“We’ll all float on alright”

I’m a huge fan of floating shelves! They are so modern, functional, classic, simple, and elegant. Floating shelves also really make your trinkets pop! While browsing the web I came across a post on Young House Love’s blog on how to build your very own floating shelves.  I won’t bore you with a detailed play-by-play. Rather you read this post for all the details on how to build them.

With my dad’s help we were able to follow the directions to create custom floating shelves for our home. I decided that I wanted 2 shelves above the buffet in the living room, and 2 shelves over the toilet in my bathroom. They turned out so great they have quickly become my favorite addition to the house yet.

Living Room Floating Shelves:
Since we moved the buffet into the living room I felt like it needed something to anchor it in the space. Floating shelves were the perfect solution because they are installed it makes the buffet seem like it belongs. Not to mention it’s a perfect place to store some fancy glassware and serving ware. Functional AND beautiful – swoon.
LivingRoomShelvesBathroom Floating Shelves:
Prior to the shelves, there was a mini storage thing attached to the bathroom wall. It wasn’t totally hideous…it just wasn’t my style. So, my first task was to remove it, patch the holes, sand the wall, and paint. I thought I did a pretty AWESOME job…if I do say so myself. You can’t event tell, look!

BathroomShelvesAfter that was completed, I was able to hang my 2 mini shelves in the same place. It really makes my trinkets really shine. Before you couldn’t even see what was in the glass case.
These shelves were surprisingly simple to install and are such a gem. Now that I have them I want floating shelves everywhere. I think I can survive for a little while with just 4…but I see more in my future.



One thing you can always expect is that I will constantly change my mind. (Insert Taylor rolling his eyes here). He asked me recently, “When are we going to be done with the house?” Isn’t that precious? He thinks that one day we’ll actually ‘finish’ the house and never change, update, renovate, revamp, or tweak ever again. I said to him, “If that ever happens we’ll just have to move.” I’m not sure if I saw terror or disbelief in his eyes. Maybe both?

On that note, I totally re-strategized the downstairs. The whole thing was bothering me because something about it felt ‘off’. The most difficult part about it was it wasn’t just 1 thing that I could easily fix. The whole space felt disjointed, thrown-together and otherwise confusing. And the kicker is that I ACTUALLY tried to avoid all of those things intentionally. Oh wells.

After many laps around the house, 100’s of pins, and many sleepless nights later…eureka! I had this glorious moment of clarity in the middle of the night because I’d figured out how to fix it…fix everything! So, here’s my midnight brilliance.

First up is the living room!

At first we decided to create channel seating surrounding the fireplace. There were tons of photos that made this option so homey and welcoming. However, our room is so long that this arrangement wasn’t working for me. For instance:

  • This arrangement left weird space on each side of the room. The space wasn’t quite big enough to be a full space, yet wasn’t small enough to ignore.
  • This arrangement also didn’t provide a lot of space between our TV unit and the sofa/chairs. It wasn’t impossible to get through but it wasn’t easy.
  • This arrangement didn’t leave a lot of space on the far right side of the room. This side of the room houses the kitchen table and doors to the backyard. Since we spend most of our time on that side of the room I wanted more space.


Without a great layout it was difficult for me to get excited about furniture, artwork, or accessories because I was constantly wondering why it felt “off.” Therefore, I knew that we had to re-evaluate the living room’s layout before I could move on. So, after some thinking we:

  1. Re-arranged the sofa and chairs. We put the sofa in front of the fireplace…GASP! I know we’re such rebels. But here’s the thing. We never use the fireplace because we live in North Carolina and it never gets that cold here. Moving the sofa opened up the room so much and makes it so much more inviting. Every time I walk in I feel like it’s saying “Hey, glad you’re home, come and sit!”
  2. Moved the chairs to the left side of the room to make a seating area. In between the chairs we put our fun little bar cart rather than a boring side table. A friend that was visiting said, “I like your little Mad Men area.” I thought that was such a perfect complement because that’s what I was going for. (I had just watched like 3 seasons back-to-back.)
  3. Moved the buffet into the room on the far left wall because we wanted the right side of the room to serve as an eating/serving area. So, obviously the buffet made sense. It actually fills that space quite nicely.
  4. Add another table to the left side of the room. Since it’s still in progress I’m keeping it a secret. So check back for more details.
  5. Lastly, the table area was originally going to consist of some banquet built-ins. However, after much thought and deliberation we decided against it. Instead we’re going to buy a little settee instead and I’m much happier with that decision.

