This week I spent time in a law office discussing options for an updated reception area. Scattered about the space were upholstered and case good pieces that came into the space by default not design. Sitting in the corner at a strong angle was a cordovan leather sofa that all in the discussion tagged as old, dated in style, and ready to be removed. In a room of over-styled dated pieces sat a classic sofa in magnificent condition - The Chesterfield. Classic in design with a significant connection to a man's world the Chesterfield Sofa has made a come back. The style cycle continues to bring back great classics that can now be found in the local retail furniture showrooms, mall lifestyle stores, and internet sellers. My curiosity was aroused and I searched to refresh my knowledge on the Chesterfield sofa. The English Chesterfield Company based outside Manchester England offers a solid story line for the Chesterfield. http://www.english-chesterfields.co.uk/home
The Chesterfield sofa conjures images of formally attired gentlemen sequestered in a dark paneled study, sipping brandy and smoking cigars. Throughout history the Chesterfield sofa has come to represent many things to different people. The Victorian era saw the Chesterfield as the key piece in living rooms, where gentlemen relaxed while their wives sat in chairs crafting needlepoint. Since the 19th century, it has been linked with Freudian psychoanalysis, as Sigmund Freud originally used a sofa during his hypnosis sessions with patients. Flash forward two centuries and find yourself seated in a sumptuous red leather Chesterfield in a dark corner of a local coffeehouse or wine bar.
Throughout the years, Chesterfield sofas have graced the palaces of royalty, prominent business offices, hotels, restaurants, gentleman's clubs and luxurious private homes. Today the Chesterfield is synonymous with elegance and class in interiors all over the world, of every architectural and decorating style. Regardless of what it represents to many, the Chesterfield steadfastly remains the sofa that embodies the perfect blend of comfort and sophistication.
The Chesterfield sofa, however, has a somewhat uncertain history. This icon of the furniture world is widely thought to have been commissioned by, and consequently named in honor of, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, in the 18th century. Aside from being a much-admired politician and writer, the suave Earl was a known trendsetter. When the Earl requested a cabinetmaker to construct a piece of furniture that would allow a gentleman to sit upright in the utmost of comfort, thus was the inception of the Chesterfield sofa with its characteristic deep buttoned upholstery, rolled arms, equal back and arm height and nail head trim. There has never been any solid confirmation of this noble beginning. However, this namesake is certainly appropriate. Stanhope was a noted writer of letters to his illegitimate son, extolling all method of manners and morals. The Chesterfield sofa is certainly a refined and mannerly example of seating.
Today the Chesterfield can be readily found at many accessible locations including Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Dering Hall website. I am excited that the partners in this the law office agreed to keep the Chesterfield in its reception room. We will create a space that is warm, inviting, and most importantly a space that is calm and restful giving clients the opportunity to reflect on the purpose of their visit.
Restoration Hardware has been a big fan of the Chesterfield style for years and it now takes a prominent place in the redesign of the RH brand. Labeled the Kensington the RH version is found in five sizes (76" - 163") with ten leather options - priced from $3,495 to $10,995.
Pottery Barn offers one option in the Chesterfield with no options. At 96" long this Chesterfield is priced at $2799 in a warm cocoa color.
Los Angeles designer Susan Fellman reinvents the classic Chesterfield by covering it in a classic denim. The 13 oz pre washed and stabilized cotton indigo denim adds a user friendly option to the traditional leather Chesterfield. With a barrel back and rolled shoulders this sofa offers brass or nickel head detail. Bench made this sofa is a sound investment at $7,500.
Geri loves to consume color through art, architecture, photography, and interior spaces of all built environments. She is a museum enthusiast. Exploring new places, cultures, and restaurants will always be a part of her life. Geri loves the creative process of cooking with natural fresh local ingredients and adores the beauty of colorfully plated food.