A New (Old) Sofa - Juniper Home

A New (Old) Sofa


You probably remember I was thinking about reupholstering our Lee Industries sofa. I’ve never really loved that it was a two-seater sofa and we’ve had it for a long time, so I felt like it was okay to consider parting ways. Then I fell in love with idea of getting a George Smith sofa. I stopped by the showroom sample sale a couple months ago and I probably would have sold a kidney on the spot for one of those three-seater roll arms. They were so, so pretty. And I just couldn’t get over the softness of the down cushions. But seriously, even the floor samples were absurdly expensive, so obviously I was just window shopping. I haunted eBay and craigslist for a couple months, but every time something came available it was still just too expensive to feel right about.

Then one day a couple weeks before our move, a listing came up on Craigslist for a vintage Baker sofa that had been kept under a plastic slip cover by the same owner forever. The thing was pristine.

The all-down cushions were so soft and the dimensions were just right for the long living room in the brownstone. And for only $175, I was super excited! Then the seller emailed me a photo of the legs and I couldn’t paypal her the money fast enough!

When we got it home, I pulled the skirt right off. I love a good skirted sofa, but this one looks better with exposed legs, I think. There are four legs showing in the front, and I love the look. (more photos coming up!)

I’m so excited to reupholster it, but it will probably take me some time (there are so many things on the house to-do list, the fabric’s in good enough condition that I don’t mind waiting). I found this velvet at a close-out fabric store and it’s a perfect match for a swatch I had of a Perennials outdoor velvet (which I am a huge fan of). I’m thinking the color will be perfect with the new jute rug, the camel chesterfield and the black bookshelves.

I’m so relieved that I didn’t splurge on the George Smith! I get sick of furniture easily, so it really doesn’t  make sense for me to invest in pieces like that. The Baker is a close match in the comfort department, and I think the straight, more modern lines are a better compliment to the chesterfield and to the jute rug. And the exaggerated roll arm look might have been too english countryside for what I’m after in this house. Honestly, I think I was suffering from a case of label obsession. Have you ever been there?

What did you think?
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48 thoughts on “A New (Old) Sofa

  1. Hi Jenny,
    I have never commented before, but i love your blog. I'm an interior designer based in London.

    Anyway I just had to say, if you are ever after a George Smith sofa, but don't have the budget, have you tried sofa.com? http://us.sofa.com/

    I have used them in the UK for years and quite a few of their pieces have that George Smith feel. They have just open an NY showroom and you can have them upholstered in their selection of fabrics or your own. Their beds are great as well! Good quality and a fab company.

    Can't wait to see your new sofa, love you fabric choice! Also desperate to see some large room shots!

    All the best,


  2. I have never before thought to rip off the skirt of a sofa, but it instantly updates it! What a great idea! And I'm drooling over that green velvet. It's perfect. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  3. I wouldn't have looked twice at that sofa with its skirt on, but taking it off, and in the right setting – it's gorgeous!
    which is why I will never be any kind of stylist/designer.

  4. Ha ha, I thought those plastic slip covers were just an urban myth! Great "bones" on that one. Sometimes I am really dazzled at the thought that people are willing to pay 15K for a sofa. Without thinking twice. Pfft!

  5. I love what you do Jenny!!! I can't pay that kinda money – $9,000.00 is a car not a couch in my world – I have mouths to feed! But $175 plus some fabric and work – yes that I can do. And that is what I love most about your site. I love style, interiors, good food but I have a budget. I love that you share really great creative know how – thank you!!!!
    And yes I get label obsessed too! It passes thankfully!

  6. You may hate me for saying this, but I think that George Smith sofa is ugly. The one you bought is MUCH prettier and should be a fairly simple upholstery job. LOVE your find!

  7. I like that one sooooo much more! I really love the piping on the arm; it's very unusual so I hope that detail stays. Agree that it's a better match to the chester too. And, yes, I get label focused too!

  8. The price of the designer couch literally offends me. I think you got a much cuter couch, one you can customize to exactly the color/pattern/texture you'd like while being, I guess, sustainable since the craigslist couch won't hit a landfill since it's still perfectly perfect.

    I'm sort of concerned that there are couches out there for $15k or even for $9k. A lovely thing is nice to own, but if I have $9k to drop on a couch, please remind me to spend $1k on an Ikea couch and use $8k to feed some children or something.

  9. So I've been following since the beginning, and have many of your projects bookmarked or accomplished (skirted console, tufted headboard, love them all!) I've been looking for a pretty emerald green velvet to reupholster and inherited settee and then I see this post…hopefully it means you are rubbing off on me!

    Any suggestions for finding an upholstery grade velvet? Usually I see muted colors but not the bold, gem colors like I've been hunting for.

  10. Wow! I am new to your blog and blogging, and am totally excited about your couch!! I can't wait to see what you do with it. I am seriously considering selling mine and waiting until I find something I can slipcover – so you have inspired me! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Wow, what a find! I am wondering how does one get over the fear of bringing bed bugs home in the upholstered things like this? Just wanted to know any tips you have about that? Thanks…..K.L.

