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Welcome, Karl

08/27/2013

For the first time in the past seven years, we sold a vintage furniture item and replaced it with an IKEA item. Maybe it’s the modern house we live in now rather than a 1955 ranch. Or maybe it’s the practicality of IKEA with families and small children. It’s probably both… The other part of our couch decision was based on the layout of our living room. This long Karlstad couch with chaise utilizes the space in our living room better. After Ali went to bed on Friday night, Jason and I started to assemble it. He had to leave in less than 2 hours for bus call. We scrambled and got the room put back together just in time! We haven’t had a couch in our living room for two weeks so it was so nice to sit here and relax a few times over the weekend. When Ali got up on Saturday morning I told her we got a new couch. When she saw it she said, “New couch! I want to sit here,” as she climbed up onto the chaise. “I want to watch shows.” I put a show on for her—a DVD that is—I didn’t perform.

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I think she’s a fan!

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The gray pillows aren’t a good fit for the beige couch but they’re functional for now. I think only one end table is going to work with this set up so we have to find another home for the other table and switch some lamps around. We’re also working on some art ideas for the big blank white wall.

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Since Lucy keeps photobombing all my pictures, I figured I better just give her a proper portrait. Lucy the chocolate cocker spaniel at 8 years old:

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Something is Missing

08/20/2013

After Buzz went home and while Jason was gone to Europe, I went on a crazy reorganizing, cleaning, selling spree. While we had two energetic toddlers bouncing off of everything at our house, we decided that our vintage sofa was too precious for our home at this stage in our lives and foster parenting journey. Yes, the sofa we spent 80 hours last summer reupholstering. Gone! It now belongs to a young woman in Alabama where I’m sure it’s enjoying the single life and is no longer being jumped on by little pipsqueaks.

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We’ve decided to resort back to IKEA. When we got married in 2003, we were all about IKEA. We had a few second hand items and gradually replaced everything with the big box Scandinavian modern. In 2007 when we bought our 1955 ranch, we started replacing IKEA items with vintage items…usually could sell the IKEA furnishings for much more than the estate sale and thrift store treasures we were scrounging up. This may be a first step in the other direction for us… we’ve sold a vintage piece of furniture and replaced it with an IKEA piece of furniture.

For now we have a very empty living room but

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hopefully by the end of this week we’ll be picking up one of these:

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We’re still trying to sell these American By Martinsville tables. I thought I had a buyer but they backed out. If you or anyone you know is interested, please let me know. We’re happy to negotiate.

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The Reupholstered Sectional Sofa

08/27/2012

Jason and I reupholstered a sofa! A whole, big, 3-piece sectional sofa! It was a massive project. We worked our butts off and we learned so much. A few things:

• First of all, I have no intentions of writing a DIY tutorial on furniture upholstery. It’s hard work, requires a lot of tools and knowledge. This was definitely not a beginner project. We didn’t take a lot of pictures during the process of reupholstering the sofa, just pictures of the deconstruction for our own reference and progress shots to make ourselves feel better after some long nights of work. If you want a DIY, check out this chair reupholstery blog post that I saw on a friend’s Pinterest page. There are also lots of videos on YouTube and many more tutorials out there. We started out watching videos, getting 4 books from the library, ordering tools, and studying other pieces of furniture. For my birthday back in June, I got a staple gun from my dear husband and The Complete Guide to Upholstery from my mom, both of which have been used a lot. I also found this Great Neck tack puller to be invaluable for removing staples during the deconstruction.

• Sewing skills are crucial, especially for making cushions and doing piping. Thankfully, I have been sewing since middle school and I have my Granny’s old trusty Singer. I sewed approximately 600″ of piping!

• Reupholster with a buddy. I cannot imagine doing this solo. Working with Jason made it so much easier to move the pieces of the sectional around from room to room, inside to outside, flipped over and back up. Usually I was stretching and positioning fabric while he was stapling. Or I was sewing while he was cutting the pieces out of the upholstery. Plus, it’s nice to have someone else to problem-solve with.

• Shop online. We found all the materials we needed and the best prices online. We ordered from Amazon.com, DIYupholsterysupply.com and OnlineFabricStore.net

• Experience is the best teacher. Jason and I reupholstered four chairs before we decided to tackle this sectional. Chair 1. Chair 2. Chairs 3 & 4. Each project we’ve done has gotten progressively better. If we were to do this same sofa over again, I’m sure it would be much better the second time around.

