Parallel Bar – Our Knoll Sofa

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Well hello!  I’m Stacey, it’s nice to be here.  Glad you came to visit… I almost forgot I even had a blog it’s been so long since I put my hands on the keyboard or unloaded my camera pics.  Ah, life… it’s good… it’s busy and it’s been whipping my butt!  Speaking of butt… I thought I’d do a post on one of my favorite spots to park mine.  Our Knoll sofa.

Knoll Parallel Bar Sofa

Thanks to the many visitors/friends I’ve made over the last 2 years, I get lots of emails and comments about not only our home and the renovation, but our furniture and the things we’ve collected over the years.  So because of a “visitor request” regarding our red sofa… I thought I’d share some pictures, stories, and a little info on this beast.

If you know a little.. or a lot about about modern design then you’ve definitely heard of Knoll Manufacturing – designing furniture, textiles and accessories.
Meet Florence Knoll…..


















I could go on and on about Knoll’s beginnings, their designers, the furniture pieces you know and love and all the ways they have defined the modern home and work space … but I’d rather just get to the sofa.  I know, I know… I’m so impatient.

We’ve had this Florence Knoll sofa for about 14 years.  That was a shocker to write.  HOLY COW… where does the time go?  Anyway, the sofa was an old ratty looking piece that sat in an antique store here in town and had been there a good while.  A friend of ours was building a recording studio and needed a place for band members to sit and hang out.  It was the perfect “guys hanging out” kind of ratty sofa.  He bought it and it sat in the studio for many years.  Oh man, if that sofa could talk!!

Knoll Parallel Bar Sofa

After deciding to move to Seattle to open a new studio our friend was going to leave this ten-ton sofa behind so we asked to have first dibs and bought it for $200.  Of course we knew what it was and had big plans, as we were just in the beginning stages of moving from country decor to modern.  GASP!  Yes, I said Country decor.  I know… but that’s for another post.  I promise.  I. WILL. GO. THERE.

The urethane foam was crumbling, the original Knoll fabric was worn, stained, and tattered, so it had to be reupholstered.  Okay, this was 14 years ago.   There was no “go to the internet, find what you need, and wait for the UPS guy”.  Well, at least I wasn’t there yet.  I actually had to go to an interior designer to find a fabric that was CLOSE to what was on there and durable enough to withstand another 20 years of use and abuse.  I finally found one and 12 yards later we were ready!

Knoll Sofa Upholstery

The upholsterer we brought the couch to says “oh, no problem… I’ll do it for $325”.  WHAT!  Wow, that was way less than we were expecting and we knew he did good work.  SOLD!  Well, 9 weeks later I began hassling the poor guy every other day on my lunch hour.  Enough was enough.  I wanted my sofa!  Week 12 and I finally got the call.. it was ready.  Not only was it ready… it WAS PERFECT!  It was worth the wait but I have a feeling the job definitely didn’t pay for this man.  He was very proud and even took pictures of himself with it (hilarious!) but said he’d NEVER do another one.  Apparently the simple clean lines of modern furniture are not as easy to upholster as one might think. As you can see above, the fabric has held up really well.

They call this the parallel bar sofa for obvious reasons.  Legs.  Some of the modern reproductions… like the ones being sold my Modernica call them split bar or split rail.  The frame is black and brushed steel and it weights a TON!

Knoll sofa

Red is such a bold color and at the time our living room was aching for a POP of hot stuff.  The walls were a light gray and the trim white and it was the perfect choice.  As we settle into this home, with its amazing and colorful mural in the living room, I’m beginning to feel like the red might be “too much”.  I’m not saying I’m changing it any time soon… but it’s always in the back of my head.

Whenever I DO decide to jump off that cliff (once again) there will be no nervous break downs when it comes to fabric.  It’s gotta be KNOLL and thankfully 14 years later it’s a cinch to get.  Knoll has some of the most beautiful textiles around.  If you’ve never been in one of their showrooms I highly recommend you pass through their textile department.  HOLY DOUBLE RUBS!  (sorry that’s textile talk!)  It’s like being a kid in a candy store.  Check out some of their latest collection.  How in the world would (I) anyone choose?

Sofas like these don’t come around often… so I’m really happy to have this prize.  She’s big, she’s bold, and she’s definitely modern and beautiful.  There’s always a piece in your home that you would never get rid of and this is one of ours.  You can find these from time to time in big auction houses and of course online auctions and depending on their condition they go for $1,500 – 3,000.

