New coffee table and bonus side tables

When we put the living room back together we already knew the couch wouldn’t work. Once we secured a replacement, we started giving the coffee table the stink eye.

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This bohemuth of a table (it’s 4′ square) has served us well through the years, but the green tinted glass just didn’t work in the freshly painted space. Plus it covered up too much of the rug.

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So the hunt was on. We searched high and low, in person and online, new and vintage. We even ordered a mid century inspired, glass topped table from a flash sale site. But when it came in, we didn’t even unpack the glass all the way because it had the same green tint! Thankfully, we only gave it a chance because of a good return policy.

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A few Sundays ago when it was much to rainy to work on the fence, we hit up a favorite antique mall and (again) walked away empty handed. We only had one more place to check before being resigned to a long wait: The Future Antiques. St Louis lovers of all things mid century know this store well. It’s filled to the brim with high quality MCM goods – everything from housewares to clothes to furniture.

Aaron claims he had a feeling that we’d find the right piece. All I kept thinking was, “Anything mid century will be much too small.” But when we walked into the back furniture room, a long, leggy wood table caught my eye.

We did the usual checks: measure (I’m not the only one who constantly totes around a measuring tape, right?), check for wobble, check for wear, check the price, ask the question “If it doesn’t look perfect in this space, could we use it somewhere else?” (Is that just us, too?)

It passed all the checks, but I was still worried about the size. At times, we maxed out our current 4′ table with snack buffets and reading material. But then we noticed that there were matching side tables nearby. So we did the same checks – price (more than we wanted to spend for all three pieces, but we were falling in love… and rationalizing), size (I worried they were too tall), reuse (possible side tables in the guest bedroom), condition. You already know where this is going because you read the title of this post.

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All three pieces came home with us and we couldn’t be happier. The wood tone is perfect and will be needed when we move the current bar out of the space (foreshadowing). They are solid wood, and they look like they just came from the store. Seriously, we’ve been pondering how 50+ year old tables have nary a scratch on them.

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The legs and rails make the pieces feel light… and leave lots of open space for rug viewing. It’s hard to photograph, but the long sides actually curve up just a bit. This was likely the inspiration for the name: surfboard tables (from Bassett’s Artisan Collection.)

We think those curves are the perfect compliment to the curvy sofa (which is back and OMG! OMG! It’s amazing. Way too many pictures later this week.)

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I did zero staging for this, except to toss some books and a plant on one of the end tables. Hopefully it gives you some sense of scale. The end tables are nice and deep and provide the perfect extra table space. We don’t miss the 4-foot square at all. (If you’re in need of a massive, modern coffee table it’s up on Craigslist right now.)

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Seriously, if you haven’t been to The Future Antiques, get yourself over there (or torture yourself with their new Instagram feed). They have an amazing selection and everything is pristine. Just don’t come back complaining if you spend way to much money there on a Sunday afternoon… I feel your pain.

A little more white paint

We painted three spaces before Alive Magazine came to shoot the firehouse. Even though we’ve already talked about the bedroom and hall (neither of which made it into the magazine), one other space was MUCH more important to get done. Can you tell which one?

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How about now?

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How about now?

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The furnace room FINALLY got a little camouflage in the form of bright white paint.

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Even though the structure has been in place for nearly a year, we’ve been mired in indecision regarding the finish. Our original plan to cover it in end cut wood looked really tedious and expensive when we finally did the math. So the furnace room has sat naked, serving as a constant reminder that even though we’ve been using the studio it’s not “done.” The magazine shoot was a good kick in the pants to just paint it already and let it disappear, which it does beautifully.

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We also added a temporary door. This is definitely phase 1. Some sort of wood treatment and a proper door are still on the (giant) list.

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For now, I’m loving that I can shoot the studio from any angle without the distraction of unfinished plywood. Is anyone surprised that our resolution for something is to paint it white? I’m not. What’s your solution for eyesores or unfinished spaces in your home?

Our House Hunters episode is online!

One of our awesome photography clients pinged me last night on Facebook to let us know that our episode of House Hunters is online! If you haven’t had the chance to catch it on TV or want to relive it over (and over and over) again,here’s your chance!

The beginning of the end of the fence

There are a few things we vowed when we moved into the firehouse.
- The half wall in the bedroom was coming down ASAP.
- We needed a fenced yard by the end of spring.
- The studio would get all of our attention and probably be done in 2 months.

Oh, how naive we were…

If you’ve been following along, you know that only one of those (the studio) has come to fruition… and even that took many more months than we planned. But we’re in the process of finally making good on the fenced yard declaration!

Let’s recap. Nearly a year ago, we spent a long weekend installing (most of) our fence, using cor-ten steel panels. (If you’re new to the blog, it’s a good read, complete with a lightening strike!) We purposefully left a few holes near the back, intending to cover them in horizontal slats of wood to match the treatment we planned for the carport (effectively turning that into a garage.)

Here’s how we left things last summer.

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It is funny how everything about renovations has an ebb and flow  – time, energy, money. By the fall, we were low on all three (and down one tree). The fence project got pushed and we spent all winter surveying Mojo’s outdoor time… in the polar vortex.

Now that the weather is turning, the fence completion/carport wrap is our top priority. We kicked things off by tackling this hole in the fence.

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It’s cool, Mojo. You know not to cross that imaginary line, right?

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Here is a view from the neighboring lot

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We researched a lot of different options for the fence and eventually settled on B grade ipe.