• A few people have asked me how hard it is to upholster a sofa. Difficulty is relative. We didn’t find it difficult. In fact, my [obnoxiously optimistic] husband said on our first night of working on the sectional, as we were deconstructing each piece and figuring out how it was constructed: “Honey! This is going to be easy!” I just laughed because that could not be more opposite of what was going through my mind. But I clung to that statement, hours, days, weeks into this project. It really wasn’t hard. It was time consuming. No joke, I’m pretty sure this took between 40-50 hours of labor with two people… that’s about 90 hours of work. I’m sure we could do another sectional just like this in 60 hours next time, or maybe less. But I did try to keep track of time for our own reference. We spent an average of 4.5 hours per night working on this, and approximately 10-12 nights over 3 weeks.

• Upholstery work is painful! I have more mystery bruises on my legs than I care to count. I have a gouge in one of my legs, two scraped knuckles and tender finger tips from accidental pin stabs. Jason, my professional guitarist, über careful (I call him “Safety Dad”) husband stapled into one of his fingertips. It was bloody and gross but thankfully a picking finger and it healed pretty quickly. My back and arms got quite a workout, too. I think my arms are the strongest they’ve ever been right now. It’s good exercise. See, I can be optimistic, too!

OK, enough about disclaimers and what we learned. It was worth it! We have a brand new couch. Sort of. Actually, it’s a 1960 Harmony House for Sears, Roebuck & Co. But it’s like new with brand new foam cushions and new upholstery. I can’t wait to see this piece in our new living room.

Before:

(more before pictures in my sneak peek post a couple weeks ago.)

After:

Not many detail shots because we were in the parking lot of our storage unit trying to be quick. The light was harsh, mid-day full sun and we were trying to hurry back home before Ali woke up from her afternoon nap. That’s my excuse. It has nothing to do with the imperfections that I’m so critical of… But in just a few months it’ll be comfortable sitting in our new living room, getting well used by a family, and those minor imperfections will be even less noticeable. Says Mr. “This Will Be Easy!”


Sectional Reupholstery Sneak Peek

08/06/2012

Remember this sectional sofa that Jason and I got back in March? (What?! You don’t remember?!) Well, it’s been living in our storage unit most of the spring and summer while we collected tools, books and researched how to reupholster furniture. We were pretty jazzed with how our pair of dining chairs—Douglas and Davy— turned out so we decided we were ready to tackle the sectional. We shopped around locally for upholstery but ultimately decided to order samples through a website and ended up getting all the fabric, foam and most supplies from online suppliers.

The past few weeks we’ve been working our butts off on this thing. Several nights a week, after we put Precious to bed at 8:00 pm, we work on the sectional until 11, or 12, or 1:30 that one time…and then next day it felt like the sectional had tackled me. (Pics below were taken for our reference right before we tore them apart.)

We found some interesting tags inside the couch and learned that it was manufactured in 1960 by Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Our hard work is paying off and we’re really happy with how it’s coming together. I’d say we’re about half way through right now. We have all three sections disassembled…dismantled? dissected? Taken apart with the old materials stripped off. One arm rest is done and the corner piece of the sectional is mostly done. It’s still waiting for buttons on the back, the back panel (not pictured) to be stapled/stitched on and the dust cover to be added underneath.

We should have the other two pieces done within the next two weeks. They should be a bit easier than the curved corner section. I can’t wait to see the finished sofa all together!


Mid-Century Sectional Sofa

03/19/2012

Jason and I got a tip from my co-worker about an estate sale in a 1960s ranch. We went on Saturday when everything was half off and I was surprised to see that the couch I had spotted in the online preview was still sitting in the living room.

The sofa was covered with junk but we loved the shape and decided to go for it. It was marked $200 so we got it for $100. It was set up in the living room as a straight couch without the rounded corner piece, and we might end up using it that way in our new house. It’s in desperate need of new upholstery and new foam for the seat cushions which were…crunchy, dry-rotted. Gross. One end of the sofa doesn’t have an arm rest, like a chaise, which is pretty sweet. We set it up in the loading bay of our storage facility for a quick photo shoot before we packed it away.