I’ve been hitting the drawing board a bit lately, cooking up ideas for custom sofas that I’d like to bring to reality one day.
I need one for my own long and narrow living room, Sarah is overdue a new sofa too and most recently TEOT’s bff Amy has shown some interest in something specific for her home that is currently just a tad crowded with a sofa that scales too large for her room.
Whenever I start thinking this way, I’m quick to look to the past for furniture design inspiration
. It’s important for me to understand the aspects of sofa design, as they have morphed over the years.
Sarah told me about Viyet
some time ago- a lovely site for home decor where you can bid on consigned high end goods. It’s similar to Chairish but they have a minimum value and well, we think its a bit more buttoned up.
So for this part of the process, I’ve been digging through the vintage furniture website, to find a few old design classics for inspo… and so maybe I’ll talk about why.
There are plenty of examples besides the one below, of great sofa designs by Milo Baughman, but I do love the burlwood frame on this one.
I selected this one for Amy, to call attention the slim deck and slim arm rest design of the mid century. A slim deck is becoming a must have for me when it comes to my love affair with sofas. If you look around at big box and catalog design stores known for the sofa designs, more and more are headed this direction. Sarah and I had a funny conversation with another TEOT bff, Amanda when she showed us the 8 foot long Crate & Barrel sofa that she was going to buy. It was on sale for well under $2k and she was adamant that it was the sofa for her. But Sarah and I both shook our head and begged her to reconsider…. b/c it was a fat-deck contemporary that we’re pretty sure is going to look dated in less than 5 years. If you don’t know what I mean by fat deck, here is a look at one
The thing about designing a new sofa with these slim proportions for me, is that it harkens the timelessness of midcentury design. The silhouette mixes in seamlessly with so many styles and the essence of a smaller scale provides you with an opportunity for clean floating lines that don’t take up too much visual space, yet you can still provide a roomy seating area, plenty of area to sit down and sprawl.
On the downside, most midcentury sofas that have actually stood the test of time, have a scratchy upholstery in a nubby texture and often times the foam is long overdue a reconditioning. We ARE huge fans of reupholstering and reconditioning a sofa with great lines, but you will likely spend as much as it may cost you to buy a fat deck Crate and Barrel sofa. You can see that we recently did just that with our TEOT sofa, seen here
At any rate, we look to these kind of lines as a part of our imagining for a sofa for Amy.
Meanwhile, for my own home… I’m looking to the Seventies, the official decade of the at home lounge. This inspiration suits my modern day compulsion for Netflix binge sessions on the couch, as well as the versatility that our young homies need… to pull apart the room to make way for Wii tournaments and puppy wrestling matches.
Now, it’s not that I’m necessarily advocating so much for the TOGO as a modern day solution for my home. I think that choice might be a bit too on the nose to decorate around for MOST homes. BUT, I AM advocating for the soul of the Togo. It is modular, casual, deep, comfortable and it promotes a versatile living experience that I can really get behind. It’s casual luxury, it’s laissez faire, its super cool. Achieving this level of je ne sais quoi in a modern way would get me really excited.
For Sarah, our pursuit of the perfect english roll arm is still going strong. We’ve designed and built one custom version that we think came pretty close, but in the end we sold it off as a prototype with the idea to keep chiseling away at the right proportions. But we have definitely talked about this before
. We want a classic George Smith vintage style, just like Sofia Coppolas, slightly modernized and somewhat more affordable than the real thing.
Version two is underway now and frankly, I’m not sure what to expect since we started with a entirely different manufacturer this time. It’s being benchmade in Hickory, NC where I grew up.
This classic style is a designer go to b/c of it’s casual yet refined nature. We like ours with a more of a cadillac line, deep, low slung, long and ready to ride the whole fam through all 8 of the Harry Potter movies.
There is much to be said for looking back, before we look forward. Borrowing the aspects of vintage style that we love and modernizing to suit our very own spaces.