Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pretty Can Still Be Practical

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When I started furnishing this house I had a husband and one child. Today I have two children, who come with a pile of friends, one dog, one cat, two pet rats, and my 78 year old father.

I am fussy. I admit it. Perhaps to a fault. I see dirt like that kid in the Bruce Willis movie saw dead people. My husband says it drives him nuts. It drives me nuts, too. It's a curse. Which is why I need to live in house that's easy to clean.  Enter, slipcovers.

It's been almost six years and I'm still really happy with this couch. It's a basic slip-covered couch that I bought locally for not a lot of money. By happy accident, the pear colored fabric I chose came in a super durable and washable chenille. 

I learned two valuable life lessons buying this couch.
1. If you weren't already aware, I was not, you can have any item at the furniture store upholstered in the fabric of your choice and they will add contrast piping- at no extra charge. You wouldn't wear an outfit off the mannequin would you? So make it your own!

2. I will NEVER buy another couch that can't go in to the washing machine! There is nothing better lying on your freshly laundered couch scented with Downey. I hate to say it but those beautiful white cotton slip covers will shrink in the dryer (don't look at the back of my other couch). If you really need easy to care for, go for chenille or a blend, but be sure to ask. (And if the guy selling you the couch tells you it's washable, ask him who does the laundry in his house).
Being able to throw your covers in the washer and dryer yourself if a HUGE plus. Your kids can eat Doritos on the couch without breaking the dry cleaning budget!

Same goes for the pillows. I still don't understand why the "contrast fabrics" that accompany couches are so hideous? Let them keep the splashy colored 80's prints and just match the pillows to your couch. You can always make some new covers when you find something that suits your personal taste. I found these fabrics at JoAnn's and had my own made. (Washable!)

The cowhide cubes I found on clearance at Home Goods a few weeks back and they're working out pretty well. You can put your feet up on them or top with a tray to use them as a coffee table. You can't get much more durable than a cow! If I can find one more, I'm thinking a fourth might be nice to make a square. 

Display lamps are great if you like to change it up with the season. For summer I found this garland of driftwood, but this lamp will house jingle bells, glass balls, you name it, for the holidays.

This is another of my favorite finds. I remember buying it from yard sale thinking, what am I going to do with this old lady plant stand?  It's made a great home for my coral and shells.

This wall is still bothersome for me. I love art, but my taste doesn't often fit my budget so I mix it up. My anniversary Gordon giclee and two of my favorite oils from a local artist get teamed up with a $20 flea market treasure and a grouping of generic prints. (I call these "placeholders")
The layout is working for me, but the scale is still off and we're still lacking character.
*note- add character to my Brimfield list.

 I saw this photo today on and am considering incorporating this paint treatment. I'm a big fan of the striped drapes too!
Another consideration is replacing this end table with one of the electrical spools that my friend is hauling up from NC for me- After I turn it into this fun and practical book case spotted on

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  1. What homegoods did you find the cowhide cubes in? And how much?

  2. I found them on clearance at the Home Goods in Wakefield, RI- the mega-Marshalls.
    They were 48$ each down from $100. They had the tufted cowhide ottomans too but not quite big enough to just have one.


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