Sunday, 3 March 2013

Sofa, settee, couch. Take a seat.

I was reading the New York Times and they did three different articles on the topic of sofas.
Rather pertinent timing because I am in the middle of trying to replace our sofa.

 I find sofa shopping harrowing - 
almost like shopping for a new pair of jeans.
  Its almost like getting a tattoo - 
there is a lot of commitment involved.

Last time I considered buying a new sofa was a few years ago.
A decision on my own would have been hard enough but to balance another person's opinion ( my partner's ) was just too tiring and causing arguments so I chose to keep what we had instead to avoid a full on blowout.

The first article was Analyzing the Couch.  
It discussed sofa price ranges and what the reasons were for that price difference.  It was an argument that transcended sofas and that applied to most things from sofas to shoes.

Last time I bought a sofa was in 2001.
 I was so proud of myself as I finally felt like an adult and 
it was not an Ikea sofa.

I felt very mature - as in matour - not machure, dahling.

I scoured the sales for ages but like an ex-boyfriend - 
it isn't something I would necessarily choose now.

But at the time - I went into George Smith on the King's Road and they were having a sale where items were up to 70% off.

Usually, the ones on sale always seem to be bright, orange-y, floral or ultraviolet sofas in an odd shape but  instead I found this.

George Smith Standard Arm Signature Sofa in cream tweed linen

It was in a classic style and at such a good price and ready to take away immediately that I snapped it up.

But now I either need to buy a new sofa or reupholster it.
It is falling apart.  
 Feathers keep flying out and the cushions need to be refilled -
it needs an overhaul.

Because the cushions have to be lifted out and then fluffed -
 the fabric at the seam has torn.
And the feathers in the padding are escaping so when I sit on it,
I look like I had a scrap with a chicken.
Thank god I live in England where a shabby sofa is not unilaterally derided and my friends are not judgmental.
But I personally don't find torn sofas suitable in surroundings other than in a grand country estate funnily enough.

But the rest of the sofa and the fabric is still in good nick.
The fabric on the upper base is still like new.
So this next article about making over a couch piqued my interest.

They gave an overall visual guide of tools for a makeover.
I would have liked to just use a "Diversion Tactic" but 
the tear is in a place that is so noticeable.

To read this article - click here.

We are going to be adding an extension to our house soon 
so I want to be financially savvy and 
instead of buying a new sofa perhaps reupholster it, 
especially as the frame is really solid and well made.

I think if I loved the dimensions of the sofa, 
I would just reupholster the sofa and be done with it.
But ten years on, my tastes are more defined and I did get lulled to compromise on the sofa due to its sale price.

 But the cost of the fabric we need at least 8 sq m of 
would be a bit steep.

So 8 * 78 = my partner hitting the roof and
 me wanting to go on holiday instead. 
Plus the cost of the labour? Ouch.

Thank god I got the sofa on sale but having already invested money in buying the sofa in the first place makes you reluctant to give it away or sell it on eBay for a pittance.

But having to spend as much to recondition a sofa as it is to buy a new one on the high street also presents a dilemma.
That is why I could relate to this next article...

To read the article - click here.

So it seems that I should either buy a cheap sofa and decorate with lovely cushions or invest in a proper high quality sofa.

I can't justify a mid price range one as they tend to out-date 
quickly somehow and are only just a notch 
above Ikea at around triple the price.

Yet Ikea sofas seem like a false economy if they are going to bow out under constant use in a few years.

My ideal would be a Christian Liagre sofa.
( That is my mood now of course. Who knows in a few years? )

It has the cleanest lines.  
I have seen it in different settings and seems to suit most styles of architecture. But they never go on sale and 
I have yet to find one on ebay...

 Love the B & B Italia Charles Sofa - 
maybe not in this color but I never get sick of the shape.

I like this sofa with its clean and classic lines.
It doesn't lean back too much and eat into space so a few inches here and there make a foot...
And in London, space is precious so every  square inch counts! 

But this sofa has so many pillows - there is hardly room to sit! 
I have a thing against too many pillows.
In fact, I wrote about this burgeoning excessive pillow syndrome - 
click here if you haven't read it yet. 

 Um... no thank you. 99% discount you say? 
Still no thank you.
Would choosing something like this be too safe and 
a bit of a cop out?

Sorry to have just run you through my internal mental dilemma but this issue is making me think of all aspects!
I might need to go to the shrink due to all this angst but might end up analyzing their couch before I sit on it...

Sigmund Freud's couch - which I now need.

There was a nice diagram to illustrate the difference between a budget sofa versus a designer sofa.

I love Baker furniture but there is a difference of $10,167.  
Which is in fact a bit more than that because you have to earn more than ten thousand dollars before you get taxed on your salary!
I get really geeky sometimes and calculate things the way 
my father would tell me.
 To continue reading the article - click here.

Regarding the example of the picture above,
would you invest in something like the Baker or would you buy the cheaper sofa and spend the remainder on a holiday or some lamps?

