Real Renovation… Sofa Deliberations

This afternoon, we’re back to Jessica’s Real Renovation and she’s sharing the dilemmas of one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. Jess and I have spent many an hour on my sofa, the two of us enjoying the super comfy cushions and a glass of vino, so I knew the hunt for her very own take on this essential would be epic…

When I’m buying clothes, I like to justify an expensive item with the old ‘cost-per-wear’ argument. So if budget allows, I think the same rationale can be applied to sofas. After all, you will sit on them nearly every day that you own them, so why shouldn’t you splash out?! Having said that, there are some great sofas that will fulfill all your interior design fantasies as well as being comfortable, without needing a fantasy sized bank account.

A sofa has to be a considered purchase and I think them so important even, that I have just bought new sofas yet still don’t have any wardrobes! I have lost count of how many sofas Dan and I sat on before we found the right one. If I had been doing an equivalent number of squats at the gym in a bums, legs and tums class I would’ve thrown in the towel long before I found my perfect perch!

We had one major specification and that was comfort. Having said that, as we now have a new fairly large living room we needed something that would suit an Edwardian house and its proportions, and of course look good. In the past we lived in a small, modern open plan flat and we had leather sofas which we really liked and so initially considered leather for the new house too. But, for the past few months we have been borrowing a friends leather sofa, and we soon realised that this was not a practical option in our cold and poorly insulated house! Fabric is the way forward for us…

*Chesterfield from Habitat, via Home Shopping Spy

So, if we are going to talk about sofas, we can no further without talking about the classic Chesterfield. Over the 200 or so years it has been around, it has been a staple of English design, often furnishing a traditional study or living room. Now it is having a huge revival, as its original shape with rounded arms and stud detailed back is combined with modern fabrics and sumptuous colours. It is now a key piece of furniture design that can look great in both period and modern homes. So if you feel like making a statement without compromising on comfort, I don’t think you can go wrong with a Chesterfield. Maybe go for a classic leather version (if you have a nice warm house!) and go all out Victoriana style, or as alternative maybe this luxe fabric version from John Lewis.

*Pale Blue Chesterfield – John Lewis

For the daring amongst you, this yellow sofa has curves in all the right places and will definitely make a statement any room. I was seriously tempted by this one but just couldn’t quite be brave enough.

*Arighi Bianchi Hepburn Sofa

Fashion has gone retro and so why shouldn’t your sofa? I love the simplicity of this green beauty from Couch Design which fits the bill perfectly, and Marks and Spencers new Conran range has some beautiful chairs and sofas that epitomise the smooth clean lines of the retro look. Personally I love with the teal velvet, its the fabric I think that makes this sofa so good. (Rebecca has already posted about the entire Conran for M&S collection if you want a peek at the rest of the range.) Although there are plenty of rooms that successfully combine retro shapes and period features, it just wasn’t right for our home.

*Retro Sofa, Not On the High Street

*Conran sofa for Marks and Spencers

So, by this point I had pretty well narrowed down the style of the sofa that I wanted, something quite traditional in shape, but with a modern fabric and super comfortable. Our living room is reasonably big, but just because it could fit two large sofas doesn’t mean it should. Too much furniture can make a big room feel smaller than it really is.

One of the things that attracted me to our house was the bay windows and a love seat seemed the ideal way to utilise the often difficult to use space. So, along with one large sofa we could have seating for at least 5 or 6 people (I can still feel a statement chair coming on though). I figured that many more people than that in the room and it becomes a standing up kind of a party anyway.

*Sofa – Tamarisk Designs

The sofa style we chose was something fairly classic by Tamarisk Designs but we chose a deep grey/blue slate chenille fabric that really adds to the luxury feel I want to achieve. There is also an almost identical to this one from Baileys in a linen weave.

*Sofa – Baileys Home and Garden

Above all though, I think it is one of the most comfortable sofa I have ever sat on, and it was sheer luck that it was in just the style I had been looking for. Luckily for me this time, Dan needed no convincing that this was the right sofa for us. Unfortunately it was not the cheapest option but when they arrived last week it felt like Christmas! The rest of the room is still a work in progress (as you can see by the bare white walls and paint samples below), but at least I will be comfortable whilst researching my next purchase!

Thanks Jessica!

What a search – but I have to say, it’s a great choice 🙂 I can’t wait to see the room finished…

Have you bought a new sofa? Are you desperate for one of the above? Or did you too have an epic sofa hunt?


Conran collaboration for M&S

It’s a sneaky peek this Monday morning as I wanted to share the latest collaboration to come from the design legend that is Sir Terence Conran – Conran for M&S

Founder of Habitat (his brainchild to bring continental clean design to the masses at reasonable prices without skimping on quality) and The Conran shop which stocks higher end design pieces, I’m always in awe of his eye for style. The Marks and Spencer collection is no different. Simple clean designs with a retro nod and up to the minute colour palettes referencing the fifties and sixties.

Conran for M&S

The shots I’m sharing with you today (excuse the poor quality scanned images) are lifted from the M&S catalogue as the collection doesn’t launch until Thursday 22nd September, although the catalogue opens with a 17 page spread previewing the mini range preceeding Spring 2012’s launch of over 300 products.

I can’t wait!

In the article Sir Terence talks about British design, producing democratic pieces of exceptional quality and at a price point everyone can achieve. You can tell he really hasn’t had to stray at all from his personal design ethos and says he hopes the collection makes people feel…

‘happy. …That’s one of the things I hope it will do – cheer people up.’

As I have a little bit of an obsession with chairs (really, I could buy a new one every five minutes and my house would look like a very stylish church hall in no time,) my favourites from the collection are the arm chairs, not to mention the stunning teal velvet sofa above. Unfortunately you can’t buy a new one of those every year.

Aside from chairs, the Conran for M&S collection also has pieces representing what I consider to be his trademark use of paler woods in simple designs. The Brindley range of side tables and shelving units, along with solid oak and oak veneer tables, chairs and some glossy white laquered additions, all look sturdy yet stylish.

I’m also loving the science vase collection. (that’s the geek in me, always looking for a bit of quirk appeal!)Resembling chemistry class beakers and flasks, the collection looks brilliant with single stems of wild looking greenery displayed en masse as a centrepiece.

Conran for M&S

Pieces and Prices:
Ackroyd Sofa, £1599
Marlowe armchair, £999
Brindley shelving unit, £399
Godwin Armchair, £999
Science Vase collection, various prices.

So, what do you think?


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