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The Making Of The Hughes Chaing Mai Dragon Chair

The Hughes is an of Iron & Oak original inspired by Art Nouveau/Deco design. Part of our Club family, The Hughes combines sleek straight lines and bold curves with beautiful channel tufting and supportive eight-way hand tie to bring 21st century comfort to the style of the 1920s and 30s. Though the history of The Hughes’ design is only part of its appeal, it’s exactly why commercial interior designer Brad Nichols came to us to produce the piece.

After falling in love with F. Schumacher’s interior decor fabric, Chaing Mai Dragon-Jade 173277, Brad knew that the Art Deco print belonged on The Hughes. The print was created by screening a modern Chinoiserie motif onto a rich linen base fabric, creating a large and intricate pattern of unique dragons and flowers.

The scale of the pattern would prove to be difficult to work into the shape of the chair, but Brad knew we were up to the challenge.

We began working with Brad early in 2016 when he came to us to create a 99” Mid Century inspired sofa (The Jack). With a low back and cool lounge vibe, Brad chose to upholster The Jack with Moore and Giles’ Berkshire Wolf leather, a perfect choice for Brad’s sophisticated and casual aesthetic. To offset the elegance and warmth of the authentically worn in leather, we upholstered the back and undersides of the back and seat cushions with Roth & Thompkin’s classic plaid fabric, Brennan Cardinal. Adding the additional fabric allows for a simple flip of the cushions to change the entire look and feel of both the sofa and the room.

Berkshire_wolf & Brennan Cardinal

While we enjoyed the experience of creating The Jack for Brad, we loved the challenge of engineering The Hughes. Lined on all sides with channel tufting, The Hughes requires many separate panels of fabric, each of a slightly different shape or size. This added an additional step to our creative process, as we had to make sure that the large repeat (45.5” H x 27” W) wasn’t lost in the tufts (not a problem when we make a solid fabric or leather version). To accomplish this, we sketched both the chair and fabric to scale, carefully placing each dragon and determining the appropriate measurements for the individual fabric pieces. The fabric is expensive (almost $150.00/yd) so even the smallest mistake could mean wasting big money.

The same care we put into patterning the upholstery for The Hughes was, and always is, put into its production. Only the best materials are used in our workshops to hand build each piece. Kiln-dried hardwood forms the frame of the chair that is tufted by hand and supported by 8-way hand-tied springs. We care about the quality of our furniture, and our customers can tell that it’s meant to last.

Though creating The Hughes for Brad posed some additional challenges, we put the same amount of time and dedication into assuring that every piece we create is top quality, and love hearing our customers’ responses to their pieces. After meeting Anthony and receiving his new Hughes, Brad sent us this email:


Was great to meet Anthony in person today – it was so nice that he drove the Chiang Mai chair up himself.  That chair is ridiculous and amazing.  It really pops in this room I have that’s filled up with sort of loud art but very understated, monochromatic furniture.  The adjacent sofa is pretty timeless, has great lines, and is super comfortable.  I love that it has such an aesthetic appeal but is a totally real furniture piece that will be used daily, beaten up, and only improve with some patina.  There’s nothing worse that beautiful furniture you can’t use and I don’t get that sense with either of these pieces.    


Thanks for being so great and fun to work with.  Once I leave NYC, I know where to call when I have a little more space to fill up…


Best, Brad


We love hearing from our customers and really appreciate all who invite us into their home through our furniture. Thank you to Brad for being so amazing to work with! We look forward to working with each and every customer and moments like these remind us why we do what we do.

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Holiday Showroom Hours

Our Lambertville showroom will be closed from 12/22 to 12/26. We'll still be taking calls at 732.400.1962, answering emails to, and opening back up on the 27th

Until then, have a safe and happy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Yule, Festivus, or just a good solid three day weekend

Happy Holidays from Mary Beth, Anthony, Joe, & Amanda at of I&O