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My mother is a genius, and other stories

Saturday, April 03, 2010



I've been in my new apartment for a couple of months now, and I absolutely love it, except for one thing: the couch. (Note: The photo above has absolutely nothing to do with this post, other than it has an old couch, and also that I liked it. Photo from here.)

Don't get me wrong, the couch itself is great -- it's a midcentury wooden frame, found at an antique store for $100, which we stripped, stained and fixed up to near-perfect condition. But the original cushions had to be tossed, and my attempt to upholster it on the cheap (foam cushions from JoAnn Fabric, with my mom sewing up printed Ikea curtain fabric to cover them) was a bit of a disaster. First, the cushions flattened out and became misshapen in, like, a day. The fabric covering them was awesome, but it ended up not matching my interior at ALL (plus, it was a very loose woven, so cat claws started destroying it in no time).



Eventually, I threw a basic Ikea comforter the whole thing -- which felt super dorm-room-y (see above) -- and vowed to get it redone asap. Except, do you know how much upholstery costs? Like, $1,000 for six cushions. And when faced with deciding between couch cushions or 3.1 Phillip Lim, I will always, always pick the clothing.

And then my mom came for a visit the other week. I lamented my goofy sofa set-up and she suggested I look into replacement patio cushions for an easier way to spiff it up (at least, until my ship comes in and I can splurge on Hable Construction fabrics and a pro upholster). I ordered six cushions in a neutral taupe from Target.com (total cost: $210) and voila! Instant upgrade. See Commander Robot pose on the new set-up, below.




Two things to take from this post. One: If you are in ownership of a nice wood-frame couch without cushions, try the patio department (while the fabrics will be more hardy/less comfy, they're great for those of us with small pesky cats who like to sink their claws into things). And two: Mom is always right. To an unfailing degree. Might be time to just accept it. (Thanks, mom!)

26 comments :

Leslie in Adams Morgan said...

very nice!

you can read about my couch drama here ... I still haven't bought a new one which makes it very difficult to entertain guests.

http://leslieinadamsmorgan.blogspot.com/2009/03/me.html

Deacon said...

I feel your couch pain. I actually lived with a big gaping hole of no couch in my apartment for 6 weeks while I shopped for a cheap yet functional couch. My mother got so fed up that she decided she wanted to start a "neutral couch store," where you could pick your arm, back, skirt and pillow fluffness in six basic fabrics and choose throw pillows of your choosing. Needless to say I ended up with a couch from the Room Store, which I surprisingly don't hate and was only $1500 for both couch and loveseat. That said, I cried whilst writing the check, as I couldn't then shop for three months.

But your patio furniture idea is great- I love how it turned out!!

Jacinta said...

Oooh it looks great! The red cushions really pop now. Looks like a completely new couch, in the earlier photo it looks more like a fouton.

Mary-Kate Hopkinson said...

I never realized Commander Robot was quite so much cat! Large and in charge! Meow!

Jilly Moo said...

Props to mom! This looks great! And PS: we are totally with you. Given the choice, we always buy the clothes over the furniture.

www.jillymoos.com

D&D said...

loooooove this idea.

but it just makes me wishing i had a patio to sit on.

sigh.

Cori Sue said...

Love the couch story! Question: Where did you get the pink/orange damask pillow on the far left? Hot pink and damask are my weaknesses.
Thanks!
Cori Sue
http://bitcheswhobrunch.com

Rebekah said...

Can I ask where you got your rug? It's fantastic and I am in love with it.

rebekah@maephotodesign.com

ms. spinach said...

Ha ha. Thanks, everyone. A few replies:

1) Rebekah, the rug is from West Elm, from about three or four years ago. It's called the Morocco Window Rug, if you want to keep an eye out on eBay.

2) Cori Sue, the pillows are all Pottery Barn (I stalk the sale section from time to time). They're from maybe two years ago?

3) Cat (I mean, Mary-Kate), we prefer to call Commander Robot "husky" as to not hurt his feelings. He has food issues. Namely, that he can't stop eating it.

Jennifer said...

It may not be the most comfy now, but it looks fabulous. Score one for mom!

Hyperchondriac said...

what a brilliant idea! and i agree, moms are always right!

Jessica said...

Just found your blog! I'm searching for fellow bloggers in DC as I might be travelling there soon and hoping to meet some new people.

Love the couch update. The pillows and rug look great with it!

Bille said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
m.fay said...

looks great! was an improvement...mom always knows best. :)
amateurcouture

Bille said...

I have the EXACT same problem. Picked up the couch frame and got all the materials to make the cushions but have not had the gumption to do it. Thanks to your mom for being such a smart lady!

Annie said...

love the color and style of your new couch!

bench shoes said...

Brilliant post! Adorable cat

Eli said...

this is actually really awesome! Ive had so many couch woes its not even funny. But Ive learned to let go and now Im living on my own and condensed down to one loveseat. Its not perfect but its comfy, and since Im moving again by the end of the year I'll just get something better. Its funny how couches can be a deal breaker.

thisgirlbeck said...

Love the couch... and the pillows. Oh yeah and most importantly the cat :)she just brings it all together. awwwww...makes me want to get another cat.

-becky

http://fabulous-junk.blogspot.com

amy b.s. said...

i turned out awesome! what a great solution!

Righteous (re)Style said...

What a great idea! It looks really good. Go mom!

Christina said...

Wow that is a HUGE difference :)

HNF said...

I know someone who's not going to be a supermodel=)


Gosh! Sooo cute! I wanna touch.

Betsy said...

our cats are identical twins! does yours have no idea how big he is either? mine jumps on me and knocks the wind out me! ironically, he was the runt of the litter.

great couch!

Anonymous said...

I love your green dress.. it reminds me of Julia Roberts black and white polka dotted one in Pretty Woman.. The picture is timeless. Love it so much.
-Jenny
Kitchen Scales

Florence Carole said...

The fabric used in covering the sofa is hideous! Good thing you were able to find those patio cushions. Blends well with the carpet and throw pillows, and just look how comfy your dear cat is.

living room furniture sale