Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Tale of Two Couches

[For those of you who also read M is for Mama, I already had thought of my title before she published her latest post. And she clearly had better luck than I did... but I'm getting ahead of myself.]

I wasn't looking for couches, when I saw that set of "Brand New Gray Leather" couches, advertised on a local Yard Sale Group. 

I had so much fun re-doing our master bedroom, that I was planning to fix up our downstairs one day, too... including switching out our fabric, red-and-green couches (that are super comfortable, smell awesome, recline AND have foot rests) for something more modern--specifically gray, leather couches. 

But couches are expensive, and I had no intention of buying "new" ones any time. Until, of course, I saw this set of "brand new" couches, which looked exactly like what I'd been wanting!!

Excitedly, I began writing back and forth with the owner, only to find out that this set was NEW, never sat on, and she was selling them for one-fifth of the original price. I couldn't believe our good luck!

My plan was to sell our current couches for MORE than what we'd buy these leather couches for, and use the difference to buy some decor to fix off the downstairs' new "look." My hope was that we wouldn't spend ANY money on the downstairs remodel, or--at the most--$100.

We went to look at the couches, and I missed all the warning signs. The owner said she'd never had animals in her townhome, and when she smoked, it was always outside. I can blame the circumstances... the room was dark, I was very pumped, the lady seemed nice. Considering how much she said she'd paid for this set (and how it had NEVER been sat on!), I thought we were getting an incredible deal.

So we bought them. The second they entered our garage, though, we smelled the awful, terrible smell coming from these couches. But I was still excited. They looked great, right? 

But we couldn't get past that smell. I researched how to remove a smoke smell from leather couches, and we got to work. 

I dumped three boxes of baking soda all over those couches, mixed in some coffee grounds, and went to bed for the night.

By the next morning, I'll admit--the smell was MUCH better. I got a bucket of vinegar water and Rachel, Jemima, Matthias and I worked for several hours, wiping down every inch of those beautiful couches.

We repeated the wipe-down-the-couches process with Saddle Soap. By now, the couches were seriously smelling better... but still. Not appropriate for sitting on, hanging out, relaxing, you get the idea.

While removing the cushions, I found the original tag, and called the manufacturer of these couches.

And... Bang. These couches originally cost nothing like what the owner had claimed. These were cheap couches. 

But we figured that one out on our own, after Rachel climbed onto one of them, in her flip-flops, and nicked the fabric. Sad day.

By now, we'd concluded these couches were NOT for us. Besides the smell (which we couldn't fully get rid of), they weren't durable enough to stand the daily wear-and-tear from small children.

So I listed them for sale. But I felt I'd been deceived, and I didn't want to be anything less than fully honest with anyone. I advertised this set as (what they were): From a smoker (and possibly) pet home. 

Guess what. No one wants them. I first advertised them as the price we purchased them, and no one was remotely interested. So I lowered the price--and again, and again. It's a real possibility that we may be listing these gray leather couches as FREE, or (at best) making $100 off them--just to get them out of our garage.

Considering how I love being frugal, and how much I watch our finances, this was a blow. If I were pregnant, I would've been a crying mess. Since I'm not, I just thought about crying, and wanted to cry--and couldn't. 

On the bright side, I've learned three [very expensive] lessons from this whole process.

1. Don't buy a couch that smells bad--whatever the price. I had no idea how difficult it was to remove cigarette smoke from leather furniture, but yes, it's difficult. Hours of my life are lost in cleaning, and they still reek.

2. Even if it means you have to act awkwardly, if you're offering a wad of serious cash for couches, it's definitely worth the time and effort to sit on them and lay on them and smell them and remove the cushions and turn on all the brightest lights around to get the best look possible. And only then, if you're fully satisfied, offer your cash.

3. If you think a room of your house "needs something," it might not necessarily be the most expensive items IN that room, i.e., the couches in your family room.

And here's where I come to the happy part in this whole story. While preparing our family room for the "new look," my mom and I removed the black, broken blinds on the windows and painted the dark-colored trim white. Already, this [free] project made that wall look SO much brighter! 

After we realized we were keeping our original couches, though, our windows needed some sort of window treatment--as now the light was pouring in, and there was no privacy.

I really wanted curtains that looked modern, but still somehow matched our current couches.... and yet, were neutral enough to match any couches (whenever we would find replacement couches).

