7.15.2012

around the house, part two

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It's strange to think that after we moved here exactly one year ago we had hardly any furniture.  The dining room was empty for six months and the living room for longer than that.  That's what happens when you move from a tiny Brooklyn apartment to a three bedroom house.  At first you think, "Oh, awesome, all this space!"  But then you realize filling it will be difficult.  It will take a long time.  For some reason to us becoming adults meant having a house (it's rented, but still) and eschewing Ikea furniture.  At some point we had to concede that we couldn't yet afford grown up furniture.  Being firmly established in our 30's, we were not willing to give up on our notion of adulthood.  So we built our own furniture.  It was ill-conceived--we didn't know what we were doing.  But somehow our table and bed came out alright.  The perfectionist in me has a catalog of the flaws memorized in my head; but the romantic in me treasures these pieces, as they were built by us--husband and wife, together.  Out of love.  And fighting.  There was some fighting too.

My dad bought us the couch, by the way.  I need to tell you that before you go on thinking we're all grown up and independent.  I thought when we moved here we'd have more money, but it turns out we spend any extra money on traveling.  Because we live in Iowa.  But anyways, my dad came for Christmas, and I think he was so touched by the pathetic emptiness of our home that he took pity on us.  Also, I think he wanted a place to sit.  So out we went on Christmas Eve to search for a couch.  Unfortunately the joke was on him because the couch wasn't delivered for three months.  We need to have him back so he can come sit on it.  I still feel shame about the couch, but I guess a free couch is a free couch after all.  And I did pick the cheapest one in the store.

38 comments:

erica lorraine scheidt said...

j. i love this post. and your home. and, at least for me, accepting big gifts from my mom was part of getting to a grown up house. xo

joyce said...

I cannot believe you guys built that bed! Amazing. Do you mind sharing where you found instructions, etc. (or did you sort of freehand it)? Color me impressed.

amy h said...

I especially love the bed -- it really looks nice! Try to forget the perceived flaws. No one else sees them. I'm almost 38, and we still have a homemade dining table, a homemade headboard, lots of hand-me-downs and a stack of suitcases for an end table. I don't think many people can afford to fully furnish a house all at once. A collected look is much more charming anyway.

Anna McClurg said...

I know all too well the feeling of no couch. That was something Jed and I had to get when we moved. That and a full sized bed. Believe me, a twin bed for two grown people can only last for so long!! Of course any furniture we have ever purchased has come from Ikea, thus far. But then we've only been married for just over a year, so I guess we still have time to acquire "grown up" furniture. My parents rarely ever purchased furniture when I was growing up. I distinctly remember using the same couch (from my grandparent's) for years and years. It had a bed in it (aka HEAVY). Anyway, so I am OK with not having a place that is perfect. The problem with me is that it's hard for me to really work on my home when I know I'll be moving again in a year.

Also, I just love the table and bed you and Joe made! I mean, WOW! It looks perfection to me! Such a good idea too! Someday down the road I can see Jed and I making ourselves some furniture. Someday... ;)

Roseann said...

I love your honesty, and your home and photographs are beautiful!

Lisa said...

Oh my gosh, my husband and I are in such a similar boat! We just moved into a bigger place this week, and after the initial "wow this is such a great space!" euphoria wore off, we realized that it's going to be months before we can even get any of the furniture we need. It's hard to furnish a place and not have it look like Ikea threw up all over it! Especially with the possibility of moving again in a few years, which seems to be the reality for so many people. Sure makes it hard to feel like a grownup, even in our thirties. :)

nina said...

So beautiful. Love the handmade pieces. I have that same llama print rug-thingy. I like how you displayed yours.

Anna said...

I love the way your headboard turned out!

Nina said...

I made an 'IKEA - never again' vow to myself last time I went there (about 3.5 yrs ago) and so far I've kept it... Haven't resorted to building my own furniture yet, though! But my boyfriend and I do accept more gifts from our parents than I'd like to admit. We managed to put up shelving all round the flat recently, and it felt so good to do that ourselves and not accept my mum's offer to pay a handyman to do it (even though the wood was bought with money my grandparents gave us - argh!). Your place looks really lovely and so do the socks with multicoloured heels!

Lissa Snapp said...

Loved reading this post. I as well live in a house full of handmade furniture and often had disagreements with my boyfriend during the process. But all in all like yours it turned out pretty cool!

Take Care, Lissa

p.s The photo of you cat next the the pretty rug and sheepskin is pretty sweet!

kelly said...

i'm so glad you wrote this post because as i was looking at these pictures i was OVERWHELMED with jealousy. that whole, "everyone on the internet has such nice stuff and i'm sitting on this piece o'crap couch from college!" feeling that is all too common for me. (the couch is hideous, but really, really comfy, btw.) it's easy to let pictures tell the whole story, but i'm glad to know you built those pieces yourself and still (unwillingly) needed dad to pitch in. it's comforting to know that everything good (often, ok sometimes) really does come from hard work.

your house really is beautiful, jenny!

k. wang said...

the bed turned out great. as did the dining table. pieces built with flaws unintentional really are the best heirloom pieces though - there's a formula to making a flaw-free piece (that everyone can follow) but each unintentional flaw is unique to each piece, each process, and each person(s) making that piece. sure, someone else can build a dining table and bed that looks exactly like yours, but it won't ever actually be yours.

i totally get the fighting, though. chris is taking classes at third ward and in the process of building a folding dining table, for our non-existent studio space. he wants to build it to standards. we don't have the space for standards. we got into a tiff about it yesterday, and guaranteed we'll get into more. but hey, it'll be *our* table when all's said and done, and a tangible representation of teamwork despite the tough road it took to get there.

