This is a long one so grab a coffee and a pastry and settle in to your favorite reading spot…..
If your my friend on Facebook then you have already seen the finished result I posted this morning. Below are the dirty details.
In the 11 years C and I have lived together our living room furniture has changed three times (we even swapped our living and dining rooms once). When I moved in C had a love seat (which now resides at my parents house) and a really long couch (which we sold to friends) both in navy blue. C also had a large entertainment center. This was just too much furniture for our tiny living room which is open to the hallway and dining room plus one wall is a sliding door to the backyard and there is a fireplace on a 45 degree wall. Needless to say this is a really challenging space to decorate. (Note to self: when purchasing a house – NEVER buy anything with angled walls!).
For a few weeks we had a futon which I hated with a passion but it was free and it certainly beat sitting on the floor! The second incarnation was a couch we bought at IKEA. I loved the idea of it initially. It was space saving (only one piece of furniture) and we could fit the entire family on it. It was L shaped but had a part that could come out and up and make a full size bed, plus it had storage under the L cushion. It was extremely firm and we tried to live with it. It was also navy blue (at the time the only color choices were navy and white). Eventually it had to go. Mama was NOT happy!
I had this idea that I wanted an eclectic slip covered sofa that looked like I had pieced together a bunch of fun coordinating fabrics with patterns of houndstooth, herringbone and plaid (my sister has sipcovers like this – that was my inspiration) so we were on the lookout for a new (to us) comfortable sofa. One day at a thrift store I found it. It was $30. We paid for the couch and had a friend with a Suburban help us move it for the cost of $20 in gas and the muscles of his teenage son. We sold the IKEA couch. This was in June 2010.
Now I had a neutral colored couch for the base of my “master plan”. This was going to be great – I could envision cuddling with the hubs watching a movie on my great new couch. World peace would enevitably ensue.
The only other requirement we needed in our living room was to be able to sit four or more people comfortably. On the weekends we have my husbands two teenage kids visiting us. We were on the lookout for two comfortable low profile chairs that would be placed facing the TV (now mounted over the fireplace on the 45 degree wall) and the dining room. If you are at the dining table you can see the TV so we didn’t want the view obstructed by heads or furniture. The answer were these two rounded chairs.
We lucked out in finding on Craigslist two IKEA chairs for $100 (regularily $100 each) in a neutral creme color. Comfortable and low profile. The goal is to eventually slip cover these to match the couch.
A few weekends ago I found two cranberry colored Pottery Barn boucle throws at the thrift store for $10 each. These throws are nice and soft and warm. After spraying with room spray (a scent that invokes sultry weekends in Cuba) and tossing in the dryer (to get rid of anything left behind) the slip cover idea has faded in to the background – for now.
A few months after buying the neutral thrift store couch I purchased two very large canvas drop cloths at our local Home Depot (the eclectic pieced slip cover was proving to be too expensive). One spring day in 2011 I ventured to create my slip cover. After carefully cutting the back cushions off (the dog refused to move for my photo) I was left with the basic frame (don’t mind the surge strip peeking under the couch – we often sit on the couch with our laptops).
The cushions that were on the back of the couch were too firm and we couldn’t “sink in” to the back like we wanted too. Never fear, I had plans for those cushions. C built a wood frame the length of the couch and the depth of the cushions. We placed the cushions on the top of this frame and secured it by stapling down muslin to the frame. This ottoman serves two purposes. When it’s just C and I we have a totally comfy lounging couch to sit (or lay) on and when we have tons of people over we can move the ottoman in front of the fireplace for extra seating (we can easily seat three or four people on it).
I’ll do a seperate post on the ottoman (with photos) after that slipcover is completed.
The drop cloth measures 12 ft x 15 ft and has a French seam down the center. I placed the seam where the back meets the base of the couch and proceeded to cut and pin around the couch until I ended up with an inside out slip cover. For those of you who watched Trading Spaces this will be a familiar process.
That is as far as I got before putting all the fabric in our bedroom for several months – pins and all. Yesterday I cleaned off the dining table (our catch all) and brought all the fabric out as well as my sewing machine and spent the afternoon and late in to the evening sewing.
The pins were my sewing guide and I test fitted the slip cover MANY times to ensure it would fit when done and that the hem was nice and even. In the back, just below the arm I sewed on velcro for ease of removal for laundering (people – we have a geriatric cat).
The cushions for the back of the couch are compliments of my sister. She bought me four pillows for my birthday that I also slipcovered with the same fabric.
The accent color of the main living space (living and dining) was initially supposed to be blue and green based on a peacock wreath and an entralac wrap I knitted.
One day at IKEA C discovered a print he had wanted for a couple years was 50% off. It’s a London city scene (he is a total Anglophile – I can’t really blame him) with a double decker bus. It’s black and white but the bus is red. I liked it too and we bought it for him for his birthday. It is mounted over the couch and due to the red color we decided to accent in cranberry instead of blue and green.
My kitchen is a pomagranite red so it flowed nicely (plus I scored those totally awesome cranberry Potterybarn throws). The wrap and peacock wreath moved to our master bedroom which is currently blue but we are going to paint dark grey this summer.
The two polka dot pillows are from IKEA and have all the neutral colors in them we are currently decorating with.
Once the living room is completely finished I will post more detailed photos (hopefully with a better camera!).