Saturday, April 30, 2011


For 11 years there sat a dusty, stinky, saggy couch in the garage. It came to me one summer when I was working as a roofer, the hardest job I'll ever have. As a side job my boss was gutting his aunt's house. I was doing dump runs and this couch was on the list. With sweat beading down my face, I asked "Can I have this old couch?"

Over the years I would glance at it in the garage. I would think about refinishing it. However, knowing it would not be cheap my travel budget was always fed before my "home furnishings" budget.

It wasn't until recently that I got serious about putting life back into this 1930's piece of furniture. So serious that one day I loaded it on top of Ruth and headed downtown for a place called A & E Upholstery. Tucked way back into a residental neighborhood there is a man named Tom who is the son of a Norwegian craftsman. He learned everything he knows now at the age of 78 from his father. 

He looked over my crusty couch, or as my sister says, chesterfield, and told me he could resuscitate this retro piece. Days later I paid him a visit. He was busy in his workshop replacing the springs and padding. I looked through what seemed like thousands of fabric/color swatches before deciding on the look I wanted. I enjoyed working with Tom on the design aspect. To go into a department store and buy what they have on the floor is one way to do it. But I really appreciated working with a local craftsman down to the color of the piping around the side panels.

I love old things. I especially love when old things become new. The long slanted armrests were what grabbed me 11 years ago. Now, as it resides in the living room, I sit and ponder what memories were made and what memories will be made on my chesterfield.


    Don said...

    Brad, good story, great restoration project, and best of all the picture of the sofa on the MB ski rack. The resultant new room decor/furnishing is not bad either.

    Alexandra said...

    awesome. "get busy livin' or get busy dyin'"

    Brad said...

    two opinions I hold in high regard. Don you're right, Ruth can pretty much carry anything thanks to that rack. And Alex, i couldn't think of a more appropriate quote when describing this crazy old couch.

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