21 June, 2014

Sofas...and an exhibition

We had a fun day out in London last weekend. There were a couple of things that we wanted to do there--order a new sofa and see an exhibition at the V&A--so we decided to kill two birds with one stone.

We'd already decided that we would order our new sofa from sofa.com. We'd seen their adverts in various publications, gone online to look at their website, and decided that this was the supplier for us. Designs and fabrics that we liked, an unfailingly good customer service ethic (even down to being prepared to take your sofa back if you decide that you don't like it once it arrives, for whatever reason), and five star reviews all round. But we didn't feel comfortable buying without seeing in the flesh, so we needed to make the trip to the sofa.com warehouse in Chelsea.

Chelsea sounds (and of course is!) posh, but the warehouse turned out to be in a rather dilapidated quarter--it was housed in one of the units at Chelsea Wharf. The area was fascinating, in fact. The old wharf buildings have been refurbished and are gradually being populated by young, trendy companies like sofa.com. But the exterior remains as it always was, I guess--raised platforms running over the mudflats of the Thames which would have been used in the past for loading goods onto the ships docked there. I love this about London -- if you're on foot and exploring, you come across the most interesting of places, just slightly off the beaten track, away from the crowds.

The warehouse was pretty good inside, too. Lofty ceilings, white painted walls, very helpful staff and lots of sofas. Just what the website boasted, in fact, and such a refreshing change from the soulless prefab units of mediocre companies like DFS.

We made our sofa choice pretty quickly, considering, and then headed off for the second leg of the day. We had tickets for 'The Glamour of Italian Fashion' exhibition at the V&A. We had a really good time there--lots of fabulous clothing to look at and videos about the history and growth of the fashion industry in Italy.

I haven't been to the V&A for a long time, and I'd forgotten how beautiful the building itself is. Exotic Victoriana at its best. Even the old loos are alluring--ornate tiles on the walls, huge ceramic basins, brass taps...

And just a final word about food. We found a lovely Italian restaurant for lunch -- Mozzarella and More on King's Road, Chelsea. Truly Italian staff and delicious Italian food. And we rounded off with tea and cake in the V&A's very own cafe, which was delicious as well.

Rather a productive day!

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