Cushion suggestions for built-in furniture?

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Mod mom
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Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:00 am

Cushion suggestions for built-in furniture?

Post by Mod mom »

Today we moved the Gunning built-in sofa/end table out of a cargo container and I decided to take measurements for the cushions. Since the room was originally called a "dormitory", this was the only one left of three that were intended for children's beds, and what we threw out did appear to be a mattress, I had assumed it was the size of a twin XL. Wrong…it's 95" long-way longer than a mattress.

Here is a photo of the un-restored sofa:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/125471081 ... ed-public/

Any suggestions for cushions for a piece like this, or will I have have custom cushions made?

pharding
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Post by pharding »

Custom cushions are not particularly expensive.
Last edited by pharding on Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

That's exciting.

I assume that you'll have a cushion or cushions made; the foam will have to be cut to fit precisely. If used for sleeping, a single seat cushion -- of very firm foam -- would be ideal; the back could be divided into three, perhaps, and made of slightly less dense foam.

The seat was made flat (parallel to the floor) for comfort in sleeping. An ideal seating angle would have a somewhat raised front edge, perhaps, though this is not as vital when the seat is quite low. But it would be easy to prepare for either form, by inserting a piece of 3/4 plywood into the mattress well, now, so that with simple blocking the front edge could be raised as desired.

As for faric: I have a large throw pillow on my couch, covered in some stuff that's a bit like suede cloth, but with a visible twill texture. The material has worn like iron, and seems to show no soiling. Here are close-up photos of front and reverse:


Image Image

Sequoia
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Post by Sequoia »

Is the primary use to be a seating surface, or sleeping surface? One large piece of foam can be awkward to handle , but more comfortable for sleeping. Multiple cushions are MUCH easier to upholster. With a length of 96 inches , 4 cushions would seem most logical to me. Back cushions are often times filled with fiber on sofas, I think this might serve you well. Foam cushions that are wrapped are much easier to cover than unwrapped foam. Patience when inserting cushions into covers is the key to finishing a job like this, good luck !

Unbrook
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Cushions

Post by Unbrook »

At 95", three cushions would be about 30" each. about the size of a regular sofa cushion. I would suggest a high density foam. wrapped in a batting to soften the edges. At the Welzheimer house, Wright specified a back cushion that was deeper at the bottom and narrower at the top. The measures were just a few inches apart and I was never really satisfied with the result of our Banquete upholstery project. For a comfortable sit, the depth from front to inside back should be in the 21"-23" range.

What are you thinking of in terms of a fabric? In the fifties Wright tended to use a Wool Boucle woven fabric, and because of Olga-the colors tended to be more vivid. Jack Lenor Larson made a fabric called Doria, which is no longer in production. I have proposed a Maharam fabric for replacement ottoman cushions at the Weltzheimer house.

Good luck with the project!

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

Wow! Thanks everyone for detailed information. I'll find someone to construct the cushions over winter. The sofa will be used for seating since this room (with its horizontal windows (a total of 39 windows in this room) will be our living room, therefore multiple cushions will be used.

We are lucky that this sofa was in such good shape, BTW the top of the sofa is scribed to fit into the stone wall-it is NOT damaged.

Unbrook, we currently have wool fabric in a vivid periwinkle color on our current sofas and although it looks great, it is very itchy and I swore I would avoid wool in the future. Our current sofas will NOT be making the move to Gunning. I think I'll avoid a vivid color this time and use accent pillows for color at Gunning. I really like the Maharam textile prints!

Thank you everyone! I really appreciate your suggestions.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Printed fabric ? Mmm . . . shouldn't the pattern be intrinsic to the material, rather than applied -- in Organic design ? For throw pillows, perhaps, but not for the base material ?

SDR

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

Here is an old photograph of the sofa with a print cover (not sure what year this is from):

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125471081 ... 444413635/

I'll being doing a lot of research looking through my books before picking textile. We want the floor to look as close to original as possible but I won't pick a fabric until the floor is poured.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

That couch screams! Better a quiet color with the accent pillows.

Don't be averse to wool. It isn't the fabric that causes discomfort, but the cut. A high quality twill shouldn't itch. The advantage of wool is that is endures. Of course, nothing endures like nylon, but I would suggest you not go there. Velour tends to show its age quickly.

As a couch, 4 cushions would be best, with the slant built in, and sloping bolsters reducing the seat depth to about 21-22". The angle between seat and bolster should be about 95 degrees for a standard 17-18" high seat; more like 90 if the seat is noticeably lower.

Your house is not full of light; a light-colored fabric on all your furniture would liven up the space considerably. Though not so light that dirt be a problem. The yellow seats in the Arnold Friedman House (posted here some time ago) work well.

Mod mom
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Post by Mod mom »

I appreciate all the suggestions on the specific type and shapes of cushions that will work with this Usonian-style sofa (my guess it is a van Fossen, since he worked on furniture for the FLLW Armstrong House prior to Gunning, circa 1940.)

Foam or down? Our sofas now are down filled covered by cheesecloth then wool crepe upholstery. Feather stems sometimes protrude through, therefore I was thinking using something along the lines of our mattress (high density foam from Design Within Reach) which has really been both comfortable yet very durable.

egads
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Location: Long Beach CA

Post by egads »

Sofas with down are usually foam with a down wrap, used instead of spun polyester. The traditional wrap was cotton batting. You might want to "shop" at Macy's or some other old line furniture store and pick the old salesman's brain. They would really know foam quality and density. Also a good place to check out fabrics and their blends. Mom furniture is really in right now, there will be at least some samples on the floor.

Sequoia
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Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:31 pm

Post by Sequoia »

I checked out a website foamforyou.com . They are very educational about foam products , tho I can't recommend them per se , I haven't seen their work. What I saw on their site backs up most of the advice given so far. If you are truly interested in down filling there is a product out there that reduces down migration, ( special fabric ) . IMO polyester fiber is easier to deal with and very easily sourced, fabric stores etc.. If you dare to go into a furniture store have them partially uncover a seat and back cushion, you will be quickly enlightened.

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