The 19-by-11-Foot Sofa in This Living Room Features the Sneakiest of Toy Storage
It triples as a dining bench.
Published Mar 17, 2023 1:20 AM
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If you Google “best sofa size,” the Internet will tell you that 84 inches long (or 7 feet) is the standard. But when Alicia Cheung Lichtenstein, cofounder of interior design firm Studio Heimat, set out on selecting a couch for her San Francisco living room, she didn’t consult the rule book—she based her measurements on her family’s needs. That’s how she ended up with a sectional that is a whopping 19-by-11.5-feet long. Why so big? The custom arrangement isn’t just for lounging: It serves as a bench for the nearby kitchen table and features hidden drawers for storing her two kids’ toys. “I wanted this space to feel open,” says Lichtenstein. “Having a stand-alone dining table with chairs and a separate seating area was going to make each space feel supersmall.”
When it came to constructing the XXL piece, Lichtenstein relied on a top-secret maker based in Los Angeles to follow her plans to the T. The configuration consists of four base parts, some of which feature pull-out drawers, topped with 36-inch-deep seat cushions and equally plush backrests. “I revised the measurements again and again to make sure it fit perfectly,” says the designer. “I had many sleepless nights.” Knowing the sectional wouldn’t strictly be used for Netflix bingeing, she had the two backrests closest to the dining space stuffed with a higher density foam so people can comfortably prop themselves up while eating. Residual crumbs and sticky fingers are no match for the high-performance lagoon blue velvet. The durable material is from S. Harris, while the jumbo bullion fringe along the base that sneakily disguises the integrated storage is from Samuel & Sons.
Lichtenstein’s only regret? Not incorporating drawers underneath all the seats—that way she could also hide their blankets from view. “Because in real life, we just end up piling them in the corner,” she says. Another surprisingly child-friendly feature has been the three weighted armrests, which her 4-year-old and 20-month-old use as key components while constructing pillow forts.
A one-of-a-kind sofa naturally called for a unique coffee table—er, tables. Wanting to leave the center of the room fairly empty for playtime, the designer opted for a collection of small side tables by Kristina Dam that can be easily moved around. “Anyone can sit anywhere and have a table nearby,” she notes. A TV on a swivel mount and an extendable dining table that can seat up to 14 people truly make the most of the flex space. A typical three-seater sofa this is not.