Well, when we moved in to the flat, there were a few essentials we knew we needed as soon as possible. A bed. A wardrobe. A sofa. If you’ve ever bought a sofa and found it easy, I mostly don’t believe you. Or you’re very very unfussy, and probably bought it alone.
We did, I freely admit, make things harder for ourselves with the colour scheme. We’d decided on an amazing combination of teal and yellow. It sounds odd when I tell people about this, but honestly it looks amazing. A lovely sunshiny, bright, cheerful yellow for the walls and then vibrant yet calming teal. http://www.pinterest.com/chariscroft/sunshiny-front-room/ – my pinterest board for inspirations for the room demonstrates where I’m coming from I think.
Anyway, what with us being enamoured of this colour scheme, and teal being pretty much both of our favourite colour, we really weren’t willing to compromise on sofa colour. It had to be teal. Now, if you’ve ever looked for a sofa, they’re mostly brown. Dark brown, light brown, beige, cream. Something along that spectrum. Most of the rest are in other neutral colours – blacks and greys. Which leaves a small proportion for every other colour under the sun. Red was fairly popular, a few pinks and greens and royal blues. Not so many teals – though there were some around.
So, colour wise we were pretty clear what we wanted. And we wanted an L-shaped sofa. Tricky, but not impossible. Harder though, when you were trying to do it on a budget – we had a bed and a wardrobe to buy as well. Even harder when you’re trying to reconcile two very different ideas of sofa use. I wanted something supportive and quite firm – something I could sit on to eat dinner and use my laptop. My lady wanted something squishy and soft and good for lying or lounging around on. It felt almost impossible to suit everything we wanted.
And so it turned out. We traipsed through Ikea what felt like 100 times, even though we’d sworn not to buy a sofa or a bed there after previous bad experiences. We looked online through what felt like every place that sells sofas and pored endlessly over catalogues. We visited showrooms, dutifully sitting on endless brown sofas. Eventually, it looked like we’d found something possibly ok in DFS, and we went to our local store to test it out. When we arrived, we happened to park outside a Sofaworks on the same site, and figuring we had nothing to lose, we went in.
Worth saying now, the shopping experience at Sofaworks was fantastic. We were allowed to try a few sofas before a salesperson came over ask if needed help. We said we were ok, and they melted away, with a soft reassurance that if we needed them, we could find them. I hate pushy salespeople, it tends to make me leave, so this was great. And, even more stunningly, we found a sofa! The Aphrodite sofa was velvety, came in teal and we were both happy sitting on it. It even had a little L shape. The price was reasonable too, and we were incredibly happy. As a final precaution, we decided to go back and measure up the room again, just to be sure where it would go.
And it was a very good job we did too. The sofa would have fit in the room, but never have got into the room. I think I mentioned the narrow doors and staircase. The sofa couldn’t go through any of them. We became depressed. We discussed asking if it could be broken down, but we were covered in gloom. The only sofa in the whole world (we thought) that met our needs and we couldn’t get it in the house.
At this point, I hit stubborn mode. Sometimes, when I hit an apparently insoluble problem, I just refuse to accept defeat and keep at it until eventually something gives way. I started Googling. I think the relevant search was ‘sofa narrow door stairs teal’ when we hit upon a little company who let you design your own sofa. They had a range of colours and a GUARANTEE it would fit up any stairs, through any door. Illustrated by some spiral staircases to attics they had managed to navigate.
It seemed too good to be true, and I was morbidly convinced that the sofa would be the most uncomfortable thing I’d ever sat on (even including the broken Ikea one we were moving away from), so it wasn’t with high hopes that I drove to their tiny showroom in Uxbridge. But I was utterly confounded.
Nabru was hidden away on an industrial estate, but once inside you could test all the different sofas, with the same excellent customer service that had characterised Sofaworks. You could take free samples of all their fabrics, including a gorgeous chenille teal. You could design a sofa to exactly meet your needs, and have different softnesses of seat cushion. Testing the sofas out, they were the most comfortable we’d tried in the whole experience. WE immediately went to the computers there and started designing our dream sofa. Armed with the exact measurements, we put together a 5 seater, L-shaped sofa in our dream colour. With storage under every seat. That would fit through the doors. For LESS than the Aphrodite 3 seater. They were even able to deliver and assemble that week.
Essentially, the sofa comes flat pack, which is why it fits everywhere. But it doesn’t feel flatpack now it’s in one piece, and in fact I adore the sofa. It might be my favourite thing. I can’t say enough how brilliant I think it is. And when we get round to finally painting the walls behind it, it will look so spectacular. I almost can’t wait….