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Friday, 12 February 2010

Front Room Help Please....

This is my front room. It is your fairly standard 16' x 12' room with a bay window. It faces directly south so it is very sunny and bright. This photo was taken just after we replaced all the horrid UPCV windows with timber sashes. We were just about to start decorating it. This was two years ago!!!!! The room has been decorated and sat quite empty other than the bookcases and a baggy old beige sofabed. This has been partly due to an inability to make any decisions and the fact that Mr SLS worked for that big American Investment Bank that triggered the whole credit crunch. Also, we do have plans in about 4-5 years time to knock through into the room behind which is currently the playroom. That is why there is a silly great radiator behind the sofa and a quite bland and boring carpet, we thought we would wait to do these things until we knock through. SO the room isn't really how I envisage it will be one day, but I still wanted to smarten it up so that we can use it in the meantime.

Even now that things are a bit more stable financially I have really struggled with this room. I spent ages looking for sofas. I really love the Florence Knoll sofa, but at over £5000 (over £7000 for the 3 seater) this beauty would sadly not make the final cut.

I did find a cheeky fake for £800 (that is more like it) but the 3 seater was too wide for the space, and the 2 seater was too small.

So from the sublime to the ridiculous, one day I was walking past Argos (yes, Argos) and in the window they had a photo of this sofa:

Turns out it was the perfect dimensions for the space, and the colour would work well. Well, for £400 it was worth a try. I ordered it kept my fingers crossed. It didn't work. The sofa looked very blue in the room, and there was a pull in the stitching of one of the cushions, and the smell of chemicals coming off of the fabric was nauseating. It was the perfect size, but the quality was poor. So off it went back to Argos (who, to be fair, have a fantastic delivery and returns service including 2 hour delivery and pick up slots!).

I then went back to the place I always go back to when I try to do something different, Ikea. Now, there is nothing I dislike more than an Ikea snob (I know quite a few). I think that even if I had won Euromillions last night (over £100million, can you imagine?) I would still shop in Ikea for certain things. I love it. So off to Croydon I went, and decided that the Karlstad was a winner.
Here it is in situ:

Do you like my cushions? They are from the very clever Nicky at

The size was just about perfect, the price was good (although I would have spent more money if needed, I did flirt with a beauty in SCP but was too worried about the kids trashing it) . However the Karlstad was missing one thing on my list, I did want some buttoning (not sure if that is the technical term!). However, I figured I could get some of those buttons that you cover, and then get my mother-in-law who is an upholsterer to do it for me. This has yet to happen, as they have not been down for a while, and so I am considering doing it myself. But in the meantime, there was a need for more furniture. I wanted two armchairs for the room for this space

And one to go in the bay window to replace this very old and uncomfortable, baggy and too big for the space sofabed

I was thinking a Balzac chair would be perfect in the room, and while cruising ebay for one I happened across this:

The Matthew Hilton Wing Chair. Which I won for £300. So it now graces that long bare wall.

This cushion is from the very clever Becca at .

So now I am left with the decision as to what to put in the bay window. With funds uncertain due to the volatile nature of Mr SLS's job, I am as always being encouraged to be 'frugal' (a word I loathe) Currently in the running are:

A vintage danish leather armchair (they range from about £300 - £600 on ebay:

The Barcelona Chair (sadly, it would be a fake) in ivory (couldn't seem to upload the ivory pic £629:

The Florence Knoll Chair, again an impressionista! £399

I still love the Balzac but in every photo I see of one 'insitu' it looks knackered and the leather appears to stain. Plus, it is the most expensive at over £1000.

Also needed are some art, and a light. But I think they might be another post. At the rate I move, probably in about two years.....

So what do you think? I would love to know what you think would work best. I am currently favoring the Florence Knoll chair, and I think it would work well, but can you think of a better alternative?


  1. oo decisions decisions! love the felt cushions on the sofa they have been on my "want" list for a while now!
    re the bay window just to stray slightly from your list but have you considered a chaise longue? if your lucky you can pick one up quite reasonably and then have it recovered ? failing that I do love the barcelona chair (copy or real!) and in ivory it would look fab :-) Lesley x

  2. Ah, thanks for the feedback Lesley. I did think about a chaise loungue but couldn't really find one that I like. They are all either too chunky or too super modern. I don't think an antique one recovered would work with the room?? I love the barcelona chair as well, but Mr SLS is worried about the lack of arms!!! ;-) I think a trip to the shop to sit on some is in order. I will let you know what I decide!
    PS - I totally recommend the cushions from Nicky, they are such lovely quality and you can choose any colour combination that you like.

  3. your right about an antique one wouldnt look right I was thinking something a bit more modern with some funky fabric covering it but it would be hassle really :-)
    I shall look forward to seeing what you decide! If money no object I do adore the Balzac chair but now you have mentioned about the leather your right I hadnt noticed it before ! the shape is gorgeous though..........
    good point from Mr SLS about the arms though but me being totally form over function would probably not even let anyone sit on it anyway LOL
    Good Luck!

  4. Hmm. Interesting. My husband has wanted a Balzac armchair for as long as I've known him, but I'm not keen, because even in the shops the arms look greasy and worn, and have you ever sat in one? It's more of a forced recline than a sit, and not even all that comfortable, although of course my husband disagrees!

    Love your Karlstad sofa - we have the armchair in the same colour, which I must get round to taking a picture of - and which is really comfortable. I wanted to get the sofabed in the karlstad as well but it was too huge for the study, so we ended up with the Hagalund, which is a throwback to the 90s ( but goes quite well with my Habitat Jasper from 1996 I suppose..!)

    If it was me I think I'd go for the vintage danish option - then you'll have something no-one else has. Although I do quite like the 'pretend' Florence Knoll armchair too!

  5. If you guy's are still thinking about the Balzac Chair I have just listed one on Ebay 29/01/11 it has been totally restored and starts at a reasonable £500.

    We make some lovely chaises as well