New Couch Fail.

So we bought the Jappling couch from Ikea, thinking it would be perfect for us in all it’s $399 cheap faux leather glory. Truly, it was great. The scale was good for the room, the pleather didn’t feel terribly cheap, and it was firm but comfortable. Everything was fine, until our cat realized we got a new couch made out of her favorite substance ever – plastic.

Is my cat the only cat that’s obsessed with chewing plastic? In the middle of the night she’ll gnaw on plastic dry cleaner bags or try and eat and scratch any poly shipping mailer that’s been left out on the table. I inevitably find teeth and claw marks on our shower curtain and I have to be super vigilant about plastic ribbon during the holidays, lest she choke. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that she liked the couch so much.



So we basically had the couch for about a week before she started methodically scratching during the night. We have had a real leather chair and a leather ottoman in the living room that she has never touched, so scratching didn’t really occur to me as a possibility.



We’ve kept a couple of throws tossed over the couch to try and minimize the amount of damage, but at this point the couch is a loss. No one would buy it, and frankly it’s not worth donating since the damage is pretty bad on the arms and back. Now it’s just a  placeholder ( and group nap facilitator) until we get another couch, this time fabric. Our previous couch was fabric and she never scratched it, so I’m hopeful this is just her commentary on my choice of pleather rather than a new behavior. I’m really disappointed though, and feeling terribly wasteful since we’ve only had it a couple of months. I also feel a little anxious about our next choice – should we go with something cheap again in case she does keep scratching? I know there are sprays for fabric that deter scratching, but I don’t want to waste even more money on something that could get ruined. I’m praying that it’s just about the texture of the pleather. Snobby cat.

On the bright side, the couch was a bit dark for the room and I’m wondering if it might be better, style wise, to go with something a bit lighter, or at least that isn’t dark brown (brown ottoman, brown fur dog bed, wood bar, dark wood floors.) I’ve got my eye on a couple of options.

pennie sofa crate & barrel


The Pennie Sofa from Crate & Barrel – $899

I think the shape is so cool, but the obvious drawback is that there aren’t removable cushions. Considering how rough the dog is on upholstery it probably not the most realistic choice.

paidge sofa west elm


The Paidge Sofa Grand from West Elm – $1449

Pricey, but I love the swoop arm and I’m really attracted to the ink blue velvet upholstery.

abbott sofa world market


The Abbott Sofa from World Market – On sale for $595

The cheapest of the bunch! I love this one. I miss the chaise part of our old couch and this one has much trimmer proportions. My brother and SIL have this one and it’s pretty comfy. Obviously the price is amazing. Pk is not crazy about the chaise since he likes how open the room feels now without it.

karlstad-sofa-bed-w-storage-compartment ikea


The Karlstad Sofa Bed from Ikea – $849

The workhorse. Since we no longer have a guest room (new nursery!) it might be nice to have a sofa bed. It could move to the basement eventually and it has a bunch of different covers available. The cover and cushion covers can be removed to be cleaned. It’s not a particularly exciting silhouette, but maybe I could get more interesting legs for it, like hair pin or something a little more MCM (like this pin)? This couch seems like the most common sense option to me. Darn it Ikea. I can’t seem to get away from you.

So, no decisions yet, but we are definitely keeping an eye out for sales and floor samples. I’m tempted to just pull the trigger on the Ikea one, but I think I should force myself to wait in case I find something we absolutely love. In the meanwhile we’ve cleaned out every closet and some of our storage locker. I’m truly in nesting mode now at 29 weeks. We cleared out the old guest room to prep for the new nursery. An entire truck load of stuff went to be donated! The room needs a coat of paint, but most of the other large pieces are already here (dresser, crib, glider). I’m so excited to get rid of stuff. When I was pregnant with Lucy I collected an insane amount of baby gear from thrift stores and hand me downs, but this time around I’m hoping to do things much more simply.

Spotted any good deals on couches lately? Cat training ideas? Impervious fabric suggestions?

Hope you all are well.


New Couch! Round Two

SO. I was really sure that the World Market couch was the one for us. They were sold out at my location so I put in a raincheck and was assured by the sales associate that it would only be a couple of weeks. Hrrmph. I checked back in a week or so later and was told “we don’t know, most likely 4-6 weeks, there are a lot of orders ahead of yours…yada, yada, yada.

