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Tips on Custom-Designed Furniture for Your Home: An Interview with Lisa Amaral of C&M Upholstery and Fabrics

By Lisa Amaral

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

C&M Upholstery and Fabrics is a family business that my parents started back in November of 1985. They actually began working in a shed Dad built in the back yard and utilized the garage as storage. We all worked on some level with the business in those days. Mom sewed, Dad upholstered, my brother helped with prepping the furniture at the young age of 12 and I helped clean the final product.

In 95 they purchased Fields Fabrics in Alameda and we moved to alameda with a work shop in Hayward. We've now been in Alameda for 20 years and simply love it here. We are in our 30th Year as a business and love being in such a wonderful community as well as love our customers!

We offer many services, most obvious due to our store front is we have a wide variety of fabrics in stock and special order for all your home decorating needs. From upholstering your couch to making a bedspread or curtains we do it all. We also do custom furniture as well.

What are the most popular pieces of furniture that you design and build for people's homes?

What we do most for our clients are a variety of furniture, but I have to say that this year last year 2014, dining room chairs, cushions and pillows were huge projects across the board the closer we got to the holidays. We also saw a huge bump in custom drapes and window treatments.

What are the biggest differences that a homeowner will notice between a custom-designed and a ready-made piece of furniture?

The difference between a custom piece or a purchased piece is quality. We will build it to your specifications, to the best of our ability if it's a completely custom piece. If it's a piece you've had in your home for years but love, you'll get a quality piece of furniture that you may have had for 20 plus years but we'll make it like new. With the fabric and comfort you are looking for. If you are looking to change up the style of the sofa, we can do that too. We want to work with the client so that when we deliver their furniture they are ecstatic about how it looks and feel like we just delivered something straight off the show room floor.

Are there other benefits of custom furniture that you can share?

Benefits to custom furniture is much like I said earlier, you get what you want, color, fabric, comfort.

Can you briefly describe the main steps of the design process and how long it can take from start to finish?

We usually require that the customer come into the store with the piece of furniture or a picture of the furniture that we are recovering or picture or drawing of something that we are creating. We go over costs and fabric amounts. From there we help them to the best of our ability to find the right piece of fabric for them and their home.

Once that is done and ordered, we will usually pick up the furniture, we offer free pick-up and delivery within 15-20 miles of alameda, once the fabric has arrived. Fabric orders usually take approximately 7-10 business days from date of order to arrive. Once furniture and fabric are in our hands the turnaround is approximately 3 ½ to 4 weeks for completion and delivery.

What advice would you give someone who wants custom-designed furniture but has always bought their furniture from retail stores?

A custom piece of furniture is truly made to the specifications and design style of your choice. We can make it just as you wish vs buying something "similar" at a store. From framing, design and fabric you will get exactly what you want instead of settling for something that looks like what you want or desire for your room. We are always very honest that the price may be higher but you'll get a first grade product that should last you for years.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

Thankfully, we are a very technology based company when it comes to getting a hold of us. You can call us at our store directly at 510-865-7171, email us at or use our website to contact us. We can give you an estimate with a picture of the furniture you are looking to get covered or you can come in to our store in alameda and take a look at what we have to offer! We will work with you and do what we can to be sure that you are happy in your selections.

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About The Author

Lisa Amaral is Business Manager at C&M Upholstery and Fabrics.

Phone: 510-865-7171

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