The tuxedo sofa is right up there with the bridgewater and english roll arm in our top three go-to sofa styles. Also referred to as the St. Thomas sofa, the tuxedo sofa was made famous by legendary interior designer Billy Baldwin. What distinguishes the tuxedo from other styles is its boxy shape and its uniform side and back heights. The arms are the same height as the back and the legs are either upholstered or exposed (we like the way upholstered legs look on the tuxedo). We love this style of sofa because it encompasses all of the elements of the perfect sofa. It’s deep enough to really lounge in (it’s also long enough to convert into a day bed for house guests) and its shape is streamlined and unfussy. The original St. Thomas sofa designed by Billy Baldwin (below right) with a waterfall skirt and below left, the same design with upholstered legs in a living room by Tom Scheerer. The upholstered leg version in Billy Baldwin’s apartment. Doesn’t this room look like it could have been designed just yesterday and not 40 plus years ago? Our search for the perfect tuxedo sofa to purchase at retail has been long and most likely never ending. The one detail we have not been able to find at retail is the upholstered leg. We don’t know why no one makes this version of the tuxedo! Alas, we often end up making this sofa custom by our upholsterer. However, there are quite a few tuxedo style sofas available at retail stores and online with exposed legs that are quite attractive and we keep them filed away in our “Favorite Tuxedo Sofas” file on our desktop for easy access. Today we are revealing them to you all! Probably our favorite is the Roberts sofa by Hickory Chair. It’s one of the best Tuxedo/St. Thomas style sofas on the market and it is available to the public to purchase (you can go through the NY Design Center). The photo below is hardly appealing but look one more down at it upholstered in a lovely emerald green fabric. Hickory Chair’s Roberts sofa (same as above), below, in a room by Tilton Fenwick. Much better looking here! Cisco Brothers is a California based company that we like a lot for upholstered pieces. This is their Lancer sofa, below.
Get rid of all those weird pillows and Crate & Barrel’s Asana sofa is spot on.
Jonathan Adler’s Lampert love seat is great for small spaces and apartments. Its got a bit of a mid-century edge to it. For those of you who prefer a tight back AND a tight seat, this tuxedo by Benchmade by Brownstone, the Napa sofa, is a nice option.
A more modern, less tufted version of the sofa above by Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, the Kennedy sofa.
The Pembroke sofa by Gabby Furniture has a nice nail head detail on the sides and elegant tufting on the inside.
Do you have a favorite tuxedo sofa? Has anyone been able to find the upholstered leg detail a la Billy Baldwin anywhere online or in a retail store?