Townhouse Update {The Tale of Two Couches}

Living Room and Bella the Labradoodle

Hello! Kylee here! I recently shared with you some progress on our townhouse and today, as promised, I am back to tell the story of how we got our two couches into our new living room! If you’ve ever moved into a small house (or have a very frugal spouse) maybe you’ll relate.

In our old basement apartment (also known as The Cave), we had a red leather couch and a loveseat that originally belonged to my grandparents. They are very nice and wonderful quality, but I always felt a little stumped about how to decorate with them since they weren’t a style or color I would normally have picked. I was so grateful for the five years we had them in our apartment, but I was kind of hoping to start fresh in our new townhouse.

Living room red couches

I spent hours searching for my dream sofa or sectional that would fit perfectly into our new space. My husband Lance, on the other hand, was determined that we were not only going to get the red couches out of the apartment, but also up the narrow stairs in our new home.

You see, Lance is a practical and frugal man and the thought of spending $3,000 (which, let’s be honest, wasn’t really in the budget anyway) on a sectional from West Elm when we have two perfectly good leather couches (that he happens to think are pretty great) is not something he wanted to entertain.

I was skeptical that the largest couch would ever make it out of the apartment and see the light of day, let alone arrive safely to the second floor of our new townhouse, but I was willing to humor him for the sake of proving that we had to get something new. If it was a necessity, at least I wasn’t being irresponsible and giving up two perfect good pieces of furniture all for the sake of an aesthetic preference, right?

Part One: Out of the apartment

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So, moving day arrived and the quest to get the sofas out of the apartment began. After being stuck in the elevator at our apartment complex for nearly an hour, twisting and turning the couch every possible way, with many long pauses developing new strategies, and nearly breaking the elevator ceiling (woops), we miraculously got it out and into the U-Haul with only a few small scuffs in the leather. I still don’t know how it happened.

But, I still had my doubts they would ever make it up our new staircase. As far as I was concerned, we were still in market for a new sofa. Not Lance, though. He still believed. “Ye of little faith,” he told me.

Part Two: Into the…garage.

After trying to get the loveseat around a tricky corner and up the stairs of our new townhouse with the help of a couple of friends, it was determined that it wouldn’t make it, so into the garage it went. I sympathetically consoled Lance and pointed out that we could probably make some money off them if we put them up on Craigslist. Then I promptly resumed my search for a West Elm couch. But apparently, although our friends had given up, Lance had not. He was still certain he could get BOTH sofas up the stairs. Somehow. Such determination!

The next day my grandpa, who is just as tenacious as Lance, came over to help. It was a rather frightening experience and everyone who witnessed it thought that this was the end of Lance and Grandpa. Visions of death by loveseat were all too clear as they struggled to push and pull it up the steep, narrow staircase.

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But alas, once again– some way, somehow, in spite of all the adversity and risk, they got the loveseat up the stairs. But this was only the loveseat…

And so, once again, given how difficult the loveseat was to get up the stairs, we kept the couch in the garage until we decided how to proceed. Once again, I offered Lance my condolences, but congratulated him for the valiant effort. At least we had a loveseat to sit on for now and we could decide on a more permanent solution in the following weeks.

Part Three: A change of heart

A few weeks went by and we settled in to our new home, content with our little loveseat for the time being. When I decided enough time had passed for Lance to grieve (ha!), I brought up the option of getting something new. I guess I didn’t wait long enough, because suddenly he had a new surge of confidence that he could, indeed, get that crazy couch into our living room. And so I told him he had two weeks to figure something out or they were going on Craigslist.

Part Four: The final attempt

With my ultimatum in mind, Lance swung into action and gathered up a crew of friends to help him attempt to accomplish the impossible. Hours were spent at the bottom of our stairs trying to twist and finagle the big, red beast around the corner to no avail. There was simply no way that couch was going up the stairs. And that was the end of that! Or so I thought…

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After a brief break, a new idea was born. One of our friends suggested, “How about the balcony?” I sighed to myself as the crew loudly proclaimed their support for this preposterous idea that I was certain was not going to work.

