The Gentleman’s Thoroughly Modern Fully Reclinable Day Bed


Dear Reader,

I write to you from the most outrageous den of comfort and cushioned luxury I could imagine. A large, overstated, marginally eighties dark leather sofa, it smells like a gentlemen’s club but has all the charms of a first-class airline recliner at each end.

It is a behemoth of a sofa, a creature of comfort and sloth. You sit down on it and pull some masonic lever somewhere and your behind heads horizontal at the most alarming rate, a leather footstool appearing only just in time, to break your fall in the manner of James Bond himself.

If this sofa were a dance, it would be the tango. The Last one. But in London.

Tasteful? Sartorially appropriate? I would argue we just about get away with it. Eighties is becoming vintage, for Pete’s sake. And my sitting room is beginning to look like something out of a hotel in a set for Miami Vice.

For we have not one of these sofas, but two.

A long, long time ago, when the house remodellers first came to stay at our house, we skipped around happily envisaging a stay of, ooh, three weeks, tops. We had better get some new upholstery, darling! we chirruped joyously to each other, and skipped off to the local department store in search of settees which would fit our pockets, but not necessarily fit in them.

The local department store has an odds-and-ends bit. You know, where they sell off the unsellable-offable, but cheaply.

My husband loves the sensibly priced, and I am not averse to it. And there in the window, back in those halcyon days, gleamed wonder-sofa; a thing of soft dark curves which squawked slightly when you sat on it like a parrot with umbridge. It looked, well, big, and expensive.

But it was not until you sat on it that it began to weave its Crockett-and-Tubbs enchantment. To park on it was to desire it. Like an Odyssean temptress it closed round and enfolded us in leather and luxury, until we lost all inclination to do anything or go anywhere. All that mattered was us; us and the sofa.

“We’ll take two,” my husband pronounced decisively.

Two? I gulped. These were the huge beasts of the sofa world. Would they not dwarf our tiny English sitting room?

That was two months ago.

The remodellers are still here. Still. But we did arrive back from holiday to find an expanse of beautiful pale tiles in our living room so that, just for a second, we could fancy ourselves in Provence. We gloried in the space, and eagerly awaited the arrival of the wonder-sofas.

Today they were delivered.

I arrived home from the dog walk to find that great open paved space filled by dark leather. The sofas loomed. There is no other word for it. If a sofa can be menacing, these matched the description perfectly.

Gingerly. just like a girl, I began inching them into their prescribed space in front of the window.

And the daylight switched off. I think they actually ate the light. Suddenly it was dark in the room and I was forced to conclude that light-hungry sofas should not be indulged. They get fat and complacent. They let themselves go.

Half an hour of sofa-shoving later, they had been banished to two perimeter walls, and I could see the light and the floor again.

And I blinked, and there was a small boy reclining decadently with a laptop on one of them.

Where did Felix come from? I wondered briefly. And with such speed! And he looked as though he had never sat anywhere else in his life, as if he belongs there on the leather Odyssean mythical Miami Vice sofa.

That evening, everyone had their own luxury leather recliner and sat, in preposterous upholstery, surveying the television.

And then the dog walked in.

Where’s mine? he emanated.

Alas, poor doggie. I would rather enter the roasting portals of Hades than let the dog on these sofas.

The dog sulked. Palpably. And so Phil wheeled the final leather chair – one destined for upstairs – next to the super-sofas, and the dog jumped up happily.

And fell, instantly, asleep.



38 thoughts on “The Gentleman’s Thoroughly Modern Fully Reclinable Day Bed

  1. We had a huge squidgy chair once that trebled in size when put by the window. It wasn’t even a dark colour.
    Your sofas sound wonderful. How will you ever go to work?

  2. I cannot beilieve your first consideration was not where Mac was going to sit? No wonder he sulked. Anyway, with the chair provided it is a case of sofa so good …

  3. You have to wallow in a sofa otherwise there’s simply no point at all and you may as well just have an upright dining room chair πŸ˜‰ Happy days and nights dear Kate x

    1. Thanks πŸ™‚ and how lovely to hear you! I find my visit back to yours in belated. Apologies. And you are right. If you’re going to sofa, it might as well be extreme sofa.

    1. No. The issue has been complicated this evening with the introduction of a wood burning stove. The dog is now torn between spending him-time close to the embers and curling up in his chair. How will the story end? We’re all on tenterhooks, and only the dog knows πŸ˜€

  4. We have a similar sofa – just the one, we’re not so decadent. We have had it for years now and I love it – you will never look back from your new life of sloth.

  5. Milton has a recliner, Kate. Three years ago he was so angry at Lea Michele performing the Barbra Streisand classic from Funny Girl, β€œDon’t Rain on My Parade” at the Tony awards on live broadcast TV, he cranked his “masonic lever” in the hope of rocket launching himself from his apartment to Radio City Music Hall to stop her. Unfortunately, he only succeeded in falling out of his chair with a loud thud.

    Glad that Felix and Mac have found their cushiony bliss.

    1. I read this out loud to everyone, Virginia,and ever since Felix has been practising rocket launching. Milton is his new hero, especially now he knows where Radio City Hall is.

      1. Considering that Felix weighs about as much as Milton’s left flank, I expect we’ll be seeing your son bouncing off the pavement outside Radio City Music Hall any day now. We’ll send him back to you with a bag of Magnolia cupcakes via Milton’s Barcalounger.

  6. Recliners have always been verboten in my homes, because one was always attached to my father’s backside when I was growing up. Still, the way you describe these lovelies, I might make an exception for them.

  7. We have a little back “house”–a converted garage, really, in which for the past twenty or so years, there has been one of these recliner sofas. Ours is cloth and not nearly this beautiful, but in reasonably good shape. Several months ago we thought about getting rid of it simply because it is HUGE and takes up precious space. And it felt dated. Yet we talked ourselves out of it. It’s very comfortable! I have lounged there to watch many a movie with my feet kicked up and in great comfort. How considerate for Phil to think of each of you having your own spot. Comfort sometimes takes up a lot of space, but it can make a home more enjoyable. πŸ™‚

  8. Still deliberating over a Stressless 300 sofa. Almost a months wages on a 3 seater settee, is that decadent? Or should i “get over myself and head towards IKEA, for an affordable sub-standard alternative?”

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