I Thought These Sofas Wouldn’t Survive My Son — But I Was Wrong. They Only Get Better Over Time.

published Jun 9, 2021
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Room & Board Andre Sofa
Credit: Room & Board

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My couches are my constant. My pair of Room & Board André sofas have seen me through a new apartment, a new husband, a new job, and a newborn. I bought them long before I thought I would be a father. 

I lived with IKEA as-is finds and furniture dragged in off the street for my first 10 years in Brooklyn. Picking out two new couches in 2010 with my now-husband from a fancy furniture store in Soho was a milestone. Rich and I made multiple trips to Room & Board to pick these babies out. We browsed frame styles, asked about the construction, and took our time looking at upholstery samples. We wondered what color the barely noticeable wooden legs should be, and after much deliberation, we chose cognac to contrast our light wood floors. We had a credit card and a dream. 

We picked the André because this model has a tight upholstered back, which always looks pulled together and doesn’t need straightening like a loose pillow back. The button tufting bought a bit of Mid-Century swagger and the above-average seat height is a great fit for us — we’re both 6’4. 

Why two sofas? The pair, one is 89 inches and the other 76 inches, worked better to define a separate living room in our living-dining space and provided more practical seating in our small space. It also meant we wouldn’t need to buy any other living room furniture. All together, the two André sofas, including commercial-grade upholstery, taxes and delivery, cost almost five thousand dollars. It felt like a huge sum then and still does today, but when I do the math now, it’s $30-something a month for a living room full of durable furniture — a value well worth the initial cost.

We were very precious about our sofas when they were first delivered. No eating on them! No shoes! In time, the stiff sofas opened up and got more comfortable, and our lives changed too. We found a two-bedroom apartment in the building we already lived in. It had a room for a nursery! Of course, we measured to make sure our new, carefully chosen sofas would fit. 

In time, the stiff sofas opened up and got more comfortable, and our lives changed too.

We spent the sleepless, milky nights of infantdom on these couches. The evening after his first birthday party, our son Luke took his first steps gripping his way around the cushions. When we were quarantined at home together last spring, Luke wrote his name in blue marker on one of the seat cushions. We were pretty angry at first, but we had to smile when we saw that his handwriting had improved. When we asked him why he did it, Luke said he wanted his name on the front door of his blanket fort. With some rubbing alcohol, the marker came right off. These sofas are survivors, and they get even more comfortable over time. 

Here’s a fun furniture fact: The Room & Board Tatum fabric is a bouclé, a term borrowed from the French word for “to curl.” Those loops make for the slightly nubby, textured look of my sofa. I think of our sofa’s upholstery color as “teddy bear tweed,” a copper-warmed brown dotted with flecks of cream, which is also very family friendly (the fabric option is “Gunmetal” on the Room & Board site). The polyester and acrylic Tatum fabric is labeled kid-friendly, pet-friendly, and fade resistant. I can vouch for all three of these claims. 

The average American couch is six years old, according to a survey by Rove Concepts. We’ve owned ours for 11 years — nearly a quarter of my life — and they aren’t going anywhere.