Trend Report: English Roll-Arm Sofa

April 12, 2012 | Alex

Has anyone else noticed the recent barrage of English roll-arm sofas in the design sphere? The New York Times latest edition of T Magazine was a veritable eulogy. Somehow it feels wrong to apply the "trend" tag to an enduring classic like the English roll-arm sofa. Come-back doesn't quite fit either, because there's no evidence it ever went out of style. But whatever you want to call this resurgence, I like it. The shape is ultra-traditional-- but, amazingly, it's a perfect fit in interiors as diverse as Downtown Abbey and a modern Brooklyn brownstone.

The Inspiration:

George Smith Sofa. via Elle Decor

George Smith Sofa. via Elle Decor

Winnifred Sette. via Anthropologie.com

Winnifred Sette. via Anthropologie.com

Sofia Coppola on a George Sherlock Two-Seater. via Habituallychic.blogspot.com

Sofia Coppola on a George Sherlock Two-Seater. via Habituallychic.blogspot.com

London townhouse. via NYT T Magazine

London townhouse. via NYT T Magazine

Tom Delavan's Greenwich Village Townhouse. via NYT T Magazine

Tom Delavan's Greenwich Village Townhouse. via NYT T Magazine

George Sherlock in Jenna Lyon's Brooklyn Brownstone. via HousetoHome.co.uk

George Sherlock in Jenna Lyon's Brooklyn Brownstone. via HousetoHome.co.uk

How to Get the Look: 

The gold standard of English roll-arm sofas remains the George Sherlock-- with a price tag to match it's prestige:

How to Get the Look (without taking out a second mortgage):

The good news is there are a slew of affordable alternatives for almost every budget. I've rounded up a few of my favorites at a range of different price points, in order of decreasing cost for the basic model. (Wider and/or deeper models and upholstery options may entail an upcharge.)

1. Williams-Sonoma Home - Pierce Sofa, $2,950 (variety of upholstery options)

2. Athropologie - Winnifred Sette, $2,898 (Pink Bougainvillea or Leather)

3. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams - London Sofa, $2,295 (as shown)

4. Restoration Hardware - English Roll Arm Sofa, $2,195 (variety of upholstery options)

via RestorationHardware.com

via RestorationHardware.com

5. Sofa.com - The Bluebell, $1,660 (variety of amazing upholstery options including custom fabric)

via Sofa.com

6. Pottery Barn - Carlisle Apartment Sofa, $1,499 (variety of upholstery options)

7. Home Decorators Collection - Markham Sofa, $999 (variety of upholstery options)

Accessorizing the Look:

Personally, I'm a big fan of the traditional turned wood legs. (See Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, Sofa.com and Mitchell Gold models above for variations.) If the model that fits your budget doesn't have said legs, do not despair! Tablelegs.com  is an amazing resource. And changing the feet is the easiest way to makeover a sofa. (Note: Feet come unfinished. While you'll need to stain and sand them, on the plus side you can select the finish.)

Adding casters is a great idea if you're (like my mother and I) a perennial furniture re-arranger with a partner who disapproves of perennial furniture re-arrangement. With casters, you can move the furniture yourself. Spousal disapproval be damned! If you'd like to include casters, keep the height of the casters in mind when you select a new pair of feet.

Here are a few styles I could picture on an English roll-arm :

Bell  

Bell

 

Coronet

Coronet

Country+Bun+Feet.jpg
Large Newport

Large Newport