The secret lives of sofas and coffee tables


Whenever I come across a dollar bill that has some obscure note scrawled on it, I am always intrigued. The note could be something as simple as “Jack loves Jill” or “555-1212” or “Harry was here”, but I love the idea of these random messages being sent out on the winds of commerce. I am also fascinated to hear of the rare times when these messages have either made contact with someone who knows their sender, understands the message or even returns to the person who wrote it, years later.

In the same vein, I have unexpectedly come into contact with furniture from my past. A few days ago, Dallas introduced me to a friend of his named Paul who we met out for dinner. As we dropped Paul off at his apartment on our way home, I noticed that he lives in the same building where my friend Olaf and his friends owned an apartment a few years ago. I mentioned this to Paul and he was familiar with who they were though not much more. Last night we were invited over to dinner at Paul’s and there, sitting in his living room was Olaf’s old coffee table and sofa (on which I had crashed several times). At the time Olaf and friends sold their apartment they had also sold most of their furniture and these has been purchased by a friend of Paul’s and not too long after that by Paul himself.

It is a funny message from the past that alerts me to the interconnectedness of everything. I find it strangely comforting and compelling.


  1. Kelly says:

    My best friend growing up lived in a big house across the street. The family had lots of rooms with lots of Victorian antiques, Royal Dalton figurines, crystal ashtrays, little bone china dishes for….little stuff I guess. Having grown up with classic modern, I always thought I was in a palace when I was in their house.

    Their dining room table, china cabinet, and sideboard however were not antique–but were 1970s French Revival(?)–antiqued white with gold leaf. At the time I thought the furniture was fabulous–very tasteful, classy, and rich looking. We used to play with Barbies under that table and pretend it was a castle.

    Years later I was at a fundraiser at a young couple’s home. Sitting there in the dining room was that furniture–the whole set! When no one was looking I closed my eyes and smelled it (I have a great memory for smells) and I was transported back.

    The funniest part of the whole experience was realizing my tastes might have matured, but for this couple the 1970s French Revival furniture is still very tasteful, classy, and rich looking.