Los Angeles based furniture company Modernica, makes their “split rail” version and they go for around $3,000 new.  As you can see.. they do a nice job reproducing these.  Chairs and ottomans too!

So, there you have it.  A wonderful find over 14 years ago and it still rocks my world and gets a little attention.  Thanks to everyone who inquired about her pretty red flashes in many of my photos.  We’re both happy you asked! (THANKS ALEX!)

If you’re interested to learn more about Florence Knoll and Knoll Furniture, I enjoyed watching this… you might too.



What special piece would you NEVER part with at your house?

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29 thoughts on “Parallel Bar – Our Knoll Sofa

  1. Jessica@CapeofDreams

    I missed you. (Or at least I missed your posts if the first sentence sounds creepy.) The piece that I am most attached to at my house is an antique bench. It was at our dining room table while I was growing up, and I was very touched when my dad gave it to me last year. It now sits between my living and dining room, and we use it when large groups of people come over.

    1. Stacey Post author

      Hi Jessica! I’m so glad you commented… I lost your link via my email and I could have just kicked myself! Glad to reconnect. First sentence – NOT CREEPY – just sweet. Thank you! I love that you now have the bench in your own home. Such a wonderful memory for you. I love stuff like that. I’m not a super sentimental person but there are a few things that I’m not letting go of and they mean so much. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Victoria Elizabeth

    That upholstery job is HOW old? You paid WHAT for it?
    This is like an expose post where you say shocking things!! And then you top it off with outrageousness like: you USED TO BE COUNTRY. Can we see some photos of that?

    I can see how a more neutral tone would call to you… if only because after 14 years, it always feels like time for a change. But I think one colorful focal point is appealing, and it really draws your eye to your pearl-lady’s red lipstick. Plus? Seriously? That upholstery is in INCREDIBLY good condition. Like you used super density alien foam.

    As always, your home is so lovely and open, it makes me kind of want to throw out all my fussy stuff and start again with an entirely different decade.

    1. Stacey Post author

      Yes, that upholstery is 14. She’s a teenager but in couch years she’s an OLD FART! You’re hilarious when you type. I can almost hear and see you and I always crack up!
      The fabric was like $24 a yard (many years ago) which at the time seemed like a lot.. but really it’s nothing. It’s one of those kick-ass commercial grade kind that has held up beautifully. The foam is super high density (yes, I do believe aliens brought it on their ship. Top secret stuff).
      I think it’s important to note that when you don’t have kids… things seem to stay intact. Less vomit, grape juice, and sticky stuff. So I feel like I cheated. :-)

      HA HA HA! Yes, if I can find some photos from my country days I think it would be hilarious to do a post on that. It’s crazy to think back to those days. It wasn’t Chickens and pigs country… more like dried flowers and copper pots country.

  3. Alex @ northstory

    Glorious! Love it! That is the best freaking couch ever! Red is our accent colour so I know what you mean about small doses but looking at that and in the mint condition it is in 14 years later. Oh sweet mercy!

    And hang on….you used to be country? Oh I need a glass of wine and a good comfy chair for that post. I see how this influence works. One day I will get tired of my white walls and wood farm everything and suddenly look at my old thrift stores stuff and go Oh crap I had that table and thought it didn’t look good in my house.

    I love the living room layout and how the red couch blends in but IF you have to change its colour I’d do a quasi light heather grey. But then you’re back to the grey shade issue in your room. I understand that fun.

    What special piece would I never part with? My replica of the Loft 36 Round Mirror. I’d never be able to find another one for the price I paid.

    1. Stacey Post author

      Thanks for the inspiration, Alex! You’re always so sweet to ask me about stuff that I love. It was fun sharing that and you’re welcome to park your butt on it any time you want to visit.

      I know, I seemed to have stunned some of you with that country talk. HEY ‘YALL… I WAS COUNTRY… but still rock-n-roll too! Oh how times have changed. THANK GOODNESS.
      I’m with you on the gray. I always thought that would be my choice when the time comes again.

      The loft mirror is so pretty. I’ve seen those at room and board for like $800. HOLY REFLECTION! Mine’s not worthy of a mirror that nice.. so it’s super cool that you found one more affordable. You rock! And I love simple, modern mirrors. I need more in my own home.

  4. the home tome

    That is one HOT sofa! So sleek – the lines are so clean. It does look like it was re-upholstered beautifully.

    A few questions: is it comfy? I mean, on a scale of 1-10, what is its nap-ability score? :) This is the kind of thing I need to knoll…I mean know.