  12. Hey Jenny, what a great find! If only I possessed your made reupholstery skillz I might consider looking for a piece like that myself. Have you ever considered dying the couch? I've seen some interesting things around the web about using RIT dye to change up furniture. One lady just mixed it up and painted it on. Something to consider but of course you'd have to choose a much darker shade than the minty green you're after. Another question…You seem to be drawn to lots of color, florals and overall quite feminine designs. How do you get your hubby on board with all the "girly" touches?

  13. Jenny, i am 50 and enjoy your blog. I love that you are economical and stylish. I remember as a child how our mother decorated each one if our homes….in the same manner you do, economically. I can still remember the screened in porch we had on one of the very old houses we had, she painted the entire porch a eonderful shade of gray and then made swiss dot curtains for eavh of the twenty windows on the porch. Each curtain was dyed a different pastel shade. I always thought my mom was so cool…..,maybe that is one reason that I like your blog. The other reason is, it is a great reminder/help for all of us to live within our means, quite joyfully snd stylishly, as you do.

  14. Jenny, one more comment- i have stopped buying magazines or even going to the martha stewart website….since I started reading blogs.

    Thanks for the time required to blog.

  15. That designer couch has lumpy cushions on the showroom floor…..imagine what 3 kids would make a 9,000.00 sofa look like. You would be in tears.
    Much better choice.8,000.00 to use on something else for the house!

  16. Sweet find! Love it. And outdoor velvet? I've never heard of such a thing. I'll be anxious to hear if you're pleased with it over time. What a gorgeous jade color.

  17. Sweet find! Love it. And outdoor velvet? I've never heard of such a thing. I'll be anxious to hear if you're pleased with it over time. What a gorgeous jade color.

  18. Arrgh I saw that couch on CL and didn't think twice. Now I will. JEM fabrics totally has that fabric in stock!! I get label obsessed with anything Barbara Barry or Stark

  19. I have a vintage baker in pink velvet- it was my very first furniture purchase ever and I am still very much in love with it. My puppy recently torn the whole front of the skirt and I wasn't sure what to do since I love the pink but it would probably be very difficult to match as the upholstery is from the 70s. Now, I'm inspired to just remove the skirt all together!

  20. I love your Baker sofa..you know that thing is going to last as it is rock solid. Great lines. ooh and can we talk about that beautiful velvet…

  21. The cushions on the George Smith sofa looked a wreck! And the price, oh, good God!!I think your craigs list find was a steal. Can't wait to see the finished piece.

  22. love the lines of your new sofa…craigslist ALWAYS comes through!! I bought a similar sofa on CL a couple years go and its still waiting for new fabric. oh! and I just bought the same exact velvet at a discount store outside of atlanta…everything is $4/yard…you would die! my mom and i spent 5 hours there on saturday! ha! cant wait to see your couch redone.

  23. Scoring an old perfect Baker is a BIG SCORE! My mother used to have Baker sofas and an upholsterer once told me that the older Bakers are built like TANKS — there's just nothing like them being built now quality wise! And the comfort….oh the comfort!

  24. What a great sofa…love those sexy legs! We just brought home an Ikea sectional, after debating and pricing them for months. I love it…and I love knowing that if I tire of it in 5 years or so, I can swap it out since I didn't have to take a loan to pay for it! :) I posted it yesterday, then found a local craftsman that makes mid0century modern legs for them! Can't wait to swap!

  25. Love the new sofa! Seeing it makes me realize that my down sofa cushions look under stuffed. They look great when they're freshly fluffed, but as soon as someone sits on the sofa it looks a bit deflated. Do you have any good sources for down fill?

  26. Love the new sofa! Seeing it makes me realize that my down sofa cushions look under stuffed. They look great when they're freshly fluffed, but as soon as someone sits on the sofa it looks a bit deflated. Do you have any good sources for down fill?

  27. I like the George Smith sofa (if not it's price) but the look is definitely uber English Country traditional… and somehow don't think that jives with your style (as a longtime reader of your blog).

    The Baker find is fab! Works for now, & removing the skirt was genius, but look forward to seeing it upholstered :)

    And as a fellow vintage Baker down sofa owner (mine's a heavy navy silk) be prepared for fluffing…

  28. Jenny, what are the dimensions of this sofa? I've been going back and forth with the idea of purchasing an vintage baker sofa off of eBay but am unsure if the 32" height is ideal for tall ceilings? I don't want the room to feel squatty..


  29. $175 for a couch when the one you were eyeing was almost $10,000?! That must feel prettyyyy good right about now. The couch you got is fabulous, re-upholstered or not. Way to be patient and hold out for something great and affordable.

  30. Oh Jenny! If only you lived in central Illinois! There is a curved arm sofa at our ReStore on special discount for $50! I have no idea who made it, but the legs are nice, the arms are rolled, the cushions are down, and it's in decent shape. And for the price you can't beat it. Thank you for writing this blog. Please never, ever stop!

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