Sofas and Loveseats

MPF Conservation restores, conserves and preserves all types of sofas and loveseats in their studio in Portland Oregon.

In most cases, the sofas and loveseats 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 (see image below right)
  • 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

Note: In most instances frames are taken back to their historic finish, however, occasionally clients want something a bit different, such as changing a traditional shellac to a painted finish. We place a barrier coat on the historic finish, then overlayer the new finish..

All the items below are created with cleaning in mind. Hidden zippers with interior muslin tickings make it easy to remove the decorative covers and take them to a good dry cleaners. Leather cushions are fitted with a fabric back panel to allow air to escape when they are sat or rested upon.

Before, left, and after right.

American Renaissance Revival (Victorian) Tufted Back Sofa circa 1840

Our client has a great eye for good pieces. She purchased this tufted-back sofa from the Eclecticism movement this at a fair with its two companioning chairs, and brought them to us. We were thrilled to restore them.

Details frame:

  • Excavation revealed badly damaged tacking margins from indiscriminate placement of tacks during many recoverings, requiring both the repair of the historic tacking surface and custom fitting the interior aprons with structural hardwood and steel bracings, both shown right
  • The decorative surfaces had a historic resin finish in good condition; we revived it with matching shellac and waxed.

Details upholstery:

  • Upholstery was performed traditionally: horsehair and vegetable fibers lashed with linen twine encased in hessian
  • Gauffraged silk velvet showcover

The video below shows process from excavation through the new showcover.

Before, left, and after right.

American Louis XV Revival circa 1920

Details:

  • Painted finish. The finish was extremely damaged and the client asked us to paint it in a complimentary color; we used a quinacridone paint, slightly transparent, also casts a woody-burgundy color with metallic gold trim.
  • Down cored cushions restored
  • Novelty tapestry with contrasting velvet welt and rayon gimp tape

Two French Louis XV Settees circa 1700

Someone in the family had upholstered these two pieces in a heavy vinyl suede, shown above. MPFC suspects the frames were originally shellacked, but again, at some point in their journey they were painted right over the shellac. Our client wanted the finish to appear roughly the way she remembered them growing up, with a sumptuous comfortable sit.

Details for each settee:

  • Innards were not reusable
  • Repainted frame (see details below)
  • Buildup was recreated to be historically accurate, with horsehair and vegetable fibers lashed within hessian
  • The historic fiber pods were cleaned and covered in percale muslin
  • New showcover upholstered over muslin

For cushions:

  • Solid goose down seat cushion was created
  • Set into a pocketed down-proof ticking case
  • New showcover upholstered over muslin

MPFC repainted the frame with oil paints and a layering process of two colors and textural enhancements laid in through the brushing style. After the surfaces were given a worn look through the application of specialty waxes mixed with mineral spirits, which allowed the hard wax to accrete within the relief carvings.

The oil paint and waxes fused becoming an amalgam which was hard and appeared a historically aged finish, shown left and in detail below.

The two settees were slightly different sizes, proving that they were hand-made.

You can best see how it effected our ability to match the fabric pattern placement on the side views in the image right.

Before, left, and after right.

American Art Nouveau Settee circa 1890

The settee exhibited several critical structural problems, mostly from abusive treatment by unskilled and/or thoughtless upholsterers during its three previous recoverings:

  • Overlarge tacks encroaching into critical structures
  • Toenailings into joinery connections (an attempt to rectify loose joins rather than proper woodworking techniques)
  • Nailing and stapling into the minimal bottom half-round molding until it shattering and/or pulled from the frame

Finished frame before buildup, above.

Details:

  • Frame comletely disassembled and joints repaired and reglued
  • Tacking margins filled with hardwood pins
  • Historic frame structure was laminated with fresh lumber and secured to the superstructure
  • New wool and silk tapestry showcover

American Art Deco Channel-back Sofa circa 1940

This set (sofa and chair) was bought for the couples wedding, and now would be restored to the original beauty. A similar linen ribbed velvet as chosen. The color is closer to the images below.

Details:

  • New heavy linen ribbed velvet showcover applied
  • Spring-filled cushions with historic and new hair and cotton batting surround was uncased in muslin

Before, left, and after right.

American Chippendale Revival Camelback Sofa circa 1900

Poorly executed second generation upholstery masked damage done to the frame by the previous upholsterer.

Details:

  • Arm front and structures were recreated and replaced
  • Pocket-down spring-filled cushions were created and filled with goose down
  • Showcover is a dense cotton velvet beautifully embellished with a machine embroidered silk floral motif

Before, above, and after below.

American South Greek Revival circa 1830

This family sofa went through a flood in salt water in the south. It came to us for a true restoration and reupholstery. Made of hand-carved Caribbean mahogany decorative elements (both solid and veneers) and secondary woods of Southern Tulip Poplar and indigenous pine plankings.

Excavation revealed interior water markings and layers of disparate siltation.

Details.

  • Rotten boards on the frame replaced with fresh same species lumber
  • Historic varnish coatings were obscured by overlayerings of modern urethane products; all were removed by hand to the first layers of pigmented shellac
  • Frame was topped with fresh shellac
  • Showcover is a period appropriate printed velvet from J.P.& J. Baker, and the outer back and arms is a dense mohair velvet from Schumacher

Before, left, and after right.

Before, left, and after right.

American Lawson Style circa 1920

A family piece from three generations, this Lawson style sofa was given a chance to become part of the family farmhouse; the original owner (grandfather) approved!

