The Couch

The story of the couch is filled with examples of disrespect, misplaced trust, infidelity and just awful behavior but I don’t want to relive it through the retelling.   I want to focus on gratitude and happy days and the good that is to come!

I am grateful for my survival instincts in the last few years. I am grateful for my determination. I have applied it to sustaining routines for both of my daughters’ success and stability and to finding things with a sense of style on a budget. The biggest find in the past year was a Mid Century Modern leather couch for $400 on Facebook’s marketplace!   

I’m going to try to keep this story looking forward.  The only point of the past I will make is that I should have had a new couch at least 10 years earlier.  Had I married a man with integrity, a new couch would have come with the new home and life we were starting together.  Instead it was a leftover piece from his previous marriage.  My gut reacted to the lack of respect and doing what’s right. I should have listened. But I didn’t.  Instead, I made excuses. 

Last summer as I painted the living room and the space began to take on a more elegant feel I knew couldn’t put the same old gross couch back into these surroundings. I photographed a quick project for a friend and when she handed me a check for $600 I thought “wouldn’t it be awesome if I found a couch for under this amount?”

I get kookoo ideas sometimes. I seek impossible gets.   But time and time again they end up coming true.  I should rely on the power of my thoughts more often. I didn’t want to spend more than $500 on a couch. I wanted a Mid Century modern one with simplicity and linear structure that would follow the lines of the bookcase behind it. I wanted it to be light-colored leather. I was hoping I’d stumble upon someone who had the disposable income to buy something great, change their mind’s and resell it for cheap.  

Every night after the long days of painting and getting the girls fed and ready for bed I looked in all the usual places: Craigslist, Facebook, and a couple Mid Century resell store sites here in LA.  I’d like to say it was painstaking effort just to prove that there was effort involved. But the truth is that looking for the right piece of furniture is as exhilarating as being on a hunt and looking at porn! One Thursday evening, the hunt was over, there she was!  Everything I was looking for down to the family who had changed their mind’s and needed something more “comfy”!  The one big BUT, was that she was down in Rancho Mission Viejo, over an hour away.  

By Saturday afternoon I was in the car driving down; little over an hour to get down, and over two to return.  She was 1” longer than the 9’ in length my Ford Flex could accomodate. I had to leave the back gate cracked open about a foot. I secured it with rope and tied it to the gate’s closing hardware.   I drove home at the pace of a turtle. Fortunately there wasn’t much traffic and therefore not many stops and starts.  My neighbors had to help me get her in the house. I hid her under a tarp for about a week while I finished painting. And then she finally came out! Oh the things one piece, just one piece, of furniture can do! She changed the room and our home! 

A week later my mom arrived to join us on a camping trip. She has worked at Crate & Barrel for over 25 years! On every trip we get to have a mini shopping spree.  This time I knew EXACTLY what I wanted.  The couch needed a focal pillow, something big, with flair.  The minute the girls set foot in the store they found the pillow with the most personality and it came home to make it all juuuuust right!

I love the living room. The girls love the living room. For anyone who thinks kids don’t notice design, let me assure you that they do! Making their home a place with more order and style affects their self-esteem.  From the toddler years we humans are trying to figure out where we belong. By elementary school their home tells them who they are or where they come from and where they belong…for the time being. By the tween, teen years they’re going to decide whether they want to belong to that or not. 

Our home is not big or grand. It’s small, I’d call it cozy and since I’ve changed the elements in the living room it’s been called stylish.  Maybe in it’s own way it’s striking? Or surprising?  Now, when friends come in, they stop and take a minute to take it all in.  The girl’s friends compliment them on their home when they’re over for play dates. It’s nice to hear. It’s nice to see how it makes them feel. The re-organizing of the bookcase really changed the space, as did the Eames chair and the Noguchi table. But the biggest impact of all has been the new couch and it’s here just in time for my new life with my girls, leaving all from the past behind.  

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