When The Girl with The Green Sofa chooses a Second Sofa-My New Sofa from Distinctive Chesterfields
I always knew the day would come when I had to get another sofa, our 15-year-old cream sofa was showing the wear and tear of two boisterous boys. And cream, what on earth was I thinking? Well, I actually bought the sofa pre-children, so hadn’t yet experienced the whirlwind of chocolate covered fingerprints.
Yet, how could I choose another sofa, when my last choice, my Green Velvet Sofa had been so successful, both in my home and for me personally, starting my Instagram career and becoming the name of my blog?
Clearly the choice of sofa was always going to be a tough one for me, with the pressure to get it right, to compliment what I already have and yet to look as good in my living room. So, I turned to a sofa choice I'd had before, a Chesterfield, a handmade leather clad Chesterfield, but not a traditional one.
I will let you read on to see what you think of my choice, but first a bit about the Company and the Sofa.
West Yorkshire based husband and wife team, team Steve and Clare Laidlaw, created Distinctive Chesterfields, with a small dedicated team near Huddersfield, 10 years ago, where the furniture is still made today. All furniture is traditionally handcrafted, by a team of 15 people, using British based products and I will share the process of making my sofa shortly.
Naturally, the business has grown from its original Yorkshire base and they now have showrooms in London, New York, North Carolina, Tokyo, Seoul, Stockholm and Paris.
Chesterfield Sofa History
So where did the Chesterfield sofa name come from?
Some believe it comes from the beginning of the century when Chesterfield was a word used to describe a sofa in Northern America and Canada. Others believe it came from the fourth earl of Chesterfield – Philip Stanhope (1764-1773) who commissioned furniture, in this case a leather Chesterfield. Some believe The Davenport Sofa, with its buttons and leather finish, was also known as a Chesterfield, while the name also applied to certain height sofas in a buttoned style.
Regardless of its history, a Chesterfield sofa is pretty instantly recognisable to so many people today.
Chesterfield means many things to many people, in my case it was the first sofa I bought, a traditional burgundy/red sofa that was circa 50 years old, incredibly roomy and comfortable and with just the right amount of age, to have a lovely vintage leather feel. Style wise it was much like the London Chesterfield you see in the main shot above.
Naturally, when we had our two boys, the sofa became the place we would sit to feed them, the place for cuddles and stories and as they grew older the place they would love to play and given they are boys, jump. Unfortunately, the sofa did not stand up to their wear and tear and sadly we replaced it a few years ago.
But I think once you have had and loved a Chesterfield, and in our case, one with so many memories, choosing another one is often a "no-brainer" and so wanting to replace my old two seater sofa, I turned to Chesterfields again.
My Sofa Choice
While I love a traditional Chesterfield I wanted a more modern style in my living room, a contrast to the age of my Victorian home and to complement the furniture I have, and both my husband and I were taken with the style and line of The Shoreditch. The Shoreditch sofa is one of a new range of sofas inspired by London, where Distinctive Chesterfields have recently opened a showroom.
All sofas come in a wide range of fabrics, but we chose the vintage tan leather, because a) I love a vintage leather look and b) because after trying several fabric samples, this colour worked well with the other items I have in my living room. You can see my finished sofa in the picture below.
Below, you can see my sofa being made in the factory showroom in Honley, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. The entire sofa is made in Britain by British Craftsman and the process takes several weeks.
The sofa frame is made first, by apprentice trained craftsmen, using hardwood known for strength and longevity. The frame is hand glued, screwed and double-dowelled, ensuring a durable product that is guaranteed to last, in this case guaranteed for 10 years.
Once the frame has passed quality control it is sent to a french polisher to apply the finish, by hand, before it is the passed to the padding department. In my case this part would not be necessary; the finish is applied to any part of the chesterfield or club chair frame which will be exposed at the point of completion -- such as legs, feet, etc. You can see my entire sofa, including the legs, is covered in leather.
The polish is applied by hand in several coats. As the polish must be allowed to fully harden, the furniture is stored in a temperature controlled environment for around 48 hours.
In the padding department, Sheffield made springs are then added to the sofa for comfort; individually coiled springs or serpentine springs are added, again by hand; you can see this in the RHS photo below.
Reflex foam padding comes next and you can choose to add a feather top for extra comfort. The padding is applied piece by piece until the sofa has taken its shape. In the top picture, you can see my sofa, plus a more traditional sofa being padded in the showroom.
Finally, the sofa is covered in the material of your choice; in my case vintage tan Italian leather. Depending on the complexity of the sofa, this process can take up to 3 days to complete. Templates are applied to the hide by a dedicated pattern maker and then these panels are passed to the upholsterer to be applied to the chair.
If you have ordered a traditional sofa, buttons and studding would be applied-individual studs on each piece they create -- approximately 300 -1200 per item, but in my case, this was not needed.
And so here it is, my vintage tan Chesterfield Sofa.
As you will see, the colour works beautifully against my grey Downpipes walls, the vintage furniture that I have in my living room and the vintage accessories behind it. It is a lovely contrast to the lighter carpet and cream of my Berber rug.
In the wide angled shot below, you can see how at home the new sofa is, in my living room, Shape wise, it fits very well with the Green Sofa but the contrast in texture and colour enhance the space, while the colour contrasts beautifully against my black fireplace and light.
The colour harmonises with the wood door, my cowhide, the wood panelling wallpaper on the chimney breast, and my brick lane sign.
So, what do you think? have I lived up to expectations and chosen a great sofa?
This sofa was a gift but I would only promote items that I would buy myself for my home.
The Girl with The Green Sofa