Sometime last year, I purchased a vintage, tufted, gold velvet sofa from a woman in Long Beach and lashed the sucker into my beater Toyota truck (now driven by my husband's son) and drove back to Venice, where I then left it outdoors for several days because: cigarette smoke + Febreeze. Long Beach Lady, you weren't fooling anyone with that disgusting nonsense.
Once finally aired out and tolerable, the vintage velvet became the anchor of our living room. My dogs licked it, rolled on it, slept on it, played on it, jumped on it, and within a year, it was toast. Sofa toast. Not structurally, mind you. But the velvet, mostly due to that aforementioned LICKING, was crusty and discolored and dear god, trust me when I tell you that no amount of lemon juice and baking soda can remove that deeply-entrenched grossness seeped into velvet and no throws or sheepskins can wholly shroud what I knew was lurking underneath. After the new year had commenced, I grabbed the other half of Lily Spindle and we visited with my dear, dear, dear, hilarious and wonderful friend Steve, the owner of Living Room Home in Highland Park (previously on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake for many years and, fun fact, MY FIRST JOB IN LOS ANGELES UPON MOVING HERE IN 2007!)
Not only does Steve have a quirky and eclectic eye for vintage furniture (and a disturbingly extensive collection of clown paintings), but he knows his shit. He's been in this biz for a LONG time, as managing partner at Civilization on Venice Blvd from 1990 to 2006, opening his 8000-square-foot Living Room Home on Sunset in 2007, and, within the last year, relocating and downsizing into his darling Highland Park space on York Blvd. While he now does a helluva lot of seriously good home staging as part of his business, he continues to understand the function and design specificities of furniture instinctively. All that being said, when I wanted to make a custom sofa for myself, I knew he was my dude. He knows me super well, I trust him completely, and he's funny as hell, so his company is always A++.
My living room is a logistical nightmare, really. A designer's horror show. There are windows and doorways, antiquated heating units and slanted walls foiling my desires at every turn. It's a fairly long room, but riddled with layout complications. Consequently, there's only one wall along which to place my sofa and that limits its length to 80 inches. I'm on the taller side and since my sofa will inevitably be shared with a brood of pooches and a 6'2" husband, I knew I wanted it to be 36" deep from front to back, with a seating depth alone of at least two feet.
Bench seat with poly-fill to avoid getting too mushy? Check.
Two back cushions with down fill and down wrap? Check.
Relatively skinny arms to maximize the seating width? Check.
Made locally? Check.
Ah, and finally, the upholstery . . . I actually looked to our Instagram followers for feedback on this. And many of them so thoughtfully and kindly shared their opinions on the very hearty and substantial fabrics I'd pulled together as viable options. (#3 in the image below was the winner, fwiw.)
But, this is the trickery of textiles (much like paint color) in relation to light and hue - these fabrics looked depressing as all get-out in my living room. I was going for neutral with the ability to bring in color with pillows and throws but what I was actually getting was the drabbest dentist's office circa 1987. These particular fabrics were beautiful elsewhere, but ghastly in my living room. I spent a week thinking about it off and on, revisited the swatch books a zillion times, and then texted a photo of the teal version of one of the original options to some friends and they were all like YESSSSSSS. AND HERE IT IS!
I couldn't be happier, really. It's fresh and cheerful and just the right infusion of mid-century modern in our home. And this upholstery, for all its beauty, is virtually bulletproof. I can vacuum and scrub it when needed and it is seemingly impervious to the daily ins and outs of life with animals. As you can see, my knucklehead quadrupeds are pretty goddamn thrilled with this new addition, too.
On all kinds of personal and professional levels, I've got massive amounts of gratitude and respect for Mr. Living Room, the one and only Steve Melendrez. Lily Spindle cannot recommend him enough for all things vintage and fun, in addition to producing custom furniture creations right here in Los Angeles. (He throws a mean party, to boot, so you ought to check out one of his future Highland Park art opening fetes!)
Hefty thanks to my friends, IG followers, husband, and, of course, my Lily Spindle partner, Deb, for enduring this process with me and weighing in (repeatedly) when I needed an extra dose of wisdom and levity. This beautiful + oceanic blue end result has quite literally changed the way that I live, work, relax, and play in my own home and isn't that what it's all about?
xx - Rebecca