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  1. Love that George Smith sofa! Great post! xo Caroline

  2. Hmmm I hear you! In answer to your question about the Baker sofa, I think it depends on your home situation. Firstly if you have kids or plan to have kids soon, then I think it's worth investing in something that's durable. The other reason I think it would be worth investing in a piece like this is if you are very house proud and have loads of visitors to show it off too - no point investing in a piece that no one else will see. Maybe that's just being a bit pretentious or ostentatious?

    My first and last sofa was from DFS and it has done me proud in terms of comfort, durability and compliment attraction; it's similar to the cream one you thought might me a "cop out" except mine is leather - sooo cold in the Winter unless the heating is on full blast for hours! Not sure I will buy leather again!

    I love the Liagre sofa, but sorry to burst your bubble, I would probably only have it for show because it doesn't look particularly comfortable to relax and watch all the soaps?

    I agree overall with the quote about sofas doing more work than any other piece of furniture - it's like suits for work. I hate spending money on suits for work but then i'm there 50 hours a week so that is probably what I should spend most of money on in terms of clothes purchases.

    Blooming ell I've been typing for ages sowwy got carried away x

    1. Hehe - not at all, I love hearing what people think!!

      You are right - I guess I also have to consider practical stuff like future family plans - Now you have just thrown a spanner in the works! But in a good way bc I was weighing up so many other things...apart from that!

      I didn't know that about leather sofas though as I have never had one - men tend to like leather sofas so that was an option but now that puts me off a bit even though I imagine they are easy to maintain. England is too cold.

      But making decisions with my partner in terms of home decor sometimes wears me out so I gotta brace myself :p

      Thanks Colleen xx

  3. Wow,long time ago I saw that many couches hihi !
    Couches in my opinion,makes the home sweet home :)



    1. Yep, a lot of couches which is why harder to make a decision..! :)

  4. Ah - the sofa dilemma. Ours is from Jardan here in Australia, and I organised it (as a designer I did it direct) in early 2000. And we still have it and only it, and we've never had even an armchair, so it's had a lot of use. My husband asked me the other day if it had "lost some of its comfort" which made me laugh hysterically, because it is, after all, 13 years old. So, my tips:
    1. Use a commercial fabric for your next sofa - they look and feel like the domestic ones, but they are rated for high use, so will not wear out as your current George Smith one has done.
    2. Don't buy a cheap sofa, you'll be replacing it in 5 years, plus it will be uncomfortable after 1. Most of my friends have gone through 3 different sofas in the time we've had our 1.
    3. Your sofa is lovely, and may still have a few years left. Upholstering is ridiculously expensive, so perhaps consider a slipcover? I had one custom made from this US company, and it was much cheaper than having one done here (as in 1/4 the price) check online for coupons too, as they always have them. It gave us another 4 years with our sofa (I had used a lovely Brunschwig & Fils fabric which was not a commercial fabric and consequently looks terrible now)
    We will be buying new sofas for the new extension. I love the ones by Verellen.... but I have a feeling after our reno we won't be able to afford one $12,000 sofa, let alone 2 or 3!
    You're right too... a shabby sofa in a grand mansion seems fine. In a normal home it just looks a bit... shabby and I'm not a fan of shabby chic either! xx

    1. I love your number three! I think I might buy some more time - why didn't I think of that? Thanks so much - will definitely give them a bell. That will avoid a bit of stress! But interesting that you do factor in the quality of the fabric as much as the frame. Makes sense bc if anything not many gorillas sit on my sofa. Or maybe I just gotta move into a country estate to make my sofa look at home! xx

  5. Hi there! Both options are interesting but in the end, it depends of where you are in life and of what are your plans for the years ahead. If you travel often and you are rarely home, I'd say go with the less expensive. But if you are settling down and are planning to have a family or simply if you entertain a lot, I'd say go with the Baker one.

    Catherine xo

    1. Hi Pearls and Caramel-thanks for your input - this is like who wants to be a millionaire and you ask the audience - the wisdom of the masses is true! I thought I had thought of all aspects but everyone seems to have a unique point - thanks P and C!

  6. Replies
    1. Hmm - that gives me hope - maybe I could ebay it then!

  7. all furniture is expensive and you never get that money back. BUt I love baker

    1. You are right - it isn't a bond - it is like any other item isn't it. So I just gotta get that right quotient between value and aesthetic.

  8. well i paid and arm and a leg for my sectional - would i do it again? - i dunno - especially when its our MAJOR area we interact - so it takes a beating

    1. Yeah - that is another thing - we might have two lounges so maybe I should move to where there is less usage. Thanks Erika x

  9. You know...I actually prefer the West Elm I guess would spend the rest of the cash on an awesome trip!

    When I was in school for interior design our professor would always sigh at us and tell us that a sofa is for SITTING on, ladies, while a couch is for LYING on! I wonder if that's really the case...

