Sunday, 29 December 2013

The eco-friendly couch hunt - Part 2: Couch Acquired!

You might remember that we are in a hunt for an eco-friendly couch. (If you missed the beginning of our journey, here is the link to Part 1.So, we decided to go with Option 2 - Buy an antique couch and have it re-upholstered in an eco-friendly way.

I like antique/vintage couches. They have a lot of personality and are usually better made than their newer counterparts. We lucked out when this great Queen Anne style sofa and chair came up on an online auction; we picked them up for only $80. I was thrilled. I really like the sofa, especially the wood trim. The wood frame is in great shape and will not need to be refinished.

Our Queen Anne style sofa ready for upholstering

The chair is a bit wider than what I would ideally like but given that it matches the couch, I couldn't leave it behind.

Once home, we tried out how the couch would work in our living room. I was a bit concerned that it might be too large as it is 87" long. Misha was confident that it would work and he was right. The sofa fit perfectly and looked surprisingly well in our space. We feel comfortable going ahead with the re-upholstery plan.

We still have to decide what upholstery fabric to use but we are leaning towards this light grey, organic, 10oz cotton fabric from Tonic Living.

"10 oz Organic Stone" from Tonic Living

The next step is to find the right upholsterer to do the job. We have been in contact with a few already and getting ideas on the price/work involved.

We will keep you posted on our progress. In the meantime, let us know if you have had any upholstery jobs done. We would love to hear your experience.


Saturday, 14 December 2013

Christmas wreath - A quick and easy DIY

With so many projects on the go this winter, I didn't want to spend much time creating a complicated and time consuming holiday wreath. Normally, I would go for a more traditional look but after a bit of inspirational research, I opted for a simple and modern arrangement.

I didn't tell Misha the look I was going for as I wanted to surprise him with the wreath. I gathered everything I needed for the project. I sifted through our basement for the grape vine wreath we picked up a while back at Michael's....

... some colourful glass ornaments, a ribbon and a wire.

I cut a long piece of wire and began gathering the Christmas ornaments on the wire, one-by-one.

I mixed and matched the sizes and colours. I used up the ornaments we had left over from last year, which were predominantly red. You can go for more colours is you wish; that would look great as well.

Once I used up all the ornaments and was happy with the arrangement, I tied each end of the wire to the wreath. It took me about 15 minutes to do and the wreath was ready.

I used the red ribbon to tie the wreath to our front door.

When I showed it to Misha, the look on his face was priceless. He LOVED it! He actually said "I can't believe what a Martha Stewart you are".  I think that was a bit of an exaggeration but it was still nice to see him excited.

The wreath takes on a new life in the evening when the ornaments become illuminated by the light from the lantern.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...


Sunday, 8 December 2013

The eco-friendly couch hunt

Our living room needs a serious makeover. Our existing IKEA furniture came in very handy when we moved in together.  It worked well when we merged our stuff and saved us a lot of money in the beginning. However, after almost three years, it's time to revisit our living room and start making some healthier furniture choices.

Starting with the couch, we are on the hunt for an eco-friendly couch. Our existing couch is made with polyurethane foam with toxic fire retardant, which we would like to replace. This means, we are looking for a couch with no polyurethane foam/fire retardant nor any stain/wrinkle resistant finishes on the fabric. We hadn't realized how big of an undertaking this is going to be.

We started out researching couches online and learning about what they are made of. We also visited retailers and asked many questions about their products. In the end, we came up with these three options:
  1. Buy a new eco-couch from Brentwood Classics. This place has an amazing show room, worth a visit if you live in/near Toronto. They use soya based poly-foam for the stuffing and they have a good selection of untreated upholstery fabrics to choose from. All sofas are made in Canada and the prices are reasonable, starting at around $1,600.
    Brentwood Classics sofa

  2. Buy an antique couch and have it re-upholstered based on our specific eco needs. This would involve  buying a used couch and finding an upholsterer who is willing to do the work for a reasonable price.

  3. Buy a futon with organic cotton batting. This is a great option other than futons are not everyone's cup of tea, especially as living room furniture.

After months of going back and forth, comparing prices, revisiting our budget, and questioning what is important to us we are narrowing down our choices. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Eco-friendly couch hunt and see how we decide.