Wednesday, August 1, 2012

For the last few years my husband and I have gone back and forth about moving.  And, for the last few years we have had a giant hole in one of our leather couches.  When we decided about six months ago that we would probably be staying in this house for many years to come, I told my husband that it was "time".  Time, to buck up and get new couches. 

Shortly thereafter he put a rubber mallet through the wall above my fireplace.

I guess to a guy,
new couches = a new wall-mount flat screen TV,
which to a girl, means new stone and a new mantle in which she can hang Christmas stockings from (which is all I've ever wanted in life).

So, for the last few months my husband has been trying to "make all my dreams come true" by replacing our old fireplace surround,
which looked like this: 

With a new stone surround and mantle that look like this:

[55" flat-screen TV coming soon]
Didn't he do a good job?  Did it all by himself, yes he did.  I couldn't be prouder.  And my favorite part (other than the fact that this Christmas I finally get to display my cute stockings on my cute topiary stocking holders downstairs in the family room where they should be) is that the front of the mantle is on hinges so it opens up to hold all of our TV components and such.  Clever, eh?

So here comes the fun part, right?  Those new couches I've been dreaming of!  Well, trying to figure out a practical and stylish and affordable and comfortable seating situation for our little family of five (Molly, our black lab puppy, is now a big consideration in this decision) is not as easy as it seems.

I've been doing lots of research and lots of looking and quite frankly ~ it's not happening for me.  I wanted to bang this purchase out.  I mean, I'm a busy girl.  I've got stuff to do.  I don't have time to spend a year looking for the perfect sofa.  And it's hard to please everyone and meet all of our criteria.  I'm getting tired of all the "looking" and am starting to wonder if I'll ever find the perfect couches for us...

So I thought that while I continue to dream about my "someday" family room space that I would share with you some of my favorite finds from some of my favorite local stores. 

I LOVE the lines of this sectional.  Traditional with clean, minimal lines.  I love the color and the fabric and the price but not really practical for my family.  If it was slip covered then maybe... 
(And it can't be ordered in any other fabrics in case you're wondering.)

Same deal with this sofa...

I love, love, love this sectional with the antiqued white feet and the ticking striped fabric but it's way out of my price range and again, probably not very family friendly.

(Sorry, I had to sneak this picture in there because I'm loving these glass bottles right now and want every one of them).

I love this chair.  Love the fabric.  Love the price.  But, the husband thinks it will be uncomfortable and too small for his 6' 3" body.

Um, can you say CUTE?!?  I LOVE this blue chevron upholstered chair.  It makes me happy and I really think I need it.  But the husband is hoping for a reclining chair instead.

 And last but not least, this grey-ish blue display cabinet.  So cute, right???
As you can see, my want list may have expanded to include a few other things besides just new couches but I'm just trying to make our house a home :)

I've decided that I want what I can't have.  I love the light, lineny look but I know it's not practical.  I'm also trying to figure out a way to make 5 people happy (well, four plus a dog) but it's just not happening.   

I think it's time to adjust my "vision" for this space.

Do you have any advice?
How do you make your wants coincide with the needs of your family and budget?  Where do you compromise?  OR do you???


  1. mmmm the dream lounge...usually involves no children and no pets! (I have three teenagers and a naughty dog) My advice is go dark and make it light and lineny with pillows and throws...when the kids move and take the dog you can "give" them the couch as well for their new place..and then go and get the dream lounge :)

  2. Just a thought - since you "love" the lines and the price of the first sectional and it is within your price limit, what about having slipcovers made so that you can have the best of both worlds? I had the most gorgeous couch when my boys were little but it was not practical. I had a slipcover made for it and washed it monthly (or sometimes more if some little person decided to eat chocolate while sitting on the couch!) I had exactly the shape and style I wanted and it was practical. It was a win-win for us as a family...and I really didn't have to compromise!

  3. Your husband did a fantastic job with the fireplace surround and mantle! And hiding the components - major score!

    Sofa shopping can be a real challenge. One year I took a year and then bought the first thing I looked at. Last time I decided pretty quickly and still love what I selected. I always start with comfort and go from there. For us, loose pillows for the back just don't work. They get slouchy and end up looking messy. I like clean lines so it kind of drives me crazy. Buy what you love - even if it means spending a bit more. You'll be happier in the long run!

  4. Get what is comfy. You can put a thick blanket or a quilt on one section for the lab, ( I have 4 labs, so I know what your saying) When we move we are getting new furniture too, and the dogs can sleep on the old stuff. Never realized how filthy they always are from playing in the sand out back. Tried to clean the sofas, can't even tell they were cleaned.

