Welcome to Our Formal Den

The newly upholstered sofas are here.

Dearly Beloved had been confident and excited about the choice of fabric, since he was the one who pushed for it, who didn’t want to go to any fabric shops or even look at swatches I might select and bring home.  The old upholstery was very worn (as in threadbare cushions) and he was impatient to get it out of here.

I was cleaning out the bathroom medicine cabinet this morning when he came to the door and solemnly asked, “Can we have a moment together here?”


“I thought we might have a meeting of the minds and get on the same wave length to think positively about the new fabric we chose and how much we’re going to love the new look of the sofas. . . .”

“I’ve already told everyone that you picked out the fabric,” I interrupted, since I’d voted for a simple solid color duck or corduroy and wanted no ownership of the final selection.

So there is no ‘we’ about this?” Son-of-a-gun, was Mr. Confident nervous?

This was not an inexpensive endeavor.  On this type project, I  go to outlets and look for bargains.  Outlets give him the heebie-jeebies.  Every office he has ever had he furnished with three points of the index finger:  that fabric and that fabric on that style.  That’s it.  Someone else did the rest.  Always a navy and some mauve-y color scheme that made me look jaundiced if I sat down on any of it.

DB does not take well to change.  If he needs  a new pair of glasses, he’s going to just have the new prescription put in the old frames.   Every shirt he has is buttondown.  Can’t  have too many white golf shirts is his mantra.   But when it comes to furnishing our house, you’d think he was Ralph Lauren.

He always says, “I’ll leave the decorating. . . the landscaping. . . the party menu. . . up to you” and then proceeds to interject his opinion. . . again. . . again. . . again.

It would, of course, have been cheaper to buy new sofas, but once again,  Mr. YouDecide offered that he was attached to these, that they were part of the family.  I’d  selected them originally and am the first to admit that the original fabric was rather bland.   A faded look:  dull plaid on an off white background, perfect for dozzzzzzzzzzzzzz … pardon me, I nodded off just thinking about it.

When we moved to the house in Memphis with its neutral taupe walls, Dearly Beloved begged for drama:  “Please don’t let me die without ever living with some real COLOR!

I believe those were his exact words.  So I found an upholsterer and what we have been living with since that time has been a sofa and loveseat with cotton fabric of a bright persimmon background with huge red and white flowers and lots of green leaves in varying shades, and  some kind of taupey, swirly, Greek thing going on amid all that.  Sort of Dolly Parton meets Tarzan at the Parthenon.

I admit that I’m a little color shy and did have us living in a house of oatmeal for a decade or two, so it’s not like it’s Martha Stewart vs. Goober Pyle, style-wise, around here.   However, when he keeps his mouth shut, he usually ends up liking what I do, but  I can’t say that the opposite is always true.  The difference in us is that I study every possible choice first  (you don’t want to go wallpaper shopping with me!) and he will grab the first thing he likes.  This time, I was willing to let him decide.

Here’s the way the selection was made:   I looked through eight books of upholstery samples and every time I’d point to a solid color fabric or maybe a teensy weensy stripe, he would shake his head.   I will say in my defense that I was going with some real colors–even red.  Might as well. . . everything we’ve bought for the past twelve years has had to go with that wild fabric, so it wasn’t like I could suddenly bring in a nice chocolate brown.

He nixed all of mine, I nixed all of his.  Finally, I asked the upholstery guy:  Which one do you like?

Picture the desperation behind my question.  This is a man I found in the yellow pages, whose references I had not checked, who was wearing  Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt in December, who said he has poodles named Precious and Darling, and whose wife replaced their toilet last week.  By herself.   (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!  It simply came up in conversation.)

He pointed to the top fabric, a print in his Expensive Book and said he’d thought of that one as soon as he walked in the door.

Hmmm.  That’s nice,” I mused doubtfully.

Someone else was more enthusiastic. “I think that would just set everything off in here, “ Dearly Beloved said.  “I like that.  It would bring it all  together.  I really like that.”

He figured all that out from a 5×8″ swatch that didn’t even show the entire pattern.

When the sofas were brought in this morning, he said to the guy, “That looks good.” Which did not mean that at all; I could tell by his tone.

His first words, after the delivery guys left, were, Not what I was thinking.”

The fabric certainly is different.  For one thing, it is more formal… not where we were headed.   These are sofas on which we sit, nap, eat, read the newspaper, watch tv, and drink red wine.   We should  cover them in oilcloth according to the way we use them.

Immediately it became apparent that the skirted table between them needed a new skirt.  Or, with the new formality, perhaps a ballgown.  Some pillows. . . solid colored pillows. . . might  tone down that Autumn-meets-Christmas in Grandmother’s parlor vibe which was my initial impression.

Dearly Beloved fixated on the skirted table.  “That just can’t stay there.” He’s never liked it anyway.

We moved it out and brought in an end table from the living room… and a lamp from the entry hall…  and then a chair from the sunroom, which meant bringing  in a dining room chair for the sunroom desk.   The den may look balanced–think Ramada Inn lobby– but the rest of the house is kind of wonky now.

Looks like we’re going to have to do some shopping after all.

Let me find my outlet directory. . . !


5 thoughts on “Welcome to Our Formal Den

  1. Carol

    whose house is this really?? I see no cocker hairs or other evidence, I see no knitting needles, laptops (Mac or otherwise) and nothing to indicate that my friend lives there. Talk about pod people, someone has snatched your house!!

    1. merrilymarylee

      Current knitting projects on bottom white shelf and rest of stash in underbed storage bin. Cocker too lazy to move, so she doesn’t bother to shed. Laptop may have been shoved under sofa. Not a room for woman schlepping around in her baggy I Love My Dog pajamas, huh? It’s a hotel lobby, but when I ring the bell for service, no one responds. (Maybe it’s because I have the Joan bell instead of the John?)

  2. I see you clearly – sitting ‘on that edge’ drinking that glass of vino… now, I see DB coming in to swoon you… christening the sofas, are we??:):) cha cha cha!!
    (or rather, make that ding ding ding) 🙂 :):)

    The room looks magazine gorgeous… good job!!:)

  3. Pingback: Seeing Red « Merrilymarylee's Weblog

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