A Treasure in Storage: The Florence Knoll Sofa Comes Home

Back in 2009, I shared the story of encountering Marc's furniture treasure for the first time. Very early on in our relationship, I went over to Marc's house and was stunned to see a mid-century modern sofa there. I lightly asked where he got it and he said his mother bought it during an auction when the bank where she worked moved their executive offices. The sofa had been in the hall outside her office and was in pristine condition when he got it because it was rarely used.

Years of use in a bachelor pad weren't friendly to the sofa, but it was still a beautiful piece. Marc tried to sell it when we consolidated all of our things and while there were some nibbles, no serious buyer emerged from that experience. Marc wound up putting the sofa in storage.

Over the last few weekends, Marc's been emptying the storage unit and bringing things to the house. I helped take the last few things home on Sunday. One of the last items to pick up was that sofa.

She's finally home and sitting in the lower level's living room. The darn thing is so big that I couldn't even get the whole sofa in a picture!

You can see a remnant of the sofa's life in a bachelor's house. That spill was from a very dark beer.

So now, we have to decide what to do with this sofa. We talked to a woman at Design Within Reach the last time we were in DC and her eyes got wide when we told her what we had sitting in storage. She thought we'd find a buyer in the DC area easily. She said we could list it as is for sale OR buy some vintage Knoll fabric, have the sofa reupholstered, and then sell it for top price.

When we've seen similar sofas on 1stDibs, the ones with Knoll labels are $4,800-$7,000 and the ones that are "in the style of" Florence Knoll are about $3,000.

Marc is all about selling the sofa, but he just doesn't know how to best go about doing it.

Thoughts? Just throw this thing on Craigslist and see what happens? Reupholster it and then try to sell it? I fear that if we can't find Knoll fabric, reupholstering it would be a bad thing...but it clearly needs to be reupholstered.


  1. Hey, try CL first and see if you get any bites. I got red wine off of my (cotton) white sofa with oxy clean with no ghost stain remaining or returning. It's a fabulous piece that I'd reupholster and keep myself. Good luck!
    xo Nancy

  2. You may be able to put new padding / batting in the current upholstery if you can clean it well.

  3. Lobster Meets PeachAugust 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Boys and beer, right!?! I am all about reupholstering but that is just me. Have you tried looking for Knoll fabric online? It does look like you will need an unreal amount of yardage! Can't wait to see what you do with the sofa. Keep us posted...

  4. Do your research first! Don't use oxyclean on wool. You might have to use an enzyme cleaner (which would probably work pretty well on this kind of stain anyway). It's a fantastic sofa, by the way.

  5. @Sarah Y This is a wishy washy answer...I assumed that Marc had tried to clean it. It went from his old apartment into storage, so I never really got my hands on it. I'm going to see what I can do!

  6. Pardon me for stating the obvious, but have you tried cleaning it? I'm a big fan of Woolite Oxy Stain & Odor Remover spray. That stuff has taken out stains that have been washed and dried into clothing and made my girls' hand-me-down stained clothes look like new. Just yesterday I discovered a blackberry that had been smashed into the carpet. A couple of sprays was all it took (no scrubbing, no blotting, no rinsing) and the blackberry is GONE from the carpet. I think it's around $4 a bottle, but I'm sure hydrogen peroxide would probably work just as well (just with a little more work blotting the spot). Good luck with it - you've got a gem!


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