The Story of a Couch

22 04 2010

(Thanks to Alan for the idea)

The Ole Couch Being Used in the Study at the Vinyl Village

I’ve always had pretty nice homes. Never fancy or in the most exclusive neighborhoods, but I think most people who have visited my places would agree that they’ve been clean, well designed, and tastefully put together. I can honestly say that none of my college apartments even looked like college apartments. Part of that is occupational hazard, part of it is that I am a great bargain hunter, and part of it is that, when I must, I can bring together a bunch of discongruous cheap junk and make it look like it belongs together.

The Ole Couch Being Sun Bleached at My Apartment

The truth is, I don’t have much of what any “stuff snob” would consider “good stuff”. No fine antiques. No celebrated original artworks. I buy what I like, what I can afford, and what I need, and make it work. There are maybe a half dozen things in my house that I really LIKE. These are the things that I would take with me even if I’d won the lottery and were moving into a mansion full of new stuff. (ignoring the obvious family photos, books, and sentimental trinkets) There’s the chair from my great grandparents house, it’s wooden arms and legs wearing the scars of 60 years of use. There is a pair of prints by Walter Valentini, one the first “adult” things I remember buying, the other a gift from a dear friend that I had reframed to match my original one. And then, there is my sofa. It might have to be tucked into the sitting area of a guest room in that mansion, but I’d take it with me.

It’s the first piece of furniture I ever bought. I ordered it custom built to my specifications and paid for it little by little over my first summer in college. Who knows how many JC Penny credit cards, Caller ID packages, or life insurance benefits I peddled as a telemarketer that summer to pay for it? I spent more on it than I probably should have, but it had a sleeper in it, and I reasoned (correctly) that it would serve a wonderful dual purpose in my first studio apartment as both sofa and bed.

The first day I had it, my family came to my wee college apartment to help get me settled in. Dad, stepmom, littlest brother (who was 5 or 6 at the time), and stepmoms best friend. It only took a few hours to whip the small space into shape, but as stepmom’s friend stood on the back of the couch to hang a picture, littlest brother chided her “Rita! We don’t stand on furniture!” Good lookin’ out for my sofa.

That first year, I was rather particular with the sofa. The fabric was a light tan, and while it had been treated, I feared stains. If anyone ate on it, I covered it with a big ole comforter. I was visibly nervous if anyone had a drink on it. And so you can imagine my horror when a friend and her new boyfriend came for a visit, and after coming back to my place from a big BBQ lunch, he plopped his ass on my sofa only to get up and realize he had sat in BBQ sauce at the restaurant.

We wiped it up. But it didn’t come off. Only later, using a special conconction of cleaners and my friend’s toothbrush, did I get the sauce out.

But that was the first of many homes that sofa had. As I count, it has lived in four college apartments counting that first one. Five apartments once I started my career, one house, and now one condo. Plus two stints in storage, once at my grandmother’s and once in the store room of a place I worked part time. That’s a lot of moving, folks. But it has held up well. It needs a little stuffing, the fabric is showing it’s age, and most telling of it’s age is that the back is bleached almost white–the victim of UV damage as it sat for two years in front of a huge window at my last apartment.

So once I moved into my new place, I started to look for it’s replacement. Most everything I saw that wasn’t completely out of my price range looked an awful lot like my old one. So I made a couple of calls to see what it would cost to just reupholster it, and it was half the price of  buying a new one. So now I get to keep my tattered old couch, and I’m glad.  It’s a good piece. Plain, classic lines that work with whatever pillows I’ve thrown on it over the years.  And it’s full of memories…the ones I already mentioned and a lot more. I can’t count how many people have crashed on it over the years. How many bottles of wine have been enjoyed on it, how many movies have been watched.

So, it’s getting some new life breathed into it. Maybe I’ll get fifteen more years of memories out of it.




11 responses

23 04 2010
The Incredible Woody

I LOVE that sofa! It looks so damn comfy!

PS – You are exactly what I need in a designer. Anyone that can “bring together a bunch of discongruous cheap junk and make it look like it belongs together” is right up my alley:)

23 04 2010
The Vinyl Villager

i wish it were deeper, its not quite big enough to snuggle up two-deep.
Well, invite me on up! Im cheap, will work for wine. 😉

23 04 2010

I think it’s great you are sprucing it up and keeping it! I hope you show us the new luck when it’s done.

23 04 2010

*new LOOK, not luck… what the heck?! Hahaha.

23 04 2010
The Vinyl Villager

he he he. Will do. They said “two weeks” which probably means Ill have it back by Christmas. I sent off a chair to be covered too, having both pieces done for less than I would have paid for a cheap new sofa. Woo hoo for bargains.

24 04 2010

And how many sex acts have been performed on it.

24 04 2010
The Vinyl Villager

ooo I hadnt even thought of that…
I will say it is hard, but not impossible, to inadvertantly flip it over.

25 04 2010

Yeaah… definitely got more out of this idea than I woulda thought. LOL

I think it’s cool that you have been able to keep your couch for that long! Once we had the kids, our couch was destined for ruin. But it definitely served its purpose for 8+ years.

10 05 2010
The Vinyl Villager

Alan, you ended up in my spam catcher. I almost missed your comment. 8 years with kids is a long run!

25 04 2010
The Girl from the Ghetto

Imagine me singing this ala Madonna – “He had style, he had face, he gave couches his good grace.”

I love this post. I had a yunky ass ghetto plaid but comfy couch that made the rounds with me to many of my 29 moves. And, that couch was third hand, passed on from friend to friend. When I finally bought my first real set of living room furniture, I passed it on to its forth owner, and that couch still breathes today. My couches now are eight years old, look brand spanking new, and everyone who sees them loves them. I’ll never get rid of them, unless I get a house someday, but I’ll be making sure they go off to my stepdaughter to furnish her own college apartment someday.

10 05 2010
The Vinyl Villager

My taste in colors and styles changes every few years, but what I like in the basics is pretty consistent.

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