u-fab interiors founder Travis Hamilton talks partnership with furniture fabricators Wesley Hall | Brand Ave. Studios

The Great Recession of 2008 could have been the end of Travis Hamilton’s career in furniture manufacturing, but instead, it turned into an opportunity to craft a new beginning.

In 2003, Hamilton moved from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to Richmond to work for a national furniture manufacturer. However, when the housing bubble collapsed only a few years later, consumer spending on home-related items came to a complete standstill.

“I knew our company and my job was in trouble,” Hamilton recalls. “And necessity is the mother of invention.”

So Hamilton set out to craft a place for himself in the world of furniture by focusing on fabrics and home decor.

Now, with locations in Richmond and Charlottesville, his successful furniture and upholstery business u-fab interiors is the go-to shop for elevated home design as well as a lifeline for local suppliers and manufacturers who lost client-facing retail space in recent years.

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North Carolina-based custom upholstery manufacturer Wesley Hall was one such partnership forged from the changing retail landscape.


“One of the things my staff and I appreciate about Wesley Hall is that they’re not a huge manufacturer,” says Hamilton. “They’re a privately held family company. We’re also a privately held family company. They’re good people, and that goes a good way.”

Wesley Hall has been in business for over 50 years. With its focus on impeccable quality and tailoring, the Hickory, North Carolina, company has cemented its role as one of the industry’s fabric leaders.

“Whether it’s the frame or suspension, they don’t skimp on anything,” says Hamilton. “They use the best materials, like we do, and you see that in the product. It stands apart.”

Because of that quality, u-fab has been carrying Wesley Hall products in-store since 2019. But they also fit the u-fab standard with an eclectic mix of furniture from classics to midcentury.

“We went with them because we like a lot of the styles they offered, and they used a lot of the same fabrics we carry, so from an aesthetic standpoint, they were a very good fit. Both of our companies can offer that well-traveled, collected look,” says Hamilton. “Plus, we were looking for made-in-the-U.S. manufacturers we could trust.”

So what are a few ways you can incorporate Wesley Hall luxury into your living area?

Hamilton swears by the Wesley Hall Thayer chair.

“It has perfect ergonomics, and it’s just really comfortable. The waterfall dressmaker drape skirt on it — it starts at the top and drapes the whole way down the piece. It’s so difficult to do, but they are the best in the world at it, I would say.”

Several Thayer chairs can currently be found on the floor at the u- fab showrooms.


If you’re looking to splurge and do a whole room, Hamilton recommends beginning with picking out the right sofa. Starting with a sectional or other type of sofa grounds the room and gives you the ability to get a good feel for the space before you add additional pieces and other decorative items.

Plus, Hamilton adds, a sofa is just worth the investment.

“It’s what you sit on and watch television on or do work on most nights, so you want it to be comfy and last,” says Hamilton. “Big, deep comfy sectionals have been popular for a long time, and they don’t seem to be losing any steam.”

Choosing performance fabrics for your higher traffic pieces — like the sofa — is one way you can ensure you’ll love your furniture for longer.

“Save the more decorative or larger patterns for accent chairs and other pieces,” suggests Hamilton.

The best way to know you’re maximizing your space — and your budget — is by working with a u-fab design consultant, says Hamilton. The trained in-store staff can help figure out fabrics, furniture, drapes, patterns, brands, wallpaper and more.

“No matter what your style, making sure we get the design direction right is always most important.”

u-fab has two locations: 7921 West Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia, 804-888-8322, and 2171 Ivy Road, Suite 5, Charlottesville, Virginia, 434-245-8322. Appointments are recommended for personalized services.

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