All this back and forth gave me time to rethink. On a whim, on Sunday, Pk and I ventured to Ikea, just to see our options (and shop for some holiday goodies early because they.always.sell.out. of the good stuff at least.) Pk was immediately drawn to the leather couches (dudes, always with the leather.) At first I was like “No WAY! cheap leather, too many seams, I want a light and bright room” but then we spotted an Ikea couch that isn’t shown online – The Jappling.


unknown source

You guys. This couch is $399. And you can wipe it off with a sponge. We didn’t actually pick it up yet but Pk will grab it some night after work this week. As if to emphasize that this is the exact right sofa for us, I woke up on Monday morning to find that the cat had puked all over the old couch. What I wouldn’t have given for some wipeable faux leather in that moment.

This is one of those times where I have to just turn off the designer-y part of my brain. I know this couch isn’t the most stylish choice. I know it’s not particularly sophisticated and looks a little cheap, but the truth is it’s a great choice for our lifestyle. I’m not gonna freak out if something spills on it, if it gets totally destroyed by toddler/cat/dog/future baby misadventures, the replacement cost is low as couches go. There is no slipcover to (constantly) wash and the size leaves a bit more floor space in our living room for playtime – which is what family living spaces are all about.

I’m a little bit worried that it will make the room feel really dark, but I checked out this post on how to decorate around a dark leather sofa from Centsational Girl and was comforted. I also found a few images on Houzz that made me feel like it’s possible to have a bright and warm space with a dark leather couch.

So, that’s our great progress in Couch Search 2013. Also, it snowed yesterday which I’m not at all ready for. Time to dig out the faux-fur throws and stock up on tea.
Ps. I’m 20 Weeks today! We find out in a couple days if this little munchkin is a boy or girl.Yippee!

New couch!

I know. Didn’t we just get a slipcover for our couch last year? Yes we did, but after playing around with the layout of our living room and having to wash said slipcover a million times, Pk and I decided it’s time to move on. While Pk and Lucy were doing their weekend swim lesson (cutest ever) I wandered into World Market and spied a couch that fit the bill.

kendall sofa

Right now World Market is having their 25% off furniture sale, meaning that this beauty is only $524 before tax. I love its clean tuxedo shape, tufting, and trim dimensions. Our current couch – an Ikea manstad, is just a bit too big for our space. I always imagined it would end up in the basement, but since it appears that project is proceeding at a glacial pace – I just can’t wait any longer. Luckily Pk’s mom might want the couch, and if she doesn’t our renters have offered to take it so I don’t feel like it’s a total waste.

I’m REALLY excited about the new couch and desperately hoping the velvet upholstery will stand up to some dog/toddler/future baby love. It is basically dirt colored which should help.We debated quite a bit about whether or not it made more sense to just hold on to our current couch and get something a little nicer down the road, but realistically I don’t think we will ever be $2k couch people. Maybe when we are empty nesters?Basically all the other couches I liked ran in the $1500-$2000 price range which equals 3 World Market couches. Considering how fickle I can be, and how frequently we seem to replace them (3-5yrs) the cheaper option is just much more appealing. The couch should be in next week (fingers crossed) and I can’t wait.

Happy Friday!


ps – It was a totally rainy Halloween around here. Imagine a damp, bedraggled princess with rubber boots on and you’ve got the picture. We did manage to hand out quite a bit of candy (sad face) but there’s enough leftover to keep this preggo lady happy.

Our custom Manstad slipcover is here!

Remember awhile ago when I blogged about getting a new slipcover for our Ikea Manstad Sofa? We ordered it from Comfortworks and unfortunately, after the initial production stage of our cover, the manufacturer noticed some color variations in the fabric that they considered unacceptable. Their very kind customer service representative sent me some fabric samples to choose from and allowed us to upgrade to a much nicer fabric than our original choice at no additional cost. We ended up with a fabric called Liege Biscuit which I don’t see on their website (probably because it’s normally not an option for this piece.) Once I chose a replacement fabric they got my order to me incredibly quickly!  We’ve had it for about a month and I figured I should finally take some pics to share.