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Not only was the balcony insanely high off the ground, but the sliding door was not going to be wide enough to get it through.

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Everyone was determined to make it work.

At one point, the couch was hoisted up from down below and those of us up above tried to grab it, but there weren’t enough of us to get enough strength to pull it up and over the balcony. And so, our trusty friends below said, “Just hold on, we will come around to help hoist it up!”

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And so, there we were, barely holding on to a dangling couch with no support below. What a sight that must have been for our new neighbors! Just when the couch was about to slip from our grasp, the guys arrived and we mustered all our strength to leverage it over the balcony. And there it was! On the balcony!

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We stopped for a quick celebratory photo. The couch wouldn’t fit through the screen door (as I suspected) so thus began the laborious process of removing the stationary part of the door. I won’t bore you with the process, but once again, just as we almost deemed it impossible, off it came! Another miracle. Cries of joy and victory ensued as the couch slid into its rightful place in our living room. Bella tried it out right away…while donning her cone of shame.

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So, there you have it. Hard work and determination paid off and Lance could not be more pleased with himself. So for now, they stay. I’m not mad about it. Someday I might get that West Elm sectional, but today is not that day! I have to admit they fit in this space just fine. And now that we have added a rug and a few more accessories, they are growing on me!

Soon I’ll share with you another of our frugal tales, how we cut our queen size box spring in half to squeeze it up two flights of stairs to our bedroom!

Red Sofas in the Living Room

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Comments

  1. Your red leather couch and loveseat look exceptional in your new townhouse and the way you have styled the room is absolutely amazing!. Congratulations on getting them up there.
    Nicole Stark recently posted..6 Products I couldn’t live withoutMy Profile

  2. Well Kylee, I think the couches look pretty terrific. I’ve milked quite a few couches in my day, and I think they are great because you just enjoy them and don’t worry about getting them dirty or the dog messing them up or anything. But my biggest take-away from this post is that you have some pretty awesome friends!
    Seana Turner recently posted..SuperpowersMy Profile

    • Yes, they are very sturdy and have grown on me quite a bit! And I do have some pretty great friends :)

      • For just a second I thought you were saying your FRIENDS are very sturdy and have grown on you quite a bit, hahaha!
        Kudos to your husband and crew of friends, though, they certainly do sound like sturdy folk. ;)

  3. I own apartments….I have encountered MANY couches that make me scratch my head (and utter a few curse words) and wonder how in the heck they got the couch IN the unit. Obvious it was tricky because they didn’t take it OUT when they moved! I actually had to cut one couch into pieces because I could not for the life of me figure out how they got it through the door! I congratulate you on your resourcefulness. Just do your landlord a HUGE favor and don’t leave it when you move and finally convince your husband to buy new ;)

  4. They look amazing. Great job.
    Marty recently posted..Wine-Bar Cabinet-Breakfast Room Sneak PeakMy Profile

  5. I like the elegant stylishly worn comfort look of these tradtional couches. Plus I jsut love red. Great story of determination and compromise. Amsterdam came to mind where they still have pulleys on the front of the tall narrow houses to hoist up furniture! Our memory foam King was easy to get up our old farmhouse narrow stairs. The box springs are 2 twins and the mattress is bendy.
    linda recently posted..Falling In Love Chicken SaladMy Profile

  6. Mary Sperzel says:

    Great story Kylee, love the red! Noticed you have a end cushion where it looks like someone likes to nestle. It’s kind of smushed in and cozy. We had that too at my house. My hubby sits in the same spot in the same way and now the is an indentation that can’t be fluffed out. So, I unzipped the cushion and put an older down pillow insert that was too flat for a nice pillow but perfect to boost the compressed sofa cushion. Voila! Looks brand new… Enjoy your new home!! =)

  7. Nuala Raftery says:

    I love the look! The worn leather is so much more attractive than new. And I love the way you have coordinated your rug with your dog! Or your dog with your rug?

