Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sofa Transformation: A Deeply Seated Issue

You may recoganize this fantastic mid-century modern sofa I picked up from the Thrift Store for an unbelieveable price of $65! 

I have been busy trying to figure out how I transform this sofa into a stunning master piece.  So I have done some research.

I love the patterns on these settees!  My concern is that I would probably want patterns on pillows and accessories, so the sofa itself probably needs to be less "flashy" and plays more of a grounding role.  What I've learned from these settees is that I want one long seat cushion instead of three. 

Actually the moment I saw my red sofa, I immediate thought of the Papa Bear Chair by Hans Wegner.  It is such a classic piece and it certainly will never goe out of style.  So I thought I better study the upholstery of this chair closely before I reupholster mine. 

I love the mid-tone walnut finish on the legs and the pipping around the back.  Too bad mine doesn't have the same arm structure for the pipping to wrap around the arms.  What an interesting feature on the papa bear!  I also noted the use of neutral fabrics ...  I should do the same for longevity. 

I have studied button applications on other chairs as well.  I like this fun Pelican Chair by Finn Juhl available at Design Within Reach.  I love the shape of this chair and it was so comfortable when I sat on it during my NYC trip

I like the modern application of the buttons.  However, it maybe too many buttons if applied on a sofa.  So I decided to go with one roll of simple buttons covered in same fabrics as the seat for subtle interest. 

Now the most important decision of all, which fabrics do use?  I've narrowed down to two schemes: (1) blue and taupe or (2) natural linen with warm grey and white. 

For the blue and taupe scheme, I would use the robin's egg blue and taupe stripe for the outside back and side of the sofa, solid silvery blue for the seat and inside back, and piping in thin stripe fabric.

For the grey and white scheme, the grey/white polka dot will be the outside back and side of the sofa, solid linen as seat and inside back, and white linen for crisp pipping.

So which one did I choose? You will soon find out as the piece is being refinished and reupholstered by Paul as we speak!

In case you are wondering, all fabrics are from Designer Fabrics Outlet, except for the natural linen from In Vu.


  1. I think option 2! What a great piece - I am so jealous of your find Tim!

  2. I love both choices! I was at In Vu today doing some hunting. Really I can't get enough of fabric and seeing how you put it all together is incredible. Thanks for sharing your design process with us.

  3. #2! That polka dot fabric would look great across the back of a sofa.

  4. #2 indeed is what I've picked. The wood will be refinished to a walnut finished. I have been informed the wood (sofa base) is actually mahogany! what a score for $65!

    can't wait to see the finish product myself! will be a great before and after!