Saturday, March 26, 2011

Before and After: Antique Sofa

When we were preparing to move from Idaho to California we sold some of our furniture. One of the things we got rid of was a sofa that we had upstairs in our bonus room because we weren't sure if we'd even need it in our next house. Turns out we did, so I started looking around. I really wanted a sofa bed, like this one from Ikea, because we don't have a proper guest room here.

I searched several local stores but couldn't find anything even close. And eventually I got over the whole sofa bed idea and just started looking for a regular sofa like the one above and still came up empty. Then I got over the whole "spend a bunch of money on a brand spankin' new sofa" idea and finally remembered seeing a cool old couch at the Salvation Army.
At the time it was priced at $100, then 2 weeks later when I was on my sofa hunt I went back and it was still there and had been marked down to $49. I texted my husband a photo and told him I could re-cover, it so we picked it up and brought it home.

The velvet was horribly faded, and the wood needed some touching up, but I loved the details like the scrolled arms and the clawed feet.


This shows just how faded the fabric on the back of the couch had gotten. The blue at the bottom of the photo is the wrong side of the fabric and the dingy cream color is the right side. It was pretty once, but not anymore.

I ripped the velvet off and got ready to work on the wood. This is a product I've never used before but have been wanting to try.
The Antique Walnut shade seemed pretty close to the current wood color, so on it went and it worked WONDERS. Seriously, if you have a wooden piece that needs a facelift, use this. You don't need to strip off the old finish or anything. Just brush this on like paint, let it dry 6 hours, rub the surface with very fine steel wool, brush on another coat and that's it!

Here's the fruits of my week's worth of labor.

Hardware store drop cloth was my fabric of choice because it's durable, inexpensive, imperfect and casual so it brings down the "fussiness" of the couch.


This was a pretty big project, but after redoing my brother's couch last summer I knew I could handle it. It would have been infinitely faster and easier if I had a good staple gun, but don't get me started on that. I hate my staple gun with all my heart right now, and I'll just leave it at that.
I'm really happy with our new couch, and it seems like a good fit for our front room. Here's a little tour. This is the view from our front door into the living/dining room.


We have our computer in there, too, so it also serves as an office.

We recently acquired this piano from a friend and I'm really excited to find a bench for it and get it cleaned up for playing.

This is the view from behind the sofa. Should I paint that pair of armchairs? I can't decide.

So there you go. I love when I get to do big, dramatic projects, but I think that will probably be it for a while. There will definitely be more furniture refinishing going on, but probably no more sofas for a while!

28 comments:

Jennifer said...

I absolutely LOVE this. You inspire me, Sarah. (: The house looks fantastic! I'm super excited for you, love.

Laura Elizabeth Fredlund said...

WOW! great job! I wish we were friends, and live close by, and that you could re-upholster the big ugly couch in my front room. :)

yours looks so nice

Jake & Lisa Danes said...

Sarah! You did such a great job! It looks amazing! I wish you could redo my cookie monster couch!!!! That would be one big undertaking!!! What do you say you want to give that a try while you are here???? Just kidding! I refuse to give up Sarah time for my couch!

janet said...

I just found your blog and can not say enough about it..I love it..You truly have a gift for taking a piece of crap..LOL..and making it into something anyone would love to have in their home..I am so inspired by your blog..Can't wait to see what you have up your sleeve..

Simply Christmas said...

Beautiful job!!! We need a tutorial, seriously!!! Your house looks fabulous, you always inspire me. I LOVE miss mustard seed too and follow her posts...how exciting to be featured! Congrats!

Home Made Quilts By Granny said...

The sofa is beautiful. Trish

LouLou@thelifeofloulou.blogspot.com said...

Hun, that is an antique Duncan Phyffe couch in EXCELLENT condition. Can we just say you SCORED big time? I have one that I got about 15 years ago for $200. It looks fabulous!

Lisa @ Fern Creek Cottage said...

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!! Your sofa is beyond beautiful!!!

Faith said...

My grandma gave me a sofa that has the exact same bones as yours. It was reapholstered about 15-20 years ago...but eeeck...it's not good so I've been hoping to reupholster it soon. great job!

Miss Mustard Seed said...

We have the exact same sofa! :) My aunt gave me the antique sofa in my living room and it's just like yours.

Deneen said...

This really came out great! I really want to try to reupholster mine but scared of ruining it! I need to get up the nerve. Was it hard to stretch around the back? Mine is like that too.
dreaming-n-color.blogspot.com

Robin said...

Wow! Beatiful job!

linked from mms

Meg and Mum's said...

Wow wow WOW! You rock! $49? Get outta town. I would love to do something like this but frankly have been too scared. So was sewing involved? (Might have to call on my Mum). I have a dining suite with the same clawed feet as your sofa.
Beautiful job :)

Bettsi said...

That is stunning! I can't believe the price you got that couch for! LOVE it!

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

You did an amazing job!! I love the lines of the antique Duncan Phyfe sofas like these. And I love that you chose to keep and re-finish the original wood. Stunning!

John and Christina said...

This is just tremendous looking. You've got such a keen eye, and obviously a real gift for upholstery work. This is totally above and beyond D-I-Y, and more like PRO!

So excited to have found your blog!
Visiting from After-Dinner Design...

Laura said...

Wow! Sarah you are so talented!

Kimberly said...

Hi Sarah,

I know this comment is coming on a little late in the game but I just stumbled upon your blog just today!

I found an antique sofa exactly like yours that you redid and have been toying with the idea of recovering it (its pink and looks like it should be in barbies play house...).

Anywhoo, it says you live in central ca and so do I! I was wondering if you take on projects from other people? I, not being nearly as crafty as you, was going to find someone to recover it but I thought I would toss it out there!

xoxo

Kim

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was just wondering how wide does the painters drop cloth need to be? thanks

Between Blue and Yellow said...

You did a beautiful job! I recently bought an old sofa as well, and looking around the web at different ones. I just started pulling off all the old fabric today :)

Anonymous said...

Great job Sarah, really nice work! I saw the link to your dropcloth sofa on Pinterest in search of "dropcloth cover". This looks so good I just had to comment and give you props. -CaliforniaNat

Hardwood Decking said...

Feel the springs through the upholstery, they should be close together and firm. Sofas with no springs, just webbing or mesh, are uncomfortable and flimsy.

Leather Sofa Providers said...

Now, that is an absolute beauty! Your efforts totally paid off! Indeed, there are several furniture sales or leather sofa sales in the market. One should just be diligent enough to find them! :)

BetsyVille said...

How did you cover the couch with fabric?

DeniD said...

I was so excited to see your blog and the picture of your couch! We have the Loves Seat to your couch! My husband's grandparent's had it in their home. My Mother-in-Law told me that she and my father-in-law used to sit on this couch when they were dating over 65 years ago!! Now it is sitting in our basement, but thanks to your post, I will be getting it out to brighten it with new fabric and touch up the wood. Thank you for all of your tips. Your couch looks wonderful and inviting.

Big Sofa said...

One of the things we got rid of was a sofa that we had upstairs in our bonus ... ebigsofa.blogspot.de

Anonymous said...

Beautiful Sofa. Did you have to remove the Wood frame or did you work around it?

Anonymous said...

My mother-in-law gave us her couch which is very similar to yours. How much fabric did you use?