Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Life of a Sofa

The very first piece of furniture I ever bought for myself was a khaki colored, traditional three-cushion roll-arm sofa that I had custom made at La-Z-Boy. I ordered it the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college, in preparation for moving into my first apartment (a newly renovated studio that had previously been a law office.) The sofa, which I ordered with a sleeper since it would have to do double-duty, was just over $1,000, a princely sum at the time. I vaguely recall looking at a few other options, none of which would have stood the test of time nearly as well.

My general rule is that large pieces of furniture (such as sofas) should be fairly neutral. It's easy to change throw pillows to give them a different look, but keeping them neutral increases the life of the piece and the number of different looks that it will work with. So let's take a look at my poor old sofa over the past 15 years:

Here it is in one of my college apartments. (Though not the first one, where it wore cranberry throw pillows and an impossibly fuzzy throw). Here, oversized denim pillows and a bolster join the factory original throws pillows. In another college-days iteration the sofa stood on a needlepoint floral rug with floral and plaid pillows.
After college, the poor thing suffered through another round of moves and looks. It got a rest in the corner of a bedroom, decked out with green and white toile pillows at one point. Was decked out in floral from April Cornell at another apartment, before finally toning down with black and tan stripes at this apartment.

In my first house, the tan sofa was in my study. (And a great place for afternoon naps!) Here, it's got oversized Ralph Lauren throw pillows, but eventually it would leave this room with a pillows in a plaid silk.

By this point the sofa was more than a little well-worn, and the back was totally sunbleached from it's years in front of the big triple window of my lakeside apartment. I looked for a replacement, but realized I was looking at sofas that looked an awful lot like the one I already had. So I sent it off to be recovered, in a winter white knit that I hoped will give it another 15 years of versatility.

Here it is fresh from the upholsterer in the living room of the townhouse I lived in for a bit. You can see I also recovered a chair to match.  In this space, I did a monochromatic white and dark brown scheme--popped off with a perfect geometric rug.

And here it is now, in our formal living room. In this space, everything is black, white, silver, or mirrored.
So which look is your favorite? My answer will always be "the current one" but every one of these looks happily reminds me of a different period of life. If you look closely through these pictures, and have seen any of the other spaces from my own home that I've had on the blog, you'll no doubt notice many reused items. 
Do any of you have a piece of furniture or other household item that has traveled with you from place to place?

As always, I am linking to the wonderful party at Between Naps on the Porch.  
Also linking this week to the party at Addicted to Decorating!

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  1. Wow, it looks beatiful...and brand new!! I love to try my hand at reupholstering furniture, but I must admit, nothing beats sending something off to the upholsterer, and having it delivered looking fabulous and new once again.

  2. Thank you Kristi! I'm always amazed at what a good upholstery shop can do. I've got a very worn out craigslist find off at the shop right now, and can not wait to see what it turns out like!

  3. Visiting from A2D and just love what you've done with the sofa!

  4. Impressive! And a very green option, besides.

  5. It‘s so nice that I found your blog about your link on 'Between Naps on the Porch'. Of course I’ve scrolled a little and like what I see. Now I’m your newest follower! ;)

    Take care

  6. LOVE IT! And love seeing how your style has evolved. The last pic is my fave too. Amazing how that ONE piece prooves itself to be the right piece time and time again.

    Beautifully done =)
    xo Lynda

  7. I love it in the NOW black white and silver setting.... good for you keeping it and making it work in so many spaces and decors~! well done indeed..

    ~ Sonny ~

  8. oh my gosh, that sofa in your modern living room looks completely different! i love it, it must be quite the solid piece!

  9. Loved watching the evolution of your style and your sofa! It looks terrific in it's current state. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks to all of you for stopping by! I guess I hadn't thought about this post showing the evolution of my style, but it certaintly did! I wish I had more pics showing all the in-between pillow/decor changes--the old gal has had more "looks" than Madonna.

  11. The white and brown look was good but the 'now' is the best look! Also really like the artwork above the sofa is great- the frame and mount are excellent choices - the whole piece seems to elevate and coordinate wonderfully with everything in the room.

    1. Thank you! The piece over the sofa is probably my favorite one in the whole house.