - Homes Halifax - - Decor - BY AL­LI­SON SAUN­DERS

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.”

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