Yes and no and in this case definitely not! As an Interior designer I have to know about not just the look of the thing but how it is put together and how comfortable it is, the fabrics used, the styles that are available and what will suit my new project as well as the customer service you get. Kind of important when deadlines loom – as they always do – and you need to speak to friendly and knowledgeable people. So a sofa is not just a sofa – and oh! by the way this company, does actually think outside the box.
Last year I went to a very unusual book launch – at the Sofa.Com in Lots Road, Chelsea – to join gardening and garden design gliterrati’s for the launch of my friend Anne Wareham’s book - The Bad Tempered Gardener (see my interview of Anne here).
At first I thought ‘think they have gone mad, it’s a book about her garden, not interiors or indeed sofas!’. So it was with some trepidation that we made our way to Lots Road – after all this was going to be special right? You don’t launch a “garden” book in a sofa showroom, unless it’s special! And …it was!
First of all as we made our way up to the showroom via a lift, and as it opened, my guest and I both expressed our ooohs and aaaahs – cavernous doesn’t even cut it. Loft-style and based in an old factory of some kind – you know the type, the one you see in films and you wished you had bought decades ago before loft living became the über must have urban living accessory.
Not only that but the colours that just exploded in front of our eyes were stunning. Colours, amazing sofas, chairs and beds all showcased not in the usual way (one after another with naff vases on naff coffee tables like in some showrooms I could name but won’t) but in room sets with fun and whimsical touches (more of that later).
I had heard of the company – but I usually buy my sofas from wholesalers and do visit the usual high street showrooms, just to see what they have (sometimes really nice stuff actually) but I kind of missed that one I must admit.
Anyway – I was impressed because size of the space aside, the display was really well featured and made you want to buy – it was inspirational. In any case we then made our way to a smaller showroom specifically set aside for Anne’s book launch. I was really taken aback – with delight I must add.
The room was conceptually set our and designed like a garden with wrought iron bed full of herbs and lush flowers, hanging lights that looked like pots. Such fun. Granted it was the run up to Chelsea (reminds me I must get my ticket!) but it was innovative, whimsical and everyone loved it. You could hear the “waow” and cries of delight throughout the room.
All in all it was a great evening – I met some amazing people, I met the owner Rohan who was delightful and slightly eccentric (but then many English people are eccentric in my eyes!) and went for a walk back upstairs to mooch around the main showroom.
I must admit I like this company – since my visit 5 of my clients have bought sofa’s from there after we visited, 4 beds and numerous accessories (scatter cushions!). And no I am not paid to speak highly of them – just so we are clear. I like the “feel” of this company - traditional to contemporary, sofas, armchairs, beds and sofabeds are all there. You can customise your own sofa with your own fabric – an extensive selection from Romo, Colefax & Fowler to Ralph Lauren to name a few, so the choice is vast.
But check out the latest tie-up they have started with St Jude’s Fabrics. Artist designed fabrics I particularly love Angie Lewin’s botanical designs (check out Hedgerow). I like the way Sofa.com work – they try to do something different. The website is fun, interactive, informative and good ot navigate around.
It doesn’t surprise me that over the 6 years they have sold over 40,000 sofas – obviously people are attuned to the best value, high quality and comfy sofas that they sell. In act I am going back there in a few weeks to order something for me (this time!) – so I am actually looking forward to seeing what’s around and available.
Contact them directly below for further information or to order free fabric swatches and product cards, call 0845 400 2222 or visit www.sofa.com. Chelsea showroom: Unit 35 Chelsea Wharf, 15 Lots Road. London SW10 0QJ. You can also find them on social media
facebook (facebook/sofadotcom), twitter https://twitter.com/#!/sofadotcom) blog (www.sofa.com/blog).