This piece is likely from the 1920s or 1930s (it’s difficult to date accurately since it is such a simple style).
Love seat as received (with dusty blue slipcover):
Minus slip cover (note the way the back was done – one piece):
Broken rear leg:
The bottom was SLIGHTLY collapsed.
Before I continue, let me just say: this sofa needed “the works”. Everything had to be redone on it. It had to be stripped down, disassembled, glue joints scraped, sand and refinish the legs, and then reassemble the frame. After that: new webbing, re-install the springs, retie the springs, new burlap, redo the berm (edge roll), re-web the back, reattach all the stuffing, and then reupholster everything. It took a lot of work, but I think the finished piece is gorgeous!
Alright, lets continue. Here’s the frame with most of the stuffing and springs removed. Note the sagging rear straps, and somewhat loose side panels (arm tops are stuffed with straw).
Frame completely knocked apart (except for two larger H sections that were still solid).
Frame after reassembly, and ready for upholstering. And yes, that’s all there is to an average sofa frame (new or old).
New webbing. I love doing this part. There’s something rewarding/fun about stretching and tacking the webbing down. Most newer sofas and chairs have “no sag” (zigzag) springs, but usually coil springs are better (because of how they’re attached to the frame on both the top and bottom of the rails).
Tying the springs. Not a fun part. The string is very hard on the hands and there are a LOT of knots involved. This is what’s known as “eight way hand tied”.
New burlap and re-attached (original) edge roll (hand sewn in place):
Deck and arm pre-covers done (a rough fabric cover to help contain all the straw and horsehair that made up the original stuffing), and new webbing on the back rests. Also note how the back of the frame is divided in two sections. This is because the original sofa had a double “attached cushion” on the back as you’ll see on the finished piece below (compare with the photo at the beginning where they had eliminated this detail).
Better photo showing the rough covers, and the back rests with new burlap.
That’s it for the “in progress” photos, so here’s the finished sofa! I love the shape (narrow arms, and square pillows). I don’t think I’d ever want to have a white sofa, though. While I worked on this, I had to wash my hands about every hour to keep from getting the fabric dirty (which was almost like an ultra-white denim type fabric).
Also note that the seat cushions are slightly domed since they are the original spring cushions (basically they have a mini mattress type box of coiled springs inside them, wrapped in cotton padding). A lot of times these get replaced with foam cushions since they are often more comfortable, but the owner loves antiques and prefers things original. I didn’t actually try sitting on the finished sofa, so I can’t really say how comfy they are. Apparently the sofa won’t be getting much use, and will be more of a “show piece”, so it’s not a big issue.
Note how the back cushions look like regular loose cushions, but they’re attached to the frame.
The back has a very interesting detail where there is a huge 1 inch band of piping that follows the contour. It’s a detail I haven’t seen very often on other pieces.
The leg that was broken: