Friday, February 1, 2013

Funny Looking but Functional

It's hard to believe that the ADG and I have been living in this apartment for nine months already! I love the space, the wood floors, the big windows, the river view. It's felt like home for quite some time now and I have my favourite places at certain times of the day.

 I start each day in the 'river room' while it is still dark outside, light a couple of candles and practice yoga until the sun comes up. The rest of the time the room functions as an office-y type workspace, but for those two hours in the morning it is a quiet, slow, meditative space.

Some Sunday mornings I like to lie in bed just a little bit longer, open the curtains and watch the trees and the sky.

The living room is the place to be on a sunny afternoon and from about 2-3pm in the winter there is one chair that I like to sit in and read when the light is buttery and mellow and dreamy.

I like the kitchen in the evening, listening to the CBC while I cook and wash dishes.

And one of my favourite places to be is on the pallet sofa.

When I left my old apartment, the loveseat I had in there for 6 years did not come with. It was handed down to me preloved by two owners before me.  It was small and low and saggy, so we parted ways and the search for a new sofa began. There was no way I was paying hundreds of dollars for a new sofa, probably cheaply made in a foreign country with toxic, off-gassing materials, so I went with a second hand option and found an absolutely gorgeous, extremely well made, antique sofa in pristine condition, that was ridiculously affordable. Unfortunately that sofa picked up some bed bugs while in the thrift store, and kindly passed them on to us. Two weeks, one chemical treatment and countless loads of laundry later, we were thankfully bed bug free but also sofa-less. This time, a second hand sofa was no longer an option, but I wasn't about to break down and buy something new either.

And that's how the pallet sofa came to be. I knew of pallet furniture already and did some searches online for pallet sofas to get an idea of design and materials. The ADG and I took some measurements of our space and started thinking about where to source materials. One day while I was leaving work I noticed a longer than average pallet leaning against the dumpster outside the building. It had a bit of dirt on it from being left out, but was otherwise in great shape. I gave the ADG a call, he met me by the dumpster and we carried it home. It sat outside for a while until the next sunny weekend day and we got to work cleaning it off and sanding it down.
A trip to the hardware store provided the legs (which ended up being the most expensive part of the whole thing.)
The spare parts department at Ikea yielded two not quite matching, but suitable sofa cushions for $5 each.
This thrifted table cloth (which was immediately washed and dried on high heat now that I am extremely bed bug phobic) fits nicely over the cushions and can be removed quickly for easy washing.
The back of the sofa is a crib mattress donated by some friends whose children are sleeping in big kid beds now.  A blanket covers the mattress and is held in place with loose stitches of nylon thread.

Pillows and cushions are added to both ends inviting all to rest their weary bones or lay down their tired heads. And there you have it! 

O.k. I know it's not some sleek, mid-century modern showpiece, or fancy European leather.  It doesn't have a built in recliner, or arm rests for that matter.  It's quite deep so even if you're a tall person, you're legs don't quite touch the floor when you sit all the way back. I admit, it's kinda funny looking, but I can change the design anytime I want; stain the wood, switch colours, swap cushions, add arms even.  And you know what?  It's comfortable.  Really comfortable.  It easily accommodates two snuggley bodies, watching a movie.  It's lovely for naps, reading, crafting and even getting work done.  It's one of my favourite places to be!


Heather said...

I love this!

Amber said...

Thanks Heather. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh the memories that brings back!

Pallets are so versatile, I've had beds, chairs and a sofa - the look was finished off nicely by wooden crates as end tables, picked up from the back of a restaurant in Chinatown.

Enjoying your blog, off to read some more now :)

Amber said...

Hi Christine! Isn't amazing how well you can furnish a space with materials most people throw away? :)