Rehabilitation Reimagined. How Case Manager Catherine Cottle discovered a surprising link between human rehabilitation and furniture restoration.


As an Occupational Therapist with almost 20 years of experience including orthopaedics, complex brain injury and neurological conditions, Birmingham based Case Manager, Catherine Cottle is no stranger to thinking outside the box when it comes to rehabilitation. But an interest turned side-line career in furniture restoration had the surprise twist of helping her reimagine her role as an OT.

Catherine graduated from the University of East Anglia with a BA (Hons) in Occupational Therapy in 1998 and over the years gained considerable experience in both the NHS and private sector. With a strong ethos on holistic and client centred practice Catherine has always sought to facilitate clients achieving their desired goals as much as possible.

Getting Creative 

Being creative had always been a part of Catherine’s life. Encouraged to take up needle work by her grandmother Margaret, who was a gifted seamstress and artist herself, the creative nature of her hobbies and the intellectual side of her OT work never came together until she began to take an interest in up cycling.

Starting simple, Catherine began by transforming some cushion covers a friend reclaimed from a skip followed by other smaller projects. But when she inherited a Parker Knoll chair that her love of furniture restoration really began.

Managing Expectation

Understanding is a key factor in both rehab and restoration work. Understanding what the end user wants is the starting point to managing expectation. Catherine learns the history, where repairs are needed and what imperfections can be integrated. From here she can choose the appropriate methods, fabrics and thread.

“Each individual piece as has had a life and a holds story but needs some help to create a new one. I can relate to this when I am working with rehabilitation clients who have suffered such horrific life changing injuries.

Time and care is needed to come to terms with what has happened to them, before being helped to carefully decide the best pathway for them to help them become their best self again”.

Catherine Cottle. UP Case Manager & Founder of Granny’s Attic Bespoke.

The popularity of Catherine’s creations, led her to found Granny’s Attic Bespoke, so named as to honour her own grandmother. She has moved in to a workshop where she can restore her furniture and have the space to contemplate her clients and what they need to move forward in their rehabilitation process that will really benefit them long term.  Something she says she is grateful for after a day juggling a demanding job, and a growing family.

Find Catherine at Granny’s Attic Bespoke.