There is simply no one who understands the charm of things from yesteryear better than John Derian. Since the day he announced his furniture line collaboration with Cisco Brothers a few years ago, I carried around the ad page (not quite as cute as the
Hugo Guinness Virginia Johnson illustrated one above) featuring the 6 original pieces in the line, took it out of my inspiration folder and sighed over it regularly. He took a Sheraton sofa, a Hepplewhite settee, a Napoleon III armchair, and added to them a versatile tufted bench and stylized loveseat to make a perfect collection of vintage inspired modern-day furniture with modern-day sized people in mind. It has everything good about the original pieces with more comfort and lovely Belgian linen upholstery.
Nowhere did is show itself to better example than in his own 1789 Provincetown home, where a pair of Cove Sofas with a simple Sheraton-shape, took up roost in his living room, complete with peeling wallpaper and paint. Being John Derian, he did not renovate, but instead loved the integrity of the old finishes and details.
Funny how lighting can effect the colors in photographs! What looks like a bright yellow in the Vogue Living photo above is actually closer in color to the pale yellow in the Boston Globe photo below. You can see the corner arm of the Cove and the same throw pillow.
In a newer spread in this June’s Bon Appetit, the Cove sofa looks like it has been moved into a new location – a window niche. There is a great photo of John and his friends playing anagrams while sitting here too.
Another room in the house features the Geranium sofa, based on a Hepplewhite piece from around 1780. It is more upright, less comfy and slouchy than the Cove. I think it would make a good dining banquet.
I can’t resist sneaking in this photo of his guest bedroom too. If you are a longtime reader you know how fond I am of faux bamboo furniture. My guest bedroom here at the shore has a faux bamboo bed and dresser.
So did anything ever come of all that mournful sighing? Why is it I can rave so enthusiastically about the comfort of the Cove sofa? Well, because I have one and it solved such a design dilemma too! The beach house living room has a pair of bay windows that almost make the room seem round. When I first saw the real estate listing for the house I thought it had a turret! Turns out the windows meet in such a way that there is only one stretch of flat wall – exactly 72 inches in length – just the same as the Cove sofa. That wall had a giant radiator on it so the room seemed almost unfurnishable. Luckily, we were able to remove the radiator, and I knew the Cove would be perfect. The back is low and comes right up to the edge of the windowsill – many modern couches would have sat way too high – so it nestles in the window embrasure just perfectly. I had a washable cotton slipcover made, both because I love the look and wanted that tiny pleated skirt, but also because I figured that the Belgian linen, while durable, might not hold up to beach house wear and tear.
Now I’ve used mine in a vintage-y kind of way – not quite the peeling paint of John Derian’s house – and mixed it with my beloved Bennison Faded Floral, Indian print textiles and Moroccan tray table. But the Cove isn’t limited to antique type designs and when styled differently can look very modern. Covered in the dark grey linen – called Vintage Steel – it takes on a very different feel.
Want that Belgian-French look? Cover it in grain sack linen.
The Cove can do pops-of-color trendy too.
Not convinced? Come by and spend an afternoon reading – you won’t want to leave!
A Windsor Smith Revival…Camel-Back and Sheraton Style Sofas
Image credits: 1. Virginia Johnson via Ruthie Bird, 2. Cisco Brothers, 3. Vogue Living via Habitually Chic, 4, 6-7. via Shelter Pop, photo credit : Julia Cumes, 5. Bon Appetit June 2012, photo credit: Cedric Angeles, 8. me, 9. via Hammertown, 10. via Remodelista, 11. House Beautiful via Decor Pad