So here’s the story… Mad woman with baby and toddler seeks extra projects to take on and longs for a vintage sofa. Quick sale of old sofa is rapidly followed by arrival of new one, and they all lived happily ever after in Danish teak heaven.
And that’s where the record player suddenly screeches to a halt, and I come back to reality, surrounded by broken webbing, linen blend fabric and bits of foam in various states of disintegration.
It all started back in the summer when an idea came to me one day that it was time to get rid of the giant four seater Ikea Ekeskog sofa which has been in the lounge pretty much since I bought my house nearly 12 years ago. It’s always been amazingly comfy but it’s huge and I thought it would be nice to have something which fitted in more with the vintage decor. I longed for a sleeker, Danish-style model and so started looking on Ebay. Most sofas were too expensive or too knackered to contemplate but then the sofa of my dreams appeared…
It was a teak sofabed, original covers, but looked to be in useable condition. And best of all, it looked reasonably simple to recover as it was basically just four loose cushions sitting on a frame. Very soon after that, I bought it and arranged a delivery date with the seller then started browsing upholstery fabrics and visualising it in the now-empty space where the Ikea sofa had sat for years.
After a few weeks, the day finally arrived and there it was! Getting it out of the van was simple enough, but there then followed almost two truly horrible hours of drama when the sofa got wedged in the living room doorway and we had to frantically push furniture out of the way and keep trying to drag it in at different angles while the children cried (and I nearly joined them)
And then finally it was in the lounge and surrounded by all the nice vintage things and looking like it had always been there.
Lets not forget though that it was bought as a bit of a project and it was going to need recovering as the foam was very old, the fabric worn and the webbing on its way out. Two months have now passed since it arrived, and technically this was supposed to be a blog post showing off the end result. But life doesn’t always work like that, especially when you can only use your sewing machine between the hours of 10pm and 1am. Lets just say it’s been a journey, a steep learning curve and a hard lesson in taking on stuff you don’t actually have time for…
So, the upholstery… I spent a while agonising over the right shade of grey, then found the ideal mid-tone, and amazingly then discovered an end roll of the fabric of my dreams on Ebay at a bargain price. I’ve been busy since it arrived pulling apart the old covers, drawing patterns and sewing like crazy at night. I discovered to my horror halfway through making the new covers that I’d somehow managed to use the wrong side of the fabric. Initially I decided I would continue as it was but it’s annoyed me increasingly so I’m now going to have to unpick it all and resew the right way round. I’m so cross at myself, but it was almost inevitable that something would go wrong in amongst the sleep deprivation and sporadic sessions on the sewing maching.
As well as covers, 24 new covered buttons are needed. I started off with the best of intentions to make them all myself, but I did one, gasped in horror, then crept into my local upholsterers and tentatively asked if they could do it for me. And by some miracle they could, and for the same price as the rubbishy handmade ones I was going to take the best part of a year to churn out.
I’m a little embarrassed to say that I didn’t really factor in renovation costs when I bought the sofa and I think I’m still in denial about it all. The worst part is the foam cushions – I had no idea it was going to cost at least the price of the sofa again to get replacement cushions, and as you’ll see from the photo below, keeping the old ones wasn’t an option. In the end, as it was so prohibitively expensive (and I’m currently on maternity leave so funds are a bit limited) I’ve replaced the very worn bottom cushions only, and am keeping the back ones for the time being as they’re still in good condition. It’s still run into hundreds of pounds but it’s a workable compromise for now.
And the webbing? Well it’s been gradually falling apart since the sofa arrived and in the next few days I’m hoping to treat myself to a roll of Pirelli’s finest plus a few end clips. Apparently you need an engineer’s vice to attach the clips but I’ll worry about that next week. For now, it’s just a small detail…
And so that’s how far I’ve progressed – hours and hours of work and an empty wallet, with little to show for my pain so far. It sometimes feels like The Tiger Who Came To Tea as it sits there benignly but at the same time discreetly draining me of time, money and my sanity.
However, I’m really, really hoping that by Christmas I’ll be able to show you a beautiful, grey, buttoned teak sofa bed. And with a matching footstool! Because the sofa restoration wasn’t quite enough challenge, and so a knackered teak and upholstery footstool is being pulled apart at the moment too…
I’ll be back very soon with the finished article, I promise. And my family will still be speaking to me hopefully.