All The Sofas I Considered For Our Living Room After Shopping For TWO FULL YEARS

Months ago I wanted to lay out the living room with a long sofa, a short sofa, and two chairs. But the room is big and I just couldn’t find my dream sofa. At one point Brian said that he actually feels sorry for our future sofa (or spoiler, sofas) because there is no way it was going to live up to the pressure I have put on it to be perfect. I’ve been shopping for this fantasy sofa for two years (probably longer) and I don’t think that what I wanted existed. And it’s not that what I want is so incredibly special, it’s the combination of elements that seems virtually impossible. I ended up landing on a different layout, negating a lot of the things I wrote in this post (started it months ago), but I like the information, and it’s a good lead-up to our final layout post!! So I wanted to bring you along my woeful process. This sofa search was intended for this layout – THE sofa facing the fireplace, flanked by a smaller sofa and two club chairs. Easy peasy.

While I am truly a huge fan of that Article sectional it’s not the right orientation for this room and it’s incredibly water damaged and stained. But that’s the layout I’m chasing.

So let’s walk you through why this long sofa is seemingly unattainable:

  1. Length – she needs to be at least 108″ long. They exist, but not very many are readymade.
  2. Comfort – we need an 8 on the comfort scale. I refuse to torture myself again – both emotionally and physically by not having an extremely comfortable sofa in our living room. But you know what? All those dope-looking sofas on the internet that are streamlined, curvy and so beautiful? So few of them can stand up to this challenge. I’m outing them all right now.
  3. Dog friendly – My kids are old enough now to not really have to worry about them, but no matter how well we wash the paws off after a winter walk, the dogs will run around and hop on the sofa afterward. It doesn’t stain, but I don’t want to look at all the dirty paw prints in between cushion washing. “So do you want a sofa that hides your dirt so you don’t have to deal with it?” Yeah. I do. This means no mohair, no boucle, no light colors – doesn’t matter if it’s performance fabric, I don’t want to spend my weekends wiping them up. Remember performance fabric doesn’t repel or hide dirt, it just wipes up easier and doesn’t stain. I’ve shopped for a patterned fabric for months and months and months and nothing is right enough to invest in long term.
  4. Ideally, it would look good with the rug + leather sofa we already have – Now, of course, I could move them to other rooms (and spoiler, I do) but initially, I really liked both of them so I didn’t want to. The rug has a million blues in it and a little of “white dashes” which has made it extremely dog friendly and cozy. And the leather sofa is super classic and pretty (and the perfect color leather). But it’s tufted, which means that whatever we choose really shouldn’t be. Again, at this point, I’m willing to move this to another room if the most perfect tufted sofa came into existence.
  5. I’d like this sofa to be more “living room,” less “tv room” – Not formal per se, but we have a big sectional in the next room so ideally it would feel more elevated than that (I’m willing to give up on this requirement at this point).
  6. Special, editorial, not something I haven’t seen every single day on the internet – not because there is ANYTHING wrong with that, only because as a designer I want to create something new. Like a chef not wanting to cook from someone else’s recipe or an advertising exec not wanting to do a similar campaign to someone else. I wanted, ideally, something that tickles my eyeballs every time I see it. This is definitely the one requirement at this point that I am most likely going to have to give up (and have).

Well, What Is Your Dream Sofa?

Thanks for asking. If I could snap my fingers what would I own? You know it because I’ve said this for YEARS. It’s from BDDW and it’s incredible – the perfect combination of cool, comfy, edgy, and classic. It’s also close to $30k. And the thing is that I’m kinda glad it is – it’s a work of art by a company that I’m obsessed with and admire so much. I don’t want it knocked off. I don’t want it ubiquitous. I look on 1stDibs all the time for a used one (nothing, ever). I have of course, in the past reached out to see about any press or marketing opportunity (it will be in a magazine! I’m a blogger! I’m also from Oregon!) and haven’t heard back. At this point, YOU BET I would partner up with them, drain the kid’s college savings, take a discount, and make payments. And hell, had I kept track and calculated the hours, weeks, months, and years I’ve tried to find an affordable version of this sofa and multiplied it by my hourly rate it would probably be over $30k at this point!!! But I can’t do it. The last time I was in New York, I went into BDDW and sat on it, we had a moment and what I realized is that it’s a bit too deep. I was relieved momentarily, thinking maybe my unicorn sofa is just a really awesome horse. But it’s not. I would put more pillows or customize it 2″ shallower. Anyway, the dream is dead and we are moving on (full disclosure if they reach out after this post I will have no scruples – I’d do what I could to lock down a discount for marketing/PR/photography usage purposes). And you know what? I think its unattainability, like a piece of art, is a huge factor in why it’s so valuable and why I’ve loved it for so many years. If you are rolling your eyes at the price, I get it – anybody able to spend that amount of money on a sofa is probably enjoying capitalism more than 99.9% of the rest of the country and if you let yourself think about it too long you will feel gross. But it’s similar to the Devil Wears Prada monologue about Cereleum blue. BDDW is (in my opinion) the tip-top of creativity + quality + art + style in the furniture/design world for decades now. Major retailers have been trying to knock them off for years, but nothing touches the real thing. Nothing. Have you seen the modern Delft tile? The art they curate? The tables and wingbacks? Everything they do is edgy, classic, AND totally timeless. HOW???????? I think the high quality and unattainability are what make it timeless – it’s not everywhere. You don’t get sick of looking at it and wanting it. I implore major retailers to stop trying to knock them off, please. Let’s collectively let some things be worth just admiring as art, shall we?

