I have recently been reading a new-ish book about the home called The Nesting Place * by Myquillin Smith. I bought this in November after reading about it on a blog somewhere. Why I will never know because I typically decorate once a dn leave it at that for years and lately I’ve been trying to clear stuff out, not add decor, to make our space more user friendly and relaxing. However, while I was on an antibiotic recently and couldn’t bear to read any more MFK Fisher’s writing about food because I was nauseous, I picked this up as reading material. I am so glad I did.
A few years ago we bought a new couch. As in brand spankin’ new leather couch with reclining seats and a matching rocker-recliner. I thought leather would be perfect because we had pets and kids and could be cleaned easily (it is and we’ve tried over and over!). What I didn’t do was try to lay on the thing in the show room. It has bucket seats. As in, try to lay across the 2 front seats of your car. Unless you have a 1980 Oldsmobile, this is very likely quite uncomfortable. I really do not like the couch. I’m not crazy about the rocker recliner either because, a. sitting in a rocker recliner makes me feel fat and b. even when you recline it, it doesn’t lock in place so any slight movement un-reclines you immediately. Not cool.
This didn’t all bother me much until recently because I typically don’t sit in the living room to watch TV or even to read. However, over the winter my husband and I watched the Mad Men series on DVD and every night I would sit there with an aching back and say “I hate this couch.” I have also been doing more reading and trying to sit on the couch or recliner to read has left me aching. It’s really a bummer to hate your couch when you don’t have a couch fund.
I started looking online and popped into Raymour and Flanigan to look around. Anything I really liked was in the realm of $2000 or more. Apparently I have great taste. And my taste completely conflicts with my husbands taste. We also live in a log home. MY style is midcentury modern and NOT “log cabin.” There is very little to reconcile the two. So, I had no funds for a couch that was way out of my price range anyway and what I really liked conflicted with everything else in my life. I was kind of bummed out.
Now add to this the fact that I have been trying to downsize and was really conflicted about wanting a new couch yet wanting to simplify. I couldn’t exactly fit it into a back pack and I can’t pack it in my car. It would be really useful to me however. In the middle of my conflict I picked up The Nesting Place and was inspired.
Myquillan* has spent years decorating rentals and home that she moved quickly from and has learned my any lessons along with way. She knows that not everything has to be “perfect” in order for it to be beautiful and she was so encouraging to move forward with making your space a place of beauty regardless of the space’s imperfection. It got my wheels turning when she talked about second hand furniture so I headed down to our local secondhand furniture store to look around.
The first time I bought furniture second hand was in high school when I brought home a really cool $5 green chair from the Salvation Army. My mom was just thrilled. I’m sure she thought it had bugs. I was in my “hippie” phase though and thought it was the coolest thing to shop at the “salvo” (not sure I ever completely left the “hippie” phase and I once again love to shop at consignment shops). The chair went in my closet although I’m not sure I ever actually sat in it. I don’t think that was the point. I had bought furniture! How cool was that?
My first time around the shop I found an old mauve sofa in the bargain basement for $199 with tufted back and sides and a chenille type fabric. It was still there several days later when I went back to take pictures for my husband. Like any typical husband, he was not enamored of the idea of second hand furniture particularly when it is essentially “pink” but I wanted to give the couch a chance anyway. It would have worked just fine for me although it wasn’t midcentury modern by any stretch. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made around 1940 in fact. I was trying to be open minded and not hung up on what was “my style.”
I eventually came across a greenish Ethan Allen sofa with down filled pillows and carved wood work. NOT modern in any fashion but it could pass in a eclectic setting with a leather sofa or recliner as a companion. It was $399. For an Ethan Allen couch. Now, if you have ever shopped at Ethan Allen you would know after seeing the sofa that brand new at the store this couch would have cost about $2500 plus delivery and tax! I sent my husband over to see it. He approved. I, however, decided to wait.
Then, a few nights ago I sat on the couch again. My back hurt. I didn’t feel welcomed in my own living room. Even my husband made a comment that night about the couch really not being all that comfortable. So, I called the next morning to see if the couch was still available. It was. Since I had just worked on our pending plan I knew we had enough to cover the cost of the couch plus delivery without stressing out our finances (or my brain) and so I ordered it. It was delivered today. It’s perfect.
Maybe it’s not the style of my dream house but I also don’t live in my dream house. I probably never will to be honest but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the space we live in a place that is welcoming and enjoyable to come home to. It took a lot of fretting to get to this place of buying a couch that was neither brand new or my “ideal” but you know what, nothing is perfect. Or perfectly simple. I now have a couch I can be comfortable on without it causing financial strain and anxiety. My husband approves which also alleviates a source of stress. My girls are excited about their “new” couch and are currently enjoying it while watching Peppa Pig (how else could I be writing this??? ) and their excitement is a good lesson to me. I am excited too. My couch may not be perfect but it’s perfect for me right now and it’s a gift to myself that I can be happy about.
How does your space feel? Is is inviting? Do you want to spend time in it or does it make you want to run away? Do you want to do a project but are hung up on wanting things to be “perfect?” I suggest reading The Nesting Place* and some decorating magazines (not surprisingly, my favorite is Atomic Ranch). Let go of perfection and go ahead make your space a place a beauty. It doesn’t have to be expensive.
If you need me I’ll be reading on old Bessie (I like to name things). I think she’s happy to have a home 🙂
Have a comfy day!