Barbara Kaldi enjoys the great lighting and more space as well as the view outside her windows at her new location on Eastgate Drive. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
‘Barb’s Upholstery’ owner Barbara Kaldi sits on a vintage sofa she re-upholstered with a cushion she made. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Barbara Kaldi has taken her upholstery business to the next level by moving to her new location at 127 Eastgate Drive. “Barb’s Upholstery” has been getting great reviews on social media for some time now as more and more folks hear about her skills.
Why do people opt to have furniture re-upholstered? Kaldi says it’s often the emotional value or the emotional connection that’s important to them . She said how comfortable a piece of furniture is can be important also and that newer furniture is sometimes not as well made.
“Sometimes it is better to keep something that is well-made, re-cover it, maintain it well and keep it out of the landfill,” Kaldi said.
Kaldi got into upholstery by accident.
“I brought a sofa back from Florida that belonged to my husband’s grandmother and we couldn’t find anyone up here to re-do it. We didn’t want to go down to Santa Fe and have it done there and figured we couldn’t afford it. So I re-upholstered that piece and a few others I just found in the street,” she said. “Then it happened really organically where somebody asked on Facebook if anyone does upholstery and I responded that I do it as a hobby and that I could try to help them.”
At the beginning of COVID Kaldi lost her job as a laboratory technician at Pebble Labs.
“The world was in chaos so I just started doing some upholstery. Everybody was at home because of the pandemic so they saw their things were a little shabby and wanted to spruce up their homes. I kept busy throughout the whole pandemic,” she said.
She took two sewing lessons from Shelly Kuropatwinski, the owner of Atomic City Quilts on Central Avenue.
“I also watched a lot of videos so I’m pretty much self-taught,” Kaldi said, adding that there aren’t many females in the upholstery business.
She gets most of her fabric from New Mexico Fabric & Foam in Albuquerque. She also works with Keystone Brothers, which has several warehouses in Colorado and mails the fabric to her as needed.
Kaldi has a corner where patrons can sit and have a cup of coffee while browsing through fabric samples. She said many people come in with a pre-conceived idea of what they want and when they look through the samples, they find something else that might do better.
She mostly works on furniture but also does automotive and marine upholstery and some RVs. She also makes house calls if someone has a hard time walking and she takes her sample books with her.
“What I enjoy the most about upholstery is the opportunity to learn and experiment with new techniques and methods. Even if I have never done a certain type of project before, I am always eager to figure it out and expand my skills. Although I mainly work with home furnishings right now, I am excited to do more automotive and boat upholstery in the future,” Kaldi said.
Kaldi expressed her gratitude to the Hand family for enabling her to rent the Eastgate Drive space at an affordable, competitive rate, which gives her the opportunity to be successful.
Barbara is married to Nicholas Marshall and they have two children and four dogs. She is originally from Israel. Barb’s Upholstery is located on the second floor of 127 Eastgate Drive in Suite 220. Phone (505) 695-0498. Email email@example.com. Her website is barbs-upholstery.com
Some of the color and fabric samples on hand at Barb’s Upholstery. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamoporter.com
Barbara Kaldi shows off a sewing chair she re-upholstered that was originally a sewing chair for the client’s family. She found vintage fabric samples that were perfect for the job. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com