Faking a Sofa Table

Sometimes you have awkwardly large items you need to store, and no place to do so. In our case, two large speakers and two bar stools. Where to put them? One option is to get rid of them, but I really, really love these bar-height stools and look forward to using them in a future home, once we’ve moved on from our current apartment. The speakers will be cool when hooked up to a turntable someday (unfortunately, the turntable we have does not have any output capabilities except the speakers in its unit) so we’re holding on to those for the future as well.

That said, when you’re dealing with just over 800 square feet, every space must be maximized to its full potential. There is no spare bedroom, basement, or garage to hoard items in–which is quite the learning curve for my since the last place we lived had all three of those hoarding storage solutions.

I really (really, really, really) like the console table that John built to go behind the Petersik’s sofa in the living room over on Young House Love. It has a ton of hidden storage and adds a lot of dimension to the room. I thought perhaps I could take a clue from that and come up with some kind of storage/hiding place solution in our apartment! All it took was a little brainstorming and one pre-finished shelf board at Home Depot.

I love the look that a sofa table adds to a room. It gives the space much more dimension than just having the couch shoved up against the wall and in the corner.

The finished product:

The untrained eye would never guess what is going on behind the couch! It is a fantastic place to keep some of my more attractive (and more frequently thumbed-through) design books, a few pretty tchotchkes, and a much-needed lamp. It also provides an alternative place to put snacks and drinks while watching TV, since the coffee table is simply too dog-accessible.

And a peek behind the curtain:

The cloth runner (from Target) is up there for two reasons: a) it looks pretty, and b) the shelf board is a little shorter than I like so this hides that awkward fact pretty well.

If I ever get around to it, another shelf board slid on to the lower bar stool rungs will be a great addition for a little bit more concealed storage.

And a bonus shot, with a little explanation:

I realize I never showed the world the back of the couch cushions! When we purchased the gray microsuede for our upholstery, it was a remnant and about a yard short of the needed amount to cover all the cushions. We went ahead and selected an inexpensive contrasting canvas printed with french postmark stamps (I think?) to make up the difference. So far we have been able to arrange the furniture so that it remains hidden.

Now you know our (not so dirty) little secret! Have you ever gotten creative with something like this? I bet they do a lot of creative “faking it” for furniture on TV and movie sets, don’t you?


Downsized Living Room

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you my living room and it was looking a-something like this…

Nowadays, after bidding aideu to the blue couch inherited from college friends (we passed it on to yet another college student… perhaps it will live forever in the dorms of college students) we are working with a whole mess of mid-century modern furniture…

I love MCM furniture, very much. But I abide by a rule I read somewhere on the interwebs that said that you should only have 30% of your furniture in a given room “match” as far as time period is concerned. And the coffee table, couch, and teak-and-wicker chairs in the background are currently making up the majority of the furniture in the room, making it a little too MCM all at once. In the new place I hope to get some kind of modern industrial shelving unit or TV stand to offset the couch and coffee table, and have the chairs I reupholstered in a different room (or different vignette) to break up the Mad Men party.

From a different angle, I moved the pink and tan rug slightly and set up Doug’s cajon on it for an extra seat and to anchor the rug down. Mosey likes to move the zebra pillow and sit on it to chew his dog toys. I think in an alternate world, this would be the perfect spot for a white leather Moroccan pouf (I am constantly kicking myself for not bringing one home from Morocco–I would’ve saved like 75% off Joss & Main‘s asking price).

Here’s a never-before seen angle of the living room, our media setup. It has never before been seen for good reason… it ain’t much to look at. We’re saving up to get a proper media unit with shelves and doors to hide DVDs and video games– instead of our current setup which has video games stashed in those crates (John Derian for Target some time ago) and the DVDs in a separate room altogether. The pull mechanism in the bamboo blinds is busted, explaining their haphazard hang. And the cable cord coming in from the windowsill? I can’t even. I do love the bicycle print we picked up in Lawrence, KS a while ago, though.

