March 25, 2013

happily hating my sofa

Fourteen and a half years ago, my Farmer and I, flush with wedding gift money, set out to buy a sofa for our little apartment.  We wanted something well-made, durable to withstand the years, and Scotch-guarded to withstand the children we were sure to have.

In the second store, we found what we were looking for - a classic design, of sturdy construction, long and deep enough for even my six-foot-one Farmer to nap on comfortably.

We decided to place an order, with a wing chair on the side, and were presented with the upholstery book.

We flipped through the samples, trying to recall our research:  olefin wears better than cotton, a pattern hides dirt better than solid, blue fades first.  I admired my mother-in-law's sofa, and looked for something similar, a neutral background with a small embroidered pattern.  There was nothing quite like it in the book, but we found something not too dissimilar, in colors we liked, and placed our order.  There were three swatches of the sample, a small pattern, a medium, and a large.

I assumed the small pattern would dominate.

A few weeks later, the sofa was delivered.  I stared in amazement.  The lines of the sofa were familiar, certainly, but had we really chosen this upholstery??  Large, bold flowers?!  Prominent vertical bars and a diamond crisscross of vines?  Where was the discreet pattern of small flowers and dots?!

I looked closer.  There, on the very tips of the cushions, was my small pattern.  But the entire piece of furniture was dominated by leafy vines, framed by loud flowers the size of my hand.  What had we done??

And it was made to last.

Sigh.

Well, fourteen years, two moves, three daughters and a son later, and I'm glad I'm not in love with my sofa, for it surely will not last the lifetime we expected.  There is a definite sag under our favorite end by the lamp, and the {admittedly pale} neutral background has, er, developed a bit of a patina from all the Farmer naps and bare-footed children.

Should I have told them to keep their feet off the sofa?  Banned all bare skin or unclean clothing to spare the upholstery?  Kept jumpers on the trampoline and builders restricted to Lincoln Logs?

I used to feel a little guilty that I let my children jump on the sofa (up till age 3 is the house rule), build forts with the cushions, and gallop around the house using cushions for horses.  Sort of like I was lacking in the responsibility department of parenthood.  But I have fond memories of doing the same, and after all, childhood is short ....

... and the upholstery is ugly.


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