Upholstery helps Temple give new life to old furniture

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Pat Temple, owner of Pat's Upholstery in Hertford, is shown in front of one of the quilts she made.


BY Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Whether it’s a sofa damaged by water in a hurricane or a cherished chair in need of repair, Pat Temple gives new life to furniture at her upholstery business in Hertford.

Temple has upholstered sofas and chairs at Pat’s Upholstery since she opened in 1985. She also creates slip covers, window seats and curtains.

At the age of 9, Temple was first taught to sew by her grandmother, but it was years later before she learned how to upholster furniture.

“It all started with my late husband’s grandmother’s rocking chair,” she said.

Temple said it was a chair all family members had used, and she wanted to restore it. To learn how, she enrolled in a continuing education upholstery class at College of The Albemarle.

“When I tried this I knew it was what I wanted to do,” Temple said.

Temple said her father initially offered her his office to use for her upholstery business. But as Pat’s Upholstery grew, she and her late husband, M.C. Boyce, built a shop adjacent to their home.

Throughout her 34 years in business, Temple has been able to work on a variety of furniture. After customers bring her their chosen fabric, Temple gets to work using her industrial sewing machine.

“You have to have a heavy-duty machine to work with leather and heavy-duty fabric,” she said.

Temple currently is upholstering wing chairs and Duncan Phyfe sofas.

“I love to see the finished product,” she said.

Owning her own business has its advantages, says Temple. One is she gets to be her own boss.

Another is the flexibility it offers. When her children, Diana and Wade, were growing up, Temple said she never missed any of their athletic events.

And then there’s being able to choose your workspace.

“This is home,” said Temple, who gets to walk just steps out her back door to her business. “It is the major perk of being here.”

While Temple has no plans to retire, she does hope to share her upholstery skills with younger people.

“This is a trade that is going by the wayside,” she said.

Temple said she is passing her knowledge of upholstery to her daughter-in-law, Stephanie Boyce, who works with her in the business.

Temple enjoys spending time with her family and her husband, Bill Temple. She is a member of Freedom Baptist Ministries, volunteers at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, and likes riding on her motorcycle with her friends. Also a quilter, Temple makes quilts for people in nursing homes and creates prayer shawls with quilting groups at two churches.

For more information about Pat’s Upholstery visit https://patsupholstery.com.