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August 10, 2010

Super Secret Project – REVEALED!!!!

By Sara In AZ


Better known as: The saga of my search for the one armed couch! This is going to be a 3 part mini-series y’all, so make sure your seats are in the upright and locked position and hang on for the ride!

A long time ago in a land far, far away a fair young maiden dreamed of – no, not a prince – she dreamed of a one armed couch. She had faint visions and blurry dreams of what this couch may look like, but the couch never came to her rescue – to make her living room complete. There was once an armless couch that was a distinct possibility, but that one was snatched up by another maiden in the land of E-Bay. Finally, one day the maiden was trolling in the land of Craigslist and what should appear before her very eyes but a one armed couch and it’s little friend the armless loveseat. She rushed to see if this was the match she was always hoping for. And it was! The maiden and the couches lived together happily ever after. The End!

Well not quite y’all! Here goes.

I have been on the hunt for a really wild 1950s couch for about the past 10 years. Something that just screams 50s! You know the ones with the great Frieze fabric and the crazy 50s retro lines. I particularly wanted a couch with only one arm. Don’t ask me why, I really do not have a clue. The only thing I can think of is I totally love the “I Love Lucy” show, and for a while, when they were still in New York, they had this really great one armed couch. Kind of tweedy/Frieze looking – the whole she-bang! I think there was a subliminal message sent out during those Lucy shows just to me,” Must buy one armed couch Sara,  must buy one armed couch Sara, must buy one armed couch Sara”.  Maybe, maybe not – I guess we will never know!

Anyway, anytime someone would ask about my furniture or what I liked I would always try to explain that I loved retro kitschy type things from the 1950s and 1960s. Then I would proceed to tell anyone who would listen that I was on the hunt for a one armed couch. Now, I have to preface this with the fact that almost all the people I told this ‘one armed couch’ idea to were not into retro at all. And then they would all give me this big eyed blank stare, blinking a few times at me, “Did you just say you wanted a couch with only one arm, and NOT two?” The concept was absolutely insane to most people. “Oh, that’s real nice sounding Sara” then muttering to anyone who would listen ” I think we need to get this girl some help here.” Oh, but I had a plan, and I would not let the dream die! So I looked, and I looked, and I looked. I looked at antique stores, I looked at flea markets, I looked at thrift stores, E-bay, Craigslist, you name it – but nothing was really what I had in mind for my little one armed couch.

One day while looking on E-Bay I *almost* got a newer couch (made in the 90s)  with a retro 50s feel.  It was boomerang shaped and had retro barkcloth – but it was armless. I was really on the fence about buying it and then someone snatched it up on a ‘Buy It Now’  for $250.  Buying this couch would have also meant a trip to California to get it, so that played a part in my waffly decision too. Here is the only picture I have of that couch. Sorry, it’s a scan from a picture on paper. It is a pretty cool couch, but not the one armed beauty I had in mind.

Oh, how I still pined away for my vintage one armed couch, I just knew it was out there somewhere.

And then *Boom* out of nowhere these 2 retro couches are listed on Craigslist! And one of them had ONE arm!!! I was not even in “couch mode” that day. I was not even looking for retro couches, I was looking for something else entirely and these just popped up! I was beside myself!

Could this Finally be it? Could these  finally be the couches I have been waiting all this time for? I think so. Hooray!

Here is the couch.

Here is the loveseat.

Mike and I hooked up the trailer and high-tailed it right on over to these babies and snatched them right up!

I searched these couches up one side and down another side looking for piles of money or some antique  treasures stashed away in the cushions, but I only found 3 torn doilies! I was also looking for any kind of manufacturing mark I could find. I found nothing. The only thing I could find was hand written on an inner piece of wood: 5804 W Rd Bumper. So, now I know that my couch is model # 5804 with a round bumper!

But, my pictures above are deceiving. The original teal Frieze fabric was in horrible, horrible condition. Here are some pictures taken with the flash off to give you a better idea of what I am talking about.

I think people had A LOT of fun with cigarettes on these couches!

It’s party time y’all!!!

If couches could talk, well I’m sure these would have a million stories!

I don’t know how well you can tell from the pictures but the fabric was very fuzzy and worn on the seat bottom. I heard how cats REALLY love the old Frieze fabric, their claws can’t get enough of it!


So, I wasn’t going to let a silly little thing like worn fabric get in the way of me having these couches!

