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Four Hands pairs form, feel and function in its high-performance furniture

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Homepage image: Four Hands’s Tillery power recliner three-piece sectional in performance linen | Courtesy of Four Hands

Partnership | Jul 13, 2023

By Siobhán McGowan

Experts on pairing style with performance, Austin-based designer and wholesaler Four Hands produces essential pieces that both anchor and elevate today’s multipurpose living spaces. The brand debuts more than 2,000 styles each year, focusing on home goods that not only look great but last. This spring, it introduced discreetly incorporated automation to select collections, adding a new dimension of mainstream functionality to its portfolio. As consumers increasingly consider their furniture purchases as investment pieces, Four Hands meets the demand—with Power Motion recliners, innovative fabrics and outdoor designs that endure even the hot, hometown Texas sun.

“In the upholstery world, the reclining category is kind of divisive because, whether it be a cupholder or a USB port or lighted accents, the perception has to do with how many tricks you can put into one piece,” says Four Hands president of upholstery Rick Lovegrove. Guided instead by the company’s characteristically minimalist style, he and his team took the opposite approach, transforming what could be considered the furniture equivalent of a guilty pleasure into a streamlined, supremely comfortable experience. “We wanted our first Power Motion assortment to blend into our collection, not stand out as something that didn’t share the Four Hands DNA, so we stripped it down as much as we could. Aesthetics came first.”

Four Hands offers a modern interpretation of the traditional recliner in such styles as Radley, shown here as a five-piece sectional upholstered in top-grain leather

Four Hands offers a modern interpretation of the traditional recliner in such styles as Radley, shown here as a five-piece sectional upholstered in top-grain leather – Photo Credit Courtesy of Four Hands

That strategic subtlety informs the fully reclinable Tillery three-piece sectional, its automated foot- and headrests conveniently controlled by a single button tucked between the armrest and seat. “It’s the least recliner-looking design imaginable. The functionality is hidden. If you’re not engaging with the mechanism, you wouldn’t notice it,” says Four Hands director of upholstery Jessica Green. Furthering the deception is feather cushioning that can be plumped and flipped, plus upholstery in a performance linen blend. “The sofa serves as the foundation of the room setting, and the textile’s neutral cream tone, Antigo Natural, contributes to its versatility,” explains Green. A submersion-bath treatment that encapsulates each individual fiber ensures the fabric’s longevity, causing any spilled liquids to simply bead on the surface rather than sink in. “It alleviates any concerns about living your life—drinking, eating, doing whatever you do on your furniture. It’s family-friendly and worry-free.” The Tillery line can also be specified in top-grain leather, with Four Hands’s second Power Motion style, the “thicker, chunkier” Radley, available in both options too.

While treated linen serves as a resilient upholstery material in hardworking homes, the natural version is nearly as durable—and a touch more laid-back and luxe. “I’m a big fan of the Belgian linen, especially in this heat,” says Four Hands vice president of design Adam Dunn, speaking with Business of Home on a day when temperatures in Austin reached 115 degrees. Libeco, the brand’s European partner, practices sustainable methods of growing and harvesting flax, then manufactures it at a family-owned, solar- and wind-powered facility that has perfected the craft over decades. The traditional process results in a premium fabric that’s soft yet intrinsically strong, free of toxic chemicals, less likely to wrinkle and easy to care for. Just toss the removable slipcover of the wide-arm accent bench, for example, into the washing machine.

“It’s a very sophisticated textile, artisan-made at the heart of the world where the best flax grows,” says Green of the signature fabrication. “The Libeco-sourced fiber is what makes the difference, giving the linen a great casual feel.” For cooler climes, a wool blend offers extra heft and texture.

The wide-arm accent bench features a slipcover in authentic, all-natural Belgian linen that is easily removed to be laundered

The wide-arm accent bench features a slipcover in authentic, all-natural Belgian linen that is easily removed to be laundered – Photo Credit Courtesy of Four Hands

More than ever before, outside spaces have become a true extension of the home, making them a destination—not just an afterthought where the barbecue grill gets parked. Carrying the classic style of its collections to the patio and poolside, Four Hands outdoor pieces are designed to withstand the vagaries of weather and wear.

“If you look at architectural trends, a larger percentage of new build is dedicated to outdoors now, so we’re constantly coming up with solutions to the emerging product opportunities,” says Dunn. For Four Hands, that translates to tough but tender textiles, sturdy wooden frames and a comfort level to mirror that of its interior furnishings. With modernized midcentury lines, a plinthlike teak base and impactfully exaggerated proportions, the Roma four-piece sectional fits the bill. “We worked to define the padded sit experience based off the available foam densities to make sure it had a really nice sink and ride,” explains Dunn. Upholstery options include Alessi linen, an extruded yarn manufactured at an Italian mill that supplies several high-end European brands as well. Resistant to fading, stains, mold and scratches, “it has a really soft hand; it feels like an indoor textile,” says Dunn. From a vibes standpoint, the Roma is specifically 1970s-inspired: “loungy, playful, with dramatic tufting and a bolster pillow for the back.” Modular construction and a matching ottoman allow customers to configure the sectional to suit the size of their outdoor space. Noting that its plush cushions and low profile made it the perfect perch on which to take in the Hill Country views, Lovegrove recently brought the style home to his own backyard scheme.

“We position our furniture as luxury pieces, but they’re not look-but-don’t-touch precious. Four Hands always wants to make sure that people live with the products we develop,” says Dunn. Even the creative briefs distributed to the product team at the start of a new design include an insight section that explains the emotional “why” behind the item, and the “how” of its place in today’s home. “There’s a relevance to every product we launch that meets people where they’re at,” he adds. And if that place happens to be kicking back at the push of a button on a clandestine recliner, Four Hands empowers them to do that in style too.

Plush cushioning and a low profile make the Roma outdoor sectional appealing seating for a nap in the shade

Plush cushioning and a low profile make the Roma outdoor sectional appealing seating for a nap in the shade – Photo Credit Courtesy of Four Hands

This story is a paid promotion and was created in partnership with Four Hands.

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