saving the vintage sectional

by Apr 24, 2018ModObjects0 comments


our newly reupholstered sectional has been a part of our family for 32 years!

As you have probably surmised from my blog posts, we have been collecting midcentury modern furnishings for a very long time – since before some of you were born, and before the term midcentury modern was coined 33 years ago.  Our first house, built in 1950 and purchased by us in 1986, was only 36 years old when we bought it.  That’s like buying a house today built in 1982!  So now that I have freaked you all out with this “back to the future” concept, it also reminds me that every 20 – 30 years or so, you have to re-paint and re-do things you have already done.  Midcentury style is not a fad, it’s here to stay, time marches on, and collectible pieces (houses included) need care and maintenance, because they are definitely not getting any younger!

yep, this original fabric felt as bad as it looked!

One of our first purchases after buying our Abrom Dombar house in 1986 was a midcentury sectional sofa.  My mom and I found it at a rummage sale at Rockdale Temple in Amberley and we paid $40 for it.  It was in great condition, really nice quality, and covered in the most hideous royal blue fabric.  Kind of like a rough faux suede with embroidery.  Like you could file your nails on this rough fabric.  But my mom convinced me that it could be reupholstered, and we lived with it peacefully recovered in a neutral black and white cotton tweed for 32 years in 3 houses, with a cumulative total of 3 kids and 10 cats.

the great Dumbo party, circa 1993 at our 2nd midcentury home – one of many memories on our family couch.


although it still looked ok from this angle, this couch had seen better days – and a lot of good times!

but our sweet kitty Miller really did a number on it from this angle!

From afar, it miraculously still looked fine in our lightly used living room.  But if you looked closely, the couch had seen better days.  Our dearly departed spirited kitty, Ryan, had chewed the corners and somehow my mom was able to weave them back together.  And then our sweet but sneaky kitty, Miller, decided the side would make a great scratching post.  By the time we saw what he was doing, it was too late.  It was shredded.  Now that we are empty nesters and are spending more time in our living room listening to our new (to us) vintage console stereo, we realized it was time to recover our beloved sectional again!

the winning fabric choice! knoll ‘diva’ in color ‘coal’

Finding fabric was not easy.  There are no longer local sources selling bolts of upholstery fabric like there were 30+ years ago.  Our only option was to look online and order swatches.  So swatches we ordered!   As much as I wanted to find a bargain from,  we ended up choosing a brown/grey tweed from (thanks to our designer friend, Jim Kelly, for helping us source the fabric!).

miller, the now declawed ‘trouble maker,’ resting peacefully on the newly reupholstered couch.

When Stanley the upholstery guy returned the freshly reupholstered sofa to us, he said there were markings on the inside that it was manufactured in 1963.  It’s now covered in vintage inspired fabric from 2018.  Should be good enough to get us through until 2050 or so……..and our next adventures in life!

the couch is a great place to sit and listen to our ‘new to us’ magnavox console stereo


Submit a Comment

featured publications




research + articles






modern books



some of our listings