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living room sofa makeover


 I shared the new arrangement for my living room, but I thought I would share an “official” before and after of the sofa.  The sofa that was in my living room was a lovely piece my aunt let me “borrow long term.”  I slipcovered it in drop cloths and used it for about four years before I gave it back to their side of the family.  It belonged to my uncle’s mother and now that I have a steady stream of furniture coming and going because of my business (and that’s what I do), I offered it back to them and they accepted.

So, I was on the hunt for a new sofa for the living room.  Since our TV isn’t in that room and it’s more of a formal space right off the front door, so the sofa can be a “pretty sofa.”  It does need to be comfortable, but it doesn’t get the heavy use of our family room sofa.  I checked out Craig’s List first and hit it at just the right time!  I found this beautiful Gustavian sofa for $100 back in the spring.

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My dad delivered the old sofa to my aunt around Thanksgiving, so I needed to get busy on the sofa that’s been hanging out in the basement for a few months.  I painted the blonde wood in MMSMP Grain Sack and distressed it lightly.  I did use the bonding agent, so I wouldn’t get any chipping, and finished it off with a light coat of White Wax mixed with Antiquing Wax.  I’ll share about that later, but Abbe discovered that mixing the two together makes an amazing gray wax!

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And I upholstered it in the antique hemp sheets I recently sold in my shop (I did order more!)  They have become my favorite for upholstery since they are heavy duty and have a lot of character.

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The gimp trim is the natural French gimp from Online Fabric Store and it’s just hot glued on.  As with all of my upholstery projects, this one’s not perfect.  In order to save fabric, I allowed the seams to show and I love the subtle patchwork look and it came in handy when I needed to add some more fabric to one side of the back, because I pulled the other side too much and ended up being a little short!

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I even accidentally had one seam inside out and I assured my mom I would hide it in the back, but somehow it ended up right in the front!  Oh well.  It just adds to the character of the piece.  It would look bad with most fabrics, but it works with this one.

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Here she is all done…


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Actually, Jeff still needs to add some supports and tighten a few places on the back of the frame, so the back is still un-upholstered.  It’s sturdy, but there are supposed to be two center supports under the sofa, so it doesn’t bow in the middle.  We have one that fell out and just needs to be glued in, but the other one was missing, so Jeff is going to make one.  You can see the sofa is bowing slightly in the middle and it’s putting strain on the outer legs and arms.  It’s an easy fix that will sure things up and make it last for many years.

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I’m going to cover the bolster in either some grain sack scraps or pieces of an antique white linen sheet.  Not sure, yet, but there will definitely be pleats involved.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make a tutorial on this one, but I had to sort of figure it out as I went and I messed up in a few places, so I would’ve just been leading you astray anyway!  I am excited to share that Jeff is going to be my camera man and editor AND we have a nice new camera and sound equipment AND we just ordered some lighting, so we plan to make a lot more videos.  I always wanted to, but it was hard when I was doing everything and I knew the quality wasn’t good.  Now that I have help, though, I have a big list of videos I want to make, including several for upholstery.

The antlers hanging over the painting were taken down today.  They weren’t really working for me, but it was worth a try!  I think the painting (found at an antique store for about $30) is so pretty on its own.  

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And I moved the Hobby Lobby clock I painted with MMSMP Ironstone from the family room above the piano in the living room.  I like how light and bright it is, since the piano is so visually heavy.  We’re putting 3/4 height wainscoting in the family room, so the clock needed to find a new home, anyway.

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I’ve loved big, old clock faces and reproductions for a while, but they were always so expensive or didn’t look convincing enough for me.  When I found this metal one on clearance at Hobby Lobby, I knew I could paint it to get the look I’ve been after.  I added the Bonding Agent to the milk paint, so it would stick to the slick metal surface.

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And I am still thinking about making new curtains for the living and dining room and I’m swaying even more in that direction.  I ordered another buffalo check swatch to see if it would work for the space.  (The other ones I got had too much green in the blue.)  It has to be perfect to make me want to sew eight new panels!  This is the fabric I’m considering…

If I don’t change the curtain fabric, I would at least like to spruce up the curtains that are currently there.  I made them early on in my drapery-sewing career and it shows.  I’ve learned a lot since then and would like them to look a little sharper.

The kids had a snow day today, so I’ve been building Legos, making snacks and not getting as much work done as I’d hoped, especially on the heals of Christmas break! The work always seems to wait for me, though, so I’m sure it will still be there on Monday…

MMS_DividerI shared this at Thrifty Decor Chick’s Before & After party.

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  1. I think the buffalo check would look great! I think you should go for it! And I agree…that painting is amazing!! The frame…so pretty!

  2. Sono rimasta incantata da tanta bellezza e da tanta bravura nel dare nuova vita a questo bellissimo divano!
    un abbraccio

  3. Eleanor says:

    The fabric piecing on your sofa makes me so happy. It makes me think of my mother in law’s couch that she bought in the 70’s. By the 90’s the cushions were getting threadbare. She salvaged some excess fabric from underneath and perfectly patched the cushions by following the floral pattern. She was so proud of her work (which really was amazing) that she would show it to everyone who came over. What a wonderful woman. Loved her.

  4. I am new to your blog and just love your style! I am so amazed when folks can make their own drapes and upholster furniture! I truly love the brighter blue drapes that you are using now ~ it gives the room that pop of color and have a more chic look…the buffalo plaid has a more country feel to it (not that there is anything wrong with that) …just my 2 cents!

  5. Where did you locate the blue buffalo check shown above? I have been looking for 2 years and keep finding ones that are also too green.

  6. Karen Aamodt says:

    I know this is August, have you done anything yet with the buffalo check drapes? I’ve seen some cute things done with bustle valances. You probably could use some primitive linen/hemp/ etc fabric. Might be an idea. Love the sofa!

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