Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let's furnish this house!

I went shopping! Unfortunately, not real "buy stuff" shopping, but it was some of the best window shopping known to man.

My journey started when I discovered Charlotte has a West Elm(!). I promptly ran uptown to see what West Elm is like in person. I've been a fan of theirs for quite a while, but I had only visited on the world wide web. I was pleased to find that they truly have Pottery Barn's quality, great style with an urban/vintage twist (yay!), and plenty of cheap thrills. The items definitely held up to the gorgeous online pictures. Fellow Charlotteans: are there any other great finds in the QC that I'm missing out on?

While there, I discovered the Henry Sofa. Not the chair with it though. *shivers*

In addition to an 80 lb Golden Retriever, we also have two cats, Atticus and Leo (I know several of you are surprised Boone is not an only fur-child). This combination means sofa shopping will never be easy for our family. We need durable, the ability to disguise fur varying in color from golden blond to orange to black, and the back cushions can't look sloppy if they start slouching (that's both cats favorite spot to sleep since it's out of Boo's reach). And it needs to hit all the normal couch criteria: comfortable, attractive, practical/easy to clean. Unfortunately, thanks our felines, no more leather will be joining our home for quite some time.

The reason the Henry Sofa scored such high marks with me is because it packs the looks and comfort of the PB Square Comfort and at a fraction of the price and available in a ton of different fabrics. I love the PB sofa, but it didn't get great reviews and I'm not sure I can justify that kinda money on something I may very well be disappointed in. The reviewers typically critiqued stuff like the cushions sagging quickly, which will happen at our house regardless, but it put enough doubt in my mind to make me second guess a sure thing. The Henry Sofa is just barely more expensive than our current couch and while I'm ready to kick this scratched-up, fur-covered baby to the curb, I feel we got our money's worth. The Henry is also cozy enough to fit into my decor yet modern without appearing alienating. I can't be the only one who thinks stark modern furniture looks simultaneously beautiful and harsh...

Despite the perceived bargain, I started doing some mental math: going from an 800 sq. ft. apartment to a 2200 sq. ft house is going to be expensive. And then I realized, it wouldn't even be proportionate since were going from 2 rooms to 7 rooms needing to be furnished. So I lowered the price point and Ikea, here I come!

What a wonderful place Ikea is and it seems so much bigger when there's no bored spouse or roommate to coordinate with. I could look at everything for as long as I wanted. And that I did.

This is the Kivik sofa. I don't particularly want an Ikea living room and, while we will very probably invest in a decent couch for our main space, we do have a loft that needs furnishing. The only thing better for cuddling while watching movies or having Mario Cart battle royales than this couch was his brother, I'll call him Kivik the Large.

 Definitely more attractive in the lighter color pictured on the couch. This large and in charge gent is actually two chaises pushed together. Super comfortable, you better believe I hung out in this Ikea closet set up for quite a while, just reading some celeb gossip.

This has long been my idea for an entertainment center, either for the main living room or the loft. It's part of the Hemnes collection we already own and love. All Hemnes pieces are made of solid wood, not MDF, so they feel less disposable than most Ikea items. We'll actually do an additional shelf that connects the top of the two towers. Best part is we already own the base, so that's one less piece to buy.

One of the other main areas I am looking forward to decorating is our dining room. Some background: the entire time Pat and I have been married, we've never had a dining room table. We eat sitting on the couch, using our coffee table. Upside: we get to start from scratch. I have several ideas for tables and none of them are at Ikea (I know, my wallet's crying too). This is one place where Ikea drops the ball, unless you like square MDF dining tables. I do like this hutch (another Hemnes) although I'd likely do it in off white to lighten up a room that will already have dark floor and a heavy wood table. I'd especially love to do the classic Ikea Hackers trick of turning an Ikea bookshelf into "built-ins." Maybe two next to each other...

Also on my list of things to buy is office furniture. I don't really need it other than storing an address book, a couple colorful Sharpies, some rolls of wrapping paper (office supplies in blog world), and maybe one drawers worth of files. Despite reality, I just love offices the same way I love laundry rooms.

Since I shouldn't be buying it at all, I somehow use that as a justification to prefer the weathered wood. It's a trend that I'm sure our children will laugh at some day [read:polished brass], but I love it and want to get at least one piece in it.

Speaking of office supplies, here's some great little burlap-covered storage boxes with oval labels complete with metal handles! Ladies, calm yourselves.

One of my favorite things about Ikea is all the cheap, trend-right, impractical furniture. It allows you to follow your design moods without worrying whether it's a smart investment. Take these two bookshelves:

These shelves are very Crate and Barrell circa 2013. I love them...for now. In 2015, they may seem over used or "2 seasons ago" but still acceptable. By 2020, I can almost guarantee I'll be wondering why I thought glass and industrialist metal should ever be in the same piece of furniture (answer: I love the dichotomy/juxtaposition). But in 2013, I think these are the greatest things since sliced bread. And for less than $100 for the double-wide I think I can commit...for now.

Now tell me this isn't the best idea ever:

It's a bar you mount to your backsplash and can hang anything from it. The adorable little bucket's for sale, but there's hooks for mugs and other organizers that really convinced me we need this. Plus the Oil Rubbed Bronze will add the perfect amount of darkness to our light kitchen, which coincidentally is already accented in ORB. Who can drill through tile without cracking it?

One last, non-Ikea find I have to have:


This little prince comes from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. For some unknown reason (similar to my need for office furniture) I really want a linen cabinet in our master bath. Our bath will be quite large and I think it'd be beautiful to have a substantial piece of furniture showing off all the fluffy towels. This one has some cool vintagey details, like the door pull on both sides that I think would help our home seem more established. No, it's not $49.99 or I'd have bought it already; my photography very artfully cut off the "1" in the hundred spot. 

I'm trying to mentally prepare myself to furnish a whole house and I think my lil shopping trip was definitely the boost I needed. I still have several areas to decorate that I didn't even think about on this trip (master bedroom, breakfast nook/sitting area, outside) but now the ball is rolling. 

Please don't think I'm going to do wall-to-wall Ikea; this wouldn't be an exciting blog if I did. It's just so practical and affordable that I think it will give us a great base to furnish an empty house. My plan is to blend these versatile, affordable pieces (that everyone seems to have) with more unique finds so that I can create my own style.

1 comment:

  1. I can't seem to convince my phone to actually leave comments, so here we go...

    I adore West Elm. Adore. They're very reasonably priced for being a part of the Pottery Barn family, but you're right, they're a bit too much for furnishing an entire house. I've used a few select pieces from there mixed in with decorations and furniture from World Market, Ikea, and Target, and it blends nicely while still looking super nice.

    And as for furniture, I know you've tried World Market in the past and found comfy stuff, so I'd check it out again for stuff like a sofa, because if you catch them during the right sale, you can get some really nice quality stuff for Ikea prices, and if you're lucky, that price will include the washable slip covers :)

    Loving the blog!

    - Jenn