Tag Archives: diy couch

Couch Inspiration

We’ve almost wrapped up our couch project – the frame is complete (hooray!), but our dining room is buried beneath huge expanses of fabric, frayed and ripped upholstery thread, and the salt of a thousand tears.

For today I thought I’d show you some of the inspiration behind our couch. But first? A confession.

Do you remember back in September when I shared photos of this floral couch?  The couch that lost us a number of Instagram followers and was much maligned in the comments?
Red House West || Sometimes it ain't Pretty
Well, here’s the thing. I bought that couch. Yes I did.  Despite the gagging noises implicit in your feedback, I went in on a day it was 50% off and plunked down cold, hard cash.  Cameron was pretty stoked to come in the door one evening only to be hustled right back out as I said, “You know that couch that you and everyone else hated? Well I bought it and we need to pick it up before the store closes tonight.”

At the thrift store, we removed the cushions – dislodging a bounty of used tissues, pet hair, other hair (oh god) and assorted debris – and hefted that sucker into the truck. Have I mentioned that it was our anniversary and that we were leaving on a trip and had a to-do list a mile long? Wood may be the traditional fifth anniversary gift, but I commemorated ours with a large, dirty couch that, according to Instagram, conjured up images of culottes, the 1980s, and too many cats.

Red House West || Couch Inspiration

Just in case you need proof that I actually dragged that thing home

You see, dear readers, I was going to dazzle you with my incredible makeover skills.  If only the couch would have fit through our hallway, or the window we tried to cram it through, I’m very sure I would have succeeded.

The couch went back to the thrift store, and I did my best to move on. I couldn’t find anything I liked in the dimensions we needed (etched irrevocably in my brain after le soFiasco) at my usual haunts, but I saw this beauty on Anthropologie and thought, with my usual delusional confidence, pffft, we could totally make that.  And so it began.
Red House West || Couch Inspiration

I had an initial gut reaction to that Anthro couch, but when I wiped the hearts from my eyes and really looked at it, I realized it wasn’t totally practical for us.  I decided maximum lounging potential required two armrests to lean against, and more of an angle on the back.

I really loved this one by Australian designer Mark Tuckey, but decided it would be a lot of wood in a room that already has wood floors and wood trim.

Red House West || Couch Inspiration

I was drawn to the cant of these arms, but not the rigidity of the back:

This dreamy sofa by Pop & Scott has neither arms nor back, yet I almost managed to convince myself that it was perfect.



The couch we kept coming back to, and ultimately the one we based much of our design on, is this one found over on Italian flooring site Marazzi.  I loved the flare of the arms and the simplicity of the style, and figured we could up the comfort factor with deep cushions.

Red House West || Couch Inspiration

Once we had finally settled on a design for a frame, deliberations on the cushions began. I knew I wanted a single, long seat cushion with two back cushions and squishy, narrow cushions for leaning against the armrests.  Kind of like this:

I also knew I didn’t want the shape of the seat cushion to be too boxy – I wanted it to be thick and inviting, and I got downright obsessed with the way cushions are seamed and curved. Like this one, where the fabric wraps around the front with no visible seams:

One way to achieve this look is the knife edge seam (unlike a box cushion with two seams, there’s a single seam and a T-shaped edge), as seen on a lovely Pop & Scott couch:
Red House West || Couch Inspiration

Here’s an example with a more pronounced single seam that encircles the whole cushion:

There’s something very appealing about the insouciance of flanged cushions (maybe because it looks like they’ve been moved from the bedroom to the couch?), and I gave them some serious consideration.

After endless deliberation I did make a decision, and as soon as I wrestle the fabric into submission I’ll be glad to show you everything!   For now, here’s a shot of our couch sans back:

Red House West || Couch InspirationThanks for providing me with distraction (please send me some sewing mojo!) and for reading along, and have an excellent week!

*An update on the couch project is here

Katie’s House: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Before we surge forward with our plans for 2016, Mera and I thought it would be fun to pause a moment to reflect on some of our favorite projects we completed last year.

I’m starting my look back at 2015 with something that didn’t really make it onto the blog. Though I shared our adventures in roofing (aka the most ungratifying before and after ever), that was just the tip of the iceberg. In the waning days of autumn, with clear skies overhead but rain on the horizon, we tackled the exterior of our house. And by tackled, I mean destroyed.

destroyed house 2

destroyed houseWhen I texted Mera the picture above, captioned with a silently screaming emoji, she said it looked like the aftermath of a hurricane. We were racing the weather, and for a couple weeks it was a frenzy of paint scraping, siding replacement, and endless caulking. We hired out the actual painting except for the trim, and finally our sweet red house was looking more like itself.
painted house
It was a pretty miserable couple of weeks, with lots of worry that the weather would change and we’d spend all winter living behind a sheath of Tyvek, but now when the rains lash against the house it’s nice to know everything is sealed up tight.

The other big project we completed in 2015 – one that was very well documented here at RHW – was the Chamber of Secrets.

Red House West || Looking Back, Looking Forward

Months after finishing it, I continue to love this room and – most uncharacteristically – I’m hard-pressed to find a single thing I would change. The process of designing and building the shelves and closet with Cameron was really fun, and it was so gratifying to see sketches on paper transform into the real thing. Turns out that all the back-and-forth we did about the Chamber’s design elements (deciding on the curved shelves, the trim on the cabinetry, the placement of the closet) was very good practice for a pretty big project that we’re currently in the midst of. More on that in just a minute.

Red House West || Before & After - Chamber of Secrets RevealNot all of last year’s projects at Red House (south) West were big ones – I had a lot of fun making the oil painting bulletin board and the wood-tiled table, and refining my easy method for making fabric-covered mats (maybe 2016 will be the year that all the art makes it off the floor and onto the walls! Maybe!).

Red House West || Looking Back, Looking Forward

Red House West || DIY Fabric Mats

So last year was really good, but I’ve got a feeling that 2016 is going to be fantastic. Do you remember when I shared plans for the family room? I honestly thought (despite lots of evidence to the contrary) that it would be a quick project. I mean, I painted over those yellow walls and I was pretty sure I was home free:

Red House West || Family Room Redo
I had a plan, after all, and the only thing left was to put this green dream of a mood board into action:

Red House West || Family Room RedoRed House West || Family Room Redo

Red House West || Family Room Redo

Clockwise from upper left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The sticking point of my plan, as you may remember, was the couch. I put in some serious (like seriously serious) time searching Craigslist and thrift stores, but couldn’t find anything in our budget that was even remotely (not even with lots of elbow grease and ingenuity) what I wanted. And so we decided to build one ourselves! And though it’s smaller in scale than the built-ins in the Chamber, it has taken just as many drawings, adjustments, and conversations. Here’s a sneak peek of it mid-process, before adding the back:

Red House West || Looking Back, Looking ForwardAs we move into 2016 I’m so excited to share the finished couch – including an attempt at diy down-wrapped cushions – and finally, finally to share the whole family room (the plan for which has shifted, think more blue than green). I’m also really excited that soon we’ll be snuggling during Netflix marathons, rather than sitting in side-by-side chairs holding hands across the great divide.

Check in next Wednesday when Mera shares her own reflections on 2015 and plans for the new year.  We’re both heading into a particularly busy time at work, so for the next couple months we’ll be posting once a week – on Wednesdays – rather than twice. We’re planning to get back to our regular schedule when things calm down a bit, hopefully in March.

As always, thanks for being a part of Red House West – here’s to an amazing 2016!