A Classic English Roll Arm

I LOVE this sofa. It only comes 84″ but we could have customized it (had I ordered it in time). But also I already had the rug and was worried that it wouldn’t match or clash or just be wrong. I think if I could go back in time I’d order two of these facing each other, but I didn’t have that thought until about a month ago and it was just too late. It’s a stunner, though.

Almost It – A Restored Antique

Last year I found this white sofa (above) on 1stDibs and immediately said, “That’s it. That’s our statement sofa”. I put it on my *very* working mood board and my whole future fell into place. It was at a vintage store in LA, a totally restored antique from France circa 1830, and yet those modern lines were so simple and special. And it was long enough!!! The problems were A. It was $18k and newly reupholstered. B. It was in white boucle so we’d have to reupholster it (nope, not for that price), and C. It didn’t look sink-in able. I could tell that it would be more bouncy and firm. And that’s fine for other people, but not us. I want to USE our living room and after making this mistake in the past I will not again let an uncomfortable sofa haunt me. Our sofa will be inviting and comfortable, not something people avoid sitting on.

So I reached out to Rosa Beltran, with her company Clad Home (I’m a huge fan of hers, btw) and we talked about custom designing something similar – adding a cushion on top. I trusted her eye for proportions and her expertise in ergonomics. But I just kept dropping the ball, so busy with everything else going on that by the time I reached out again to get it done it wouldn’t have gotten here in time. SAD!

Vintage + Reupholster????

Getting closer to the shoot I started having two options – Vintage (nearby) and reupholster or big box. I looked on 1stDibs, FB marketplace, Craigslist, and Chairish almost every day. I found many others that have made me excited, but none of them check all those boxes above. Besides, not being able to sit on them and actually test them out is a real problem when they would all be a fortune and the almost singular function of a sofa is to be sat on. But I go through and favorite anything I’m attracted to so that if I were to customize something I can look through what I like and get some insight.

This made me start to rethink the entire layout and opened a few doors – sofa-wise.

What About A Curved Sofa? A Semi-Circle?

I even considered moving out everything we have so that we could bring in one big curved sofa, but Caitlin reminded me that you can’t lay down on curved sofas. I hadn’t even thought about that! As I write this I’m stretched out on the chaise part of our Article sectional and don’t want to only be able to sit on the sofa – I want to have a loungeable option.

What About The Camaleonda? It’s Cool And Comfortable?

Ha. Jokes on all of us that this sofa is famously uncomfortable, not to mention unbelievably expensive. Yes, it’s knocked off now (all the more reason for me not to invest in the original), but I just wanted to quickly break that story – that this sofa is a wonderful hotel lobby sofa, a beautiful formal living room sofa for guests, but no, it’s not a family sofa. She is bouncy and you can’t really lie back. Trust me, “modular” is NOT always a good thing.

Two Vintage Sectionals I Was This Close To Buying

This one is so long and beautiful. But ultimately so expensive and felt too deep for everyday conversations. And now I don’t remember how much it was or where it was, but I’m sure it wasn’t cheap nor close to Portland.

This is a vintage Milo Baughman that once recovered could be cool (and was right size/scale) but the amount of work/time and money I’d have to pitch in with no guarantees that I’d nail it was too risky with my deadlines and all my other work. I got the quote to reupholster it, which was $5k not including fabric (nor the cost of the sofa and shipping). So we are talking over $10k for something I’m unsure about????