Ipe is a very dense hardwood from South America that is fantastic for outdoor applications. It is mold, fire, weather and pest resistant. It needs little maintenance, but if you do give it some by rolling on some oil it will stay a gorgeous deep brown color. It’s also very pricey, which is why we opted for B grade (or slightly subpar) wood. This means that not every board is perfect. Some have a little bow to them, some have a crack at one end, some have milling marks.

We ordered our batch from Advantage Lumber, along with the clips, wax and oil needed for installation and maintenance. So far we’re finding the imperfections to be minimal and some of them to be charming. We’re very happy we opted to save a few dollars.

I have a tutorial for you, but for this post let’s jump straight to the reward.

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Hello gorgeous!

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It’s exactly what we had in mind. The warm wood (which will get deeper when it is oiled) bring a fantastic natural element to the fence. Seriously, I can’t stop staring at it.

The downside is that we’re finding the installation takes A LOT longer than we expected. (Someday we’ll learn our lesson. Maybe I should block off ALL of 2015 for the kitchen reno…)

To give you an idea, those three sections of fence took an entire day. But it’s cool, we only have this much to go…

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Upgrading the upstairs sofa

While the living room was still in a state of chaos and we were holed up in the captain’s bedroom watching TV, Aaron turned to me and said, “Now that the living room is going to be white, we should think about getting a bright rug.” My reponse? “What we need to do is think about getting rid of this. (Motioning to the off-white couch) Have you thought about how ugly it’s going to be an in a bright white space?”

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Honestly, the current couch wasn’t even our first choice when we bought it several years ago. We had our hearts set on a white (so predictable) couch for our FIRST studio in the basement of our suburban house (my, my how things have changed.) In our typical we-decided-let’s-do-it-NOW fashion, we didn’t realize that choosing custom fabric for a couch meant several weeks of production time. Instead we opted for this in-stock, “it will do” off-white sofa.

It’s always been “just fine.” But with the new paint job and lighting, this space is feeling so much more finished and that couch is looking so much dingier.

So instead of spending money on a rug… oh wait, we bought one of those already… So, before spending money on a rug, we decided to do some serious sofa shopping. We checked a few online stores and were leaning toward something mid century inspired when Aaron found this on craigslist:

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It’s a great size: 8′ long, 3′ deep. We keep sitting on it exclaiming, “We’re not touching.” Apparently after many years of a too small couch, you get excited when a piece of furniture allows you to lounge without being on top of each other.

The clean lines and the legs had us more than interested. It’s also in phenomenal condition – very sturdy. The woman we bought it from nabbed it at an estate sale about 8 years ago, making us likely only the 3rd owners.

But what really got us was the curve on the front.

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Hello sexy!

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Ok, ok, she’s not quite beautiful yet, but at a negotiated price of $400 we thought we were getting quite a steal. We went in knowing that we’d have to reupholster this piece to make it feel right for our space. The color and condition of the fabric confirmed it. This couch has had a good run… and it shows.

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Recovering it will allow us to have the middle cushion cut to mimic the shape of the base. We can also get rid of some of the piping to make the whole thing feel a little more modern.

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Legs: You’re staying. I love you.

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With the couch safely tucked into the car, we mulled over colors. Yep! We’re going with a color. We love white spaces because they allow your eyes to really focus on pops of color. Usually that means artwork and other furnishings, but I had been secretly pinning and falling in love with the idea of a bold, jewel toned sofa. Emerald green had me drooling and Aaron was quickly on board.

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(via Pinterest, original from Melissa Mercier)

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(via Pinterest)

The hunt was on for an upholsterer. We learned that you should definitely get a lot of quotes. Many places will let you email a picture to get a rough estimate on the labor. Fabric will always be extra, but they can give you an estimate of the yardage you’ll need for a particular piece.

The estimates for our couch ranged from $2,900 to $750 (all without fabric). We were shocked at the discrepancy. We opted for a mid-range quote from an upholsterer who is also an artist and lives above his shop. His space was profiled in the newspaper and he talked about his love of white walls and bright accents. We’ve clearly found a kindred spirit… and it didn’t hurt that he called our couch cool when we sent him the photo.

After a little online searching we were coming up short in regards to emerald green fabric. We headed to the upholstery shop to peruse some swatch books and couldn’t find anything even close to the green we had been lusting after. After flagging some jewel toned blues (and even eyeing a bolt in his showroom) we changed courses and opted for a deep blue. Not surprisingly, a check of my Pinterest board confirmed that deep blue was also on my wishlist.

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(via Pinterest, original from Design Milk)

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(via Pinterest, original from JCPenny – oh! And it’s on clearance!)

The swatch we finally settled on as “perfect” rang out at $100/yard… also known as “not gonna happen.” Luckily, the bolt of fabric in the showroom had nearly the same tone AND he was offering 50% off all in-stock fabric. So we walked away with a gorgeous peacock blue at just $25/yard. He even cut me a sample to take home.

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I’ve been a fool with this fabric swatch – caressing it, toting it around, showing it to everyone. It’s a little bit too Frodo up in here. (Please note: that will be my first and last Lord of the Rings reference. Sorry/you’re welcome.) Suffice it to say, we’re very excited. The couch was picked up yesterday and then we have an excruciating 6 week(ish) wait. Good thing I have that swatch to keep me happy…

Has anyone else taken the upholstery plunge? (It seems to be the season for it based on Yellow Brick Home’s recent find.) What piece did you get done? Were you surprised by the variance in quotes? Did you have trouble finding a fabric?