I’m super happy with the quality of the fabric and the construction. The fit is absolutely perfect. I chose the “relaxed fit” cover and I love the look of the pleats on the corners. The cover actually has 6 separate pieces – 3 cushion covers and then  3 pieces that make up the body of the sofa and chaise. Putting the cover on did require unscrewing and pulling the sofa apart, which was definitely a two person job. Luckily the chaise part of the cushion cover (that lifts up for storage) comes off easily, because that’s my dog’s preferred spot for sleeping, and will probably have to be washed more frequently than the rest of the cover. I did have to add a strip of velcro to attach the area below the chaise so the slipcover would fit perfectly (that wouldn’t be an issue in models newer than 2008) Comfort Works also included 2 free coordinating pillow covers that I wasn’t expecting- how nice!

I’m so happy with the cover. It really lightens up our space and knowing that I have the option to wash it is perfect for our sometimes messy household. I’m actually glad that there was an issue with the original fabric, because this fabric (still a linen blend) is absolutely dreamy. Many thanks to Rachel at Comfort Works for resolving our delay so quickly and with such great results!

Sorry these aren’t the best pictures; you can find more pictures of Comfort Works Manstad slipcovers here.


update 2/14/2013 – I finally had to wash it after Lucy spilled Chocolate milk on it one too many times and it cleaned up beautifully! I washed all 3 body pieces (the cushion covers were fine) in my home machine in cold water on the light cycle. I did pretreat a few stains with shout. I let it air dry overnight and put it right back on the couch. The fit was a bit more snug, but not in a bad way. It’s a two person job getting it on and off the sofa though! We are so happy with our slip cover.

the ottoman

So, remember the awesome ottoman we bought last winter/early spring? I knew as soon as we got it that the upholstery wasn’t robust enough for our house. It was a cotton/linen blend which would totally be fine in a house that doesn’t have a crazed chocolate milk wielding toddler.

Here’s the ottoman before we destroyed it. Lucy looks so tiny!

It got gross. And the thin upholstery meant that the tufting started to lose it’s shape after a while.

No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get it clean.

I decided that I wanted to reupholster it, and that I wanted to try doing it myself (oh, ambition!) My local fabric store had Sunbrella on sale so I thought I’d give it a shot. Because Sunbrella is meant for outdoor use it wipes clean easily and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. I was a little worried that it would feel stiff or plasticky but I was pleasantly surprised by how soft  it was. I started by tearing off the old upholstery, which is where I ran into my first surprise.

I quickly realized that the buttons were only surface tufted – meaning they were only tufted through the top layer of foam.

That’s kind of a flimsy way to do it and means that over time the tufting can shift and move. I knew I had to make the tufts go all the way through the plywood so once I had all the foam exposed, I just used a drill to make holes through the exiting openings in the foam.

This is also the point at which I realized I could no longer just wing it so I used this tutorial about tufting from Little Green Notebook (which if you aren’t already reading, you should be.) Since all my foam was in good shape I just followed the end part of Jenny’s tutorial about actually making the tufts. First I had to make 23 self covered buttons (oy! my thumbs!)

Just to give you an idea of how grimy the fabric was, here’s a pic of it after I ripped it off. Ewww. Sorry.

I chose a color of sunbrella that was really close to the existing upholstery. I went with just a shade or two darker so that it wouldn’t exactly match our newly slipcovered sofa. I used almost exactly two yards of fabric, but I bought three so I have some left over for a throw pillow. The total cost of reupholstering was less than $50 including fabric. It would have been at least $200 to have it done professionally.

I won’t lie you guys; making the tufts was hard! The foam is really deep so it was difficult to thread the needle through the holes in the plywood. I would definitely suggest using a large drill bit to make your holes. It will save a lot of time digging through the foam. I also used a darning needle – again, use the largest/longest you can find that actually is sharp enough to pierce your fabric.   Once your button is threaded and you’ve dug back through the foam, you just staple it to the back of the plywood (check out Jenny’s tutorial for more details) Here’s how things were looking this morning –

My hands were soooo sore from tugging on the upholstery thread to get the tufts tight and deep, but I persevered and finished!

Excellent example of why we need kid-proof upholstery.

It’s not perfect, but considering it’s my first attempt at re-upholstery, I’m pretty proud! I love that the tufts are deeper than they were originally. Here’s a side by side comparison.