Once we re-arranged the room totally opened up and started to feel like home. We also felt like it was closer to being ‘us’. Since we’re pretty confident on the furniture now we started hanging some pictures and art. I’ll be sure to add photos of those as we go.

Next, the dining room!

This room changes more often than a teenage girl getting ready for a first date. I think I’ve changed my mind about this room 3 times now? Yep, 3 times.

  1. Dining room – every southern girl must have a dining room to entertain dinner guests, right? Well that’s what I thought I had to do. So, when we moved in I had grand plans to create a bold yet classy dining room. Complete with dining room table, chairs, buffet and china cabinet. Since we don’t entertain tons of guests at the same time the room sat empty and sad. The only time we used the room was to pass from the stairs to the kitchen. Eventually it hit me and I thought, “Why does this room have to be a dining room? It seems like such a waste of space.” That led me to think about our house in general, which isn’t a huge home. It seemed so illogical to let such a large room sit there unused. That’s when I pitched the idea to Taylor that we turn our dining room into a music room, which of course he loved.
  2. Music Room 1.0 – Unlike myself, Taylor is a gifted musician. He can literally pick up and instrument and learn to play it quickly. I get super jelly because I’m musically challenged. But we’ve all got our gifts.  To create the space we:
    • swapped the buffet for desk so he could have a place to work on his music.
    • brought the large chair and ottoman in so he could sit and read.
    • left the china cabinet because it’s such a small piece it doesn’t look out of place.
    • hung his 3 guitars on the long wall so they’d be easy to access.
    • After about a month the whole space began to bother me again. Something about it was off because it felt jumbled and thrown together.  Then it hit me, when you come in from the front door it’s the first room you see. And what you saw was 3 large guitars, a random desk, and a china cabinet. There was no synergy to bring all these pieces together. So, I began to think….
  3. Music Room 2.0 – I still liked the idea of the music room…I just needed to figure out how to bring all the pieces together (without spending a ton of money). Here’s what we decided to do:
  • switch the desk around to the long wall (What you see when you enter the front door)
  • flank the desk with 2 Ikea bookcases. They will actually look like a built-in because they’ll fit so perfectly. This way, I’ll be able to decorate the shelves with books and trinkets rather than 3 guitars.
  • place the chair in front of the shelves on the left side along with a little lamp for reading.
  • place 1 guitar with stand on the right side of the room.

FirstFloorLayoutI’m confident that this new layout will be the one that sticks. After we’re done, I think this will be a beautiful and functional space. What more could a girl ask for?!

Kitchen 1 – Christine 0

Our kitchen has been bugging me for a while. There’s just a lot going on that I didn’t (until recently) know how to handle. When we painted the house I had 2 days to decide all the paint colors for the house. I give myself mad props that I love all of my paint selections except 1, the kitchen. Which happens to be the most pain-in-the-butt room to paint. So, when I mentioned that we’d have to repaint the kitchen Taylor gave me the stink-eye. I let it slide because I want to give myself the stink-eye.

Currently the kitchen is painted a rich espresso brown. Which is a really pretty color and I still actually like it, just not in the kitchen. Why? Because I thought the kitchen would get more light than it actually does (well it gets gorgeous light during the day…but I rarely see the house during those hours). So, most of the time it’s super dark in there and not welcoming. The reason I’ve struggled with the kitchen is because of the combos that are going on in there. The cabinets are a honey color, and the granite (yeah, nice right?) is mostly black with flecks of brown, green, and turquoise. It wouldn’t have been my first choice but it’s actually quite pretty. So, when choosing a paint color I went with the brown since it was the easy choice.

