Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sad sag

In addition to our new living room sofa from IKEA, we have another sofa that my stepdad, Fred, generously gave us when we moved into our first apartment. It was originally his grandparents', and it's held up extremely well over the years all things considered. I love the lines of this dainty sofa:

Unfortunately, the bottom had begun to collapse, such that you could feel the sag when you sat down and also see the bottom basically scraping the floor below. Sadly I don't have any great before pictures because I always tried to avoid having the issue be visible in any apartment pictures I took, and this was an unanticipated DIY without much advance planning. Fred and my mom were visiting for breakfast the day after we hosted our families for Thanksgiving, and noticed the sag in the sofa as they were sitting on it. Fred, always eager to fix a problem at hand, asked if he could flip the sofa to examine the situation. This is the sad state of affairs we discovered:

The strapping that holds up the couch springs had come undone. We can all make some jokes about how the sofa survived for decades and then suddenly collapsed when it came to live with us and I lounged around on it basically every day, but honestly I'm surprised that the tacks that were holding the straps on stayed secured as long as they did. Fred offered to help me fix it before hitting the road, and I accepted -- "figure out what's wrong with the couch" has been on my to-do list for awhile now, but I was not at all confident in figuring it out myself and I pounced on the opportunity for his expert advice.

We picked up some screws and washers at the hardware store, and then got to work reattaching the straps to the frame of the sofa. We used two screws and washers per strap, and needed to fix all the straps along the back edge of the sofa as well as along both sides (ie both the vertical and the horizontal straps had come loose and/or sagged in a number of places). It took us about 20 minutes to get all the screws in.

Since we were replacing all the loose tacks with screws, we ended up with a collection of leftover tacks that we then used to reattach the large piece of fabric that covered the entire bottom of the couch. This fabric is just to conceal the straps and doesn't hold much of the pressure on the springs (since if the straps are tight enough, they'll do that), so the tacks should be plenty strong enough to hold it in place. Here it is as I nailed the fabric back over the strapping:

And here's the bottom of the finished sofa, nice and flat the way it's meant to be!

The sofa noticeably firmer now, and it looks so much better not sagging in the middle.

I wish I had more before photos to show how awful it was, but I'm so pleased with the finished result. Fred was a great teacher, explaining to me why we'd want to pick certain kinds of washers and screws, and showing me how to get the strapping as tight and strong as possible, all while making sure I was getting to try the techniques myself. I have to say, my curiosity in the art of upholstery is now piqued!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So grown up.

In our Central Square apartment, we had a whole room dedicated to our dining table. A "dining room," if you will.

 (Let's ignore the fact that the fridge didn't fit in the kitchen, so it was in the corner of this room.)

We rarely used it, preferring to eat in the living room like the slovenly young adults we were. So when we moved into Beacon Street Manor, we went a different direction with our "extra room" and set up desks and bookshelves in it instead.

But it turns out that while Sam uses his desk all the time, I don't except to sew from time to time. Mostly it's a place to store my office supplies, printer, and lots of paperwork and other stuff.

I've delayed doing away with it because I thought I might start using it when I went back to school. But it turns out I just do my homework on the couch. In a small apartment, every square foot is precious and a corner devoted to piling junk is not an acceptable use of space. So for awhile now, I've been thinking about what else we might do with that corner.

At the same time, I've been mulling the idea of how to create a space for dining when we have company. Maybe being engaged and being in business school is making me feel like an adult all of a sudden, but I feel like it's nice to have a table to eat at when we have people over for dinner. It's not worth dedicating a whole room to it like in our old place, but a corner with a table could also double as a space for me to sew, do paperwork, etc the rest of the time. Kind of like a desk, but more multi-purpose and hopefully less cluttered. So, I decided to make us a dining nook!

I found a round pedestal table from Target that I thought would look good and fit well in the space. I disassembled  my desk, found places to relocate all the books and office supplies, and set up the table in the corner. Tada, piece of cake!

Never content to keep things easy, I decided that some new curtains on a long rod across both windows would tie things together more, and found a set of sheets on Etsy to turn into curtain panels. Here it is finished!

(Note the flowers that my thoughtful fiance brought home for me yesterday. My list of things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving just keeps getting longer.)

No we can dine in style. And while hemming the curtains, I determined that the new setup works very well for my occasional sewing needs. Victory!