    And: Do you ever eat on this thing?! Over here, we are couch eaters. We have a white couch…and it does get…compromised. But it has a slipcover that we can wash if need be. With this hot to trot sofa, I would be afraid to have a kitchen anywhere in the HOUSE let alone open and only a few feet away. More proof that you and Richie are brave souls :)

    Was glad to see a new post. And btw, I, too, look forward to the country edition.

    1. Stacey Post author

      Hey Joceylyn! Thanks for looking at my very FIRM SOFA! Well, it’s not one of those “lets curl up and sink into it” kind of sofas. And sometimes I have moments when I’d love to just melt into my sofa. Comfy? YES! I would give it an 8. I have napped just fine on it but it wouldn’t be my first choice for a nap. But I can fall asleep at the dinner table so it’s easy for me to just pass out anywhere. If I keep talking about it I might fall asleep right now. :-) (HA!)

      HA HA HA! No, we never eat on it. We’ve always been table eaters. I mean we don’t eat the table but sometimes I AM that hungry. When I got the sofa home, I took it outside and sprayed the crap out of it with scotchguard. It’s amazing how much that has helped. I’ve done it one more additional time since we’ve had it and it makes anything we spill easy to clean. Also it’s like super commercial-like fabric so it takes a beating. I LOVE your sofa. It looks so comfortable! I’d never want to get out of it.

      YEEEE HAHHHH… I’ll do my best partner! I think I have some old pictures SOMEWHERE in this house. I must find them. It would be hilarious to do a pre-modern post.
      Thanks for stopping by. You always brighten my day.

  5. ScrapAndSalvage

    first of all, you lost at me at country (like my whole front fell off), then you found me again for a mere $325. wth?! this piece is stunning. STUNNING i say. what a steal ($525 en totale). she’s a beast and still looks ravishing after 14 years. and i LOVE the color with the rest of the room (which is so nicely decorated). i really have to change my mind and ask for this instead of the bed. sorry. ;) xxooo

    1. Stacey Post author

      OH NO! Your front fell off?! Come back, come back,… you have to be around so when I post some pictures we can laugh at me!
      I know, $325 was a price I’m sure he regretted. Poor guy… I slipped him an extra $50 cuz I felt bad. He did do an amazing job, though.
      This is one of those sofas that just isn’t for everyone. I’m happy you like it, though. It fits us pretty well and I’m super thrilled to have it.
      Love ya!

    1. Stacey Post author

      Hi Meghan! I LOVE YOUR NEW COUCH! When you got your new one it made me sigh a little because I would love to change the fabric on mine. I could never replace it but would love to re-cover it. It only stays clean because we don’t have kids and my cats don’t ever get on the furniture. So that’s kind of cheating, isn’t it? I really need to spill some honey on it or dump some spaghetti sauce between the cushions! I also used scotchguard all over it. That definitely helps!!

      A little Avery slobber would never bother me. He’s such a cutie I think I would find that cute!! :-)

  6. John

    I really enjoyed reading about Florence Knoll, so I’m glad you included that. The detail of the angle on the back of the sofa is amazing! I really enjoy seeing details like that because they show someone did extra work to achive a great look! (Your sofa does that detail much better than the Modernica one.)

    1. Stacey Post author

      HEY JOHN! Yes, glad you’re not anonymous… at least you will never be to me. :-)
      Thanks for noticing that lovely angle. I think that was probably what gave the upholsterer a headache. I’ve seen some of these redone and they didn’t pull the cushions in to the angle which is so disappointing. That makes it really special. We have a love for Knoll furniture and are so proud to have some really nice pieces. There’s something wonderful about wanting something and waiting 8-10 years to get it. MAN, that makes you appreciate it so much more.
      Loving your beamed ceiling, btw. You have done an incredible job with that. I’m so impressed! So happy you came by. Great hearing from you!

  7. Dana@Mid2Mod

    I love your red sofa, and don’t think there’s too much red in your house at all. I never would have guessed that the upholstery is 14 years old. It looks fantastic! And what a steal at $200, even back then.

    I would never give up my Jens Risom credenza. I got it for $195 from a guy who was just starting to sell mid-century furniture. He didn’t know what it was at the time, and neither did I. I just knew I loved it. A few years later, when we both figured out who designed it, he was kicking himself and I was elated. :)

    1. Stacey Post author

      Hey Dana! Oh trust me I was happy to pay him $200 even then. You and I both know that a couch like that doesn’t come along every day. You grab it when you see it!
      Neither does a Jens Risom credenza!!!! HELLO… LUCKY YOU! We’ve had that happen with a G.Nelson bench. I’m sure the guy had a stroke later. But I have to say I love it when that happens. It’s not our fault if they don’t know what it is. We just keep our poker faces and move on. (evil laugh!!)

