A Tale of Two Couches

The little-known mid century Karlstad couch makeover would win a doodle award for excellence in ikea furniture customization if there were such a thing. There’s not, but there is my complete copying of it here on this blog.

We got our cushions back from the upholster last week, (We used Spruce, which I recommend to anyone, any day.) which means our new sofa is officially midcenturized.

Allow me to recap. Here’s the couch before…

And here she is after…

It’s like a brand new(er) couch! To review, here’s what we did to make it 50s-friendly:

  • Tufted the back cushions-$50  (Should you choose to take this on yourself, take note that ikea is not liberal with their fabric swatch disbursement. To get matching fabric we had to buy a $20 cushion in the same fabric to cover the buttons).
  • Added modern legs from tablelegs.com-$8.95 each (Make sure to request the correct hardware to be included with the legs on your order.)

It’s not much, but it makes a huge difference.  Our grand total came in around $700, which is pretty great when you consider couches of a similar style usually range from $1000-$2500.

Putting the finishing touches on my modern eclectic living room is a small victory in the grand scheme of things, but it feels good to write about it and see a project come together, especially on a day like today, where Heath and I celebrate the one year anniversary of signing on our first house (more on that to come).  Until then, we’ll continue cruising the internets for more intriguing inspirations from the comfort of our new couch.


Seeing (shades of) Red

Pink, to be accurate. A few weeks ago I picked up the molger shelving unit from Ikea as a low-cost way to handle an overflow of extra books and school supplies that were polluting the office. While the dimensions of the piece worked well for the space, the sex appeal of it did not.

Pretty bland and pretty blah. So of course my first instinct is to take a can of spray paint to it–just as I did with the filing cabinet to its left, the armoire to its right and the chair to it’s other left.  Sometimes it seems I have only one or two solutions to making over furniture, and both of them are painting. But hey, if the system ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The molger, prepared for painting.

And After! How fun!

The final effect is a sublimely vivid, and maybe just a little on the primary color/elementary school classroom side, but I’ll take it over the original any day.


Sofa, so good.

Before I get too far into things, I will start with a disclaimer that my emotional investment in the forthcoming subject matter is a little ridiculous. But that’s how I roll…just slightly on the side of ridiculous. That being said, I announce the following: Heath and I decided to ditch the sectional sofa formerly known as The Most Comfortable Couch in the World.

I admit the sofa wasn’t much to look at, but the hand-me-down sectional was a pretty big part of our lives for the past 4 years or so. It moved with us from our place in North Campus where Heath and I first lived together, to our 36th street cottage, and now to our current abode. I had gotten pretty accustomed to having it around. It’s been the resting place for dozens (Maybe hundreds? No…dozens.) of overnight guests throughout the years and was THE place to be on movie nights. It was a magical sofa that endured splendidly the wear and tear of my playful pets and red wine spills without showing stains. It was the sort of couch that, even if you had the intention of resting there for only a few moments, could convince you to stay and hang out for the duration of, oh say, an entire season of Downton Abbey. It was that good. Ask anyone.

So, it was sort of a big deal that we decided to put the old girl on craigslist. You see, in our house, most of the stuff is either:

  1. Hand-me-down (armoire, couch, coffee table)
  2. Purchased second-hand (dining room table, TV credenza, bedroom dresser)
  3. Made by Heath (office day bed, office desk, our bed, book shelf)

Nothing’s wrong with any of that of course. In fact, normally I prefer it. But after a point I REALLY wanted the opportunity to pick something out for ourselves; something that felt like us and not like the discarded collections of others. And since I’ve settled into my new job and Heath’s been enjoying his new title at work, we thought why not “TREAT YO SELF.” And the couch was put up for sale in the hopes we could trade it for something a little more slick, stylish and, dare I say, sexy?

And what’s more sexy than IKEA couches?! AmIRightLadies?!?!?!

Yeah, I know that saying an IKEA couch is some kind of an upgrade over any situation might be treason to some folks, but bear with me here. I recently stumbled upon of the most genius, cost-saving ideas invented in the history of ever: the customizable Karlstad. It was brought to me by the folks at our mid century who proved that IKEA affordability + creativity = wonderfully attainable personal design. They picked up the Karlstad sofa, switched out the legs and tufted the cushions for a look that is completely, one-hundred-percently up my alley—a 50s-60s vibe on a comfortable sofa for a fraction of the cost of what designer furniture costs. Sign. Me. Up.

The IKEA Karlstad turned midcentury.

After making that discovery, all bets were off. I knew what I had to do. The sectional went up on craigslist and we headed to IKEA. Next thing we know, this is our living room.

It was a little sad to see the beloved old sectional go, but we’re all pretty happy (Stella included) with the new addition. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some couch potato-ing to do.