    Good luck finding a sofa you love! Hopefully it won't be crazy expensive.

    1. Hi Danie, funny enough, without the illustration I can't really tell the difference. But also I just realised I made a mistake in the fabric needed - it's 15 to 18.5 which just threw the curve all even curvier!! I am thinking a slipcover as Heide pointed out might be the temporary compromise...thanks for wishing me luck bc now the discussion will be which slipcover! ;)

  10. LOVE YOUR BLOG .. MAYBE WE CAN FOLLOW EACH OTHER ON gfc , facebook and bloglovin' .. let me know


  11. Ok I love you for letting your sofa get into that state, three cheers for genteel shabbiness!
    Oh I bet it's a headache, it's such a big purchase and the lynchpin of nightly comfort.
    I'm looking for a new car, don't know what I like or what's me and can't help but judge who I think would drive such and such, the bus might be easier.

    Oh and I'm with you on pillows.

    1. Yes the bus might be easier for sure! So many aspects to think about right? Home decor always causes raised voiced in my household so I may just end up sitting on pillows soon anyway...

  12. You need to start working for BuzzFeed! You're a movement by yourself. Thanks for posting and feel free to drop by us too when you have time.


  13. I love your blog

  14. How exciting! I love the big bold cushiony leather ones at Restoration Hardware!!

    -Lauren at adorn la femme

    1. we dont have restoraton hardware here! love RH...

  15. My mum decided to reupholster her sofa a wile ago - in LEATHER - and it ended up costing more than a new one. But I like a lot of pillows, now exactly 4 rows (those have to be just for photography purposes, come on!) but I like it cushiony.:) Get that red animal print beauty! I'll pay for it, if you get it.:D
    P.S.: I'm seriously considering pitching that toothpaste idea to someone. But I have to look into that a bit first so I'm googling "how to pitch and idea and not get screwed" a lot these days.:)

    1. well thats the crazy thing, you dont get rewarded for re or upcycling! that is why ikea does so well but that encourages wste...yeah you have tempted me to your offer. that red sofa is starting to look good ;)
      but seriously look into patenting it. i hate squeezing tubes!

  16. I find the problem with buying sofas is I don't always like a lot of them! We have two large leather sofas that we bought ten years ago. They are very simple and quite modern but manage to go with any style - I have shifted them into 4 different houses and used different throw cushions etc. They are still in really good nick and the beauty of it is that they are easy to keep clean because we just wipe them down. I will say that at the time they were expensive but were worth the investment. (Although I must admit to being a teensy bit sick of them now! Normally means I need to change the throw pillows...) I would just get a few more years out of the old sofa until you can afford a really good one.

    I laughed at the comment about ex boyfriends too. Made me smile as I bumped into an old one the other day (boyfriend not sofa) and was left thinking "why the hell did I like you so much?"

    Take care and hope you are enjoying your holiday.

    1. Leather seems a great idea but in London apparently it's too cold and I have noticed my friends who have leather sofas have to have throws alongside pillows...but it is a lot to consider for sure bc even if you make a good decision, sometimes you do get sick of even a great sofa.

      Yes, boyfriends get tiring a lot sooner than ten years!! ;)

      Thank you and still jet lagged but just got beaten up or rather foot massaged by a 4 foot nothing woman who should be a shot putter...

  17. Yes slipcover find local seamstress. Have her make extra lining w ticking fabric to minimize feather loss. Just the seat cushions in a contrast fabric like a dark gray plus two luxe down pillows in great fabric would give it a new life.

    1. thanks for that tip - extra lining in the future might be key

  18. This sofa was exactly what I was expecting. I read the previous reviews before purchasing so I had a pretty good idea what I was getting. A great deal for a reasonable piece of furniture. And, ABF, the shipping company delivered 2 days prior to the original date and the driver was very helpful in getting the boxes inside my home. I like the firmness of the cushions, the color, and the ease of assembly. I had watched the YouTube video before the sofa arrived which demonstrated the assembly so well I really didn't need the directions except to figure out the configuration of the back supports for the side I wanted the chaise to be facing. I am quite satisfied with this purchase.

  19. Peoples Carraway10 April 2013 at 16:21

    Pretty quick/easy assembly, but this thing is NOT well built, the cushion is very thin. The chaise lounge is not connected to the other portion of the couch, they just sit next to each other and tend to push away from each other creating the gap in between, you have to keep pushing them back together. Strangely enough the ottoman portion has a slightly thicker cushion and is quite comfortable to sit on. I was sitting on the chaise lounge and pushed my elbow down into the arm rest to get myself up & heard the cracking of cheap plywood under neath the thin cushion on the arm rest. If you want this small sofa for a kids play room it would be fine for children or maybe for a garage, but for an adult to sit or lay on it, it's just not comfortable, at all! I DO NOT recommend it! I wish I never bought it, but it's already put together in my living room so, guess I'll throw some blankets over top of it to try and make it some what less hard & try to live with it for now.

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