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West Elm's Peggy: A Sofa Scorned

West Elm Peggy sofa

It is pretty rare that the Internet gets riled up about a couch, but that is exactly what happened this week. Covered in The Awl, AV Club and the Huffington Post is the story of Peggy, a couch made by West Elm that might have earned the title of Worst Couch Ever.

At first glance, it is hard to see what, exactly, is wrong with the Peggy sofa. Sure, it doesn't get me excited in the same way that a vintage Florence Knoll loveseat might, but it doesn't look terrible. The Peggy is a tufted mid-century sofa that retails for around $1,200, and it was pretty popular with the crowd that admires mid-century style. It was even named Peggy! Clearly, West Elm was piggybacking on the success of Mad Men with that name.

Unfortunately, the Peggy didn't quite live up to customer expectation. Dozens of reviews, ranging from disappointed to scathing, discussed problems like buttons falling off, cushions sliding around and a sagging appearance. There was even a booklet created with tips on how to repair the sofa.

As lovers of vintage furniture, repairs are a normal part of the job. However, even I would not expect a brand new sofa to start falling apart a few months in! The whole Peggy debacle got me thinking about the durability of MCM classics.

In my living room, I have a half dozen items that are well over 50 years old. Sure, some needed new upholstery, and our three cats don't do webbing and wooden legs any favors. But these pieces are durable and designed to last. A tremendous amount of craftsmanship goes into the chairs, tables and other furnishings created by the likes of Nakashima, Saarinen, Eames and Miller. In a world where a brand new $1,200 sofa falls apart, there are still plenty iconic mid-century chairs that have stood the test of time.

As for the Peggy, it looks like it's officially no longer for sale. Too many unsatisfied customers and too much negative feedback means it is no longer for sale through West Elm. If you see a used version online, run far away...and straight into the arms of a vintage classic instead.

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