2 couches, both alike in dignity

News to no one who knows me: I took an upholstery class last fall, from a local studio that used to operate the program at Austin Community College before budget cuts forced them to go private. I had a ball and have enjoyed adopting it as a new hobby. But there was also a specific purpose. Probably 40% of the furniture in our new home was generously passed to us by family, including two couches that originally belonged to my grandparents in the 60s. Beautiful bones, ragged gold velour upholstery. I didn’t take a great “before” shot, but this one will serve:

gold couch before
The sunlight makes the old upholstery look prettier and less threadbare than it had actually become.

I have always loved these couches and was thrilled to adopt them, but they were in desperate need of a facelift. Getting them reupholstered was to be our housewarming gift from my parents. After getting a choke-on-my-drink bid of $1500 plus the cost of the new fabric, however, I did a little budgeting and figured that for that price, I could take the class, buy a bunch of tools, cover the cost of my practice chair/materials, and then some. (As long as I valued my labor at $0/hour, of course. Among the lessons of the class was that upholstery is a labor-intensive business; $1500 was a totally reasonable price.) So, that’s exactly what I did.

I began couch reconstruction in February, beginning with what I think of as the “real” upholstery, i.e. that which involves staples. Then I began recovering the cushions, which could happen more gradually since it didn’t disrupt the living room.


couch cushion

two-tone couch
We had two-tone couches for about a month.

The back cushions were the final step, made with new “super-soft” foam that also served as a pretty decent toddler bed for Max in the interim. While I patterned and sewed pillow covers, I listened to a Yale course on early-modern England and Bob Solomon’s Existentialism lectures. A couple of weeks ago, the couches and I became our Authentic Selves:

couch 1

couch 2

Sous is not allowed on them.

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