Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pigeon Blue

Fritz is of the steadfast belief that leather furniture will last longer with children. I don't really know if this is true. I mean, maybe in the 1970s it was true, but today there are a lot of fancy woven and otherwise fabrics that repel stains. In my experience so far, it is not necessarily true that leather is better.

Our living room leather sofa and chairs were hand-me-downs from Fritz's relatives, who bought them in the 1980s in Germany. When Fritz's brother inherited the furniture, Fritz's whole family regarded them as rather well made and stylish in shape, but that color! They called it pigeon blue and put the furniture in storage under sheets for a decade. I believe the words of Fritz's brother were: "They would be smashing in black." I'm almost sure he said this to me in English, so I'm not mistranslating the 'smashing'. Much discussion was had about dying them black for...somebody at some unspecified time.

After Fritz and I got married, we had little money but big needs for seating, so an arrangement was reached. The sofa and chairs were moved to our first apartment in Munich. They were still pigeon blue, although now, much discussion was had about covering them with some sort of slipcover.

Back when I had time to do shit like set out china and light candles to photograph a pigeon blue sofa.

Then I got pregnant and I settled for throwing a blanket made-by-my-grandma-from-old-clothes-that-her-neighbors-gave-her over the sofa when I wanted to lay on it because - Hello! Leather is icy cold in an 1890s apartment building! Strangely, I didn't take any photos of that phase. Nobody talked about changing the color of the furniture anymore. The sofa was not very comfortable for my pregnant body. I politely began referring to the sofa as A Sofa for the Art of Proper Conversation. In other words, it was NOT for lounging around watching Verliebt in Berlin! (In Love in Berlin), a German soap opera that I watched ostensibly to improve my German throughout my pregnancy.

So, time passed, babies were born, babies burped on the furniture, and kids cruised along the furniture with sticky hands and climbed on the furniture and made deposits on the furniture from their sand-drenched clothes and scratched the furniture with fingernails that needed to be cut and left dripping-milk-sippy cups on the furniture. Our pigeon blue furniture was becoming smashing in an entirely different level.

AND several moves were made and a great many friends visited and endless photos of people holding babies and kids sitting on the furniture were taken. The pigeon blue furniture found a soft spot in my heart, and to this day I can't really bring myself to part with it. We recently purchased some new furniture. But I put that new furniture upstairs, where it's rarely seen.

Meanwhile, the pigeon blue furniture sat in our formal living room looking something like this:

Cracked, scratched, faded, pigeon blue leather.

(I forgot to mention that somebody duct taped the words LIVING ROOM to the furniture. Just in case the movers couldn't figure out where to put the only seating furniture we owned. The duct tape left the most noticeable mark dead-center on this seat.)

After several unsuccessful attempts to recondition and clean the leather, I finally decided we should try shoe polish. Fritz was less convinced - he was worried the polish would rub off on our butts. After a fair amount of debate, I finally decided to blindly purchase some shoe polish that sounded like approximately the right colors and give it a try.

In the end, I had to mix pigeon blue:

And then I had to convince the 2 year old to get off the chair between application and polishing. This is the way most projects go around here. Wouldn't want anyone to get the impression putting shoe polish on the leather furniture was easy, you know.

[photo removed]

And finally? Success! Sort of. Pigeon Blue Leather furniture once more. I'd say, it now looks aged instead of destroyed.

And the pigeon blue color is not coming off on anyone's butt.


Katie said...

Funny how these pieces grow on you as life grows with them. I've had a piece or two like that - though not pigeon blue.

Shoe polish - brilliant!

Simply Bike said...

I love this post so much.


Pregnantly Plump said...

Looks like a great solution! We have a microfiber couch, and it is very stained. In our house, the leather is more durable.