  5. I try as much as possible to not compromise, however, I naturally gravitate toward charcoal brown a lot of the time anyways. This color may actually look really nice bringing out the mantel part into the middle of the room. Plus you can always decorate with fun throw pillows and throws to bring in color. They have some great throw pillow patterns out there if you are ambitious. Otherwise, I am extremely jealous of your mantel. I would love one, but it won't happen. My husband is so not crafty at that sort of thing!

  6. Oh I hear you...we are living with 12 year old, falling to bits couches because we can't find my "vision" at the right price. I have champane taste on a beer budget.
    Good luck with finding the perfect couches...
    Oh and I love every photo you posted. The fireplace looks fantastic and we have the exact same taste...

  7. I love my furniture, it isn't leather, it is micro suede. Completely washable were the words I wanted to hear. I didn't want leather because I was afraid of it getting punctured by (anything). I got brown to replace my old GREEN furniture (what was I thinking) because I liked the neutral color that matched everything and didn't show any dirt the kids and dogs might get on it. I hate that, but atleast I can just wash it with soap and water.

  8. I've been couch shopping too recently. I'm very fond of sectionals with slipcovers. Julia @ Hooked on Houses blog has a great sectional from IKEA slipcovered in white in her home plus kids &a dog. Says the covers wash up beautifully. I'm thinking this may be my plan. Good luck! You've picked out some gorgeous furniture!

  9. Well, I think I could live with any of those rooms : )
    gorgeous furniture. The mantle is awesome. So clever!

  10. First, LOVE the new fireplace! Absolutely beautiful! Second, a few years ago we had to replace our furniture. I made the mistake of listening to my modern mother-in-law, we are much more traditional. I ended up with a sofa and love seat with a recliner in each end (perfect to seat 5 guys that liked to stretch while watching movies) but I never should have listened to her. We hated it from day one. Ended up giving it away after about 2 years and settling for something much more our style, but still not 'perfect'. Take your time. There has to be a way to mesh what the family needs with what momma wants. Unfortunately, if it takes a year, trust me, if it is what you want, you will be happy you waited.

  11. We have been living this last year in a rented home that came with a milk coffee coloured sofa (Ikea). With a mini pug who sleeps on the sofa ALL day & 2 cats, I seriously thought I would hate the light colour.
    I thought the slip covers would be too hard to clean, get on & off etc.
    BUT & it's a big but - I LOVE THEM!!
    They are so simple to look after & if they look a little manky, into the wash & bingo, clean sofas again.
    I say get the sofa that is comfy & in the price range & have slip covers made, it's a choice you are unlikely to regret.
    Having said all this, the sofa we have is not very comfy as it has the low backs like these sectionals. I would give it a really good road test before I spent the money. I know that recliner rockers are not everyone's taste but oh they are comfy!
    Good luck
    London, UK

  12. Love the fireplace! I need to redo mine, too.

    As for the sofas, we live in CA and have found several custom furniture places out here - they are *inspired* by C&B, PB, etc. Sofas are made in Los Angeles to whatever you spec - we liked a floor sample and were able to specify a custom length and then pick a fabric from another sofa line to put on it. We found them on craigslist under furniture dealers. Slightly more than Ikea, way less than a traditional store, and the sofa's holding up great.

  13. I love doing my dreaming in Anthropologie and Pottery Barn...love your picks! It's hard to find that balance between what you want and what you can afford. My dad always told me that -- within reason -- there's no point in buying a cheap substitute for what you really want. You'll just end up hating the object and eventually going back to buy the right one.

  14. I really used to love flicking through books and such to find my dream furniture!
    If you're on a budget maybe try going around some thrift stores or even checking out yard sales. Sometimes you can find things that you can spruce up cheaply for a good price.
    It's often harder when you really want something and end up having to compromise on it later, it's better to have an open mind about a few things and give yourself plenty of options =D

  15. kudos to Ryan! What a neat way to hide the unsightly tv wires, etc.

    I think slip covers all the way. I am sure you can find something in your price range that would have slip covers as an option. OR have slips covers made for the couch you want. It might add to the price, but it would be so worth it. Just my two cents :)

  16. I'm dreaming at Pottery Barn Teens in their media/social rooms...so comfy and so full of ideas...but I'll probably shop at Ikea as its so much more budget-friendly.
    Let us know what you're solution will be...

  17. Your fireplace is awesome!!! Very clever with the mantel. Send the children to live with Grandma and get your dream couch LOL!

  18. I bought an Ektorp sofa from IKEA about 10 years ago, I've replaced with white slip cover 3 times they are so washable, bleachable and really show how filthy furniture gets so I was glad I could wash the covers.
    The sofa is just starting to show wear and tear, not bad considering it's survived 4 teenage girls and their friends oh and some pets.I love having white furniture because all of my quilts look great with it!

