Style is all buttoned up in this classic sofa.
Do you say couch, sofa or chesterfield? If you say the latter, you’re definitely Canadian, but truth be told, this catchall word for that large piece of furniture in your living room has a fair amount of colourful lore attached to it. It all starts with Lord Philip Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield. By all accounts, he was a fashionable gent who, back in the 1700s, commissioned a piece of furniture where a gentleman could perch without wrinkling his suit. Lord Stanhope’s other request? Furniture firm enough so that guests wouldn’t outstay their welcome.
Whether that tale is all fact or fiction, the look caught on and trad handmade chesterfields are still on the books at the likes of Fleming & Howland, an esteemed maker of fine furniture since the 1780s. Based in Burnley in the U.K., Fleming & Howland is a founding member of the Chesterfields Trade Association and offers a range of sofas steeped in stylish button-tufted British eccentricity. Leather is the game here, antiqued by hand, with colour massaged in to add both depth and patina. In other words, why look brand new when, with a little work, you can look sexier and more mature?
The enduring romance of those rolled arms and buttoned details means that this style of sofa has thankfully ventured beyond its bookish and British gentleman’s club roots to fit snugly into today’s eclectic interiors. On the fabric front, let’s get loose and envision a chesterfield in woven linen, or perhaps plush and enveloping in rich velvets or wool suiting. In leather, think of taking it sleek and Scandi with pared-back modern lines. Whatever your pleasure, we’re sure that while the terribly upper-class Lord Philip Stanhope wouldn’t be “down with your vibe,” we, assuredly, would.
The classic Hamilton is offered in six antiqued colours, as well as bespoke finishes.
Hamilton three-seater SOFA in antiqued green leather, $5,235, Fleming & Howland, fleminghowland.com.