a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Nov, 2015

About that new couch

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

This is the timeline of our family couch history, in a nutshell:

  • 1995 or ’96: Mark’s Swedish “park bench style” bachelor couch was traded in for one we bought together at The Bay.
  • April 2005: our family won a huge contest hosted by the Ottawa Citizen. The prize: a complete overhaul of our living room. Our couch was taken away, reshaped and reupholstered by Da Silva Upholstering. So, basically, we got a whole new couch. Awesome.
  • 2012: we completely renovated our house and spent the next three years (THREE.YEARS.) looking for a new couch. (If you’d like to see what our old couch looked like, go to the end of the video in this post.)

Mind you, it wasn’t three years of hard core searching, but when we had the opportunity, we looked. I was chiefly the reason for the delay, I admit it. I had a vision and I was not going to be deterred and buy something just because. After all, why rush such a big decision?

1. I wanted a couch that fit the space properly. Ages ago, former Fishbowl patron Nicole from Solace Interiors gave us the exact dimensions we needed, so that’s what I kept in mind while I shopped because I didn’t want to overwhelm the space.

2. I wanted a sectional with a chaise on the far side next to the window so the four of us can sit comfortably together.

3. I’ve seen some glorious statement couches, in all kinds of colours: red, orange, blue, purple. As much as I love them I knew deep in my heart that it didn’t make sense for us. The craziest we’re ever going to get is grey or brown with colourful throw pillows.

4. The fabric had to be cozy, not scratchy, and dog-proof. And the couch itself had to be comfortable to sit on. Obv.

5. The design of the couch had to be neat, but not prissy. Comfortable, but not sloppy.*

6. I wanted something that was well-constructed because I NEVER WANTED TO SHOP FOR ANOTHER COUCH EVER AGAIN.

7. In a perfect world, it would be Canadian-made.

* This vague-sounding missive drove Mark a little crazy, but I was sticking to my guns on this.

Are you familiar with Mikaza Home? That was where I (finally!) found the Porter couch, made by a Montreal-based company called G Romano. I poked my head into the Mikaza showroom after work one day to check it out for myself. Unfortunately they didn’t have the exact Porter model on the floor, just a regular model, sans chaise. It looked promising, as it certainly delivered on points 1 thru 7, including #5, which was clear only to me. The thing I liked about the Porter was that it had a solid, tufted back – which gave it a more tidy appearance in my books – and didn’t have back cushions, which are known to get slouchy and misshapen.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. Mark came to Mikaza to see it with me, and gave his assent. We chose a fabric, ordered it, and waited 10 weeks for delivery. (Confession, I went back in there at some point before it was delivered because I could not remember what colour we’d chosen. Can you believe it?)

I was home alone when it was finally delivered, at which point I had a wee panic attack. For a moment, well, several long moments strung together, it looked like it was too large. But then we moved everything into place and it was fine. Phew.

So here we are today, with a new couch! Ta da! (Piper always insists on being in the picture. And my “crazy” cushions are from HomeSense by the way.) The carpet is from that Citizen contest in 2005.

The new couch!

So far, it’s been wonderful. We opted for seat cushions that are made out of feather and foam, and although the fabric stretched over them isn’t as tight as it would be over a 100% foam cushion (see the little wrinkles in the picture?) they are very comfortable without being overly mushy or soft. The size couldn’t be better (thanks Nicole!) and it seats the four of us very well. In fact, we quickly realized that two people can cuddle up nicely on the chaise. As a bonus, Piper is quite happy to have a better view of the backyard.

All in all, I’d say it was worth the wait. :)

4 Responses to "About that new couch"

1 | Claudette

November 11th, 2015 at 2:30 pm


We must be living in some freaky alternate dimension or something because my ‘need’ for a new couch for the new space is driving my hubby a little crazy. But the current couch doesn’t seat all four of us comfortably and kids have been known to grow (ACK!) and I go on and on about a sectional couch and it just hasn’t happened.

But you give me hope! I will stick to my guns, keep up the search, and when I see it I will buy it and they will all high five me for me vision in the end. lol

Congratulations. It looks wonderful and I wish I could sit on it with you and share a cup of tea. :)

2 | Lynn

November 12th, 2015 at 8:38 am


Love it! It’s amazing how hard it can be to shop for a major new house item like this – we just replaced the light fixture over our stairs after TEN YEARS of on-and-off looking. The new couch looks perfect in the space. I was actually just thinking yesterday about your house renovation and wondering if, now that we’re what, two years in? three? if you’re totally happy with it, and think it was worthwhile, and if you’d change anything. Blog post!

3 | binki

November 12th, 2015 at 4:08 pm


Must have been pricey? I learned to only buy dark leather because fabric can stain (cleaning) or get permanently ruined by things like Sharpy markers. I hear leather can be damaged by pets. Only humans in our house. ;-)

4 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive Things I am loving: our new bed! - a peek inside the fishbowl

April 12th, 2018 at 6:00 am


[…] We’ve been looking for a new bed for a while now but never really committed to the idea. I think this is partly due to the fact that it took us several years (!) to buy a new couch for the family room. […]

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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 offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). 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, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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