moving on up: part the ninth: it's a matter of taste

One of the many awesome things about our new home (squeee!  New home) is we have a whole extra room (in addition to almost 300 sq ft more space).   We may have a lot of ‘stuff’ (bo0ks, cd’s, mysterious tchotckes like a Mummer from Newfoundland and a whale jaw carving from Tuktoyaktuk ) but not much of that stuff is furniture per say.  Like actual stuff you can sit on.

So…we needed to invest in a couch and loveseat for our new den/TV room/guest nook.  Which meant furniture shopping.  With a three year old.

My husband and I have fairly similar tastes.  I tend to skew towards Mid Century or Art Deco in sensibility and he tends to skew towards Modern or Arts and Crafts in look and feel (yes…I looked it up) but in general, the tastes coincide.  We had agreed on fabric (no leather, no white, no heinous patterns, no ugly and easy to clean thanks to two cats and a three year old) and purpose (needed sofa bed or sofa bed sectional) and price (we would not ransack our son’s college account but we wanted grown up furniture), so with with our wish list (s) in hand we headed on out to Furniture Row in Coquitlam.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I refer to the strip from Ikea to the Boulevard in Casino in Coquitlam as Furniture Row.  There are too many stores to count…which means lots of options for shopping which is both good and bad.  How many sofa beds can one look at?

Hundreds.  Easily hundreds.

We made a game of it as we went in with little M in tow, who would leap onto every sitting apparatus possible and yell ‘OOOOO!  SO COZY!’.  We learned quickly which places had commissioned sales staff (okay, most of them to be honest with you), or more specifically, which places had commissioned sales staff that freaked us out and made us run for the hills.

Note to any furniture sales people out there…following around a family in a store and popping out behind armoires every 5 minutes to ask ‘Need any help yet?’ will not get you a sale.  Ever.

We learned that a lot of furniture is really butt ugly…and that we are judgemental furniture snobs apparently.

I know…it startled us too.

We looked at young couples who were buying really horrid couches and shook our heads with disappointment.  We pointed at sectionals and screeched ‘Why?’ while families cooed over them.  We tried to steer innocent families towards what was obviously in good taste as opposed to the strange cream coloured monstrosity they were set on buying.  (Seriously…they had a six month old.  In what world is buying a cream coloured sofa a good idea when you have a six month old?)

We became the furniture police.  Like Stacey and Clinton...but with sectionals and scotch guard.  Doing what we could to prevent bad furniture from making it’s way into people’s homes like the proverbial tacky Christmas sweater.

Horrid, judgey furniture snobs.

We did both agree on a lovely set.  Very mid century with a soupcon of modern to keep us both happy. Kind of Danish in feel.  We went for a dark almost charcoal grey with lovely accent cushions with trees on them (trust me…they’re very cool).  The fabric was as durable as we could get and apparently our cat could explode on the couch and we’d still be able to clean it.   We did a bit of custom work to it, like add a sofa bed, change the fabric and custom cushions without breaking the bank. And it is all made in Canada Eh! And the sales guy was relaxed and friendly and never once jumped out of an armoire. Sure…he got a great commission from us.  But he didn’t make us want to stab him (hear that place with the catchy jingle?  Your sales people scared us!).  It might not have been as cool and European and minimal as I would have liked, or as cozy as my husband was going for…but its still pretty damned spanky.  And ours (have I mentioned how excited I am becoming about things that are mine?  I’m starting to sound like a three year old…MINE!)

Of course now that we have a sofa bed and love seat all new and shiny, we’ve realized that our dining room chairs could do with a bit of an upgrade and we just must get a new desk.  And maybe a dresser. I think this time we’re gonna head to Richmond…

3 thoughts on “moving on up: part the ninth: it's a matter of taste

  1. Also check out some of the places in antique row in New West, as well as Lofty Living, Urban Gypsy, Red Brick and Champagne Taste

  2. I happened by accidentally, but liked the reference to Stacy and Clinton — whom I’ve used on my own blog as example of workplace coaching.

    I think there are two factors implicit in your post that are worth making explicit. The first is: you’re the parents of young kids. The furniture is not permanent. You (the generic parent) think of it that way because the furniture you’re most accustomed to–the furniture in the home of your parents–does seem permanent. It’s been there for ages.

    You’re too old to remember how the furniture of your childhood got chewed through. Not that that means to buy shoddy stuff; it just means, as you said, not to buy cream, and maybe to buy pine if you accept the dents, or ironwood if you don’t.

    The other factor is what I call “no cheap chips.” That’s grocery-shopping advice: if you’re keeping an eye on your weight, don’t buy the crappy generic potato chips. Get the good ones, enjoy the better flavor, and you’re less likely to eat too many.

    So with the furniture: stay within your budget, but don’t buy the bargain heavily-advertised stuff because the heavy advertising implies it’s actually a bargain.

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