Favorite pieces find new life at Alakazam Upholstery & Drapery

| April 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

Rosie Fortunat has had her share of challenges.

LIVING ROOM sofa and pillows for MC1R Studio are by Alakazam Upholstery & Drapery.

First there was the dot-com crash in the 2000s, and then, more recently, the pandemic struck.

But luckily for us, both times she rose from the ashes at her Alakazam Upholstery & Drapery.

As head of the firm, she carries bundles of fabric and textile samples to her clients’ homes and, two weeks later — Alakazam! — their furniture returns like new, in creamy shades of white and bolder hues, dressed in modern fabrics and plush velvet.

One of her grandchildren came up with the name when she started her business nine years ago. It was a good fit, she said, since she takes the forlorn and neglected, and makes it look rich and elegant, like in a fairy tale.
The transformation, however, is a bit more involved than just waving a magic wand.

Fabric choices
First, her customers survey a lot of fabrics, which they can purchase from her, or they can choose to buy material elsewhere. The samples Fortunat brings are mostly to inspire.

“Many times they don’t have any idea what they want,” she explains.

THIS NONPAREIL-PATTERNED SETTEE enlivens customer Patricia Leonard’s office.

An able-bodied crew then picks up the sofa sectionals, chairs and/or other pieces to take to a downtown workroom that includes a separate area for window treatments, including sewing new curtains and roman shades and fabricating shutters and blinds.

Happy customers
Designer Liz Wilson of Poinsettia Place-based MC1R Studio has hired Alakazam to upholster pieces for a number of her clients. “Rosie has been our go-to for reupholstery and window treatments for seven years,” said Wilson.

Another satisfied customer, Patricia Leonard, has had work done for furniture in her homes in Beverly Hills and Carmel and a flat in NYC. She had gingham chairs stuffed with down and covered with French linen for a guest suite. A slip-covered red couch and white loveseat “are easy to machine wash, and with children, ideal!” She had a nonpareil-patterned settee covered in cotton silk for her office.

“She is such a delight to work with. She delivers quality service 100!” raves Leonard.

Career path

CLIENTS choose from a wide selection of fabrics with Alakazam for sofas and pillows.

Business has picked up steadily after a slump during the pandemic, said Fortunat, who was a bookkeeper in the entertainment industry before the dot-com bubble burst.

She switched careers after being trained by the best in the business: her sister in New York City.

“We both like colors and design,” Fortunat said. And so, they thought she might make a go of it.

Upon her return, she placed a small ad in the local paper, offering reasonable prices and the highest quality workmanship, and then she waited for the phone to ring. “And sure enough, people began calling … my clean, noble little business.”

Her adult sons help out on larger deliveries, and she has expanded the business to include commercial clients, including Jon & Vinny’s restaurants.

She travels to give free estimates to most of the Westside, Beverly Hills, Hancock Park, Larchmont, Miracle Mile and adjacent areas.

Her website has mysteriously disappeared with all of the upheaval the pandemic has wrought, but Rosie’s grandson will recreate one soon. In the meantime, you can reach her at 310-491-8409.

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Category: People

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