Politics & Government

Hickory furniture maker hustles to finish settee

A settee that young Sasha and Malia Obama will use in the White House is being made by a longtime North Carolina furniture maker.

Vanguard Furniture had less than a week to make the sofa. The company usually gets about a month to make its custom-ordered furniture, but no one at the factory minds the quick turnaround.

"The orders mean producing and shipping faster than normal, redoing your schedule," said Vanguard President Dixon Mitchell. "But everybody wants to beat the deadlines. This is special."

Master upholsterer Doug Jones, a 27-year veteran of Vanguard, put the finishing touches on the sofa last week before it was shipped off for delivery through retailer Anthropologie, which is furnishing the White House residence with accessories for the soon-to-be first family.

"I'll have something in the White House," Jones said as he worked on the piece last week.

Steve Gaddy, manager of Vanguard's upholstery division, said the piece is a reproduction of an antique on display in Anthropologie's Washington, D.C., shop. The upholstery takes about five hours after the framing is done.

"They chose one of the most time-consuming pieces we make," Gaddy said.

Vanguard has been in business for more than 30 years.