Remember that empty room at the front of our house? The third living space in our new home, that just couldn’t be filled by our two living spaces of furniture? Even though we’ve been here 11 months, now, I still haven’t been able to save enough to put furniture in there. After several weeks of pricing rocking chairs and arm chairs and determining that to furnish this room with new furniture, was going to be more than $1000, the “front room” was back on hold. We really didn’t even know what to call it, since it’s hard to name a room that doesn’t have a clearly defined purpose.
And then on Thursday, the most amazing thing happened! I decided, on a whim, to browse the Craigslist listings for Lincoln (about 30 miles east of us and the it’s the closest “big” city). I ran across two ads that were several days old, but I took a chance and emailed the sellers to ask some questions and see if the pieces were still available. One ad was for two blue wing back recliner chairs in “like new” condition. They were asking $75 for the pair. The second was for an old (translated all wood, no particle board or plywood) rocking chair. Asking price was $20. Oddly enough, both were still available, immediately making me suspicious that there was something wrong with them. –lol– Oh the workings of the human mind. Anyway, to make a long story short, I grabbed my fifteen year-old son, pulled the bench seat out of the back of the van and headed out to Lincoln to check out the chairs.
At the first location, we saw the rocker. The cushion was bright orange tweed–musty and pretty yucky, but the chair had “good bones” — no loose joints and all wood. It also had an old steel spring and wood frame seat cushion — very sturdy. I paid the $20 and my good natured son, hoisted the chair above his head and carried it out to the van.
Next stop was the home with the wingback recliners. The gentleman selling them wasn’t going to be home, so he set them on his porch and said if I wanted them, to ring the bell and leave the money with his daughter. I was more and more skeptical by the minute. However, when we pulled into the driveway of his home in a very affluent neighborhood and I saw the chairs on the porch, I was sure I must have misread the price. I definitely wanted them, but I needed to confirm that they were actually only $75 for the pair, not a piece. I had intentionally come to town with only $100 and had already spent $20 on the rocker. I rang the bell and sure enough, the chairs were only $75! I wanted to do a little happy dance on the porch of that very fancy house, but I restrained myself, for the benefit of my teenage son. These chairs were much heavier and I was glad I had him with me. I would never have been able to move them by myself. It was a tight squeeze, but we got both wingback chairs AND the rocker into the back of our mini van and headed home. I had three chairs with me that new, would retail for around $1000 and I had spent $95! I love when God plans great surprises for us! What a fun day!
All the way home, the decorating ideas were swirling in my head. There wasn’t a lot of cash to add anything else to my great bargain finds, but I remembered a beat-up, old end table in the garage and I knew there was a floor lamp down in the utility room. Plus, I had some old lamp shades stored. I just needed a lamp to put under them. I have a large mirror that could work on the wall and some old picture frames and shelves, plus when I was unpacking a few more boxes in the garage last weekend, I ran across an Uppercase Living wall phrase that I had been saving for when I knew we had finally landed in the house where we would stay. Woohoo! It was finally going to be a room.
First, things first — I had to get that old cushion cover and foam off and out of the house. I removed the cushion from the chair and then took out all the old staples holding on the upholstery.
Once the old fabric and batting were removed, I used my handy, dandy staple gun to attach brand new foam to the seat cushion frame. The old chair had a box-like cushion. I wanted it to have a more rounded profile than before, to mimic the curves in the wingback chairs, so, I brought the foam all the way around the sides of the frame and stapled it to the bottom, instead of just cushioning the top.
Once the foam was secure, I used the same process to stretch my fabric over the foam. I stapled one side to the bottom, pulled it snug and stapled the opposite side, then did the same for the remaining two, gathering the extra and stapling it flat in the corners.
Okay, you remember the china hutch is on the south wall and 2/3 of the west wall has a gorgeous bay window centered in it, so the rocker is in the north corner of the west wall and the bookcase is on the north wall. That wide doorway to the right of the bookcase is hardly visible, in this shot, but actually is probably six feet wide or more and where I plan to put the vinyl word art phrase.
Directly opposite the rocker, on the east wall of the room, I arranged the wingback chairs and the end table from the garage. I had purchased a white lamp at Wal-Mart for $14 and a burgundy placemat for $1.49. The placemat was perfect for covering up most of the scratches and scrapes on the top of the end table. I also had a wrought iron fragrance warmer that worked really well on the table.
I also wanted to de-formalize the wingbacks somewhat, and “warm them up” a little, so I added a crocheted doily on the back of one and a burgundy throw pillow in the other. This is the arrangement of the east wall, at the moment. And as I said, we’ll hang the big mirror and sconces behind the chairs over the weekend. I’m loving how homey and welcoming the room is feeling. I would still like to find an area rug, eventually, to pull everything together, but in the meantime, I am so pleased to have furnished the room so frugally. Now, that it has its own personality, we have landed on a name. We’ve been calling it the parlor. It’s one of the few rooms in our home without a TV and with all the gorgeous light from the bay window, my books and quiet, it’s a perfect haven for me.
So, what do you think? And, have you made any great bargain finds recently? I’d love to hear about them in the comments, below.