Secondhand tufted Victorian-style couch

I feel there’s no point adding text to this blog post because this couch is perfect.

The end.

Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to preach about sourcing pieces secondhand for my One Room Challenge, I will continue!

I’ve been on the lookout for a statement couch on Kijiji for at least 8 weeks for our front room makeover. I wanted an over-the-top yet comfortable couch. I had a general idea of the perfect shaped couch in mind [as seen in my mock-up shared on Week One, and never did I think I’d actually get the exact shape I wanted!], but while I was looking, I was really flexible; something that’s vital when shopping secondhand. Here are the guidelines for what I was looking for in a couch:

  • Have an unusual shape, yet be comfortable enough to curl up and could read a book on
  • Ideally, be velvet
  • Have an element of drama [see: unusual shape]
  • The colour would ideally be cream / gray / pink or burgundy, but I was also open to possibly painting the couch or reupholstering it in the long run, so I wasn’t too narrowly focused on the colour or pattern
  • Be affordable [some people need their heads checked and a dose of reality. $2,000 for a 40+ year-old couch is not a good deal]
  • The couch actually be available / not be ghosted by the seller

A combination of all of the above makes for a bit of an arduous journey, BUT BE PATIENT. IT WILL PAY OFF IN THE END. Trust me. I’ve been buying secondhand for years now and you have to be patient. That’s why I started looking for a couch well ahead of the ORC beginning. It takes time, sometimes months, but that’s all part of the hunt and makes the final find that much sweeter.

I had this couch saved for a long time but it took me weeks to contact the seller because it was outside of our budget [and I didn’t want to come across as insulting by lowballing the price]. It was advertised at $600 and after a few messages we agreed on $400 for the couch. My budget was $300 [which in fairness, was a number I randomly chose], but this was definitely one of those situations where if I didn’t get this couch, it would haunt me forever, so I was flexible. And I’m so glad I was because LOOK AT MY GORGEOUS NEW VAMPIRIC COUCH.

Check out My Top Tips for Buying Secondhand Items Online blog post, which details the four techniques I use to win at secondhanding. One of these ‘techniques’ got $200 off the final price of our couch [though, it’s not really a technique so much as just being a human person]. Check it out!

Click through to four top tips for sourcing secondhand pieces online! #Secondhand #Thrifted

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Three!

I am 100% publishing this blog post on fumes. I spent 12 hours yesterday ripping out the last of the lath and plaster on all four walls of our front room, one piece of wood at a time, so apologies if this post is barely sentence.

Should I wait until a bit more time has passed and I’m not so emotionally dead inside as I’m still too raw from yesterday’s demotion to publish this week’s One Room Challenge post? Most definitely. But this is real life and renovation is r.o.u.g.h. sometimes.

I accomplished a lot this past week and I cannot wait to show you the insanity I went through. I look at the photos from last week and laugh at my innocence. It’s all ahead of you, young Alex. Soon the 100-year-old mouse droppings will rain down on you like some sort of twisted renovation version of Flashdance. Except with mouse excrement.

I began this week’s work by removing what turned out to be four layers of ceiling. At the bottom [meaning, closest to me] there were ceiling tiles [which I removed the week previous], then drywall, 100+ year-old plaster, and finally wooden lath at the base. Each had to be removed one layer at a time. This was a total time-suck. But eventually, everything was removed and revealed beautiful beams and the underside of the original wooden floors upstairs.

Once that was cleared, I tackled the lath and plaster on the walls. I was up against the clock with getting this portion done so I spent 12 hours yesterday ripping everything out. It was chaos and more of a mental hurdle than anything, but I got it done.

Above you can see the holes for the original furnace, which came up from the basement, through to the bedrooms and ran down the center of the house. I’m going to patch up the hole on the wall, but I think I’ll keep the original chimney in the ceiling as it’s quite neat.

I was going into this project hoping to be able to restore and save as much of the original plaster as I could. But as soon as the ceiling tiles and wood panels were removed, it was clear they were put there to hide the horrible condition of the plaster. It was quite dangerous in places and fell just from me placing my hand on it. There was no saving it. Don’t @ me.

Once I finished ripping all the lath and plaster out came the arduous clean-up; I shoveled the mess into a recycling box [as seen on the right above], handed it out the window to Robert, who then brought it around and threw it into our Bin There Dump That dumpster. Seeing as plaster is deceptively heavy, we couldn’t fit much plaster in each box so it took approximately 12,000 trips to the dumpster.

I’m innocently hoping the worst of the project is behind me now. Next week I’m hoping to insulate the exterior walls, drywall the walls and ceiling and start on the built-in shelving. In case you haven’t noticed, I like to give myself unrealistic expectations and goals, so we’ll see how this goes.

As usual, you can see all the week three Guest Participants progress here!

Week One – Week Two – Week Three – Week Four – Week Five
Week Six – Week Seven – Week Eight

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Two!

My first week in the One Room Challenge has actually gone really well considering all that I’ve uncovered has pointed out more things that need to be fixed [something I was prepared for], but I am still so excited to transform this space.

You can blame my lack of experience, but I’m looking forward to correcting the wrongs that were made over the more recent 50 years to this house’s history and making the front room in our house a real part of our home and somewhere to enjoy. Not somewhere where furniture goes to die.

I first wanted to get our ceiling tiles tested for asbestos as I was conscious that some older ceiling tiles can have it. This was the main deciding factor in moving ahead with our ORC; if the test came back positive and we couldn’t rip out the tiles ourselves, then we wouldn’t be tackling this room until a professional could do it. I called a few places and thanks to speaking with a few knowledgeable people, I found out if you bring a tile sample in yourself [$90] vs. getting a professional to call out to your house and take the sample [$650 – no exaggeration], you can save yourself a boat load of money.

Up the ladder I went, ripped out one tile, delivered it for testing and one week later we go the results we were hoping for! The next day I contacted Bin There Dump That, who so generously offered to partner on our ORC and provided a 20-yard dumpster, I then ordered the dumpster from them and two days later it arrived and I got started on demolishing our front room.

Down came the ceiling tiles followed by the 80’s faux wood paneling [this kind of stuff, not this stuff]. Both were hiding a plethora of sins. The original 100-year-old plaster on the ceiling and the walls were in terrible condition. They may not have been this bad when they were originally covered, but this is the reason they both were both covered. A case of if I can’t see it, it’s not happening series of design choices.

This is where I got nervous. My dilemma was; the original walls and ceilings are in terrible condition. I want to conserve them, but I can’t. Is it okay for me to rip them out, or is that an even bigger crime against historical architecture? I video called Dad DIYer, who confirmed that the best [and really only] way to move forward is to rip everything out. I was prepared for this and wasn’t disheartened by it, I just wanted to make sure I was making the right decision.

As usual, you can see all the Guest Participants progress here! Check back here next week when I introduce our crowbar to our 100-year-old plaster …

Week One – Week TwoWeek Three – Week Four – Week Five
Week Six – Week Seven – Week Eight

DISCLOSURE - while this post is not sponsored, I did receive the service of a dumpster rental during my One Room Challenge free of charge from Bin There Dump That in exchange for a blog post. I only work with brands that I like and of course, think you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer.