My Mother’s Sofa

She lived in the city of Mozart, so rococo was second nature. She chose a sofa so redolent of Baroque features, it rolled out of the warehouse on its many curves and swirls. It came to rest in our living room, all carved curlecues, easy to bang the back of head against when your laughter pealed out. Not that there was much laughter in that house.

Within days the burnt ochre leather caused heartache and questioning. Too bright? What would the neighbours say about the ripeness of that shade? Would they sit and tug and scratch it whenever they came to visit? But very few people ever entered our house.

Better safe than sorry, though. So she covered it in green velvet, tailor-made cover with frills so rich, it could stand up by itself when you took it off for washing. Those frills swept all the way down to the arched wooden legs, even as they yearned away from under the stifle, all tip-toe. So hard to vacuum underneath.

A few months later she realised the velvet might get worn too quickly, that she might require a new cover …oooh, say every ten years or so. In came the casual throw, loosely draped over the pool-table green. Cheap polyester cream with tassles and shiny stripes, too thin to keep its distance when backsides sunk into it. My mother was fanatic about cotton, but hated ironing, so polyester made do. It clung to clothes, turned static, and we spent most conversations not actually seated on the sofa, but straightening out its multiple covers.

But I digress. After decades of discomfort, my father’s weary bones can no longer keep that horror in our house. But it’s an expensive horror and we want to ensure that we get the best possible price for it. For Sale: Baroque Sofa, Nearly New.

8 thoughts on “My Mother’s Sofa”

  1. What a story, Marina Sofia! As I read it, I thought of how furniture becomes infused with the sense of the family that owns it. That family’s (or person’s) ups, downs, idiosyncrasies, thinking, etc. get woven into the fabric of the chairs, sofa and so on that they use.

    1. Perhaps less so in our throwaway culture, where we renew furniture every few years, but in my parents’ generation these purchases were FOR LIFE!!!

  2. What is it about furniture? We have (still!) stuck in our house what I call the Emotional Table and Chairs that have a very specific history to do with my late mother- and father-in-law, and can I persuade my OH to get rid of them? No. But they really need to go…..

    1. Bwahaha, love the name of that: the Emotional Table and Chairs! I’m usually less attached to furniture than to small souvenirs and books. Mind you, I was keen to get rid of the marital bed, even though it was much better quality than my current one.

  3. Oh, I loved this and it made me laugh and laugh. My parents had the most spectacularly uncomfortable chairs that we just grew up with in a completely unquestioning way. There wasn’t one that didn’t either jam your knees or bend your spine. I remember a friend who had had a similar upbringing saying ‘I am going to Ikea to buy an aesthetically challenged chair but one that is comfortable.’ And she did. And how she LOVED that chair. But I have to say I absolutely love the sofa – it is magnificent! I would never be able to get rid of it!

  4. That sofa is magnificent. A neighbor bought a green velvet two-part couch that has the same kind of tucks. I think it’s called a Chesterfield. It is a lovely couch.
    I hope you can sell it for a lot of money.
    I just saw on a U.S. TV show that someone bought a couch for $15,000 from someone else.
    My mother bought a nice couch in light safe green with a separate section for two people to sit in. When I was dealing with her futniture, an owner of an upscale refurbished furniture store bought it, said the lines and structure were solid, and she’d have it refurbished. So, who knew?
    I haven’t kept furniture. The tables and chairs are my own purchase s(or with a former partner.) But I have a lot of small things, including pottery, and it’s time to really clean this stuff out. Too many boxes in an apartment.

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