I was on the hunt for fabric now y’all. Stay tuned…………..In part 2 on Thursday  – fabric mayhem.

Please remember to vote for Eartha Kitsch in the Kozy Shack Contest! Please spread the word if you can, we need to get Eartha’s votes up! Click HERE for the link. Thanks y’all!

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13 Responses to Super Secret Project – REVEALED!!!!

  1. Deb Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 7:47 am


  2. Uncle Atom Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Oh man, That’s a great sofa and loveseat! I hope your searching turns up a source for this kind of fabric. The puppy got to one corner of my beloved sofa and I have not attempted to repair the shreds but may tackle that this week. I’m sure reupholstery will be pricey, but these things deserve to live on. Can’t wait to read more.

  3. RetroRuth Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 9:40 am

    OMG! Sara!!! Those are totally, absolutely perfect. Bravo! Can’t wait to read the next installment!

  4. Kelly Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Yay! I hope that the maiden and the couches live happily ever after! I can’t wait to hear how the story ends…

    I love the part where you were describing how you would tell people about your fantasy of a one-armed couch. Ha! Don’t you worry. WE get you! 🙂

    Those couches are glorious. Absolutely glorious. I just know that they’ll be fantastic and that you’ll have them for forever and ever.

    And thanks for the voting link!

  5. Barbara Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I know you are lucky and have a upholstery friend…had I known, you would have been gifted my old one armed sofa – I ended up TAKING IT TO THE DUMP because I couldn’t sell it or give it away. It’s upholstery was shot too.

  6. Annie B. Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 11:09 am


    What a wonderful testament to the virtues of patience and persistence. My gosh, who would’ve thought you’d find the perfect sofa with a matching loveseat. This pair is as cool as it gets!! You absolutely must get them done in as close to original as possible by your brilliant upholsterer. That aqua color is swoony! Love the curve, love the tapered feet, love the ONE ARM. Love the *$#)@ out of both pieces, actually. You lucky, lucky girl!! Just look how well your space helmet hair dryer matches! Wow!

  7. sablemable Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I’m swooning, Saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!

    Hope you find pink (!) fabric, LOL!

    Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  8. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Deb – 🙂 Thanks!

    Uncle Atom – I totally agree that these old pieces deserve to live on! You could check with an upholsterer in your area as to the best way to fix the ripped up area on your sofa. Maybe they could give you some tips? Stay tuned, the story only gets more interesting!

    Ruth – Thanks girl! I am totally in love with them too. Can you stand the wait??? 🙂

    Kelly – I think the maiden and the couches might just live happily ever after. 🙂 And I know you and everyone else here DEFINITELY gets me!

    Barbara – Oh crap! The dump. Nooooooooo! If I only would have known. What did yours look like? Was it just like mine? I would love to see a pic if you have one!

    Annieeeee B.!!!!! – Thanks so much girl! I know, I waited forever to find a set like this! 🙂 And let me tell you I could not find aqua/teal textured fabric to save my life! But stay tuned to see what I did find!

    Sableeeee!!!! Oh pink would be totally swoonable wouldn’t it! 🙂 Do you want me to pass you the smelling salts? 😉

  9. Andrea Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Gorgeous! What an awesome find! I cannot wait for part two to see how lovely these couches end up looking, I know it’s gonna be good …

  10. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 10, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Andrea – Thanks! Keep your eyes peeled, there are 2 more posts the couches, this Thursday and next Thursday! 🙂

  11. Starla Reply

    September 4, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Sara, I too live in Arizona (Central Phoenix area) and was wondering if you could give me some pointers in looking for a good upholstery place.

    I currently have a vintage chair that was previously abused by some cats (I’m referring to the smelly abuse variety) but I saw a lot of potential in this chair so I picked it up anyways. I know I won’t be able to salvage the fabric as the smell is forever embedded in the material so I will be hunting down some different fabric. I just have no idea where to begin to look for an upholstery place and what prices to expect. I’m currently looking at about 9 yards of material (and that’s over estimating) but as far as cost goes for labor to actually redo my chair is something I don’t have a clue about.

    Thanks so much for your time.

  12. Sara In Az Reply

    September 5, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Hi Starla! No problem, can you send me an e-mail at sara@nopatternrequired.com and I will answer any questions you have!

  13. Pingback: Thank You Craigslist For Metal Cabinets, Heywood Wakefield and Retro 50s Couches! | No Pattern Required

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