Warning: This may be disturbing to the non-parents in the room.
1. 2000-2005. We had this adorable little set of black leather living room furniture. Kevin's parents had gotten it for him, and the loveseat and two chairs were comfy, sleek, and fit perfectly into our condo. We loved them.
2. 2005. Then I got pregnant. And soon found it imperative that I be able to actually lie down while watching tv and trying to endure the nausea, exhaustion, etc., which was impossible on that loveseat, despite its cuteness. Perhaps because of its cuteness. So we sold the whole set to my sister.
3. 2005-2009. We went to the Marshall Fields outlet, which had turned into the Macy's outlet and wasn't nearly as good as it used to be, but where we found a $3000 sectional on clearance for $1000. It was brown, it was upholstered, it was pretty generic, but it fit with our color scheme and seemed comfy enough. It was a little large for our condo, but workable. We bought it.
4. 2009. By this point, I am miserable about the lack of back support in that sectional -- I don't know whether it was me aging, or it actually not being a great couch, or what, but the cushions were constantly killing my back, and I was always having to prop a bunch of extra pillows on the couch to be able to sit there for any length of time. We put up with it because, well, it would cost money to fix the problem. But it sucked. So when we were selling the condo and moving (we thought) into an Oak Park house with a small living room, that seemed a good time to fix the problem. We arranged to sell the set, cheap, to my friend Rupal, who was just getting married and moving into a bigger apartment. I think we asked around $300 for it?
5. July 30, 2009 (I am seven months pregnant). Our closing on the house purchase fell through. We had a day to decide what to do. All our stuff (including the sectional) went into storage way out in the suburbs, with the moving company. We moved in with Daniel and Anne for what turned out to be two months of fruitless house searching. I am very grateful for their comfy couch.
6. End of September, 2009. We finally close on the blue Victorian house, have the baby, and move into our current rental. (The exact sequence is a little blurry to me.) We get our stuff out of storage. We can finally give poor Rupal the sectional sofa she has been waiting two months for, which absolutely does not fit in our rental apartment living room. Not even close.
7. October, 2009. I have a tiny baby. I need a couch immediately. We have no idea how long the renovation process is going to take, or how big the living room will be. We go to Brown Elephant and buy a $80 blue fabric loveseat, very used. It turns out to be a sleeper, which function we use a few times, but which unfortunately also seems to lead to bad lower back support given slanting back design. Pfui.
8. Spring 2010. Kavi starts potty training. She has accidents everywhere. Including on that blue couch. Multiple times. Despite our best cleaning efforts (which, granted, are nowhere near professional level), the blue couch now has a constant and distinct urine odor. It embarrasses me to have guests sit on the couch -- I tend to drape a blanket over it when they come and hope that masks the worst of the smell.
9. June 18, 2010. We'll be moving to the new rental. I am not taking this disgusting blue couch with us. So we need a couch.
Okay, so that's all the prefatory material, or The Tale of the Bad Couches. At this point, I would like to invest $3500 or so in a really good couch, one that fits our new living room, now that I know the dimensions. Actually, it'd probably be more like two loveseats, as a couch won't fit in my tiny Victorian living room, so maybe $5000 for a pair? This feels like a ridiculous amount of money, but we do spend a hell of a lot of time on the couch, all of us, and will hopefully use it for decades. Kev and I spent some time last fall looking at excellent couches with great back support, guaranteed to last twenty years or more, like the Baker couches at Walter E. Smithe. Something in a dark brown leather, probably, a little aged in style, so as to not mind some mild dog-scratching. Sturdy. We're not wedded to leather, though -- fabric is also good.
However, having gone through the great pee explosion of spring 2010, I am now wary. Kavi is mostly daytime potty-trained at this point; it's been at least a month since a couch accident, I think. But I have another child, and I have no idea what Anand will do in two years when we go through his round of potty-training. I don't want to buy a great couch, only to have it ruined in two years. So I'm leaning towards buying a decent but replaceable couch, figuring we'll use it for 3-4 years, and then get the great one when the kids are mostly done with spilling liquids, etc. Looking at Craigslist, Harlem Furniture, it seems like we can get that for around $650 or so.
Factoring in that it would be ideal to walk in somewhere and walk out with a couch that can be delivered by Saturday, when we move into our new house (which I think knocks out Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Macy's, etc., which seem to take 6-8 weeks to deliver), any other suggestions for good places to buy furniture in the Chicagoland area? I'm willing to drive out to the suburbs if someone really thinks it's worthwhile. Or do we put up with not having a couch for two months and get a slightly better couch from C&B, etc. for twice as much?
And does this seem like a reasonable plan? Buy relatively cheap loveseat (or two) now, get great one(s) in 4-5 years? Or is that just wasteful, and it would make more sense to invest in the good furniture now, and figure that we'll learn how to clean urine better before it becomes an issue again?
Or maybe abandon the high-end sofa idea entirely, compromise with a solid PB or C&B sofa now in a tough-wearing fabric (I like the Buchanan Apartment Sofa in everydaysuede in Pewter, $1200, for example, possibly with a slipcover, or C&B's Oxford Twin Sleeper, currently on sale for $900), either do without a couch for two months or live with the stinky blue one until that can be delivered, and hope that Anand's potty training goes smoother than Kavi's and/or that couch is easier to clean?
In choosing sofas for style, we're looking for ones with arms that let you lie down and rest your head on the arm (a priority for Kevin), 55-80 inches in length, not too deep, firm back. I'd prefer an old-fashioned look (brass nailheads, button-tufted back, that kind of thing, like the Ethan Allen Whitney Sofa, $1800, or their Whittaker Sofa, $2500), but that seems a bit hard to find with the low comfy arms and reasonable pricing), so as long as it's not super-modern, it's probably fine.
We've been waffling about this sofa thing for way too long; sometimes I think we've put more energy into it than into picking a house.