Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Duncan Phyfe Sofa


My Grandmother's Duncan Phyfe is about to get a makeover. I grew up with this sofa so it holds many memories, mostly of childhood. It was kept in our playroom at her house. It anchored many forts, and wind-up toys have explored its entirety. 

I had intended to have it reupholstered last year for the guest house. But between upholsterers' schedules, planning for the Country Living shoot, and other plans, we never found the time. 

It's in good shape structurally, but desperately needs new fabric. Also, I am planning all new batting and cushions, mostly due to its extended storage history in our barn. 

For the past few weeks, I have been researching local upholsterers and investigating ways in which I can revive this family heirloom while still using the greenest resources possible. This will require cotton batting, sofa cushions and upholstery fabric free of flame retardants and teflon coatings (for stain resistance). 

Well, this task has been a challenging one and I have learned a lot. There seems to be relatively few resources for sourcing these materials chemical-free. Thankfully, I did find a wonderful company that manufactures and sells everything that I think I'll need. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Catherine  

36 comments :

  1. The lines on that couch are amazing. The feet are so unique. I am looking forward to seeing the transformation.

    Happy Autumn,
    Karla in CA.

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  2. I have a sofa very similar to yours that also needs a makeover. I can't wait to see what you do with it!

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  3. exciting! I am currently in the process of upholstering my first piece of furniture it is also an early 20th century sofa. Can't wait to see how yours turns out!

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  4. I can't wait to see it all finished. Charming piece!

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  5. I have my grandmother's drum table and two shell back chairs. To my knowledge they have never not been a threesome, so I understand your excitement and look so forward to seeing this lovely piece brought back to life

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  6. You can see the beauty of the sofa now, I can't wait to see the finished article...

    PP

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  7. I love your blog! You come from an amazingly great background of taste and style! Your lead sentence about the sofa was wonderful!!!

    And then you said...."couch"! OOOPS!!!!

    YIKES!!! Never, ever, say "couch" !!

    Your grandmother will spin in her grave! and mine too!

    "Sofa" is the only word to be used to identify that piece of furniture!

    Whew! We can "nip it in the bud"!!!!

    I am so relieved!!!
    I love your blog!

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  8. Oh dear! I have to leap in here again!
    No good upholsterer still uses all those heinous things that are "flame retardant" and poisonous!

    Get good quality fabric from a great resource; use quality duck down and feather cushions.....(50%duck down, 50% duck feathers) for the cushions.......do not allow any fabric with any chemicals.......

    Cowtan and Tout, Scalamandre, Brunschwig and Fils, there are so many fabric houses that do not use any of those hideous things!!

    Good luck! You are so , so lucky to inherit that beautiful sofa!

    Treasure it!

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  9. my website.....(so you don't think I am some fly-by-nite)

    is www.mccormickinteriors.com

    check it out! Believe me, you have a real treasure there!!

    Penelope

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  10. I nave no doubt that the result will be beautiful! Can't wait to see it. Have a nice day and hugs from Sardinia.

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  11. I have that exact same sofa and I reupholstered mine myself quite a few years ago. If yours is anything like mine, expect hair to be inside when you take it apart, (maybe horse hair??) it was a mess, but I replaced it with the appropriate foam and batting etc. :) it turned out really nice! :) good luck!

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  12. I too inherited my grandparents couch. It's such a special piece of who they were and how blessed my life has been that I had them.

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  13. Can't wait to see this and hear about the process. I know it will be beautiful!

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  14. What a gorgeous sofa ! Can't wait to see what the finished product looks like !

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  15. Would you mind telling us where you are?

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  16. Not only will you have an amazing piece of furniture, but you will have a family treasure you can pass on and on! I love it and can't wait to see the transformation! I love your style:)

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  17. It's a beautiful piece indeed, and will look lovely when it's been re-upholstered. I hope you share it with us. Enjoy the weekend.

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  18. I can't wait to see what you come up with! I know it will be beautiful. Some gorgeous natural linen would be amazing. I know it seems trendy now, but it is so classic and timeless. You would never tire of it. It would be beautiful long after RH moves on to something else. Enjoy the process!

