Thursday, March 06, 2014

The story of a little couch

Last week I was visiting my family in Bloomington, and while I was out shopping with my sister, I came across a little loveseat at the Habitat ReStore. The couch needed some love. Actually, it needed reupholstery. It had small stains all over it, and a whopper of a stain all over the back. But it didn't smell at all, it more or less matched the style of our other living room furniture, and it was marked down to $33. After spending a long while conferring with my sister, random shoppers, and finally my dad on whether or not I'd be able to bring it home on the roof of our station wagon, I bought the couch.

After my dad tied the couch to the roof of our car, I drove it (and my girls) the three hours north back to our home. I don't like Interstate driving anyway, but doing it at night, with my littlest baby crying because she hates her carseat, and my biggest girl wailing, "Mama, Jenny's crying! Make her stop!", and with a couch tied to the roof was kind of nerve wracking. All I could do was imagine the disaster that would ensue if the couch flew off the roof and hit a car behind us. I pulled off a few times on the drive up, both to calm the crying girls and to check on the couch, and it remained securely tied on. Somehow, despite all of that, we made it home, with the couch intact.

Of course, as soon as we got it in our living room, it was obvious that something had to happen to the aesthetics of the couch if we were going to coexist peacefully with it. I should back up here and say that even when I bought it, I wasn't planning on it staying in our house for long. We have a fainting couch about the same size that we're eventually going to put our living room, but it's about halfway through being reupholstered itself. Realistically, we know we're not going to be able to finish it until sometime this summer. But we desperately needed more seating, since we are hosting a regular evening class in our home for some of Collin's students to come hear from guest speakers in various professional fields. Our first meeting had students sitting on the floor or in child-sized chairs, and that wasn't very hospitable. Thus, the $33 temporary couch.

The first day the couch was in our house, I spent a lot of time staring at it. What could we do to make it fit in, and to enjoy the months we had to live together? Most of that day, I researched and very seriously considered several methods of painting it. I learned a lot in my research, and also discovered that our couch was a pretty good candidate for paint. I envisioned a gorgeous plum colored loveseat, maybe even with golden yellow trim, to cover over the poorly painted navy blue wooden trim.

In the end, however, I ran the numbers and realized that it was going to cost at least $50 and a weekend of warm weather to do the job properly, and that was in the best case scenario. For the same price, I could buy a beautiful Indian throw blanket (already something I was hoping to get for our living room), use it as a cover for the couch while we keep it and then have a lovely throw blanket for after we get rid of the couch. And so, I present to you:

The Easiest Couch Makeover Ever


I know, throwing a blanket over the couch isn't really a DIY project to brag about, but oh my goodness, I just love it. And this isn't just any blanket. It is called a kantha quilt, which is a traditional Indian blanket made of piecing together used saris together, and quilting the stacked layers with long running stitches across the entire blanket. I've wanted something like this for a long while, to add some bohemian flavor to our living room and keep the antique look of our other furniture and house from becoming stuffy and non-kid friendly.

Picking out a kantha quilt to order was the hardest part of this whole "project". There are so many gorgeous ones, and Collin and I each had different favorites. We picked out this one because it had lots of jewel-tone fabrics that go well with our other throw pillows and the stained glass windows in our living room.

I was a little nervous ordering from this shop because it is brand new and I was the second-ever sale. But they had the prettiest kantha quilt I'd seen, so I went for it and hoped for the best. Not only did it ship exactly when it said it would, but it made it from Jaipur, India to our little town in Indiana in 48 hours. That is simply amazing to me! Everything must have lined up just perfectly, because the package arrived 25 hours even before FedEx expected to deliver it. In fact, this morning just as I was sitting down to check the tracking number, my doorbell rang with the delivery.

I spent longer dancing happily around the living room exclaiming, "It's so beautiful" along with my girls than I spent fixing up the couch, which was just how I wanted it to be. With a house full of half-finished projects, it was so nice to keep one very simple.

But, does it pass the final requirement? Is it cozy enough to invite girls to snuggle in and read books?

Oh yes.

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