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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ottoman Turned Sofa With A Little Help From Some.... Drapes

I went to take pictures, today, of the rainbow of pillows that line the shelves of Pier One Import but my camera turned the riot of colours into a mass of blurry purple nothingness. Frustrated I headed to the nearest camera store only to learn that my camera has been dying a slow death. The sensor is failing. Panic stricken, because I rely on my camera both for my job and my blog, I have no option but to purchase a new 'home stager friendly' camera that will take wide angle pictures with a low angle cost. Any suggestions?

Enough of my camera woes, time for some pillow talk

Because a sofa, the obvious choice for the conversation/television watching/lounging area in our multi functional condo living space would have hindered our view of the Halifax Commons, I positioned a leather ottoman in front of the window. Determined to transform the ottoman into a cozy sofa substitute I decided to create the comfort and look of a sofa by leaning pillows against the window ledge. I selected my palette of pillows which included two soft shaggy sheepskins, one cream and one a black/cream mix along with a raw silk textured black pillow peppered with machine embroidered white flowers. Oh and of course a 'redophile , I needed that 'pop' of warmth to complete my palette. All cuddle friendly, down filled low cost finds. But the backless sofa, as I like to call it, is three feet deep. Great for lying on, but when I nestled against the pillows in a sitting position, my legs splayed out awkwardly in front of me and could not reach the ground.

Problem #1- How to create a sofa like piece of furniture that is shallow enough to sit on and does not obstruct the view.

Solution PART 1 : To keep the pillows upright I purchased a 4 foot long uncovered memory foam bolster. Because a hide of leather would have cost almost as much as the ottoman itself, I decided to cover the bolster with fabric. While wandering around Home Outfitters I found myself in the drapery section. A black microfibre tone on tone zigzag patterned drapery panel caught my eye. It's texture , a contrast to both the raw silk- like and the shaggy long haired pillows, was a perfect addition to my palette ........BUT.......the problem was not yet solved.

SOLUTION PART 2: The ottoman was still too deep. I have never been a fan of sofas that have 4 or 5 massive square shaped pillows rather than one or two rectangular pillows extending across the sofa. While this sofa design is aesthetically pleasing it tends to be lacking in the comfort department. I didn't want our ottoman turned sofa to be overrun with pillows since comfort is key. Then I remembered that hidden away in our storage closet was the perfect pillow-well almost perfect pillow. Over sized and rectangular it could rest against the bolster and support the already existing palette but it's outer covering left much to be desired. Not to be deterred I went on the hunt for fabric. Once again it was a drapery panel that saved the day.
A blackish grey & white tweed, it had a band of textured black tone on tone microfibre running across its top in which chunky chrome grommets were embedded. I fell in love with the chunkiness of the grommets and with the contrast of tweed and black microfibre banding.

I found the panel at a store that carries very stylish bed linens and drapery panels in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia called Encore Decor. They make custom pillows and charge next to nothing when the pillow covers are made out of a product they sell.

Seamstressly challenged, they were the answer to my prayers. Following my design instructions they helped me transform a nondescript pillow into a handsomely tailored addition to my pallette . Visitors love to cozy up on our ottoman turned sofa. So does our terrier mix, SOHO. As for me, when I nestle up against the pillows my feet now reach the ground.

Design Tip 1: No room for, or can't afford a sofa. Transform an ottoman into a sofa by leaning it against a wall and layering it with a palette of pillows. For comfort sake, the ottoman should be 3 feet deep, allowing room for the pillow 'back rest' and adequate seating depth.

Design Tip #2 Drapery panels are not just for hanging. Can't find the perfect pillow; can't find a fabric you like; think drapery panel.
Design Tip # 3 Don't discard the grommets. Adding a band of grommets to a bland pillow will be a sure fire way to earn you a Rave Re:view

Check out my last blog entry for more pictures of my reinvented ottoman.


  1. Simple, yet classy. I like it.

    On the topic of cameras, I got a Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS earlier this year and I love it. It's small, so you can carry it around in your purse, but it takes great photos. It's got a nice big screen and lots of options. I got it for my birthday, so I'm not sure how much it was, but it shouldn't be too much.

    I hope to use this for my design projects one day, so I think it would work for you. Hope this helped. Cheers!

  2. Danica, thanks for the tip. Our dying camera is a Canon. We have had it for seven years so I know that Canon cameras are quality cameras. I'll definitely check out the Powershot. Maybe I can brave the boxing day crowds and get a good deal. So sorry to hear about the break in. I have learned from your misfortune to not leave anything in my car. I live in a building with underground parking. Lucky is your mom to be able to go to Value Village and the like with you. My daughter is an architect living in Rome. Oh to have her home. By the way there are plenty of cool finds at Value Village. I look forward to seeing your design projects. I bet you'll be a pro.

  3. Love the pillow i have a few fabric swatches with the grommet thing going on. I love them, now I can use them.




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