DarkKitchenSee what I mean about it looking dark? On to the changes! I decided that I needed some inspiration so I went over to the Tile Shop. I took my paint swatch sample. Using the current bathroom color (Retreat) and found a lighter version for the kitchen. It’s called Sea Salt. This way I wouldn’t be introducing a totally different color. I also took photos of the granite. Here are the options:


Which option did I decide? Drum roll……

  • Option 1 – Pulling out way too much green and was leaning towards masculine to me. It was also $30 a sq. foot. MOVING ON!
  • Option 2 – was beautiful! But when I saw it with the granite it became super busy. There was too much going on in my opinion. Plus it was $24 a sq. foot. NEXT!
  • Option 3 – seemed like it was going to be too simple. However, when paired next to the granite it really amplified the colors in it. And it was $7 a sq. foot. WINNER winner chicken dinner!

With option 3 all squared away I can rest easy knowing that I’ve figured out this room. All it needed was a great tile and paint selection!

Winter Project Mash-up

Despite the lack of activity on the blog we’ve actually been quite busy this winter. With a lot of our big projects completed, we’re finally able to start working on some of the smaller details. These details are exciting because they start making a house feel like our home. I’m currently obsessed with these “Best of 2012” lists that are all over the internet. So, without further adieu, here’s the Cashwell project mash-up.

1. Type Tray Earring Holder

EarRingImageI saw tons of photos showing how people turned old type trays into jewelry holders. Guess what? I had an old type tray AND paint. So, I thought to myself, “Huh, that looks easy!” Life Tip: When you think it’s going to be easy…it won’t be.  In all honesty, this was the most complicated and frustrating DIY project that I’ve completed. I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, she’s over-reacting, it’s just a little paint.” I get it, I really do…but it’s not. Here’s what went down.

  • Step 1 – Clean the tray. Using warm, lightly soapy, water I rubbed down the whole piece. Making sure I got all the dog hair, dirt, and dust out of all the nooks and crannies.
  • Step 2 – Paint coat 1 of the tray. Since, I decided I wanted a simple glossy white I didn’t need to prime it. Thank God. Do you know how long it takes to paint all those little boxes? They each have 5 faces that need painting. Lets do a little math shall we: 1 tray back + 4 tray sides + (96 boxes x 5 faces) = insanity, epic hand cramps, and tears.
  • Step 3 – Paint coat 2. Yep, you gotta do all that again!
  • Step 4 – Have a mini melt-down because you realize it needs another coat.
  • Step 5 – Paint coat 3.
  • Step 6 – Have a drink during this phase of false security while you watch your handy paint job dry.
  • Step 7 – Simply screw in the eye-hooks and hardware. I thought those little screws would just…oh I dunno, SCREW IN? Nope, they did nothing. I had a perfectly painted tray box silently crushing my will to live.
  • Step 8 – Give up. Contemplate throwing it out the window.
  • Step 9 – Get mad. Become determined to finish this stupid project because you’re not a quitter and you can’t let the tray beat you.
  • Step 10 – Drill TINY starter holes into all 96 boxes.
  • Step 11 – Buy another tiny drill bit. Why, because you snapped that drill bit in half. Yep, those spaces are small and apparently drill bits don’t bend. So….
  • Step 12 – Drill holes in all the remaining boxes.
  • Step 13 – Screw in all eye-hooks by hand. Not skipping a beat when you completely destroy your manicure.
  • Step 14 – Be half-excited when you’re done because you know it’s tainted your soul.

Even though this project wasn’t fun to complete. It’s actually really fun to use. It does exactly what I thought it would do. Having all my earrings and bracelets in one place I can quickly choose a look for the day. However, I do give it a good stink-eye from time to time.

2. Necklace holder

NecklaceImageHi, my name is Christine and I’ve got a necklace problem. I’ve got a really nice acrylic box from the container store; however, I could only fit 1/3 of them into that space. Therefore, I was only wearing the baubles that were easy to find. I knew I needed a solution that allowed me easy access to all my necklaces. After a lot research I decided on a couple of things.

