Before he moved to Portland and switched to upholstery, Leland Duck was a hot-rod specialist in Wyoming, chopping up classic cars with his father, an automotive welder. In 2009, after years of restitching the interiors of souped-up roadsters, Duck joined Portland’s crafty DIY ranks. “I take the same approach to furniture as I did with cars, bringing old things back to life,” the 27-year-old says.
Set above Beam & Anchor on N Interstate Avenue, Duck’s light-filled studio tumbles with swatches of old World War II tent fabric, thick tufts of foam stuffing, and the skeletons of 19th-century armchairs. “You tear open a vintage couch and it could be a nightmare inside, but as long as the bones aren’t destroyed, you can bring almost anything back,” he says. Duck combs estate sales for discarded furniture with potential, strips it down, and stitches in new life using distressed vintage fabrics, high-end threads from Denmark and New Zealand, and classic Pendleton wools. From hundred-year-old rocking chairs to contemporary inventions, Duck’s work is refined, precise, and practical.
Soon, Duck will launch a new line of vintage work wear–inspired furniture, taking his cues from Civil War–era uniforms and transplanting iconic button flies and leather elbow pads to cushioned recliners. “I’ve always loved the way jackets and coats are constructed,” says Duck. But it’s not all aesthetic. “Those little details are reinforcements for wear points,” he explains. “On a good old frame, they’ll last forever.”