Monday, September 27, 2010

The Chesterfield

In Canada, you flop down on the "Chesterfield" to watch TV. I learned today that this term, Chesterfield, as a generic designation for couch, is used this way only in Canada.

A real Chesterfield  is a unique piece of furniture. Often leather, with a tufted back and with arms the same height as the back, it can be a thing of beauty, when the fabric is right. First seen at the beginning of the 20th century it was gorgeous then and still a knock-out. Restoration Hardware has them on display mixed with natural wood pieces and very chic industrial look tables. Nice for some kind of urban loft or studio...not great in Fallbrook on a farm.
Restoration Hardware version

Yes, I'm still shopping for a sofa, couch, settee, Chesterfield or whatever you call it. I've learned more than I want to know about how they're made - what's good and what's bad. As a budget item, they are really not a major consideration. You can get a decent couch today for less than they were 15 years ago, the last time I went shopping. It's not money holding me back, but a lack of vision about what to use that will please both Richard and me and look good in our small space.

I have a piece of material that I'm carrying around and trying to match. Today at a custom couch maker the girl who was helping me said "Do yourself a favor and throw that scrap away. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to match it."  Good advice. She was wise beyond her 25 years.

After the couch agony, I stopped at the huge Consignment store in Encinitas. They have lots of things there - tons of framed prints and art - I couldn't see anything much that I liked though. It takes a special eye to see the possibilities in these stores - they invariably smell like mothballs, dust, mildew, dento-fix and mustiness. Stuff is piled up without rhyme or reason. Not my kind of place - I don't have the sufficient imagination.


  1. Anonymous12:20 PM

    i'm going to be looking for a "chesterfield" soon because my present one has had its day. What with two dogs and my using the couch for a dining room table - it really is a complete mess. And I love it - I know I won't find another one like it - so I'm dreading the search for a new one.

  2. Let me know when you're ready....I pretty well know the inventory and might be able to suggest a few sources. One consolation is that there are plenty of well-priced options. You'll get the severity of the situation as you walk into these cavernous stores with nary a shopper to be seen. It's downright eerie.

    They have couches that convert into tables - well, almost:).