Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Duding up my living space

*Update below*

This is a fluffy little entry (before I talk about more serious things) just to say that the last week has been one of mad shopping for living room furniture and acquiring of things. I finally found a table to go underneath the new TV we bought. Espresso finish, glass top, modern, but not too spare for my house.

Unfortunately, every TV on the market these days is horribly ugly. They are ALL shiny black, and huge and....blechhh. Ugliest damn things I've ever seen. Samsung, Sony, whatever, all the companies are trying to build them for home theatre viewing, but reality is that most of us have living rooms, not home theatres. Even if people do have a home theatre, most people only have one room like that, and most of us want the TVs in the rest of the house to blend in a bit and not dominate the room. The piano black ones are very difficult to decorate around unless you live in a Las Vegas casino or the look you are trying to achieve is, "Used car salesman in shiny polyester suit!"

Basically, like I said before, we are renovating in the next year, a serious tear-the-house-down reno, so right now we can't buy the permanent furniture we want to have made up for the house. It may not go with our decorating then, or it may not fit in our tiny house right now, so there's no point in wasting money on really nice stuff.

But our current furniture is ugly and broken, so we tossed the old tube TV and the giant cabinet it lived in, and we are buying some things now with the anticipation of putting it in the family room or basement after the reno. Problem is that we just can't decide what to buy. Mr.Cotta wants to buy Man Cave furniture, (think Lazyboy in black leather, like on the left) and I want to buy comfortable but more modern stuff. Like with plushy backs and seats, but with a microfibre or fabric cover with stainguard and a medium color, maybe a nice chocolate shade or blue. No skirt, no frou-frou pattern, maybe an ottoman to put our feet up. And a coffee & end table to match the TV table. Everything has to be small, due to the current dimensions of our living room, (13 feet x 12 feet), and the fact that we have an antique piano already. It's beautiful, and the boys take lessons on it, but at 5 feet by 3 feet and almost 4 1/2 feet tall, it's a monster, so we can't fit everything we want in the one room.

I swear I've looked in high end stores, low end crummy ones, IKEA, and every variation you can think of. And I still can't decide! So there you are. Confusion reigns.

Any suggestions?

To answer a few queries, we don't own a coffee table, never have due to childproofing issues and then inertia. Our living room has always looked odd as a result. We can't have people over because there is no where to put a glass of wine down. So I want to buy one, even a cheap one.

The TV has been bought and installed already so that's a done deal. He has wanted a giant flat screen TV for years, and couldn't wait. Plus the sound on our ancient CRT TV was dying.

In terms of waiting for the reno completion, this is Toronto, the worst city on earth to attempt a reno in. Most people give up and abandon their properties and sell out to others who are willing to cheat and lie. I wasn't kidding, we'll have to have to go to court and do multiple hearings at the OMB after we get turned down by the city committee of adjustment. The entire process could take a year, and that's before we knock down one brick. Now, if Mr. Cotta and I wanted to lie like everyone else does and "pretend" we are doing a reno and leave one wall standing and the foundation, then build a fake house on top, rebuild the foundation underneath, and rework the old house, then slip the inspector some cash to look the other way and sign off, we could start work in a month.

But we don't think it's right to cheat and lie and bribe, so we're going to do it the honest, long, hard and expensive way. And I can't live with my currently shitty slipcovered sofas as is while fighting in court everyday. Too depressing. (Yes Tinker, I did slipcover them a few years back as a stopgap measure. Honestly, I never will again. Surefit slipcovers sure don't freakin' fit. I'll post a photo someday. You will laugh!)

So I'm still looking. Sigh...


  1. I would use it as an excuse to go antiquing or estate sales hunting. I know my couch is inherited and reupholstered and it turned out wonderfully. (We had been looking and looking.)

    By the same token, I still haven't found the perfect sideboard for my dining room / kitchen.



  2. Well, since you asked....

    If you're going to be doing a major renovation in the next year, I would buy the absolute minimum that you can get away with. In fact, I would probably keep the old ugly and broken furniture. Because what I'd be afraid of is spending money on furniture now, then deciding it's too small or just not right for the renovated rooms.

    Alternatively, if you have to buy stuff now, I would try to figure out what element of the mancave furniture appeals to Mr. Cotta most -- the leather, the shape, the color -- and try to work with that.

  3. We wound up going to our local discount furniture store bcz I would just as soon replace it in another 10 - 12 yrs (heavy wear on ours w/kid & petz).
    Higher-end store had a beautiful bohemian oversized easy chair w/ottoman, but we couldn't find a couch to match it... Ah well.

  4. Love the new tv stand.

    As for suggestions, I don't really have any. I do have a microfibre couch and it has held up wonderfully for the past 6 years.

  5. I have a microfiber couch, chair and ottoman - all three with stain guard (it cost $175 to stain guard all three pieces - the warranty is good for 7 years and if you can't get the stain out - they will replace your furniture). I'm a big fan of the stain guard. Of course, I tend to eat dinner on the floor at the coffee table, to avoid spilling on the couch - but when I have spilled, I have to say, the stain guard really works. This came from Marshall Fields though - now, Macy's. Do you have this where you are? It was relatively inexpensive I thought - then again, I apparently have a warped sense of cost (since I actually find it rather reasonable to pay $14 a day to park my car at work), but still, I think it was reasonable.

  6. No suggestions, but I'd be happy to sit in the middle of your room with a picket sign that reads, "this is NOT a man-cave!"

  7. We have leather and it wipes kid stuff off very easily. Good Luck!

  8. Is it wrong to say that I like the T.V. and the general man cave look?
    Not so crazy about the black leather look, but can't it be man caveish, but also decent looking? Or is that impossible?

  9. SB and I just ordered a sectional sofa. Took us a year and a half to decide. I don't know how you can do it even if it is for temporary stuff. Just getting a style you can agree on can take 6 months. Good luck and try to enjoy buying new stuff.

  10. I would hold off buying anything until after the reno. Then you should buy the pieces that are absolutely perfect for the new space. Slipcovers will do until then, won't they?