Details:

  • Cushions built with springs horsehair and cushion cores inside muslin envelopes
  • Showcover is a cotton tapestry from Beacon Hill which matched its original decorative showcover (not shown)

Note: Other pieces in living room, below third image, were also restored by MPFC. Draperies by MPFC , a linen and cotton toile print from Brunschwig & Fils.

Before, above left, and after right and below.

Amsterdam Art Deco Egyptian Revival Sofa circa 1937

A family piece built in Amsterdam and sailed across the Atlantic! While we were conserving it we found foreign candy wrappers as part of the stuffing, and foreign coins in the crevices which helped us verify its age and original!

Details:

  • MPFC did an additional crowning of the elements to accentuate the chenille trapunto showcover
  • Showcover is a rooster floral pattern trapunto by Dogwood Fabrics

Before, left, and after right. Note the original upholstery
had the varying showcover on the flip side of the cushions, below.

American “Fat Classic” circa 1920

The Depression Era sofa had lived in the family for three generations. The choice to place a different fabric on the one side of the spring-filled cushions was original to the piece, shown in the fourth image above.

Details:

  • Down cored spring filled cushions restored
  • The peitipoint tapestry from Highland Court created a contrast on one side of the cushions to continue with the historic design intent
  • The floral showcover is by Kravet

The matching chair is on our Overstuffed Chairs page.

Before, top left, and after bottom left and right.

American-made Canapé:
Lang Brothers, Rose City Upholstery, Portland Oregon circa 1950

The Lang Brothers operated Rose City Upholstery as a fine regional upholstery company from 1928 to 1989, creating their own designs, making their own frames and upholstering their creations. The canapé shape is an example of their transitional period when they were offering a mixture of modern and traditional stuffings.

Details:

  • A new pocket down cushion was created to span the length of the canapé with additional 50/50 whit goose down filler to maintain loft and comfort while sitting
  • Showcover is a cotton/rayon chenille whose motif and color reflects 1950’s decorative ambiance

Before, left, and after right.

American Victorian Settee circa 1840

This Victorian settee revived both French Directoire and Louis XVI styles with a twist that was popular toward the mid-19th Century. Solid walnut frame!

Details: Bright butter yellow showcover is from Lee Jofa and the flat trim is Houles.

Directoire style is a transition between Louis XVI and Empire styles.

Before, left, and after right.

American Lawson Settee circa 1940

These twin settee, chair and footstool were family pieces from the late Depression Era. The tulip poplar frames were badly damaged from improper upholsterings requiring significant replacements, especially the seat apron rails.

Details: The showcover is a heavy cotton tapestry from Beacon Hill.

Matching chairs can be seen on our Overstuffed Chairs page.

Before, left, and after right.

French Louis XVI Neoclassical Sofa circa 1760

This long Neoclassical sofa was created from European Beech wood solids hand-carved relief carved crest and aprons in a layered mock celtic knot. Tapered amphora style legs complete the neoclassical appearance, shown right.

MPFC was tasked with a complete restoration of this badly damaged sofa. All of its traditional innards were stripped away in favor of slabs of polyurethane foam and ®Dacron toppers. The historic paint was previously chemically stripped, leaving the joints loose and the beech wood exposed to the elements.

Details:

  • Excavated to the frame
  • Frame disassembled; all joinery conserved
  • Frame restored then retrofit with Eastern hard ample overlaps
  • Fresh corner blocks spanned larger parts of the structure preventing future torque in the frame
  • Frame was painted (see below)
  • Sofa was traditionally restored using historic horsehair and vegetable fibers encased within lashed pods
  • French Mansard style lines reflected the motif of its time
  • Showcover was a striped silk taffeta from Cowtan & Tout
  • Tacking seam lines were embellished with a wide bouclé tape

MPFC repainted the frame with oil paints and a layering process of two colors and textural enhancements laid in through the brushing style. After the surfaces were given a worn look through the application of specialty waxes mixed with mineral spirits, which allowed the hard wax to accrete within the relief carvings.

The oil paint and waxes fused becoming an amalgam which was hard and appeared a historically aged finish, shown left and in detail below

Norwegian Modern Sofa, Loveseat, Chair and Ottoman from Ekornes, circa 1975

MPFC brightened the pieces with aniline dyed cobalt blue leather!

Details: Showcover of aniline dyed leather from Hide House (Napa Leather).

American Mid-Century Modern Boomerang Shaped Bench Seat Sectional Sofa circa 1949

The clients were tall, and wanted to find a way to keep the integrity of the original piece without ruining its line.

The pieces were restored with solid latex slabs over spring construction, wrapped in cotton batting with muslin inner linings. Mitchell found an inspired show cover and looped fringe for the sectional. He created a completely removable cotton batting and down-filled topper to give the lift the client’s needed without altering the historic seat elevation.

Above, the following:

  • English Chesterfield circa 1850
  • English Regency circa 1810

Custom Built

Custom Built long Chenille Sofa, “Couch in the woods”, circa 2001

Our clients were tall and wanted a single long down sofa seat for their mountain top home.

Details:

  • The frame was six quarter Eastern hard maple frame, double-doweled and corner blocked joinery.
  • Coil-spring base with ®Ultracell and cotton-batting fillers over jute webbing and canvas foundations.
  • Goose down seat cushion
  • Pre-washed chenille showcover

They were looking for comfort, utility, style and serviceability; we delivered! In the most unusual manner, delivery in deep snow up a steep mountain in Southern Oregon!