There are moments in our lives when the world seemingly stops spinning, memories are ingrained in our hearts, and the trajectory of our lives is altered forever.
For Gladys Silrus, co-founder and lead designer of Kozy Kids Chairs, a custom children’s furniture company in Skagit County, her moment occurred nearly 20 years ago as an EMT riding to a scene in an ambulance. The call was for a one-week-old infant who wasn’t breathing; they didn’t think he was going to make it.
Serving the small communities of Upper Skagit County, a dispatch like this always felt too close to home, but the fact that the baby’s mother and grandmother were also EMTs and close friends of Gladys left an impact that would last for years.
The baby’s recovery inspired Gladys. When his first birthday arrived, she wanted to give him something special. Applying her decades of experience in furniture upholstery, she designed a chair just for him. This chair would become the first of many custom designs tailored for kids.
Furniture to Last a Lifetime
Two decades later, in 2020, Gladys decided to turn her passion into a business; she and her youngest son, Allen Silrus, launched their business, Kozy Kids Chairs. Their mission? To create quality pieces of children’s furniture so well built they last a lifetime. Hence the lifetime warranty on all designs.
Gladys holds the throne as lead designer for Kozy Kids Chairs and matriarch of all the love and positive energy that goes into every stitch. Allen, who boasts more than two decades of professional art and design experience, along with a lifetime of upholstery knowledge, is the company’s co-founder and project manager.
“Going into business with my mother is a dream. She’s my best friend,” says Allen. “My goal is to be a worthy apprentice to her and, together, create quality designs that bring enjoyment and become keepsakes to the families who purchase them.”
New, Vintage, and Custom Designs
The company’s first design, the Club Chair, emulates the chair Gladys built for the child who stole her heart decades before. Today, it is the company’s best seller. Other signature designs include a chaise-inspired Slumber Lounge and a Buddy Chair for two, along with full-size ottomans.
In addition to crafting new furniture, Gladys and Allen enjoy repurposing antique furniture and materials to create one-of-a-kind pieces, such as the unique Jungle Chair, with arms upcycled from a vintage bamboo couch, and the Caboose Chair, which was designed using vintage theater seats.
“We have design templates in place and ready to go, but we love it when a customer calls us with a special request,” Allen says. “We just created a one-of-a-kind Slumber Lounge for a young girl’s birthday in Texas, extending the length of our original design to accommodate her height. Anything is workable; you just have to ask!”
Leaving a Legacy of Love
As Gladys continues designing and fabricating furniture, she strives to create a legacy of quality and skill, enthusiasm for an almost forgotten trade, and a genuine love for family.
With hundreds of projects to its name, Kozy Kids Chairs is a forward-thinking company, up on the latest trends while staying true to their roots. Today, all the company’s design visions are still sketched on paper, then measured, cut, and upholstered by hand in Gladys’s long-time workshop located at the base of the North Cascade Mountains.
“This is my dream,” Gladys concludes. “Working with my son, using my hands to create something beautiful, and making children feel special. If this is my legacy, if my heart and passion are remembered through these pieces of furniture, I couldn’t be happier.” 360.389.3705, kozykidschairs.com
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