When you're at home getting cozy, reading watching TV, do you ever sit on your couch? I never do, unless I have guests. But without them, and sometimes with one or two close friends, I am stretched out on my back. Some of us are not physically able to read in any other position than lying down. So. When I went sofa shopping and saw this beauty and reclined on this beauty at the end of a long day I was sold. I can now have a second, even a third person on this thing with me and we can be comfortable beyond words and literally hang out. I can toss in some big harem-y pillows to work in the back rest and couch-ify it.
The "fainting couch" has always enticed me: the name, the curvy and/or a-symmetrical lines. Let's face it--couches, sofas, whatever we call them--they can be so boring, ugly, staid, evoke gramma or bachelor pads (black, leather, ick); and when they are beautiful they're really expensive. When they're ugly they're also expensive. Now fainting couches, there's an image, a mood, a story there. Isn't it charming that at some point in history, people needed something called a Fainting Couch? What the hell was going on? It could be that "fainting" was a euphemism for "passing out."
Couch vs. Sofa
The word "couch" comes from the French "se coucher," to go to sleep. Throughout the 17th century the couch was considered a daybed (And where do most of us take our naps? Clever French! ).
A sofa, or "sopha" is an arabic word for a raised section in the floor of one's home. Once raised, it was covered with rugs and cushions and reserved for the Esteemed Only.
The Romans put their couches in the dining rooms and called them "tricliniums." The men would pull up their tricliniums and eat together in reclined position while the women sat and watch in their upright chairs; you'd think the women had to be pretty turned off.
The sofa/couch/divan/setee/ made the transition from high-brow to every-brow during the industrial revolution when they found their way, mass-produced fabric and all--into every home.
Then came Freud
Dr F originally used the couch for his hynotherapy patients. When he moved from hypnosis to his stream-of-consciousness psychoanalysis, he kept the patient on the couch. The Good Doctor, you see, believed the visual separation between shrink and troubled dreamer was necessary.
I have no idea what that means. But my version of it started with a new carpet. I then (thanks Mom!) got the idea of a new sofa, a couple new chairs, replacing my round silly dining/writing table, and now it looks like my entire condo living room is going to get broken-down, analyzed, re-considered; old ideas and way sof living are already being thrown out and a whole new era is on its way in.
Isn't it cool how we all have our own little historical movements, births and rebirths and reincarnations within one tiny lifetime?
Simone Daybed at top of page from Crate & Barrel