  • How do I organize them? Currently, I had them organized in a box placed into individual sandwich baggies. Even though they weren’t tangled I knew that if I couldn’t see them I wouldn’t wear them. So, I decided that I’d need to hang them up some how.
  • Do I want the necklaces to be decoration? My bathroom only has one wall. So I had to choose between displaying my necklaces or something else. I decided that I didn’t want the necklaces to be on “display.” I wanted to save that precious wall space for other décor (link this to floating shelf post).

My mom found this Elfa tie organizer and I knew it was the way to go. It has tons of hooks for future purchases, the hooks are deep giving my bib necklaces plenty of space, And it was SUPER easy to hang. I decided to hang it in the closest so I can see all my necklaces but they don’t have to be the only décor element in my bathroom.

3. Stair Rail

StairRailImageOur home was built in 1984 (coincidentally the same year my hubs and I were born). It’s common for homes built during this time to have natural, or dark stained trim. Luckily, the previous owners decided to paint all the trim in the house glossy white before we got here.  However, they neglected to pain the stair rails. I’m assuming they didn’t attempt it because they are against the carpet, thus making it difficult to paint. However, I’m not thrilled with the carpet anyways. It’s rather old, lumpy, and otherwise gross. So, getting a little paint on it was the least of my worries. It was a quick win in my opinion.

We already had all the supplies:  paint, brush, and drop cloth. I gave it a few coats of high gloss white and it really makes a difference! The railing blends into the room rather than sticking out…which was my goal. We’ve still gotta paint the long hand rail up the stairs…but we’ve have to wait until it stops raining.

4. Closet Shelves

closetImageThe closet in the 3rd “bedroom” is the second largest closet in the house. So, it was pivotal for it to be functional and be able to organize our stuff. It originally only had 1 shelf about 5 ft. up with a clothes poll below it. Can you say useless?! So, we took that out and measured the space. We decided that we wanted 4 shelves total … because we’re short people and we didn’t want things on the top shelf to be literally out of reach.

Ideally there would be an Elfa shelving solution in every closet in our home. However, this is real life and I had a coupon to Lowes so that’s where we went. We spent WAY too much time deciding, changing our mind, and circling back to the beginning. We decided to go with wire shelves because:

  • Almost no need to clean
  • Easy to install
  • Inexpensive
  • Durable
  • Hold a lot of weight

Not to mention that we know we wont be in this house forever…so I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on closet shelves when we’ve got other important things to take care of. The shelves came with all the necessary hardware and a detailed instruction guide. We were able to finish the project in about an hour.

Afterwards, I popped over to Target and gathered up some clear bins. The clear bins make it really easy to find what I’m looking for. It’s not the most beautiful closet system, but it’s got great personality.

5. Coffee Table vs. Ottoman

ottomanIt became clear that we needed something in the living room. But what to get? Taylor grew up with an ottoman and I grew up with a coffee table. Talk about lives divided.
So, we talked about what we wanted our new addition to do. At first I was weary about an ottoman because I feared that it wouldn’t be as functional as a table. However, after a lot of research it turns out that I was wrong… yep, I’m not afraid to admit that I was wrong.

The ottoman was actually MORE functional than a table. You can sit on it comfortably, you can rest your feet on it comfortably, they prevent clutter, and you can easily put a tray on it to accommodate the need to place something on it. Once we decided upon an ottoman I began searching for the perfect specimen. I had size, price, color, weight, comfort, and design mandatories. Me have mandatories…shocking.  I ended up deciding on a beautiful ottoman by West Elm, who in my opinion can do no wrong. It was perfect!

  • Size: Perfect 3ft x 3ft size for our house
  • Price: affordable and within budget (It helped that Christmas was around the corner)
  • Color: They had multiple colors and fabrics to choose from. I ordered swatches to help me decide upon the color
  • Weight: Not too heavy that I can’t move it and not too light that it slides around
  • Comfort: Very cushy and comfortable
  • Design: Modern with a flair of Moroccan in the leg style…love!

They didn’t sell the ottoman in stores because of the fabric options. So, I ordered her online and would be shipped between 8-10 weeks. WAIT WHAT? 2 months….sigh. It arrived in about 4 weeks…and we love it.

