Meet Leslie Howard:
Creator, Maker, Collector, City Girl
I’ve always had an artistic eye, a curious mind, and productive hands.
My media and tools have varied widely over the years, from paints and canvas, to fabric and scissors, even fresh fish and hand-picked herbs. Color, creativity, and construction with whatever materials I have at hand have brought me joy and satisfaction throughout my life.
When I found I could combine these passions into furniture transformation, I recognized it as my calling.
The style, history, character, and age of a piece of furniture inspire me to tell a new story with each one.
At first I turned tired, top quality vintage wood dressers and cabinets into painted, covetable room statements and shipped them all over the country.
Then I began studying and practicing the age-old craft of upholstery, spurred on by a longing for the kind of skills that old-world artisans practiced with springs, burlap, twine, wood wool, cotton, horsehair, tacks, and hand stitching.
After training with a master traditional upholsterer in 2014, studying countless old books on the fine craft of traditional upholstery, and later spending time at the British School of Upholstered Furniture near London, I set out on my own to design and craft seating pieces using traditionally-based upholstery techniques as well as contemporary ones, but with colorful, bold outside coverings that make a modern, artistic statement.
These are functional, time-tested works of artistic individuality.
My business, City Girl Arts Fine Upholstery & Vintage Furniture, is the result of my passions and expertise. I not only reupholster antique and vintage seating pieces and transform wood case pieces, but I also work with clients to create their own vintage modern chairs at my studio in Saint Petersburg, Florida.
In addition to my creative journey, I consider my most notable achievement to be raising and home-schooling three terrific sons, now grown, with my loving and supportive husband.
Our home used to be just outside Washington, D.C., my favorite place, which is why I call myself City Girl! These days you’ll find me enjoying St. Petersburg’s restaurants, art galleries, thrift stores, and auction houses when I’m not working on my upholstered gems and surrounded by eclectic offerings in my studio!