I had no idea if this was possible, until I saw these in the curtain aisle at Target...

White curtains, with a pretty gold-dotted pattern. Modern, neutral, will match couches present and future. EXACTLY what I wanted!

As soon I ironed the curtain panels, and Matt hung them, I realized these long, light-colored, pretty curtains was what this room needed. Not necessarily new couches, at least not right this minute. Why, oh why, did I not think of this before we paid for the couches?!

But without the purchase of those gray, leather couches, I wouldn't have learned these lessons. And hopefully, I won't soon forget them.


  1. I liked your post. It sucks that you can't sell the couches but at least you found something good out of it. It's such a win/loose buying used. Sometimes the headaches can make you just want to give and pay for new.

  2. What a bummer that you had to learn this lesson the hard way, but I love the way your room ended up looking!

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  4. My plan was to sell our current couches for MORE than what we'd buy these leather couches for, and use the difference to buy some decor to ...

  5. أفضل شركة نقل عفش بالرياض :-
    إذا كنت تبحث عن أفضل شركة نقل عفش
    بالرياض فقد وجدت ضالتك نحن نعتبر الشركة الأفضل فى مجال نقل العفش والأثاث فى المملكة العربية السعودية لما لنا من خبرة تميزنا عن أى شركة إخرى فى هذا المجال نعمل دائماً على تقديم أفضل جودة خدمة لعملائنا الكرام وهذا ما يشهد عليه عملائنا بأنفسهم ونحرص أيضاً على إستخدام أفضل الأليات والمعدات فى نقل العفش مما يضمن سلامته وسرعة إنجاز المهمة . نقدم لكم خدمة كشف تسربات المياه
    بالرياض :-
    تسربات المياه المتمثلة فى المياه المهدرة من حنفيات المياه أو المواسير التى تمر فى الحوائط وأسفل وأعلى المنازل بسبب شدة درجات الحرارة فى الرياض والسعودية بشكل عام ، ينتج عن هذه التسربات ما يزيد عن 20 ألف جالون من الماء يتم إهدارة شهرياً بسبب هذه التسربات ، لذا نحرص فى شركة فى الخدمة أن نقدم لعملائنا خدمة كشف تسربات المياه وإصلاحها بأحدث الأساليب والأدوات عن طريق فريق محترف فى القضاء على أسباب تسرب المياه وذلك حتى لا تتكرر مرة إخرى .
    فى الخدمة تقدم لكم أفضل خدمة نظافة بالرياض :-
    شركة فى الخدمة شركة تنظيف بالرياض
    من أفضل الشركات في هذا المجال لأننا متميزون ومنفردون في جودة الخدمة التي نقدمها لنوفر لك عزيزي العميل مستوي النظافة والجودة التي تفوق توقعاتك لأننا نهتم بأدق التفاصيل و أول همنا هو خدمة العمل وكسب ثقة العميل , كما ان لدينا طاقم عمل متكامل مدرب علي أعلي درجة من الأحترافية والأتقان في مجال التنظيف كما تنفرد شركتنا بأستخدام مجموعة أدوات ومعدات وتقنيات التنظيف حيث التطور والتقدم في أستخدام التكنولوجيا الحديثة كما أننا نستخدم مجموعة مميزة وفعالة من المواد المنظفه التي تساعد في عمليات التنظيف .


  6. نقدم لك حل طبيعي وسهل للتخلص من البقع والحل هو استخدام الخل والصودا للتخلص من كافة انواع البقع حيث يمكن التخلص من بقع الدهون وبقع الزيت سواء كانت على الجدران والحوائط أو كانت على الأرضيات والأسطح باستخدام محلول الصودا والخل الذي يفتت البقع ناهيك عن كونه يعتبر معقم قوي وفعال لقتل البكتريا وبالأخص عند إضافة سائل التنظيف معه، فللتخلص من البقع
    شركة تنظيف منازل بالرياض
    ويجيب على تساؤلات عملائنا الكرام خبراء على أعلى مستوى حيث يقوم خبراء شركة تنظيف بيوت بالرياض والمتخصصون في مجال التنظيف والصحة العامة على تقديم إجابات وافية على استفسارات عملائنا وتقديم حلول للشكاوى المقدمة وسط الحرص على استخدام أحدث التقنيات وبالاعتماد على مواد طبيعية تحافظ على صحة الإنسان ولا تكون عبء على ميزانية المنزل.