Thursday, May 10, 2012

Furnishing a Home

As much as we love living in Mandy and Mike's house, it's becoming ever more apparent that the situation isn't permanent.  Their status in Spain is so dependent on so many factors, and their return could be moved up just as easily as their departure was moved back.  A few weeks ago, Chris and I were discussing how ill prepared we'd be if they came home unexpectedly.  If you remember, when we moved out of our old apartment, we lost a lot of our furniture. If we had to move out that day, we'd have very little to work with.  In fact, we'd have nowhere to sit.  Literally. We had no chairs, no couch-not even a stool.

We decided that it would be better to be prepared for their return than to be caught off guard and have to buy a whole house of furniture all at once.

Plus, what a great opportunity to finally design our house the way that we want it! I took to stalking Pinterest like a predator for inspiration, and this is what I settled on for the living room:

Like?  I hope so, because I LOVE it.

So I got started with my shopping.  I prioritized the things we needed and decided that I needed to tackle the following first:

-Couch (really, all living room furniture)
-Dining room chairs

I'm excited to report that I've checked off the whole list!

We got an add for a sale to Ashley Furniture so we decided to check it out.  Turns out, just like Ikea, they have an "as-is" section.  Who knew?  You could tell why most of the furniture was there.  Some had huge gashes in the fabric across the fronts.  So when we saw the couch we ended up buying, we were extremely wary that something was seriously wrong with it that we weren't seeing.  We must have inspected it for 15 straight minutes until we gave up and asked a salesman.  He pointed out the black lining under the couch was sticking out a little in the back.  Seriously, that was it.  Someone returned this perfect piece of furniture for something that could be remedied with a stapler.  We snatched that couch up right then and there--for less than $400.  Insane right?  Here it is!

Not exactly like the one in the inspiration picture, but close enough-and way more comfy.  Also, it's a LOT bigger than it looks in this picture.  I'm going to swap out the pillows for some that I just custom ordered from a shop on Etsy called KainKain.  I've been emailing the shop owner back and forth for the last few days and she actually helped me custom design a pattern from scratch.  I sent her my living room inspiration picture and she fell in love with it just like I did.  So far, my experience working with her has been AMAZING.

Then I spotted the most amazing ottoman ever on one of my favorite furniture boutique sites: Joss&Main, and after a lot of convincing, Chris let me buy it. It cost almost as much as the couch, but I'm so in love it's not even funny.  It just arrived today.  I'm dying to take it out of the box, but I'm going to wait for Chris to get home.  Eeeeek!

Do you see the living room coming together now? I do!

Then, the dining room chairs that I wanted went on sale again---and we got them!

All of it seemed to be coming together so easily--except the bedroom.  We decided last week that we wouldn't mind buying a second hand bedroom set as long as it was sturdy and made out of a real, quality wood.  We figured we could refinish it.  Chris and I fell in love with the idea of a brightly painted dresser as a focal point for the room.  I took to Pinterest again for inspiration and here's what I found:

Left: Source; Top Right: Source; Bottom Right: Source

Chris didn't like the yellow dresser, but what does he know? Lol

I knew I was looking for something made out of solid wood, with great lines and details, that could be refinished in a bold color and still have enough visual interest to not look cheap or childish.  I'm usually really really really bad at finding things on Craigslist, but I've been reading my friend Amanda's tips on good Craigslist searching and I was hoping to not suck this time around.  Amanda, I can't thank you enough for your tips.  They really worked!

I'm nowhere near Amanda's level of creativity  (she sees the potential in everything on Craigslist), so I think what turned the tables for me and actually made this hunt successful was that I knew what I wanted to do with the furniture before I set out looking.  That way, I could picture in my head how the furniture would look in a stark navy or glossy black, and decide whether or not the piece could stand up to the color.

And with that strategy, I found this buried deep down in Craigslist:

It has just enough detail to hold up to a bold color, but not so many frills that Chris would immediately veto it.  I'm going to update the hardware, remove the mirror, sand it down, and paint it something awesome-like a bold navy.  I'll probably paint the mirror's frame a bright white and hang it vertically somewhere else.

And, it came with a matching nightstand:

Best part?  Both pieces cost us $50. Fifty-freaking-dollars.  I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. What do you think, Amanda?  Did I do good?

The garage is now jam packed with furniture.  We're going to clear some of it out and put it in storage so we have room to work on the other pieces.

I can't wait to share our progress with you!

Do you guys have any projects planned now that it's getting warmer?