Considering how beat up it was, I’m super happy with how it turned out. It’s like I have my original ottoman back, but a little more durable and clean. Lucy actually spilled chocolate milk on the ottoman while I was upholstering it, and it wiped right off. I’m super happy with the Sunbrella fabric and would totally recommend it if you have need for new interior upholstery. It is so nice in a house with pets and a toddler. I’m really glad we are heading into the holiday season with fresh upholstery in our living room. We do a ton of entertaining during this time of year and it’s nice to not be ashamed of our dirty furniture. I don’t think I’ll be trying anymore tufted projects anytime soon, but it’s nice to know how to do it in case I ever want to make headboard or update a chair. I need to give my swollen hands a break!

Pk is coming home tomorrow and our Thanksgiving week will begin. Hopefully I’ll actually finish painting the porch and have a chance to iron our new sofa slipcover so I can show it off. Hope you all are well! Are you so excited about Thanksgiving? I am, especially because I don’t have to cook!


New Painting

The wall above our tv was looking a little plain.

Trimming out the beams and adding crown molding helped a whole lot, but I still felt like the space was a bit empty.


Pk and I won this painting at a spring auction to benefit Misericordia several months ago. I had it reframed and then stuck it in the basement while all the drywall and painting was going on, but now that the dust has settled I’m happy to give it  a new home.

I’m not sure if I’ll add more art to that wall or just let the lady stand on her own, but for now, I love seeing her there.What’s especially amazing about this painting is that it was painted by a resident of Misericordia, not a professional artist. Misericordia has residences and programming for children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. It’s a phenomenal organization and you can read more about it here, and here’s a link to a great video that features some of the artists in the show.

Hope you all had a great weekend!


diy black pipe console table

Pk and I recently undertook a fun diy project. We made a console table out of black pipe and wood salvaged from a barn that belonged to his family in Michigan. I’m really happy with how it turned out!

One of the great perks of building your own furniture is that you can customize it to fit your needs. There are so many sizes and fittings of black pipe, you can basically create any shape you want. We wanted a pretty shallow depth table for this space because it butts up against a bookcase and seating area. The barnwood we had was 62 inches long and about 14 inches wide and we bought pipe to fit it, but if you’re building your own, you may want to get different sizes based on the size wood you choose. Black pipe can be cut and threaded to any length you choose. We chose 3/4 diameter pipe because we liked how substantial it looks.

Here’s our material list –

4 – 3/4 diameter 21″ nipples for the legs (we had 24″ lengths cut down and threaded)

6 – 3/4 T’s

1 – 3/4 48 nipple” for the cross bar support

4- 3/4 5″ nipple for the legs above the joints

4- 3/4 3″ nipples for the horizontal support

8- 3/4 floor flanges to act as feet, and to connect the base to the table.

1 can of Rustoleum High Performance enamel in flat black.

Wood screws (we used inch and a half long screws because our wood top is so thick.)

Our material cost was about $125 (black pipe isn’t cheap!) but that’s still a whole lot less than some of the other console table options I liked and we were able to customize the length. I also wanted to be able to fit our ottomans underneath so we could have a bit of extra seating when we need it.

Our process was pretty straight forward. Once we decided on 3/4 diameter pipe, we just played with the fittings at Home Depot until we got the look and stability we needed to support our heavy wooden slab.

We initially thought we wanted a shelf too, but once we spied this huge slab in our pile of salvaged wood, we knew that keeping it simple was a better idea. It’s got so much character; saw marks, wormholes, etc. We didn’t do anything to it except give a wipe down and a quick coat of teak oil to even out the color and bring out a little   bit of depth.

I initially thought we would cut down the board to be closer to 52 inches, but once we had everything put together, we decided to leave the edges as is.  Once the base was assembled, I took it out to the backyard and seriously cleaned it. Black pipe always has a ton of cutting oil residue so before I painted it I gave it a really thorough cleaning with a degreaser. I used Rustoleum High Performance Enamel spray paint in flat black. I only had to do one coat to even out the color over the whole base.Once it was dry we simply screwed it on out board upside down and voila! Gorgeous, rustic/industrial table. Because the pipe is threaded we were able to level the table to accommodate our seriously sloping floors. The slab itself is a little warped, which presented a challenge in terms of leveling, but if you’re buying dimensional lumber that won’t be a problem for you.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you might remember this picture of the same spot in our living room from holiday time. We had a larger farmhouse table.


and now


I think the round mirror will go back up, and I’m thinking about slipcovering the ottomans. I love the scale of the table and how the black pipe picks up the black of the bookcases. I also love that the wood is from one of Pk’s Grandma’s barns in Michigan. The pipe furniture look isn’t for everyone, I know, but right now its working with our casual/luxe living room style. I just made that up. Our style could probably be more accurately called doing the best you can while living in a tiny house with a toddler, dog, cat, and trying to decorate on the cheap. But i digress…


The slab has to be at least 100 to 150 years old, and who knows how old the tree was when it was cut down and milled into this piece of wood. I love having a piece of furniture that’s connected to Pk’s roots and I especially love that we were able to come up with an option that used a material we already had on hand. Have you guys ever built anything out of pipe?