Lexie, Little Boat said...

i live about an hour and a half away from you in rural IL, and i feel you on not having an ikea to go to! i ended up building my own table, getting a free couch from a friend's parent's basement, and sleeping on a mattress and box springs for 8 months. furniture is so expensive!

jennifer said...

you guys did such a great job on the furniture, love it. do you take commissions? the whole place looks great, I want to see it in person!

la casita de wendy said...

i love the story...and all the furniture you guys made is awesome ♥

kimberly flower said...

I've been meaning to ask you where your bed came from! I'm super impressed! I hear ya on the fighting bit, Eli and I combined households and moved to a new place (which, required A LOT of work). Working on a project together is a good thing, and a testament of the strength of a relationship :)

in dreams said...

wow, both the table and the headboard look fantastic! i think i need to look into making my own furniture (wanna post your tips on how not to mess it up? haha)... :)

also, your couch is amazing...what a great dad to think of buying you something so necessary but often overlooked ("we'll just sit on cushions/chairs/overturned record crates. it's cool."). and a pretty one at that!

Heather said...

My main question here is how many different socks do you have going all at the same time!? ;-) They all look great.

Catherine said...

The headboard is so fantastic, there could be a market for wiksten furniture? Speaking as a parent, your Mum and Dad will always look out for you no matter the age. I know I will with my girls. As always, you have made the house a charming home.

Belinda said...

I'm getting the idea that you love knitting!

I love that you made your bed and table. They both look beautiful. But I'm especially impressed by that bed - it can't be easy to make a bed - I struggled to assemble my futon! And that led to a fight, too.

Ikea furniture isn't as appealing as they try and make it seem. It's not great quality for the price you pay. And, of course, it doesn't have the soul of a vintage or hand made piece.

Miss said...

It's a gorgeous couch - lovely of your Dad, and you give him a gift by letting him bless you in this way.

But on to the table and the bed - wow!! If ever you and your husband want to set up another business, I think it could be furniture making!! Clever!!

erica said...

we've been in our new place for nearly a year, too, and i'm embarrassed to show photos except for a few "done" spaces (like the wall above the couch). as the years go by, i feel increasingly concerned that i am never going to be a grown up in spite of everything i've accomplished.

and yet, i would be secretly thrilled if my parents bought us a sectional because then matthew and i could actually read together on the couch without fighting over leg room. i bought a few pricey things when i was in my early 20s, but i was too young and didn't spend my money wisely.

honestly, i think cats curled up on the bed or stretching on the rug make all the difference between a house and a home!

a.levadas said...

Your dining table and headboard are beautiful and I just love a white bed. We try our best to not buy Ikea but the prices just can't be beat when you're on a budget. We ended up buying our coach from Ikea which was a compromise, but to make it less Ikea-y and more of what I really wanted I replaced the legs with wooden conical shaped ones for a more mid-century look. I'm really happy with how it looks and it no longer scream Ikea. I think it's important to be creative and resourceful when furnishing a home, which you certainly are, because it is so expensive. Most of our other furniture is second hand and hand-me-downs, which is fine by me. My fiance is currently building us a dining table and hopefully a sideboard to go with it soon.

jennifer said...

I love the furniture that you guys built together. They are really beautiful and despite whatever flaws they might have, they are such special and significant pieces! I don't think any other piece of purchased furniture would have the same type of meaning.

Like so many others have said, furniture is freakin' expensive! I don't see myself being able to afford a nice, new couch anytime in the foreseeable future.

Carolyn said...

The furniture that the two of you built is absolutely beautiful! What an amazing physical memory to be able to use, own and cherish!

briannelee said...

Love the headboard!

My husband and I are in the same position as you guys. We moved from an apartment in Boston to a big house on the East Coast. We have enough furniture on the first floor finally, but the upstairs is embarrassing. We just have to get things little by little.

nicole said...

What a beautiful, handmade home.

Scout and Rice said...

It's beautiful, totally true to your personal style (well, what I know of your style, anyway!). :)

There's no shame to be felt over the couch, I bet your Dad was so proud to buy it for you. Parents never stop wanting to spoil their kids.

REBECCA CRALL said...

I love these photos. What an inspiration to make your own furniture. I always dream about doing the same but it never ends up being more than a refinishing project :). My husband and I are well into our 30's but we still have to remind ourselves that we can't always afford the adult luxuries either. Your photos are a nice reminder that beauty doesn't always have to be costly.

Victoria said...

I love your bedhead - you've inspired me. Have you attached it to the wall - trying to figure out so I can copy you with something similar for our room. If you get a moment drop me a line to tell me what you did.

Victoria

Samantha said...

I think it's so admirable that you two built your own furniture, flaws and all. Especially because of the flaws! And the pieces do look so lovely.

Sarah Katie said...

so, you are in iowa, i am too, of course i just discovered you, via home ec. noticed you are doing some classes this month. are you an iowa city dweller?

Flora said...

I love, love, love reading your story, Jenny. This is a lovely one -I like the fighting part ;)
All your furniture so far looks lovely!

bethy ::--++ said...

That's so sweet. I made me a little teary (´∩`。)

Inger Marie said...

Such a beautiful and harmonic home - and I love your home built furnitures!

mahoo said...

My husband & I sleep in the bed we built together,,,,25 years ago. Any imperfections have faded into heart warming memories of our earlier days. Enjoy it!

Kate said...

Your house is beautiful!

Piper Lawson said...

I really love the bed especially the headboard... it makes me feel like I'm very close to nature... I'm really fascinated when it come's to wooden furniture! Thank you so much for sharing them!

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