  8. I feel you girl!! Yes, those a very nice great quality couches….but red, sigh! Gotta say you’ve got them looking pretty good though. I kinda love red and teal together, maybe I’m strange but adding some teal accents might make them feel a little more modern to you. I’d throw a teal pillow on that couch and see what you think!!

  9. P.S. Amy Butler has some beautiful fabrics with red, teal, pink, navy together. They would make for some really pretty DIY throw pillows!!!! At fabric.com it’s pretty cheap per yard and free shipping if you spend $35:)

  10. Wow! So much work! I’ve got to say that I’ve never seen red leather sofas look so beautiful and not even in a “they’ll do” kind of way but really and truly beautiful. The color palette you have really makes it work!

  11. I love your red leather pieces.I searched for something similar a few years ago but never could find something I could afford. Ended up with two fabric covered pieces which, in spite of being treated to resist staining, showed wear in a couple of years. Cherish your leather. Think how cheerful red is!!

  12. I think your husband can do anything, truly.
    Barbara (WA) recently posted..The adventures continue.My Profile

  13. Hi Kylee!
    First wanted to say- you are an awesome writer!!! I just love your sense of humor with Lance & this whole debacle of the “red beasts”. I look forward to more posts from you; you truly are a talented writer! As the other ladies mentioned, your home sweet home looks great! Isn’t it funny how we think we need/want ‘new’ but if we give something a chance, and try to be practical, it really does “grow” on us and we become more content with what we are blessed to have :). Not to mention the sentimental feeling of owning something that was once treasured by your grandparents! Hats off to Lance for his perserverence and faithful friends who supported his vision! I think most of us can relate to those early years of marriage with free couches we never would have chosen or the ways we had to be frugal…cherish them, it is a special time of life. Probably someday you’ll have your West Elm beauty, but will look back at pics of old apartments and furniture and treasure those memories…I still do after 14 years of marriage and 5 precious kids later :)! Blessing to you and Lance (and Bella!)

    • Thanks so much–you are too kind! They have definitely grown on me and I’m so glad that I let Lance find a way to keep them. We really have been blessed with lots of great hand me downs from family. Thanks again for the encouragement!

  14. Wow, you DO have some great friends!

    Just my two cents: If you like the color but not the style, what about trying to make the cushions more tailored? If you were able to take in the cushions from the inside so that they are boxier and less overstuffed, you might find you love your couch again!

    All in all, I think you’ve done a great job of making them work in your new space!

  15. Kylee, the room looks fantastic. Really!!! The way you styled the room makes the red sofa and loveseat as if they were meant for the room.♥
    Beverly recently posted..Blog Shop #111My Profile

  16. Why does “The Big Bang Theory” come to mind while reading your blog!??! ;-) I immediately thought of Sheldon’s “SPOT” on the couch and his well worn space on it! The friends could be his group, too! I could envision an entire episode around this couch thing….:-) Red is the new Black….:-)

  17. I kind of always had the feeling that you had resorted to the “reverse-Rapunzel” to get those couches up there. And reading your story, I can just hear Ross Gellar yelling “PIVOT! PIVOT!” Thanks for the fun Tale of Two Couches!

  18. Kylee, they look great! All I could picture when reading this was the episode of Friends where they’re trying to get Ross’s couch up the staircase “PIVOT!” This post came at the perfect time too because I just posted this morning about our own huge hand me down couches, and how I’m learning to love them. I just think of it as someday, I’ll get the couch of my dreams and until then we’ll just work with what we have! Love seeing your posts and that sweet pup! :-)

  19. a friend has a similar Red Leather sofa..and it is gorgeous with ted toile and silk check pillows…a la Charles Faudree…a better choice than a new sectional…Well worth the effort..