I finally feel like our living room is starting to come together. After so many months of renovations (enclosing the porch, remodeling the kitchen, and putting trim in the living room/sunroom) it’s so nice to finally start decorating and creating a space that works for our family.


update – 5/22/2014

This project was selected for the Bob Vila Thumbs Up Competition!


Sofa talk.

Let’s pretend that you wanted to buy a new linen slip-covered sofa.

In this pretend world, you’d be filthy rich, and you could buy this one from Restoration Hardware for $5300 or so dollars.

If, even in fantasy world, that’s too expensive, you could look at this one from Potterybarn. It’s not a sectional or a sleeper, but it’s available in Linen for only $2699. A bargain!

If that price was a little too steep you could look at this other great slip covered option from Crate and Barrel that’s also a queen sleeper. It’s a steal for $2099 bucks. It’s not linen, but instead, durable cotton.

My friends, this is not fantasy land, and there is no way I’m spending two grand on a couch anytime soon. The thing is, we already have an awesome couch. It’s the Ikea Manstad – the super versatile, well propertioned, loved by small space dwellers everywhere wonder sofa. Also, it’s only $799. I think we actually paid $699 when we bought ours two years ago, but I could be wrong. We love this sofa so much that we convinced my brother and my sister to buy it.




Here’s the thing. It’s not slip-covered and it’s looking pretty disgusting. In fact, its so gross that I refuse to show a picture of it on the blog, except this one, in which you only see it from a distance. All the spot cleaning in the world will not save this thing.  Houses with sticky messy toddlers and pets need slipcovers. It’s true. So, I bit the bullet and just ordered this thing of beauty from Comfortworks.




I seriously could not be more excited about this slip-cover. I had originally looked at these ones from Bemz, but decided that I like the looser fit that the Comfortworks ones offer. It’s a little expensive as slipcovers go, but this is not just a cheap big box store, one size fits all cover. It’s a custom made, upholstery quality linen cover. Even if you add the original cost of our sofa and the slipcover, it’s still less than the options above, and we get a sectional, sofa bed and slip-covered sofa all in one. Because it’s custom it won’t be here for another month, but I truly don’t mind waiting. I will finally have a sofa that I’m not embarrassed to let people sit on.

Hope you all are well,


the bar.

Pk and I have had this bar cart as long as we’ve lived together. I think he found it in an alley maybe? It’s got great lines, but, it’s not great for storage because it has tiny proportions. We mostly just keep our liquor on a tray on top of it for easy access. Don’t judge.

It now lives in the corner of the living room, nearest the sunroom. I love it’s location, but the wall above was looking a little empty. No longer! I found this awesome sunburst mirror at, of all places, Home Depot.

I love that the mirror is convex. Especially because it obscures your view of how completely chaotic everything else in the living room is. Truly peeps. It looks like a band of crayon carrying monkeys trashed my house.

The bar cart actually opens up to reveal a surface to prepare drinks and tiny cubbies for glasses and a couple bottles.

Cool, huh? I have yet to find a set of vintage glassware that actually fits in it, but I look every time I go thrifting. The little circle cutouts are not an average size so I’ve taken to carrying a measuring tape in my purse in the hopes that I’ll find the perfect highballs, rocks, and shot glasses. The little sliding door below hides a tiny shelf where we keep our shakers and strainers.


The cart itself is in desperate need of refinishing don’t you think? I’ve thought about painting it, but I like the warmth that the wood tones bring to that corner of the room, especially now that the gold mirror is above it. It would be a sin to paint it anyway since its probably some kind of awesomely rare mid-century original. I’ve looked in vain for a makers mark, but haven’t found one. Any tips for refinishing it? I was thinking a light sanding and some teak oil, but maybe paste wax would be better? I think it would be fun to have the bar open next time we entertain. I’ll feel like Betty Draper every time I pour Pk a drink.



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