I like big built-ins and I cannot lie

Along time ago in a far away land I was a young girl fresh out of college. I had a shiny new job and something I wasn’t used too…a regular pay check. I skipped down to hhgreg and bought myself a 47inch LED TV and sound system. Yeah. Take it all in. It was something that I wanted for myself that was probably not super useful but freeking awesome! Either way, this TV is now loved by T, so it obviously came with us to our new house.

In our townhouse we had the TV sitting on a buffet table my parents gave us. However, we wanted the buffet table to go back into the dining room along with it’s matching china cabinet. Plus, we didn’t really want the TV to sit on a piece of furniture in the new house because we love the way they look mounted.  The issue was that our house was built in 1984 and therefore not flat screen friendly. Actually there were only 2 options for possible TV placement: mounted above the mantle or on the small wall across from the fireplace.

We decided that the wall was a much better solution for a couple of reasons:

  • We didn’t want the TV to be the first thing you saw when you came in the front door
  • The mantle in our house is tall so we would’ve had to look way up
  • A big black TV on the mantle didn’t attractive and we preferred the mantle to be decorated
  • The TV was too big for the space over the mantle and looked very overwhelming

Once we decided upon a location T and his friend mounted the TV and drilled some holes in the wall to hide the wires. The look was somewhat underwhelming…

This may be the saddest “before” photo I’ve ever seen. Look at it! If this photo had a sound effect it would most definitely be “Womp Womp.”  And before you ask. Yes, that is a giant unicorn candle holder. Don’t judge, when I’m done with it it’s gunna be amazing! Anyway, as you can see we were using a small bookshelf my dad built for me in college. We crammed it with our DVD’s, equipment, remotes and sound system. It’s just plain sad. We knew we had to do something about it but what?! We considered a few options:

  • Buy a TV console unit
    • I don’t know what it is about TV consoles but they look cheap to me. Why? Even the pottery barn ones weren’t anything special but they cost 1000’s. What the what?!
  • Make/DIY a console unit out of a buffet or dresser
    • I had more luck in this department. However, the results were still not what I was going for. Another issue was that these pieces struggled to hold all that I wanted them too. Why? Because they weren’t built for this purpose. A lot would hold DVD’s but the sound system and equipment was a struggle.
  • Create a built-in
    • When I first proposed this option I thought that we’d never be able to afford it. So, I didn’t even take myself seriously at first. However, I came across this image on pinterest and there was no going back. It’s perfect. Clean, modern, simple, and had all the right stuff in the right places.

My hunt for a contractor was on. I asked my dad because he likes building things. I think our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey, you wanna help us build a TV built-in?

Dad: No, not really.

Me: Ok, good talk.

So, I guess he was out. I asked some people at work and got some names. I called and got quotes from a few people and I was shocked that this CUSTOM unit was going to cost less than a PB TV console. Yes, custom. He asked us to sketch out what we wanted and he’d build it. What?! Have I died and gone to heaven?! I was sold immediately.

Glen, our contractor, came out to our house to measure and gather design ideas. I gave him the photo above and he customized it to fit into our space. While he was there he mentioned that there was a vent on that wall that was going to prevent us from having a wall sized unit. I wasn’t having that. SO, I suggested that we move the intake vent to the other side of the stairs. He called his buddy right there and he showed up about 15 minutes later and said that it was doable. We signed the contract that night.

Over the next couple of weeks Glen worked at his home-based shop to cut, assemble, and paint sections of our unit. Once complete he contacted us to set up a time to install the built-ins.

The install was fairly smooth except for a few minor bumps. The most time consuming part of the first day was getting all the wiring figured out. All three of us drew diagrams to tame the wires. We finally agreed a few hours later. It was actually quite complicated because we didn’t want to drill a hole in each stud for thewires. So we had to work around that. We actually lost air conditioning for a day because the wires behind the unit were so short he couldn’t move it. So, we had to have a guy come out and extend the length of the wires. Sheesh. After those small setbacks he quickly attached the main pieces to the wall with only shelves, trim and touchups left to complete.

