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Started: 2011-08-22 20:43:28

Submitted: 2011-08-22 21:36:39

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It all began innocently enough. Last fall Kiesa researched home staging in an attempt to get a better idea how to arrange our house to appeal to prospective buyers whenever we get around to selling it. One book (Home Staging That Works, by Starr C. Osborne) segmented prospective buyers into groups by generation, identified what sort of furniture each generation likes, and suggested a number of catalogs that represent each generation's tastes. Kiesa poked around the websites of the various retailers identified in the book and requested a number of catalogs. These arrived in the mail over the next few weeks, and updates continued to arrive as the retailers tried to convince us that we needed new seasonal furniture.

Our current dining room table came from a thrift store in Boulder in early 2003. It was serviceable but dark and clunky, and the chairs were beginning to develop irreparable structural defects, despite my attempts to patch them together mostly with wood glue. We were down to two of the original four chairs this spring when I came home from work one evening and got the bright idea to thumb through the stack of catalogs on the shelf in search of chairs I liked. I quickly discovered that I liked the furniture presented by Room&Board and made notes on several chairs that I thought merited further investigation. Kiesa managed to suspend her disbelief long enough to discover that there was in fact a Room&Board retail store at Cherry Creek. We staged an expedition to Cherry Creek a few weeks later, with Calvin in tow, and managed to eliminate one style of chairs. The remaining style of chairs wouldn't look very good with our existing table, but with the right budget that was easy to solve. Kiesa wanted an extension table (with leaves so we could expand and collapse the table as guests and space demanded), which placed some limits on the tables available, but one particular table, available in a 48-inch round extension table with two leaves, caught our eye. (I admired the chairs and table for their bold, clean lines.) We took notes and took home color swatches and contemplated our options. Both table and chairs were available in a light-stained cherry, which we thought would best match our tastes from the available options.

Since we were intent on spending money on a dining room table and chairs, it seemed only logical that we ought to spend even more on a couch. The couch in our living room was an aging green La-Z-Boy dual recliner that Kiesa acquired, used, in college. When we lived in my parents' basement, we couldn't get it down the stairs, so it sat in the garage and served as the backdrop for Willy and I interviewing each other for the Worst Sci-Fi Prequel making-of documentary that never managed to see the light of day. (I still have the tapes somewhere in the basement and might need to dig them out next time I need to incriminate any of the people involved, as if the prequel itself wasn't sufficiently incriminating.) The couch was getting a little thread-bare, and the cats had tried to claw one of the posts into oblivion. We wanted to get a sleeper sofa to provide extra space for guests (especially in light of the forthcoming Labor Day Megafest), so we went back to the Room&Board catalog, cross-referenced sleeper sofas, studied the sections available, barely resisted the urge to build SketchUp models of our living room to examine the various options, and went back to the Room&Board retail store (once again with Calvin in tow) to descend into the basement and study the couches. Some of the catalog couches with bold, clean lines didn't work in person, but the Ian sleeper sofa looked and felt good, even when we had to keep Calvin under control. I especially liked the chaise, and tried to figure out scenarios in which I could fit a chaise into my living room with a sectional sleeper sofa. We took home another stack of fabric swatches; to evaluate their resistance to cat hair I rubbed them on Cat5 and picked the swatch that hid their hair the best.

We eventually settled on a sleeper sofa with an ottoman, which replaced the recliner and was more flexible than the chaise. After some debate as to how exactly we were going to pay for all of the expensive American-made furniture, Kiesa called in the order and we settled in to wait. We didn't customize the table but we did select non-standard fabric for the dining chairs, couch, and ottoman.

The furniture arrived two months later in early August. (Kiesa and I pushed the old couch out of the way the morning the new furniture was to arrive, and Calvin spotted us moving the couch from across the room, screamed "No!", and ran across the room to brace himself against the couch to keep us from moving it. Both of us had to hid behind the couch to keep from laughing out loud at the spectacle of a toddler trying to push the couch back into place. He settled for a ride on the couch as we finished pushing it out of the way.)

New dining room table
New dining room table
New sleeper sofa
New sleeper sofa

It turned out that we couldn't fit the old recliner-sofa into the basement of this house either, so Kiesa gave it away on Craigslist along with the old dining table. (She even managed to give away the broken dining chairs, which might be repairable with sufficient effort and skills -- neither of which I was willing to devote.)

(The underside of the table is signed and dated, apparently in an attempt to convince me it was made by real people rather than a faceless factory drone. I don't go out of my way to buy furniture that has been loved, but the last time I went shopping for furniture (and swore off American Furniture Warehouse for good) I realized that loved furniture meant quality furniture, and it's worth paying more for something that won't fall apart in my hands. Or in Calvin's hands.)

I'm happy with my new furniture and I believe it'll suit us well -- wherever we happen to end up next year.