Friday, June 17, 2016

Building a Swedish Gustavian Style Sofa Frame

I first fell in love with Swedish Gustavian style in 1989, when I was starting interior design school.
I loved the simple lines, the fresh, pastel colors and respect for light.  The style used simple fabrics which I have always felt more at ease with then fancier fabrics that might require one to keep up appearances to a level I did not aspire to!

In other words, no pretensions here, I was a small-town girl born and bred, who loves simple florals, checks, stripes and a fresh coat of paint.  Cottage style.

But I also am attracted to a bit of bling in unexpected places, like a bit of gold leaf on the trim of a chair or table skirt.

Swedish Gustavian seemed the perfect fit for my style, which up until then, I couldn't really define on my own.

Its been a dream of mine for years to own a Swedish Gustavian style sofa but up until now, I certainly couldn't afford a real one!  I also have "real life" to factor in.  (Pets and messy partners)
I need everything slipcovered and washable.

I began designing my own fabrics a few years ago and have 2 places online where you can find them, to shop.
LilyOake on Spoonflower
LilyOake on

A few weeks ago I stumbled across an image on outdoor bench by Ana White, on her blog, here:
Weatherly Sofa Frame
Ana White's gorgeous Weatherly Sofa, on her blog. All the plans are there for download.

OH MY!  Exactly what I have been looking for all these years.  The "X" back is a very Swedish look and I knew I could take it beyond the outdoor look it had in her blog, to an indoor look that would work for everyday use.

Well, I have yet to get the thing painted (lots of prep involved) but I did get one built, with the help of my ex, with the second one planned this weekend.

After we get both built, I can begin filling holes, sanding, conditioning the wood, priming and painting.
My two sofas will end up being all white with gold leaf ormolu in certain places.
And the seat cushions will be slipcovered in one of my own check fabrics printed on linen cotton ultra through Spoonflower.
I named it "Harold Check" in blueberry.  It will be a great neutral print that can travel from room to room should I need to do some furniture rearranging!

Enjoy the construction photos and check back for more posts as I work my way through this exciting project.
The real thing 

Love the higher, solid carved sides on this antique Swedish sofa as well.

I will add matching pillows along the back of mine too.

These are some real, original Swedish Gustavian wooden sofas.  You can see why they appealed to me - so fresh, clean and unique.

And here are the photos I took of the construction of the Weatherly sofa, made with the downloadable plans off the Ana White blog.  The shopping list was easy to follow.  I just went to Home Depot after work and bought what she had on the list.  She had estimated around $35 in wood - pretty much right on!  I was making 2 frames so I doubled everything, plus bought a few extra pieces in a few of the sizes (just in case) and my total was $90.  Not too bad for TWO sofa frames.

My handyman helper comes with tools!

After precutting, we were ready to roll.

Precut all the pieces and the project will go much quicker!

Building the sides on a table.  Precutting pieces meant construction went quickly and smoothly.

Laid out the back on the ground and cut a 1" wide piece of wood as a spacer guide.

Once the sides were attached tot he back, we could see how beautiful this sofa was going to be!

The finials can be found at Lowes for $2.98 a pair.  They add loads of personality.

Adding the front rail - we were very excited at this point, seeing the project nearly completed!

Just needed to add the slats!  We took her advice and lowered the support in the back by 1.25", to make it easier to sit on.

The Weatherly sofa in its final stage of construction.  I could only find two of the finials for the corners but have since bought more, to complete the look.

HAROLD CHECK in blueberry and white.  A classic Swedish Gustavian style fabric to use on this sofa.


  1. Absolutely gorgeous!!! I can't wait to see it painted and adorned with your lovely cushions! What an achievement and done with such style too! Kudos to the nth degree! Hugs, Pippa

  2. Wonderful! You two are so talented! I hope you get this so long after your post, because I am asking when you will do a show in Seattle area again?

  3. Can you please show pictures of the after of these sofas painted and with upholstery please? Seems like a great project.