×

Furniture doctor

Hume lives to take things apart

This is the 50th anniversary of the Eames lounge chair. Alfie Hume is in the business of making sure they don’t show their age.

An affable Brit who now lives and works in Venice, Hume lives to take things apart. “My father used to say that my toys didn’t come with instructions,” he says. “They came with destructions.”

Today, that talent has taken him to corner offices and design-minded homes containing Herman Miller, Knoll Bertoia, Eames and Nelson pieces that have gone creaky, cracked or otherwise flabby.

“Most of my Herman Miller pieces have been in the hospital at one time or another,” says production

designer Jeannine Oppewall, who amassed a midcentury furniture collection while working for Charles Eames at the original Eames Office in Venice and scouting yard sales and flea markets for pieces to use on film sets.

“Alfie knows these pieces backward, forward and inside out,” she says. “He gives great advice about how to preserve the value of your investments.”

Hume came to Los Angeles in 1994 to escape the rain, but then he met his future wife, Sheila Kaufman. Her

father, Jeff Kaufman, was VP at Jules Seltzer Associates — the largest Herman Miller dealer in America, which had just launched the Aeron chair.

Hume began taking on Aeron repair jobs, mostly as favors for friends and family, but afterward clients had a question: “I have an Eames chair I inherited from my parents. Can you fix it?”

“If they had the money for Aeron chairs, they had the money for Eames furniture,” says Hume, noting that in Jerry Bruckheimer’s offices, even the mailroom is outfitted with Aerons. “The business literally snowballed overnight.”

To serve a client base that’s often short on both time and patience, Hume has amassed an inventory of spare parts. And while Hume goes on service calls himself, he relies on a cadre of craftsmen that includes a refinisher, two upholsterers and a fabricator.

Although an appreciation of midcentury design has become a mark of sophistication for young Hollywood — his patrons include design buffs Courteney Cox and David Arquette — many of Hume’s clients are of midcentury vintage themselves.

“The people I enjoy working for the most are the old-school Hollywood people,” says Hume, who recently did some work for Charlton Heston at his home. “It’s quite amazing to see what money can buy.”

Alfie Hume is available at humemodern.com

More Scene

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content