      1. Dana@Mid2Mod

        I used to tell people what it they had. Then I just started asking them if they were sure that’s all they wanted. Then I graduated to buying at the asking price, keeping my mouth shut but feeling guilty. Now, after literally hundreds and hundreds of hours of researching items for the store and blog, I figure if they’re too lazy to do the same, they have no gripe coming if I pay them exactly what they’re asking and walk away with a big smile on my face.

        On the other hand, you wouldn’t believe how many people try to get us to identify things for them…and then try to get us to buy them at 1stdibs prices.

        1. Rebecca@MidCenturyModernRemodel

          Dana — I have similar stories. I used to price my CraigsList stuff cheap, then when they asked for lower, I would eagerly agree, letting them keep the change. Now I price high. When they negotiate via text or over the phone, I just say, nope that’s the price take it or leave it. They always take it. ALL that money I left on the table before… boo. live and learn.

  8. Danielle

    The red is beautiful and it is in amazing condition! But all the samples you picked are stunning too. We have a red sofa too that we are rethinking and you are giving me lots of ideas.

    Hope your hand is healing!

    1. Stacey Post author

      Thanks, Danielle. I think Gwen and Gavin would love to sit on this couch. Maybe I’ll have them over for tea. Oh, I better wake up… I think I’m dreaming your dreams now! (laughing) I dream of new fabric… but choosing one I’m afraid would be a nightmare. Someday, someday!
      The hand is better but still stiff in the joint. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced. I need a bumper sticker on my car. Don’t play with cacti! I was going to say pricks but that would have been too rude, wouldn’t it. (giggle).

  9. CT

    Welcome back Stacey — the interwebs missed you! That is one kick-ass sofa if I do say so myself. If you ever go crazy and do a do-over, maybe charcoal (dark) grey? And then two big red pillows made out of that sofa fabric because it’s in such good shape! Cheers – CT

    1. Stacey Post author

      We are on the same page, CT! Yes, a gray really calls to me! Great idea for the pillows. You’re so smart!
      I wish I had more time to blog. My real life and job and too many side projects keep me way to busy. I hate that. But I LOVE
      that you stop by to check up on me. THANKS!

  10. teakhound

    Stacey, we are so glad you’re back :)

    Have to say, I really appreciate your insight 14 years ago when you committed to this sofa. A gorgeous piece, in a gorgeous color, it has certainly stood the test of time.

    This one just might inspire us to move beyond the subdued blues, grays, and tans that have propagated through our home…


    1. Stacey Post author

      HEY! OMG, I’m such a loser these days… way too busy… so I apologize for the late reply. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the visit. Funny you should say that about the red sofa because my thoughts are “I need more grays, tans, and golds”! The red is bold, for sure. But the couch is a keeper.. forever and ever. Besides that it weights a ton and I don’t think Richie would ever want to move it again. We’re stuck with it. HA HA! Good to hear from you. I need to catch up with things at your place…. and I WILL! :-)

  11. Sandy Cash

    Hey Stacey. I love the red, especially in someone else’s house…And those swatches [swoon] too much of a decision dilemma for a Libran, stick with the red. You sure got a bargain on the upholstering! Glad to hear you’re back : }

    1. Stacey Post author

      Hi Sandy! Oh you sweet Libra.. you know exactly how hard it is to choose something like that (fabrics). The hell I went through for that shade of red would make anyone cry. I have a feeling that the next choice will be easier. I don’t think I could go wrong with any of those swatches from Knoll. AH-MAZING! So we’re in the middle of the month — Have you had a birthday yet? Or is it to come?
      Mine is next Saturday and I have to WORK! DANG! Oh well. Hope yours is/will be good. Glad you stopped by. Love your visits!

    2. Stacey Post author

      HEY… I’m An IDIOT! Sorry… I sent that last reply and then remembered you already did celebrate your birthday! My brain is mush. Maybe alzheimers is setting in. Forgive me. The cake, tea, and biscuits were delish… I remember now.

      1. Sandy Cash

        Hey Stacey. I am getting your stuff now, yay! Only about a month late. I was wondering now that you are with why are you in the Blogloving feed? I’m doing a bit of an upgrade myself soon [please God, if it ever gets finished, I’ll explain later] and wish I knew more… Is it working out for you?
        Its ok, [re my birthday] my brain is mush too. I am certain I have early onset Alzheimers…whatever that is.


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