  19. Maybe your doggie is a LOT cleaner than our two, but I can tell you that in our house, all of that fabric would be sporting dog hair and brown paw marks after about 2 seconds. (One of our dogs is a 'digger' and our backyard has muddy areas.) I say don't drive yourself nuts trying to get the perfect look IF you're going to have to be scared every time one of your family members sits on the sofa with a bag of chips, LOL! Just my 2 cents. The sofas are cute, though...

  20. Love, love, love the mantel idea. Awesome!
    I am laughing (with you, not at you) regarding the "comfort" of the cute chair. My husband couldn't care less what it looks like (well, as long as orange isn't involved) but it must be comfortable and since my son is 6'3" also, the "cute" furniture never gets more than a passing glance. Good luck!

  21. The mantle looks good and the storage idea is brilliant. Sofa buying is a pain, I can only let you know how we have faired over the years with a limited budget and 4 children plus various pets. Loose back cushions are never a good idea as they never stay put. Washable covers are a good solution so lond as they do not shrink. As a family we have discoveres that leather is the way to go. You can have crream and with a pack of cheap abay wipes keep the furniture always looking good. We are grandparent who loook after grand children while parent work and have three cream chairs and one sofa. Go for comfort and style you like as first consideration. Buy in haste, repent in leisure.

  22. Ohhhh...been there, done that. It wasn't fun! After years, and i do mean YEARS, of searching DH and I finally agreed on a leather reclining sofa and reclining loveseat by Elran (Canadian Company although we live in the US). I decided then to make the sofas a FOCAL POINT of my color scheme and had them done up in BLUE leather...kind of a cross between cobalt blue and navy. My husband thought I was NUTS but everyone who has been in my home has marveled at the sofas. Everyone gets white, cream, black, brown...the blue catches your eye as soon as you walk into the kitchen (adjoining the family room) and the darker color has held up beautifully. They are now 6+ years old and look as good as the day we got them. The only thing we have had to do is have new foam put in our two favorite spots as they were visibly squished more than the rest of the seats. I am sure I could change the whole feel of the room with all of my other furnishings and the sofas would still fit in. Just a suggestion to maybe consider your accent color in your sofa!


  23. It's a terrible decision, isn't it? I'm always weighing pretty & I want it versus practical & good value. As for couches, I've ruled out anything but a tight back. Loose back cushions always seem to get sloppy looking to me.

  24. I am obsessed with these pictures. You have inspired me. First I ordered a white slipcovers for my living room couch. Planning to paint my sofa table that blue-gray like the tall cabinet. Now I dreaming Of throw pillows to tie the rest of the room to that beautiful coastal scheme. Thanks!

  25. I'm loving those glass bottles, too! I wish we could get away with light colored couches over here as well. In about ten years? RJ did a fantastic job on the fireplace! Looks so good, and I really like the stained beam ledge! xx

  26. Your Hubby did an awesome job! and I like your way of thinking. ;o)

  27. My Mom raised a family of 6 kids on a tight budget and she taught me a lot about buying furniture. First look at the construction of the couch because that is where the primary investment should be. Look for harwood frames and how the cushions are supported. Ask the manager about purchasing a floor model you love for a discount. If you pay cash most places will give you a discount of 5-10%. When I was younger I was embarassed to hagle with the store clerk. Now that I am just past 50 I wouldn't do it any other way. I stay firm on my budget and let them know I will walk away if they can't compromise. I have a leather sofa and it is great for keeping clean, but the cats scratches are never going to go away. Never buy bonded leather where only the surface layer is leather and the rest is vinyl. Get 100% leather dyed through the entire thickness. I had a chenille covered sofa that was very easy to keep clean and was virtually indestructable and comes in as many styles as you can imagine. I would go for this again next time I buy. Mom also sewed slip covers and a good set can be made at an upholstry shop for about $500 plus the cost of about 8 yds fabric. If you do this, make sure you have a super capacity washer to handle the bulk.
    Life seems to work this way - when you have no money you see all the perfect things to buy and when you have the money and are on a mission you can't find anything. Take a break, relax and you will find something that will work for everyone.

  28. I think we have a similar style because I love all the pieces you picked out at your local stores. I know it's been over a year since this post but I was doing an online search for slate blue chairs and your images came up. Do you happen to remember where you found either of those chairs? I love them both - the one you said was too small for your husband and the chevron one. Thanks!

  29. Hi! Can you PLEASE tell me where you found these sofas? THese are exactly what I am looking for!!! Please!!! Thank you!!!!!
    kim.amrein@Yahoo.com :)


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