The evolution of furniture in a marriage must signify status. Like most young married couples, my husband and I combined “attic furniture” (collected from the attic’s of our parents) with furniture from our single days. Which probably was brought out of the attic after we each left college and set out on our own.
During the first few years of our marriage we liked to go “antiquing, ” so we collected a few antiques here and there. After five years of marriage we decided we wanted to buy a new sofa to replace the one that had graced our living room since the beginning of our marriage. It had begun furniture life as a bachelor brown sofa my husband got from someone in college. I, not really wanting to think about what had taken place on the sofa, had it recovered to a beautiful pink and white with a touch of seafoam green fabric. This was during my victorian phase when everything in my home was pink, white wicker and lace. My mother-in-law said I would out-grow that phase. I couldn’t understand. I do now.
When we set out to buy this sofa, Allen looked at things like sturdy frames; we also learned it was important to have eight-way tied construction in the sofa. I just wanted pretty fabric, though I did look at durable fabric that would hide stains. We did have a 2 1/2 year old.
We found the perfect sofa at a relatively nice furniture store. It was not a discount store, but I suppose now thinking back it was not upscale either. At the time I really didn’t know the difference. I just wanted grown up furniture.
A few years later when we were doing more “grown up” decorating -My decorator (I had a decorator now-I was really grown up ) and I were looking for another new sofa-this time for our living room. She told me to go into one of the more “upscale” furniture stores to see if they had anything I liked and if so, we would go back in there to see if it worked in our home and if not we could order something.
As I walked into this store I was met with the stern hello-mixed with sweet smile of someone who wants to pounce you to make you buy and at the same time wondering if you are worth the time to close the deal. When I told them about my quest they referred me to the back room with another decorator who could help me. A decorator to help my decorator!
She was older than I was and looked all “put together.” I, on the other hand, was in my maternity uniform -six months pregnant with little time to spare. My daughter was in Mother’s Morning Out and I needed to make some choices. The furniture store decorator was sort of intimidating and told me to look at some fabrics and sofa types. I used to look at types- like tall dark and handsome and now I was looking at sofa types-chippendale or queen anne. The room was quiet and cramped with fabrics all hung on hangers that I was supposed to look at and determine if any one of them caught my eye. It was like a padded room full of fabric swatches. I really did think I was going crazy.
One particular fabric did catch my eye. I was so excited they had the same fabric as our family room sofa-the one we had bought a couple of years before. The decorator was sure to be impressed. I carefully took it off the rack and held it up and exclaimed to the decorator -who had gone back to her important work at her desk-“I have this fabric on the Broyhill sofa in my den.” Not knowing that many different furniture companies used the same fabrics I just assumed they would have my sofa and fabric at her store. The decorator slowly sneered at me and said-through clenched teeth-“We don’t do Broyhill.” If there was a place in that room marked “Cookie’s Place” she definitely put me in it. I was stunned and speechless. I was thinking to myself-“You don’t do Broyhill-How could you not do Broyhill? All of the gameshows I watched growing up like Let’s Make a Deal and The Newlywed Game always did Broyhill. What was wrong with her and this store?” I looked at a few more swatches and thanked her and left.
My decorator and I ordered a beautiful sofa from North Carolina; it is still in my living room. The Broyhill sofa is still in my den; I have had it recovered three times so the Broyhill label is no longer visible. To my knowlege- my status did not suffer from the Broyhill debacle. I did not lose any friends. I still got into The Junior League, my husband still made partner in his firm before going solo and I learned a valuable lesson-never be impressed by the furniture prizes on game shows.