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  19. Oh my goodness!...just love the
    sofa!...it will be interesting to
    see the outcome....I bet it was beautiful when it was first bought
    by your Grandma....I love antiques!
    Corinne





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  20. can't wait to see how it turns out. I'm on the hunt for a new living room sofa and frequently see this listed for good prices but haven't figured out how to 'modernize' them. We'll stay tuned!

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  21. That's a great piece and the family history is a bonus. My own camelback sofa is a little earlier in style--Chippendale VS Duncan Phyfe--but it had several of the same problems as yours when I got it. But those issues can be addressed. Penelope, of course, is right when she says good fabric houses don't slather their--let's face it--expensive fabrics with weird chemicals. Most of my antique furniture still has whatever fabric it was wearing when I bought it, and in some cases, that means eighty-year-old damask. But you know what? It looks OK. "New"? No--but then, I don't like things too new-looking anyway. All that something too obviously new does is make everything else in the room look bad. Life's hard enough already. Why create more problems? But here's the thing: if you want to be a friend to both your sofa and to the environment, you not only want to avoid plasticky coatings, you also want to avoid foam cushions & padding, which look out of place on an old piece, anyway. Stick with the old stuff that's proven its value with long use: that is, good old horsehair & cotton batting, which, in the right hands, will provide all the shaping the frame needs. That, and a single feather-&-down cushion will maintain your sofa's classic lines and give it another fifty years of life besides, which you can't say about foam. And as for squeamishness about the word 'couch' goes, well I don't use the word, either, but I also don't believe in telling other people how to talk. I mean, if the word 'couch' is good enough for Elsie de Wolfe, (page 248 of "the House in Good Taste) it ought to be good good enough for you.

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  22. I'm going to live vicariously through you as you upholster this beautiful sofa. ;) Because you see, I have bought 2 different antique sofas in the past hoping to do the same thing (upholster them and bring them back to life) and twice now I just couldn't stomach the investment and so I turned around and sold them again. I think part of it was that I wasn't IN LOVE with the sofas to begin with. I think if they had been a family heirloom I might have thought differently. Maybe.

    But anyway--looking forward to seeing what you do with this one! What sweet memories you have in relation to it---it's worth preserving!!

    Gail

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  23. I love this. I love the shape of it. It reminds me of a settee in a victorian home. So pretty. I can only imagine what you will do with it. Love the arms.
    xoxo
    Lee

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  24. It is a gorgeous sofa, and they do not make them like they used to. My mil who just turned 95 swore by Duncan Phyfe furniture.

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  25. I love the lines of this sofa. I can't wait to see what you finish it in.

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  26. Instead of cotton batting, have you considered wool batting? More environmentally kind, naturally flame retardant and won't soak up spills like cotton batting.
    Love to hear about your life after the FarmHouse.
    Sincerely,
    Miranda

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  27. It's absolutely lovely! Can't wait to see the finished product.

    swtps.blogspot.com

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  28. Couch...sofa...whatever. I love the history and the legacy. Have no doubt it will be beautiful AND healthy in your home! Onward......

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  29. That is a lovely sofa and treasure you have!

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  30. So happy to see that you're continuing to share your life so generously with us. Love "In the Fields." Looking forward to hearing more about this project and anything else that's new with you.

    Take good care, Em

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  31. Can't wait to see the finished product. I love Duncan Phyfe!

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  32. Beautiful sofa. In regard to coverings you might want to check out the blog "Adelaide Villa" - there's been a recent post on sofas and covering, especially relevant if you have children. Heidi is an architect and interior designer so is really an expert. So pleased to read how you're choosing to avoid nasty chemicals. Our DIL is very particular too and researches materials and finishes very carefully before she buys anything. Best wishes, Pamela

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  33. What a beautiful piece of furniture (go ahead, you can call it a couch if you want to)! Good luck with your reupholstery project. I'm sure it will turn out lovely.
    C

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  34. Trina - I admire you for going green on this project. I often rely on this blog for green resources to I look forward to hearing how the project goes.

    Maggie

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  35. The sofa is a real treasure. I have always loved that style.

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  36. I find it quite amusing that someone calling themselves anon wants you to tell exactly where you are. LOL Anon, please tell us WHO you are. :)

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Thank you for leaving your thoughts. Best, Catherine

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