The good news is, the light and airy bones of the vintage furniture lend themselves well to furniture Tetris

They will fit fabulously on the moving truck!

What do you think? Loving the Mad Men look, or do you want a bit of contrast to break up the teak party? Wanna come help load up our moving truck in a few weeks? 

Loving the Living Room

Well, slowly but surely, I’m continuing to make my way around the house for my room tours. Just in time to move.

The living room, while the most energy-inefficient room in the house (several degrees above/below the other rooms, depending on the season) is my favorite room in the house. It’s gotta be because of the IKEA curtains I had my heart set on for quite some time.

Here’s a little secret: with four windows, curtains can add up very fast. These IKEA beauties weren’t cheap at $60 per set (I mean, that’s not a ton but more than curtains at Target would be). Since the windows were so small anyway, I thought a whole panel would look a bit strange on each side of the window. Things would get really heavy really fast. Do you see where I am going with this? I cut each panel up the center and hemmed them, thereby making 8 panels from 4. Making that first big irreversible cut was so hard to bring myself to do! I’am really happy now, though. The bamboo blinds came with the house and I hated them until we got the curtains up, and now I love them. Isn’t life funny?

When we first toured the house we were to move into, I had visions of making everything white to look like whitewashed adobe walls you’d see in interiors of the southwest. So, that’s what we did! I feel that it helps the walls seem cooler and with the numerous but relatively small windows the room has, I needed light to bounce around as much as possible. So, with several coats of white on the walls, I was determined to infuse color into the room using textiles, art, and furniture, and prove to myself (a color addict) that a white room can be colorful!

The mantel proved more challenging than I originally thought it would be, since it’s pretty shallow. I know it looks deep in the next picture, but trust me there isn’t really room to layer objects (like Emily Henderson’s recent video recommends).  Behind that large frame is a little cut-out, with a bumpy, non-functioning outlet in the bottom of it that makes it impossible to use as a showcase for doodads… yep, so we just covered it up. I like the height that the frame gives to the all-white fireplace, and it was a good opportunity to showcase some wedding pictures as well.

These photos are from the time I shot my home tour (in March?) but not much has changed. I have done some rearranging here and there, and I finally painted the inside of the fireplace in with flat black, and we sort-of-but-not-really finished the dresser by the front door. Another post for another time, that.


  • Blue couch, free. My, my, my. This blue couch has been passed down through several dorm rooms, to Lisa (my old roommate) and now to us.
  • Gray couch, free, reupholstery, $130. Last summer we drove to St Louis for our anniversary and then made a hop on over to the town where my dad grew up in Illinois (and where my grandma still lives) to pick up this bonafide family heirloom. The cushions (original to the 60s or 70s) were pretty rotted out so we got brand new cushions in a cool gray microsuede we picked up at Hancock Fabrics on clearance.
  • Coffee Table, Goodwill. Refreshed from a pretty sorry state.
  • Sofa table (holding the TV & Playstation), handed down to me when a neighbor passed away [not shown].
  • Side chair, free, plus materials for my first reupholstery project.
  • Side table (gray), got used when our alma mater had a garage sale. Side table (wood), is actually a drum!
  • Entryway dresser, Goodwill–repainted using house paint (the same color as the guest room). Only two of the drawers were usable so I transformed the bottom section into a shoe catchall!
  • Rugs, both natural fiber from World Market. The circle one from 2005 and the jute one from last fall.

When my in-laws recently decided to list the house for sale, I was pleased that the realtor agreed to just use the photos I’d taken of each room for my house tour on the listing. My first foray into real estate photography! If I want to get serious, I’ve gotta get a wider-angle lens, but I told him to pass my name along to any other agents in the office if they liked my photos! 

For a whole house tour, click here, and for other room details, you can check out the guestroom, bedroom, and bathroom!