Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Styling a white sofa

When one is wracked with indecision and one's own design inadequacies, it's always nice to take a trip to decor fantasy land.

Images: Design Elements, Architectural Digest, Atlanta Homes, Atlanta Homes, Diversion Project, Everything LEB, Traditional Home via Full House, Glamourai, House Beautiful, Lauri Grassi, Little Blue Deer, Loft and Cottage, Marie Claire Maison, My Happy Little Place, Design Sponge, Diversion Project, Diversion Project, Everything LEB, Full House, The Zhush, Lonny, Vogue Living Australia, Unknown, Zoldan Interiors, Little Blue Deer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lights but no action

Those of you who have followed this blog awhile know that I am both extraordinarly cheap and excruciatingly picky. That means a simple decision like picking out a couple of lamps can take years.

So, what a surprise to announce that I marched out to IKEA last weekend and bought two lamps.

The Alang, which I thought I would like, ended up being way too tiny in person.

So, overheated and jostled by other shoppers, I went for a Jara shade with a Rodd base for a total cost of abour $45 per light.

Of course, nothing can be that simple.

The new Jara shades are great (they also come in black). But I think the base is too tall.

I think I need an adjustable base.

IKEA only has one, and it's on the Alang floor lamp ($40). I could buy it and swap with a Jara shade. Cost: $60 per lamp.

Or there is this adjustable lamp from Walmart that I've been eyeing for awhile. I could go out on a limb with newly-cool-again brass. On the down side, the shade is described as "cream." Cost: $52 plus $5 shipping or $72 with a different shade (wouldn't a black Jara be cool?)

Or I could play it safe with nickel with this adjustable lamp from Walmart. The shade looks fine. The downside here is that it's a floor lamp/table lamp set, so I'm shelling out $20 for a table lamp I don't want. Cost: $70 plus $5 shipping.


Monday, September 26, 2011


Italian friends from Long Island had us for dinner and surprised us with an anniversary cake.

We enjoyed a "black tomato", homemade wine and we got to drink espresso with sambuca from some very special cups.

Friday, September 23, 2011

On to lighting

Back to the sofa again. Since we saved all those pennies not buying a new one, I think it's time to blow it on new lighting instead.

I'm thinking a pair of floor lamps or sconces since side tables are kind of useless with those big sofa arms. And something modern to counteract the trad-iness of the sofa. Above are a few options in the $20 to $150 range.

Here's where they need to go, the sofa rasa, the blank slate, with present lighting removed.

I give this slick and shiny one from Cal Lighting ($124) the highest marks for aesthetics.

And this IKEA Alang lamp ($40) I voted most budget friendly and therefore most likely to succeed.

Here's predicting it will take months to decide.

Walmart Aged Brass lamp, $52; Wayfair Kenroy Keystone floor lamp in chrome, $130; Crate and Barrel Metro swing arm sconce, $100; IKEA Alang floor lamp, $40; IKEA Alang wall lamp, $20; Crate and Barrel Metro swing arm floor lamp, $150; Wayfair Cal Lighting Malibu floor lamp in brushed steel, $124; IKEA Kulla lamp, $90; Wayfair Kenroy Hydra lamp, $122

Blue and green at 17

Mr. Bromeliad and I recently celebrated our 17-year anniversary.

Thanks Mr. B for keeping it colorful all these years.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My DIY: How to make a relatively cheap and easy no-hem slipcover

Here are some how-to details from my slipcover project.

Total cost was about $225. This included fabric, new foam seat cushions, Scotchguard and shipping.

For comparision, a Pottery Barn slipcover for almost the identical sofa costs about $800.

For fabric I bought five sets of sailcloth curtains from Target. Each panel cost $10 and measured 42 by 96 inches, so I got fabric at less than $5 a yard.

I'm always down for what's cheap/easy. The other reason I went with curtains is that the edges are already hemmed. I can't cut or sew a straight line, so having one straight edge already built in gave me confidence to try this project. The curtain route also reduced the cost of a potential Craft Fail to proportions I could cope with.

On the down side, the fabric is thin. You can only do this on a sofa that is already white underneath. Even then, some of my seam allowance shows through. (For heavier bleachable white slipcover fabric, I would consider Dharma Trading. Best prices I could find.) There is so much labor involved in this I would advise not to let fabric price be the biggest factor. Go for something durable because believe me you will never want to do this again.

I won't go into detail about how to pin fit a slipcover since many other blogs have covered this. (For some examples, check out Honey Bear Lane or What the Craft.)

The only thing I did different was cut my pieces so that the bottom edge used a pre-sewn curtain hem. Pre-wash and iron the curtains of course.

I loathe the shabby chic look, so I spent a lot of time trying to get the slipcover as tight and fitted as possible. For a more modern look, I skipped welting. I lie. I skipped welting because it's too much work and I don't know how to do it.

To keep the look as modern as possible, I also eliminated the skirt. I raised the hem of the slipcover to show a little bit of the sofa feet. (For some tips on how to modernize a slipcover, visit Naomi at Design Manifest.)

I have a zipper down the back of the slipcover and on all the cushions. For a zipper tutorial, see this post.

Since I live in a 480-square-foot apartment, I had to burn out the bulk of this over one weekend. Our home looked like the mafia searched our place for a micro chip. If you live in a house, I would say haul your sofa to some dark corner and work on it slowly.

Here's the before - not bad, but the seat cushions were bulging and there was dinginess that no amount of cleaning would remove.

Here's the after.