Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the sofa king

when i first moved into the sunset apartment, patrick said he's sell me the chair, loveseat, sofa, tv, stereo, tv stand, and coffee table for $220. i said fine, i'll give you $200 and we'll call it mine. he declined in a rather rude tone and mentioned something about craigslisting it for more than my offer. so i said "yo, really man. okay, i'll pay you $20 more for it. hell, i just don't want to lug furniture up 4 flights of stairs." asshole.

after two years at that apartment, the time to move out of the sunset and into my own one bedroom matured. during a phone call with mom about my new place, neighborhood, and the logistics of moving she said that she'd buy me a sofa as a housewarming present, and to leave the sofas with my old roommates. mom said it should be a sleeper sofa, no more than $1000, and comfy.

after moving, i started the sofa hunt.

the first real day of sofa hunting resulted in 6-7 furniture store visits. i couldn't do it alone, and dragged a friend along for the tour. i am pretty sure he was thanked with pitchers of margarita that night, but i don't remember the details.

that first trip taught me that i could only obtain 2 of my 3 couch qualities.
-under $1000, and a sleeper, check. comfy? no way.
-comfy, under $1000 check. sleeper, nope.
-a comfy sleeper sofa does exist, but you will never find one for $1000. drats.

i dragged a different friend on a different day to 6-7 other furniture stores a few weeks later. we hit small mom & pop stores in the burbs, big department stores like macy's, high end you-can't-get-a-seat-for-under-$2000 stores, and everything in between.

by this time i found myself to be quite couch conscious. watching mad men i'd zone out on the dialogue and zoom in on the sofa, ottoman, rug combo. colors, styles, heights, widths, fabrics, legs, and more. i learned about tufting, down wrappers, kiln-dried hardwood frames, attached vs loose back, one cushion, two cushions, and three cushions.

i also learned that some stores build your sofa. the floor samples are just samples of what the store has had built. if you want it wider, shorter, taller arms or back, wider legs or two seat cushions vs three, you may have exactly that. enter the playing field, a completely customized couch.

so i got to some sketching:

i've seen and sat on plenty of sofas to know what i do and don't want. i like a deep sofa, with a wide arm. deep because i'm a slouching sofa sitting individual, and that wide arm can serve as a decent laptop stand for the complete tv+internet experience. i like long legs. well, 5-6" legs are long in my eyes. but the long legs make the sofa feel light and stylish, vs big, bulky, and unmoveable. in fact, i know every single dimension of my sofa, because i designed it. 18" back, 24" arm height, 5" legs, 6" rail, and so on. i knew i wanted a two cushion style sofa the moment i actually noticed sitting on a three cushion one.

somehow things always work out this way, but the first store i went to, ended up being the store i purchased from. furniture envy in san francisco's marina district. the wall street journal even wrote up a small piece on them recently. i've always been a sucker for custom. custom takes more work up front and sometimes a bit more money, but pays off every single day after the purchase date.

lastly, the color. upon any conversation that i was in the market to purchase a couch, the first question most interested people would ask is "what color?". the entire learning process for me had consisted of build, style, function, comfort, all the things that i think of when sitting on and using a sofa. it almost escaped my mind that i would have to also look at the thing.

i started my sofa color research where almost all research starts today, google. google image search "blue sofa", "red sofa", "green sofa", "aqua sofa", "orange sofa", "brown sofa", "white sofa", and the list goes on. i'd change the word sofa with couch, add words like stylish, or cool in hopes for better search results.

not only did i immediately realize that red sofas just looked better in pictures, but "red sofa" returned the most pictures of sofas with girls posing on them. this means that either women like to pose on red sofas, or set designers receive discounts on red sofas. regardless, i went with red. these were the three samples that i whittled my decision down to. i chose the fabric on the top left.

after all this bother, is it worth it? when i look at it, just looks like a regular ol' sofa, not a custom piece of art (maybe that's a bit of a stretch). but i say yes. it sits exactly how i want it to sit. looks exactly how i want it to look. and it fits exactly how i want it to fit. i'm ready to watch movies, take naps, and sit on a laptop while the tv makes noise in the background.


reena said...

you cannot know how whole-heartedly i agree that the perfect couch is worth its weight in laptops. this post was sofa king good. bwahahaha!

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