Look at that little stinker! She photobombs me all the time! Anywho, Glen came back the next day to finish off the project. He add the trim at the top of the  unit, touched up the paint, added the floorboard trim, added the shelves and wine rack, and prettied it up. And it looks AMAZING! The built-ins make the room look taller and way more sophisticated. And the best part is that it’s actually functional. We get a lot of use out of the drawers, shelves and wine rack. We couldn’t be happier with it. Glen also liked it so much he’s putting it in his portfolio. What?! If the contractor loves it you feel even better about your project! Take a look at the finished piece below.

I just threw some of our current bobbules onto the shelves to decorate. There are a lot of pices from grandparents, travels and various other memorobelia. Like this “Genie lamp from my grandmother, some books from T’s grandfather’s library along with some of our own flair.

I’m sure the items will change and flow with time. I’m hoping to spraypaint a few pieces to start having some sort of color theme in the room. Whats the color theme? Well you’ll just have to come back and find out soon! 😉

Light my Fire…place

Finally, a home project that we can share. We’ve actually been doing a few home updates but they are all in various stages of progress.  But, today I am so happy to tell you that we’ve finished painting our fireplace. As soon as we toured the house I knew that a simple coat of paint would really freshen up the room. Since the fireplace is in the center of a long wall your eye is naturally drawn towards it.  This could be a good thing if the fireplace was a custom piece; however, our standard brick-red fireplace is rather plain. Don’t get me wrong I love our fireplace…I just want it to become less of a statement in the room. So, I thought a coat of white paint would make the fireplace feel fresh, modern, and let other pieces shine.

Before I started I read “How to paint a brick fireplace” on the Younghouselove blog. These two are notorious for painting their fireplaces so I knew I was in good hands. The whole process is pretty straight forward but you know the Mr. and I had some fun along the way.

  • Step 1: Clean your fireplace with light soap and water. Yes, clean. I thought cleaning a fireplace was ridiculous too… but it was FILTHY!
  • Step 2: Gather/buy supplies: painters tape, plastic sheeting, 2 hand brushes, roller, paint tray, oil primer, paint-thinner and semi-gloss paint. (NOTE: if your fireplace doesn’t have soot on it you can skip the oil primer and use regular primer.)
  • Step 3: Tape around the fire place and mantle. The good news for us is that everything on our mantle is white so we really couldn’t mess up too badly.
  • Step 4: Apply 1-2 coats of oil based primer onto the fireplace and allow to dry. (NOTE: painting in the winter with the windows open is quite a thrill.)
  • Step 5: Apply 1-2 coats of semi-gloss paint.

Seems simple enough right?! In all honesty it really was easy. We only had 2 hang-ups. First, we forgot to buy paint-thinner for the first coat of oil paint, Doh! Yeah, that ruins your brushes for sure. Oh you think water’s gunna help? Silly noob, that just makes it worse. So, we bought brushes (again) and paint-thinner for the second coat. Lastly, it took us forever to paint the fireplace and our living room looked like a Dexter episode for a few weeks. Why? Well we had to move furniture out of the old townhouse (because it sold ,YAY!) during one weekend and the rest of the time we we were just too darn lazy.

But would you look at the end result! Isn’t it nice!? The end result is worth the plastic sheeting and painted hands. Speaking of that:

  • TIP: Use nail polish remover to get oil paint off your skin. It’s way better for your skin than paint remover.

We couldn’t be happier with our newly painted fireplace. I think it actually makes the room look bigger. And maybe it’s just me but don’t the floors look darker? Bonus! We can’t wait to see how the rest of this room comes together!

It’s A Furniture Party and You’re Invited!

Our house gained 2 new friends recently… it’s like a furniture party over here! We were able to score 2 nice pieces of furniture because we bought them during the end-of-the year sales.  Note to self, if I need expensive pieces of furniture wait until December to buy. They basically give them away during that part of the year. We were able to upgrade our metal bed frame with no head/foot board to this beauty.

Isn’t she gorgeous?! We found her on Amazon…who would have thought? Anyway, this bed is a knock off of a very popular and expensive Pottery Barn bed.  Look at the two of them together. You can’t tell one from the other and we saved at least $600. No brainer.

