Recamiers and Sofa Beds

MPF Conservation is a full-service company specializing in conservation, restoration and preservation of furnishings of upholstered and non-upholstered objects, textiles and interior architectural elements; this page discusses recamiers (fainting couches), sofa-beds, and modern lounging furniture.

Above right, American Wracheting Recamier circa 1860.
A pedal on the arm allows the back to drop horizontally and the slender recamier becomes a bed.
Below left, Double Love, a custom modern version of a reclining piece meant for two.

In most cases, the pieces below had a variation of the following performed on them. For the sake of brevity, we will only publish the differences in this list, under “Details”. Frames are often not completely disassembled due to issues in the frame or it is not necessary.

  • Excavated down to the frame
  • Cleaned all innards and set aside if they can be reused
  • Frame disassembled and joints repaired and reglued
  • Tacking margins filled with hardwood pins
  • Historic varnish was amended with several coats of pure shellac and rubbed to patina
  • Seat was traditionally upholstered and built-up with historic or appropriate fibers
  • Cotton batting topper
  • Muslin undercover encased entire sofa
  • New showcover

Banner is Juliette Recamier by François-Louis Dejuinne circa 1827. François-Louis Dejuinne (1786–1844) was a French painter, and painted Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde Récamier (1777–1849) in her salon. Juliette, as she was known, was a French socialite who attracted the leading literary and political persona in early 19th-century Paris. The furniture was named after her.

Before, left, and after right.

San Quentin Recamier circa 1996

This recamier was built by inmates in San Quentin. Mitchell discovered this as he found internal information when he reupholstered the piece in 1996.

It made it way to Oregon and a client saw it in an antique store in Jacksonville. He bought it and brought it to Mitchell as a gift, knowing Mitchell would work magic on the piece. Above left, the recamier when Mitchell fist saw it, and after in Kate’s gallery in Jacksonville, Dakala.

American Double Wrachet-Arm Loveseat Recamier circa 1920

This is an unusual recamier. These kinds of items were very popular with apartment dwellers as they could be used for sleepovers but did not take up much space.

Our client dressed it up in a very feminine manner, with floral fabric and tiny gingham bows.

Greek Revival Recamier circa 1830

Traditionally restored but we used hypo-allergenic materials for our client.

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Before treatment, left, and after treatment, right.

Before treatment, left, and after treatment, right and below.

Eastlake Sofa-bed circa 1880

We had the opportunity to conserve a wonderful Eastlake style sofa-bed by A. Hansen Co., Chicago, Ill.  Our clients have restored a wonderful Victorian in NE Portland, and this sofa-bed now graces her office.  It was thought the piece lived near San Francisco for much of its life and sediment found in its interior collaborates this information.

Follow our blog as a full accounting of our treatment will be posted!

After treatment, installed in our client’s home, below.

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Custom Built

American Lawson Style Tête-à-tête circa 1979

MPFC custom built this tête-à-tête in 1979 for a patron with eclectic tastes, mixing modern styles with antiques and treasures from her travels. Mitchell reupholstered it in 1995.

Above, a recamier from the Pittock Mansion (we did no treatment).

Upholstered Objects  includes sofas, loveseats, recamiers, sofa-beds, hassocks and many kinds of chairs. Some lightly upholstered chairs (seat only, as in Dining and Side Chairs or Stools) are found under Wooden Objects. Textiles are found in another section.

Note: Our studio is not open for drop-in business.
Please make appointments by contacting us.