a p p a r e n t l y


Adventures in Upholstery (Then and Now)

When I was about 23, I I discovered a discarded loveseatĀ in front of the apartment building where I lived in Minneapolis. Snow was just starting to fall, and I knew that if I wanted to rescue the sweet little sofa I had to do so right away. (This was before we had to worry about bedbugs.) I ran inside and called a couple of friends, but no one was around. (This was before had phones in our pockets.) So I somehow managed to push/shove/lug the sofa around the building, in the service entrance, up a flight of stairs and into my apartment. Which, by the way, was the one right behind the tree to the left, on the first floor. It had French windows then, and the trim was painted green.

marcelle arms


I loved that apartment. But that’s another post.

I spent that snowy night tearing the damp tweedy fabric from the loveseat’s frame with a pair of needlenose pliers. The next day I bought a staple gun and a few yards of navy jacquard upholstery fabric. And somehow, using a potent combination of 20% skill, 20% proper and improper tools (including but not limited to a needle and thread, the staple gun and a glue gun) and 60% sheer determination, I turned that frame into a pretty decent little sofa. To this day I can’t listen to A Prairie Home Companion without hearing faint echoes of the thunk thunk thunk of the stapler.

I wish I had read Manhattan Nest first. Because this guy did something similar, and far better. He recovered an IKEA bed frame with cotton batting and an Army blanket. And he was smart enough to buy the automatic stapler.


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One Response to “Adventures in Upholstery (Then and Now)”

  1. March 14th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Sarah (becoming gezellig) says:

    Maybe it’s just the effects of Gillian Welch on the stereo over here, but what a sweet story about your sofa. I remember those days when I did those crazy, time-consuming, semi-ill-considered projects.