IKEA bookshelf - but considered

Let’s get philosophical here

I'm a word nerd, always have been. I love learning new fifty-cent words and rolling them around on my tongue.  Juxtaposition. Ossify. Verdigris. Preca...

Spiffy glider

Craigslist win: Porch glider

I am not ALWAYS a failure at Craigslist. The couch was a special circumstance. Usually I am pretty good at finding stuff on there. This glider ...

Disassembled #couchfail2013

#CouchFail2013: How I was misled by...

Buying a couch is stressful business. It has to look good, be sturdy, have decent fabric that won't show dirt or wear, is easy to clean, be comfortabl...

photo (3)edited

Introduction: Megan in Maryland

I'm a 30-something newspaper designer with a husband, a dog, and a cat. I love them all, but we were definitely hitting the limits of our space in...

Let’s get philosophical here

I’m a word nerd, always have been. I love learning new fifty-cent words and rolling them around on my tongue.  Juxtaposition. Ossify. Verdigris. Precambrian.

I’m visual too – I learn best by writing everything down and drawing pictures (even unrelated ones) in the margins of my notes – but I learn best when words and images go together. So maybe it’s no surprise that I love blogging and reading blogs so much. It’s pretty much the ideal medium for a words-and-pictures sort of person.

In that vein, I thought I would do a words-and-pictures sort of post, wherein I talk about the words and feelings I’m trying to keep in mind as I decorate my new home. Read more

Craigslist win: Porch glider

I am not ALWAYS a failure at Craigslist. The couch was a special circumstance. Usually I am pretty good at finding stuff on there.

Spiffy glider

This glider was a Craigslist find. I wanted a front porch swing, but wasn’t sure I had the beams to support one in this porch. My mother suggested a glider, because she is a smart lady! I saw a few I liked, but they seemed priced awfully high. I saw some ugly ones that still cost more than I was willing to pay.

So I started stalking CL gliders. Sure, they were mostly similar to the ones online, but I hoped something cool and fun would come up soon.

And it did! A family in Petworth was moving and selling this guy for $100. They took good care of it and I could tell that they were bummed to part with it, but I was thrilled to have scored it. Fitting it into the CRV was tricky, but manageable, and it fits wonderfully on the porch. If only it would warm up enough so that I could have my coffee out there!

That ugly rug had to go, though, so it was off to IKEA for a better option.

Glider and rug

It’s not 100% perfect – the wind keeps kicking it up and I think I need to get some sort of weight for the side near the stairs – but it brightens everything up. I will probably eventually get something a bit sturdier, but this is perfect for right now. It needs some plants around it for sure (and let’s not even talk about the shrubs in front of the house; they are sad) but it’s looking good right now! Spring, please come faster.

 

#CouchFail2013: How I was misled by Craigslist

Buying a couch is stressful business. It has to look good, be sturdy, have decent fabric that won’t show dirt or wear, is easy to clean, be comfortable, and be large enough to accommodate bodies, but not SO large that it  takes over a room.

Sometimes I think just buying cushions and hanging out on the floor would be a better idea.

Not really. I love lounging on a big, enveloping couch, reading, watching TV, napping…whatever. So getting the right one is really important.

My first thought in my new, bigger living room was: SECTIONAL. I love sectionals. They provide structure in a room, obviously have more than enough seating, and have that awesome corner that my family calls “the Nest.” The Nest is a happy place for snuggling and reading and I wanted one quite a lot.

But then I started looking at sectionals. I figured they wouldn’t be too much more expensive than a regular couch. After all, I didn’t want a giant pit sectional. Just something smallish.

I couldn’t rationalize the prices I was seeing, so I turned to Old Reliable IKEA-land and thought that the Karlstad would suit my needs. It’s comfortable, has good reviews online and, in the Korndal gray cover, seems stain-resistant. You can even change the arms on it so you can use it in different rooms. Sold.

Disassembled

A little voice in the back  of my mind said, “Look on Craigslist. You might find a deal.” And lo and behold, I thought I had. I found a $250, six-year-old Karlstad (OR SO I THOUGHT) not too far from us. We checked it out, found the sofa itself to be in good shape, and rented a truck.

Putting the couch together...

Sure, I wasn’t crazy about the color, but it’s a Karlstad, I thought. I can just get another cover. And sure, the arm is on the wrong side, but I can move those! It’s a Karlstad!

Well, no. We originally set the couch up so it was under the window and blocking the fireplace, with the intent to move it once we got a new cover and the right tools. It fit beautifully there and I had high hopes that, once we switched the arms, it would work just as well the other way.

Akward sofa arrangement

When we got the new cover, we discovered that it was in fact a Karlanda sofa, an older model. The cover didn’t fit and the arms are attached to the base; you cannot change them. A right-arm three seater piece has to always be on that side. Bemz offers covers (not cheaply),and the arrangement wasn’t the WORST thing ever, but it wasn’t quite right. I didn’t like the way it made the room seem smaller and I decided to repost the sofa on Craigslist.

Awkward sofa arrangement, view 2

It sold within a week, and I had already located a possible replacement:

Replacement sofa!

At 1/3 the price of buying it new, the Axis sofa from Crate & Barrel fit our needs well. Sure, we had to lug it down four flights of stairs (which is why The Man looks like he is falling asleep on it in the picture) and drive it across town, but apparently that’s how far we’ll go to avoid paying full price for a couch. It’s crazy comfy and I love the microfiber fabric, which repels pet hair better than anything else in the world. Score!

That said, beware! Not every Craigslist misadventure ends this well. I was really lucky that I found buyers so quickly AND found a replacement on the same day the buyers came. I should have measured more carefully and checked the cover on the IKEA piece to make sure it was really what I thought it was. I definitely measured compulsively when considering the other couch!

Introduction: Megan in Maryland

I’m a 30-something newspaper designer with a husband, a dog, and a cat. I love them all, but we were definitely hitting the limits of our space in our 750-square foot condo in Northern Virginia.

When my husband’s job moved from the Pentagon to Fort Meade, Maryland, we knew it was time to start looking for a place with space to grow.

Greta the dog and Olive the cat

Greta the dog and Olive the cat

Our house search was complicated by the fact that I work in downtown D.C. and my hours are not 9-5, so commuter rail isn’t an option. But we found a great little place in Prince George’s County. It’s on Metro and my commute is almost exactly the same as it was in Virginia. My husband’s has been cut in half. So we are all kinds of happy.

We got almost all of the things we wanted: a fenced in yard, a garage, a basement, two bathrooms, four bedrooms, and a fireplace. The only thing I’m missing is a screened in porch. We have a sun room, but it just isn’t the same.

The house was built in 1940 and is in great shape, but it has some oddities. It’s an old house that hasn’t always been updated thoughtfully – or at all – and there are lots of things to do! I’m excited to get started but it’s going to be a long process to make the house really, truly what we want it to be.

I plan to chronicle it all here, so stay tuned for a list of projects and plans! Plus, coming soon: CouchFail 2013. I know you can’t wait. In the meantime, check out my Tumblr and my Flickr page for more pics and thoughts. And be sure to like our page on Facebook!