If you have been witness to my Instagram Stories recently, you'll see that I have been redesigning and redecorating the home office that myself and my husband share. As previously mentioned, the home office that was once promised to my husband as solely his room when we brought this house, has now also been taken over by me with the launch of the blog! The home office therefore needed a complete overhaul to accommodate all his work stuff, plus all my blog and interior design bits (mainly consisting of paint charts from every paint brand know to (wo)mankind). Feeling kind of guilty that I've taken his only room in the house away, I promised that the 'he-she office' redecoration would be masculine yet contemporary. It would be a space that worked for me, as well as mainly reflecting his tastes. We agreed on the following terms - firstly, the room has to be masculine colours - dark shades, deep navy blues, whites (out: no pastel hues, definitely no 'blush pink'). Patterns needed to be sharp and geometric (out: tropical, leafy or flowery prints). Accessories needed to be black and made from materials like glass and leather (out: cushions, throws, faux flowers).
I cleared out the room and we agreed on the above mood board. We already owned the walnut desk, plain rug and the Ellie Vandoorne artwork (an amazing gift as part of my Amara Blog Awards Winners goodie bag!) and these were to stay in the room. We decided on adding the Hicks Hexagon wallpaper by Cole & Son in the alcoves, and painting the room half in 'Railings' and half in 'Clunch' by Farrow & Ball.
The good news is that the room has now been painted and the wallpaper has been put up, and we are onto the finishing touches. My husband really wanted a comfy seating area in the room for when he needs to read through documents or play music, so I instantly thought of adding in a Chesterfield chair or sofa. What is more classic, iconic and perfect for a home office than a Chesterfield? A design that has never, ever gone out of fashion in the 150 or so years since it was first designed, that becomes more visually appealing with age, a sofa that you will never, ever see in a skip (unless you are super lucky). It's seen as a worthwhile investment that stands the test of time.
Having never purchased a Chesterfield before, I needed to do my research. What would be best for us? New, vintage or a replicated imitation version?
I headed on over to the Robinson's of England website, as "they strive to offer the most comprehensive collection of leather chesterfield sofas and chairs available." Their Chesterfields, whether new or restored, are actually built or worked upon in the north of England (rather than say, manufactured in China). Upon further reading, Robinson's of England was really starting to speak to me as a dedicated DIY-er and craft fanatic. Each chair or sofa is hand-crafted, right from the beechwood frame to the hand-dyed leather. I guess that is why 'proper' Chesterfields look so good and last so long, as they are lovingly hand made by experienced craftsman. The craftspeople at Robinson's of England have a combined 135 years worth of craft and restoration experience between them!
The cheap imitation Chesterfield option was totally out. Yet then of course came the big question - the price. Hand crafted furniture made in England is not going to be cheap (and nor should it be), but was it going to cost as much as a new car? Brilliantly, Robinson's of England Signature Collection offer a total of six (yes, six!) crafting options, so your chair or sofa can be bespoke to your design specification and price point. Prices start at £1,499, and can escalate to £29,999 if you so desire!
So, what is the difference between crafting option 1 and crafting option 6? According to Robinson's of England "Manner 1 is identical to those of the 19th Century. The seat, back and arms are completely loose coil sprung, with 8 point hand tied loose coil steel springs. This helps the build stay strong and never lose it’s shape." How nice is this hand-drawn image (available on the website) to explain how it is crafted in detail?
Alternatively, crafting manner 6 is the most modern crafting option. The seat is either webbed or they use serpentine springs. Fillings are a very good medium density foam, and they line the inside with cotton felts.
So what actually equates a Chesterfield? For me, it has always been the tufted button on leather design. However, Chesterfields don't actually have to have the tufting to be classified as a Chesterfield. According to Robinson's of England a “Chesterfield sofa is denoted quite simply by it very timeless and elegant straight arms and back. "
It ticks all the boxes for my husband with the designs 'gentleman's club' vibe (plus you wouldn't put a cushion on it, a major win for him), as well as for me with the incredible craftsmanship and design appeal. Robinson's of England clients include establishments such as Harvard & Cambridge University, as well as the Google head offices, so I knew we would be in good company with a Chesterfield from Robinson's of England. But which one???
As well as the Signature Collection, Robinson's of England also sell 'Antique and Vintage' Chesterfields, where each chair or sofas value is based according to age, condition, crafting and leathers. They also have a category called 'Twice Loved', which are used leather Chesterfield sofas and chairs that have been re-created and restored in their Newcastle workshop. I looked through all three categories to find the perfect Chesterfield for the he-she home office:
First off, this Rockingham Chippendale sofa in rich walnut took my eye from the Signature Collection. The beautiful colour would complement the existing walnut desk, while the design outline is just so visually appealing.
Currently available in the Twice-Loved Collection is this three seater blue number, which would work so well with the dark blue hue of F&B's railings that I have painted the walls in. It is also available for only £1599, which I think is an absolute steal for a three seater in such good condition.
Alternatively, to save on space I'm thinking of going for a classic armchair, as only my husband or me will need to sit there at any one time. This rustic brown Queen Anne Wing Back Chair (also currently available in Twice Loved) is just beautiful as it already has that lusted after worn-in look.
What Chesterfield would you choose? Are there any designs that catch your eye on the Robinson's of England website? Let me know if the comments section below. I have to finish this post with the fact that if my husband had no say in this room, the Chesterfield sofa that I would choose without a doubt would be this sofa below - it's only the Alan Carr Chatty Man Rockingham Chippendale sofa in GOLD LEATHER!!! How good would this look with the deep hue of 'Railings' in the room? Throw some hot pink in the mix and what a winner you would have *sigh*.....
* This post was in collaboration of Robinson's Of England. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own! I'd like to thank Robinson's of England for working with and therefore supporting Melanie Lissack Interiors.