a peek inside the fishbowl

07 Oct, 2012

Reno post #43 – a pre-housewarming/post-birthday gift to myself

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno|Oh! Things!|Ottawa

We are having a lovely and quiet Thanksgiving today. YESTERDAY, however, was a hectic and desperate mess of couch* shopping. We went to:

  • Sofa World (which was quite promising actually – do check it out if you are looking)
  • Suede Interiors
  • Blueprint
  • Polanco
  • Luxe
  • The Modern Shop
  • Elevenfiftyfour
  • Mikaza (both locations, egads)
  • Alteriors
  • Not to mention a few antique stores along Bank Street South
  • … and the Life of Pie
  • … as well as a quick visit to Ten Thousand Villages for coffee and a much-needed Camino chocolate bar (or two).

We’ve recently scoped out Structube, Sears, Urban Barn, EQ3, Mobilia, Ikea AND we brought our children along for the ride to most of these places too.

I am EXHAUSTED, but what made this all a little easier was the fact that the lovely Nicole from Solace Interiors had given us three scaled room layouts to work with, along with measurements and a whole bunch of incredibly helpful advice. We had her info in our hot little hands while we looked, which meant that we were able to eliminate all kinds of things at the get go.

I am happy to report that we’re close to making a decision. We scoped out an amazing Canadian-made sectional at Alteriors. I was really happy with my experience there. The good news: The service was great, the price was only marginally over what we had wanted to pay (gah) but the service was The Best and we have the option to customize our couch to make it our own. The bad news: we will have to wait 10-12 weeks before delivery. The lesson here is that we should have started looking AGES ago.

I’m going back next week to look at it again.

Anyway, yes. Yesterday was a challenging day. But partway along our route we stumbled into that treasure trove known at The Ottawa Antique Market, where I found THIS BEAUTY. It’s in great shape, and it WORKS (!).

A housewarming gift to myself. And it works too!

I caught this video of the girls using it for the first time. It cracks me up every time I watch it. (“You put your FINGERS in THERE…”)

Cute eh?

Now all I need is a retro telephone table to go with it. Hmm. Anyone know where I can find one of those? :)

* Do you call it a couch or a sofa??

9 Responses to "Reno post #43 – a pre-housewarming/post-birthday gift to myself"

1 | Brenda A

October 8th, 2012 at 7:31 am


I feel your pain of the sofa hunt! We completed that mission last year and it was a lot of work!

The phone vid was hilarious. It is amazing to think that it was not long ago that phones were really like that. I miss them! No instant gratification on rotary dialling! What? How do you text on those?

2 | Psychgrad

October 8th, 2012 at 8:41 am


Love the video! Glad to see your list of stores — gives me an idea of where to look for a couch, when we’re ready to finally make a decision on which one we want.

3 | Pamela

October 8th, 2012 at 9:18 am


In my past life, I wrote advertorials for many of the companies you mention. :) There are more Canadian-made options now than a few years ago. Newbury Interiors and The Emporium also have North-American made options (or at least they did a few years ago!)

Love the rotary dial phone. My grandma used to have the exact same one.

4 | K

October 8th, 2012 at 11:09 am


Couch, definitely!

We’ve purchased all of our couches from Sofa World. We didn’t do the extensive rounds like you did, but found decent stuff there for a decent price. I hope you find something you like soon!

5 | Carla

October 9th, 2012 at 9:08 am


We purchased a couch and an ottoman from Sofa World and while they are good lookin’, quality is a bit iffy. If we were doing this again, I would not buy there. The ottoman is the type where you can turn the top around and voila! it is a table. However, the straps that allow you to lift the lid are flimsy and they fall off within a matter of months. We complained and Sofa World sent us another lid free of charge, but the new one also lost its straps within a matter of months again :(. The couch came apart at the top and we had to pay another upholsterer $300 to get it repaired because Sofa World did not cover this. Yes we do have kids, but I do expect a couch to handle more than just sitting, if it comes apart from active use, then it’s kind of weak in my opinion. I’ve never had that happen with any other couch – even the basic ikea sofa-bed I had in my first apartment didn’t suffer such indignities.

6 | Tiana

October 9th, 2012 at 2:02 pm


I know you probably don’t want more furniture suggestions but there’s also A Modern Space on Wellington just West of Parkdale.

7 | Rebecca

October 9th, 2012 at 7:19 pm


holy cow! You went everywhere! I’ll be hot on your trail to a few of those places, I’m on the hunt for a few things like mirrors…can’t wait to hear about your decisions!

8 | andrea

October 10th, 2012 at 8:02 am


Thanks everyone!
I thought we had this all figured out but then I saw this gorgeous couch at Urban Barn: http://www.urbanbarn.com/products/Furniture/Living-Room/Sofas-and-Sectionals/travis-corner-sofa/1511

Oh dear.

9 | Jen Hughes

October 16th, 2012 at 8:31 pm


We have a phone just like that! Found it at the curb, believe it or not. It works just fine too.

Oh, and our two Ikea Ektorp sofas are still going strong after seven years, three boys and two cats. The one in the playroom is on slipcover #3, but that’s part of what I like so much about it – I can wash it, and every couple of years I can have a whole new look for $100. Good luck with your search!

Oh, and I say “couch” in my daily world, sofa if I’m being fancy and interviewing designers. :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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