Lawson Fenning + Nicki Kehoe + Amber Interiors

Four months out, I also stalked some of my favorite brands. I love any and all things from these three brands. While they are all expensive (around $8k+ for sofas, probably closer to $12k) I trust their quality and timelessness. Unfortunately, even if I did want to spend that it was too late when I started shopping and we wouldn’t get the sofa in time to shoot. Way to go dummy.

Crate & Barrel – The Athena Sofa

This whole collection was a huge mouth and mic drop. I ordered the dining chairs and have been so extremely happy with them. And this sectional is incredible too. I have to think it’s heavily inspired by the ’70s designer that designed the mountain house sectional (the exact same lines) but y’all this one doesn’t fall apart!!!! Brian was still hesitant that it wouldn’t be that comfortable (tight seat and tight-backed sofas tend to not have as much give) but I could have gone for it. Crate & Barrel makes comfortable high-quality furniture, surely they designed this one to be super comfy? But without one to sit on we were hesitant. My other hesitations were that the green color that I loved was the same fabric as the dining chairs. Can you see them at the same time? Yes. Is that bad? I DON’T KNOW!!!! Part of me thinks maybe it’s just cohesive?? Unfortunately at this point, it’s ALSO too late, and wouldn’t get here til July.

The Other Athena Sofa

When I went to Crate to see the first one, I sat on this above sectional and it was EXCELLENT. Super long, beautiful, and extremely comfortable. But it only comes in white or a burnt orange (I happily gave my feedback about needing more color options haha).

Both of those couldn’t get here in time, so now we are down to custom making (I found a company here that could turn it around in three weeks should I design it quickly) or quick ship from a big box. This is also when I started opening up all layout options – sectional, two facing sofas, etc. I wouldn’t say I felt desperate, but yes, my options were dwindling by the day. So I started considering…

Article Sectional

Last year I got this sectional to replace the vintage one at the mountain house (because it fell apart all day every day) and I literally couldn’t have been more happy. We then used it (because I forced Kaitlin) for Kaitlin’s basement makeover and once again I was like, “MY GOD THIS IS GOOD”. But was a big corduroy sectional the right vibe for our living room? Again, we have a sectional in the room over, and is that fine? Maybe??!! And with Article, I could have gotten it in time, but Brian was like, “This just feels more like a family room sofa, not our living room sofa” and I knew he was right.

CB2 Sofa

We are clearly out of farmhouse territory now, I know. But I love this one and felt that two of these facing each other could be so simple and pretty, and let my art/accessories shine. I went to the store to sit on it and the wheat one was in stock but I didn’t love the color (but they are comfortable and have lovely lines) and the blue one was backordered til June. While it might have made it here in time, at this point I have to design the rest of the room around the sofa I choose, so it’s a domino effect. I couldn’t wait til a week before the shoot to get the sofa as it affected so many other decisions.

Maiden Home Sofa

I love this sofa for its simplicity and that pretty curve in the back. But I fear that I sofa this simple needs to be in mohair or something special, and after staring at their mohair samples for weeks (they are so pretty) I read the usage recommendations on the back and I fear that it’s too fragile for our pups paws and puke. Mohair isn’t as forgiving as velvet (not by a long shot), so that felt unwise.

Lulu And Georgia Sofa(s)

I love all things Lulu and Georgia and trust them a lot re quality and comfort. I LOVE Ginny’s sofa and Jess has it and vouches for it. I have also loved the more classic English sofa for years – it’s very pretty, simple, timeless, and looks so comfortable. They didn’t have a long version, but this is when I realized that maybe two facing sofas were the way to go. Or maybe I didn’t need as long as I think and I could bring the conversation area in a bit? So I stalked Chris Loves Julia as they have it and I looked at all the photos of them sitting on it. I honestly stared at how they sunk into it, leaned back on it, crowded on it with multiple kids and dogs, and felt confident that the comfort and ergonomic box was being checked. I ordered samples of both colors (a mossy green and a darker blue) and two months out from the shoot I placed the order (they do give me a press discount, but not fully traded).

So what did I choose???????? Well, come back tomorrow for one more HUGE living room piece to discuss, then we’ll get to all things layout:)

Opening Image Credits: Photo by Kaitlin Green | From: My Journey To FINALLY Choose A Wall Color For Our Living Room (And How I Feel Now That It’s Painted)

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