Baltimore magazine|May 2021
Stuffed & Tufted’s Samantha Kuczynski relishes being the new face of upholstery.

IT’S A PRETTY GOOD bet that when you say someone is an upholsterer, what comes to mind is the exact opposite of Sam Kuczynski. For starters, Kuczynski is barely 30 (31 to be exact) and she’s female. “It’s a curmudgeonly old man job,” laughs Kuczynski (whose full first name is Samantha). But here she is, breaking stereotypes and repairing furniture in her Harwood neighborhood studio, not far from Bottoms Up Bagels’ new retail space on Greenmount Avenue. The building that houses her workspace is inconspicuous, on a dead-end street, with the only noise coming from CSX trains that roll by loudly, their brakes squealing, throughout the day. Her shop called Stuffed & Tufted is small, well-curated, and often filled with the bones of the chairs, couches, chaises, and settees that she’s working on. There’s an industrial sewing machine, bolts of fabric, tape measures, fabric sample books, quick-grip clamps, a compressor, a staple gun, and a sturdy worktable that Kuczynski built. This is her happy place—where she listens to music, NPR, and podcasts while she works, or sometimes just the muffled (well, not that muffled) sound of the various bands that also share the building.

Kuczynski grew up in New Jersey, in the middle of “three airports and seven highways,” she laughs. She attended college in upstate New York, where she studied theater production, focusing on the crafts of carpentry, sewing, and painting. She also spent time supervising the scene shop, where she “learned a lot about project management.” A summer internship in Vermont, where she was in charge of anything “not nailed down,” solidified her interest in theater props. And after graduation, she landed a coveted spot as prop intern at Baltimore Center Stage. It was a little intimidating, but Kuczynski decided to make the move. “I had never been to Baltimore until I drove into town,” she says. It also allowed her to reconnect with her college boyfriend, Andrew Limbong, who was interning in Washington, D.C. The two are now married.

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