The New Old Couch

In the apartment, we had a large tan sectional. It worked beautifully in that at space.

appt in eleven80

In this house? Not so much.


That’s the living room right after move-in day. Sexy, no?

Through a series of unfortunate events, the sectional became too badly torn to donate or pass on to anyone. It went out for bulk pick-up and – after significant stalking – Craig, King of the Lists, came through.

For $50, this 7′ long, clean, blue-green velvet beauty had me at deep-button-tufted-goodness. She’d been in storage for the past 15-years {bed-bug free!} and, before that, lived in the “good living room” not to be touched except on special occasions or adult visitors. So basically, barely used {or so I am told}. Sold.

Welcome home, Mami.

new old couch before

Ditch that ugly skirt and it’ll be perfect. My own little taste of Hollywood Regency in this eclectic mix I call home.

awful skirt
pulling staples mess-o-staples

And that should have been that, right?

Take the skirt off and be done with it. Right?


Not so much.

Christmas day – with all my family over – the support holding the back left leg broke. Whop whoppppppppp.

split leg support - original source of the problem

Thank goodness my 91-year-old grandmother wasn’t sitting on it!

What was supposed to be a relatively easy replacement of the leg support turned into a massive reconstruction of the entire frame. Not all vintage sofas were made to last, people. Let that be a lesson to you.


split supports

Isn’t that always the way?

A simple, straightforward, supposedly easy project comes with unforeseen speed bumps and, as layer by layer is removed, it balloons into a much {MUCH!} larger project.

Story of my life.

However, I really like the existing upholstery and that was in great shape. If this had also been a reupholstery job, Mami may found itself waiting for bulk pick up too.

Luckily, I have the best father on the planet Earth who fixed it for me. {This is the same father who went and picked it up from the seller and delivered it to my house. Yup. Best Dad Ever.} Not that I couldn’t have fixed it {because I totally could have given enough time & curse words} but sometimes you just have to let the master work. I took notes and helped hold the crowbar.

Also, almost anything can be fixed with either plywood, spackle, or caulk.

Fixing the couch

Dad even added a center set of legs for additional flop support {because you HAVE to have a floppable couch!}.


couch after

She’s mighty comfy and sturdy, by the way. Not sink-in-able but pleasantly firm. Good for shorter naps, dog snuggling, and 3-bottle-o-wine girl nights.

So here’s how the living room is looking these days –

couch after

I’m not loving the new rug with the new-old couch. I think they’re too similar in tone. The gray might move up to the guest room. Ideally, I’d like this rug but at $900 that’s unlikely. Suggestions?

Slowly but surely, it’s coming together. In the meantime, MY LIVING ROOM HAS A COUCH!!! What a thrilling concept.

couch after

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36 Responses to The New Old Couch

  1. Love it! It looks really great!

    Curbly just did a post on affordable rugs:

  2. katie says:

    great couch! i really like the color, and it looks completely different without the skirt.

  3. Katrina says:

    I really like that sofa!!! And the color looks like a pretty smoke blue — Aren’t dads the best! I love when my dad offers to help us on major projects around our Casa it give us an extra boost of confidence and we curse less too 🙂

    As for the sofa — I might wait to add pillows before adding the rug —- I love Overstock’s rugs and Rugs USA both affordable and you most likely need a large one for the space?

  4. Taking the skirt off of an old couch makes a world of difference (as you already know). Whenever I find sofas and chairs at thrift stores, before I think something is too ugly, I lift up the skirt to see if it has potential. That sounds weird, but I am talking about furniture.

  5. How do you do it? I never have such good luck at Craig’s List. I look for a while, then I get distracted and buy something I don’t need, or spend time figuring out how I’m going to transport and install say, a porch swing, that there’s not place for, and then I get so deep into the problem solving that I say something out loud and then someone more reasonable and practical reminds me that I don’t need a porch swing and I have no where to put it, and then I stop looking at Craig’s List because it only gets me in trouble. How do you do it? PS. The couch is AWESOME!

    • Honestly, it’s a combination of persistence, patience, restraint, & dumb luck.

      It has taken a long time for me to cultivate the restraint part. I try very hard to think of an EXACT place for something before even inquiring and especially before dragging it home. Not just “that would be cool *somewhere. *” It has to be, “I could really use that in ThisSpecificPlace for ThisSpecificFunction.” But even now I still falter and bring home stuff that eventually just gets donated & taken as a loss/learning experience. It has gotten easier though.

  6. Erin says:

    The couch is beautiful without the skirt… I am always impressed that you can see what these pieces CAN be through what they currently are! Love it, as usual. Also, I have found Target has some nice/relatively affordable rugs. One I saw was the same coloring as the one you like from Anthropologie…

  7. Meg says:

    OMG….I am so unbelievably jealous right now!!! That couch is insanely awesome!! Totally worth all of the work. So stunning!

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  9. Wowie. That is gorgeous! I also love the colour. Really really beautiful.

    She’s got great legs too 🙂

  10. Deda says:

    I was at the missoni home sample sale yesterday and they had a great grey rug which would be perfect here. It was 79 x 118 in the darker grey kaizen 159. I loved it but can’t do $1500, even though the wool weave was thick and lovely, the colors gorgeous and original retail is $6300 . For me, it was too big thank goodness. For you, it’s worth looking at today only until 6pm on west 39th st. go.

  11. ooo…. that couch is awesome. What a steal!

  12. Fun! I want to see the whole room!

  13. Just linked to you today. Happy weekend!

  14. GREAT find! Love your living room too!

  15. PhillyLass says:

    Hi there– I just love how your home is coming together. I’m especially taken with the paint in your living room. Do you know what brand/color it is? It’s the perfect cream!

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  19. Pretty great. You don’t need that anthro rug IMO. Get a second hand persian rug at a flea market and have it cleaned. It’ll be perfect.

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  21. Becca says:

    question: I just bought a couch almost identical to this. Skirt is coming off without too much trouble, just LOTS of staples. My problem is–there is a kind of pressed in line/crease where the skirt was attached. Did you have that? If so, how did you get it out? I am not sure what an iron would do to this pretty velvet. Thanks for posting! This idea got us a couch that looks like a million bucks for next to nothing.

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