Monday, 21 January 2013

My Husband's Great Decorating Insight

Recovering an Ottoman

Telfer ottoman "After"

Actually, it was really a team insight made by both of us discussing a decore problem in our house.(Usually I decide and he acquiesces, so in this case I like to give him credit.)

Last spring, he had just come out of the hospital (everything is all right now) with some clear insights about what was important in life. One of these insights was that he wanted the comfortable ottoman in the living room, because it was high enough for him (and our tall sons) to sit on while watching T.V. without having their knees in the ears, like the retro one he wanted to switch out.

The problem was, this is what the comfortable ottoman looked like:
La-Z-Boy Ottoman "Before"

How did this piece ever get into the house? Ignore for a moment the old dog bed, the wrong paint colour, and my desk which I have since moved and the chair I am about to paint.  Focus on the bulbous, ugly brown thing, as some of us called it, or the chocolate donut, as others did.  Notice the middle tufting button which wouldn't stay fixed, causing trays of food to slide off.  We had ordered this thing from La-Z-Boy as we were about to move into the house and had been pressured into this colour. I was also unaware at the time of the texture of fake velvet.  This was the thing my husband wanted in the living room, near the front door.

Luckily, I had recently read Deborah Needleman's The Perfectly Imperfect Home two or three times, and remembered one of her "Nice to Know" tips:  "Because the stuffing for an ottoman is not nearly as important  as it is for a sofa, you can easily buy one cheap from a catalog or find one on eBay," she writes, and I add in my head, or find a five year old chain store one in your home, "then recover it with a fabric that you love."

I just happened to have a fabric that I loved (and love) in mind:  Robert Allen's Silpada in Willow, which I had been considering for curtains, or a chair, or something.  It is a faded linen print, which looks beautiful next to Benjamin Moore's Blue Grass.  Being very agreeable to the newly released patient, I replied, of course you can have it in the living room, as long as we get it recovered to look decent in there. To which he replied, O.K. It was the shortest and best decorating discussion we have ever had.  I phoned Arbutus Tree Interiors in Sechelt and off it went. I asked them to add more tufting and to firm the whole thing up a bit.

A few months later my daughter and I walked onto the porch. We had caught the bus into Vancouver to go to the art gallery and were just returning.  Sitting on the porch, wrapped in plastic, was a beautiful piece of furniture I didn't recognize.  Here it is now, in the living room in morning sun:

La-Z-Boy ottoman with improved tufting. "After"

After: not too bulbous anymore either
Looks so pretty, but still seats men over six feet tall to watch hockey or basketball on T.V.

And makes the living room look better too, with a pattern that coordinates well with the sofa and walls, and is floral without being granny.  Where else can I put this fabulous fabric? "Don't be too matchy-matchy," says my teenage daughter. OK, but maybe just one more chair, and a few more pillows.

How easy it is sometimes to make everyone happy through negotiation.


Sarah Telfer said...

Leaving a comment while I am work. Might work better than the ipad. The comment that was missed originally was how I envy the floral wallpaper and fabric! It seems that when you have to compromise with a spouse who has a design sense we end up being very neutral and beigy:(
Longing for the cottage style..
Love your blog!
Love Sarah

Susan Telfer said...

Thank you Sarah. I am leaning toward cottage style myself, as much as it can work in a new open-concept house.