The color is a wonderful cream color in person; it looks grey in the photo because they are out of stock on the “wheat” cream color. The nail head trim is a dark brass and it pairs well with the tan fabric. The fabric itself is really soft and durable. Overall, we couldn’t be happier with our new bed.

The second piece we purchased was a white, glossy Josephine desk from World Market, on sale. Like, super awesome sale. It was already 20% off when I found a coupon for free shipping…can I get a high-five!? I’ve been eyeing this desk since she appeared on world market years ago. I don’t know if it’s a fact, but it could be inspired by Jonathan Alder’s $1700 Channing desk (which I obviously love and will never own). So, if you think about it I really saved like $1500…what a deal.

I think this desk is going to be lovely in our living room. Our fireplace mantle is a very simple glossy white block mounted on the brick and the desk has that basic similar shape. AND when we add the floating bookshelves to the opposite corner I think this desk will really tie that whole wall together! We absolutely love the new desk. It’s really functional, easy to clean, the perfect size and pleasing to the eye. I’m really enjoying this room’s transformation.

We Shall Call Him “Biff”

Taylor and I made the first (I forgot about the washer/dryer…more on them later) second big purchase for our home. Drum roll please…We bought a sofa! Yep, we’ve officially become a suburban married couple. All we need now is a pair of chocolate labs and matching Volvos (bonus points if you know this movie reference). But we are seriously excited and can’t wait for Biff to arrive.

My friend Dina was over a few weeks ago and she gave me a tip that changed my decorating life. She said: “Spend money on the things that are closest to you and less on things that are further away.” For example: you sit on a couch every day so allocate more money towards a good one. It’s pretty genius and makes a lot of sense. I had one of those “Why didn’t I think of that” moments.  So, armed with that little bit of magic we started looking for our sofa.

Our first task was to measure the space in the living room. I’m really glad we did because we discovered that we needed a “small” sofa. I say “small” because I don’t think a 72 inch sofa is miniscule. Apparently, the furniture market follows new housing trends by creating giant furniture. Taylor and I felt, and looked, like children on these 90+ inch sofas.

After we got the dimensions figured out we compiled our list of “must haves.”

  • No longer than 72 inches
  • Comfortable
  • Durable (Pick resistant, i.e. Reese)
  • Stain resistant (It is in the LIVING room afterall)
  • Removable cushions (Easy to clean)
  • Simple classic style (we want it stay in style…a while) 🙂
  • Three cushions ( we don’t want the center to sink in)
  • Neutral color (Lesson learned on colored sofas)
  • No skirt (Looks too dated)
  • Not overstuffed (We have a small space)

As you can see it’s quite a picky list. I thought to myself: “I wonder if we’ll ever find you…sofa.” Then I thought “where do you look for a sofa”? I went online and compared the usual suspects: Ikea, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Overstock, World Market and even Target. My takeaways were less than inspired because I only had 3 options: affordable or attractive or comfortable. No one had an affordable, attractive AND comfortable sofa.

A friend suggested that I check out Bassett furniture on Glenwood Ave. (Raleigh’s Furniture Row). I hadn’t even thought about the furniture stores because I just assumed they only carried “old lady” furniture. But I went online and was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. I actually liked a lot of their furniture, which is rare for me. It was definitely worth a trip to see / sit on them in-person.  Taylor and I gave ourselves a pep talk outside that went something like: “we’re not buying, we’re just looking.”  We walked around the store for about an hour and found a few sofas that we liked.

Long story short, we found one we liked but it was out of our price range. Then a designer came over and said the best words anyone can hear when shopping for a big purchase: “There’s a 30% off sale today.”  Score!  We told her all of our sofa needs and she recommended that we “build our own.”  A custom sofa – who are we?  We were skeptical that we could afford such a thing but she priced it out and BAM…sold.

She took us through their online design program (which is awesome btw) and we watched her build our sofa piece by piece.  We could choose the size; the number of cushions and their shape; the arm and leg style; and fabric. Shockingly, we ended up with exactly what we wanted. Whenever it arrives I’ll add a photo of the newest addition to the Chateau de Cashwell – Biff, our custom sofa.