  20. wow, pivot pivot came to my mind also… lol
    just because I noticed that the frames are amazing….your so lucky the cushions are not attached ! what about covering the seat & back cushions with fabric… you will get a totally new look… not West Elm new but newer…. (I did this years ago with a black leather sofa and it looked not so heavy for an extra few years) xxx

  21. So encouraging to see young people not give up on a dream ha! Congrats to Lance!!

  22. Love your tale and determination! Living room does look great — good style.

  23. I love red couches and have owned a few of them over the years. In fact, I have one now. I especially loved the softly worn but comfy look of the leather. I really notice the textures in your living space. Heck, even your dog has wonderful texture in his coat! Great job! I love Lances perseverance and frugality….a man after my own heart!
    Irma recently posted..Townhouse Update {The Tale of Two Couches}My Profile

  24. Are those prints framed rifle paper co. wrapping paper? If so, I swear I had the same idea, but wasn’t sure how it would turn out! Whatever they are, they look amazing!

  25. Karen on Bainbridge Island says:

    Funny story. I can relate. If you ever decide to replace it, we’ll bring over the chain saw and help you out.

  26. Yes, I can certainly sympathize. I live in a beautiful apartment, but found out while moving in that I could not get my sofa in the front door and around the bend into the hallway leading to the living room. So we did the same thing you did, brought it up over the balcony and through the sliding door. I ended up selling the sofa on Craig’s List and purchased a smaller sofa and it started me in a whole new decorating direction. (Of Course!)

  27. This is the funniest thing I’ve read in a really long time. I’m usually a silent stalker of this amazing blog, but I just had to let you know you made me LOL. By the way, I love those red leather couches. I recently purchased two “leather” tufted ottomans for my living room that I thought I’d hate, but they turned out to really fit the space. Like you, I got them because it was an inexpensive answer to my seating/storage/decorative surface needs. Sometimes you just never know what will work until you get it in your home. Anyway, good luck with your place and happy decorating!

    • Thanks for your sweet comment and for delurking! I have definitely come around to loving our couches now that we finally got them in!

  28. That was a great post. In a local Nashville newspaper, there is a column called “Ms. Cheap”. It’s all about saving money and yearly she has a contest for the “cheapest of the cheap”. She would love your husband. (Not that that furniture is cheap. In fact it looks really nice. It’s your husband who would take the prize).
    Thanks for a good laugh on a wintery snowbound day!

  29. A super human effort guys! Well done. Shame you didn’t get your new sofa though.
    Nat recently posted..Staircase Part 2My Profile

  30. Too funny! Your husband is definitely not a quitter – and that’s a very good thing;-). Someday your perfect sofa will come along, and it will be the right time. In the meantime, you made the best of it, and your room looks great! I enjoy the challenge of making a great room out of what I already have (or can get cheap), so I can relate.
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  31. I’m totally giggling at this post!! what is it with guys? I can see my husband and his friends doing the same thing!! they just can’t admit defeat….it’s the competitiveness in them I think lol. The REAL challenge will be when you DO decide to get something new, because getting them back out wont be nearly as fun lol

    The couches look adorable in your new home though!!
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  32. We also have a small split entry home that doesn’t allow for large furniture to enter our home. My husband has enlisted our neighbors over the years to assist with getting couches and a piano into the lower level by removing the lower level window. Loved your blog and your room looks great!

  33. Great story!! I love a sofa with history. Mine have a story too and I have livednwith our sectional for 21 years (recovered once) my hubby got them months before we met!!!!

  34. I actually love the couches just as they are but I was wondering if you’ve thought of having slipcovers made for them? It would satisfy your desire for something new and fresh and still keep hubby happy! I think a beautiful cream or oatmeal color would be beautiful! I’ve seen slipcovers made out of drop cloth fabric for affordability. Just a thought.

  35. Where did you get your coffee table?

  36. Wow I love that couch! And your dog… I AM IN LOVE. What is the breed?

  37. I went thru a similar situation but the movers I hired weren’t so gentle and my leather sofa has huge scares to prove it. But….the real reason I wanted to leave a comment is your dog!!! One of the cutest dogs ever!!!!

  38. I love this room! We have red couches and I want to paint the walls grey. This is the first time I have seen that combo that looks so amazing. Can you tell me the color you used on the walls?

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