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Sofa so good!

Before we get any further with this piece, I feel like I should say something: Most of the ideas on Be Green are designed to help you save the world while also saving a little cash. This is an exception. Reupholstery is not something you're likely to get done on a student budget (unless you know how to sew--In that case, for the price of a good sewing how-to book and some reclaimed fabric thrifted from old drapes or quilt covers....)
But for us sewing-challenged types, there is another way. But it will probably cost as much as buying a new piece of furniture.
There. You've been warned.


If you watched my piece on TV, you'll already have seen this face. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Sarah Hanneman.

Sarah can take your sofa from trash to treasure. Her specialty is creating one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture. And they're all made from salvaged pieces. Sarah also offers a consultancy service where you can send her an email with a photo of a piece you'd like to spruce up and she can offer tips, suggestions and an estimate of what it would cost.
Be warned: her services don't come cheap. Reupholstery is hard work. For a hardwood armchair, here's what would happen:
* RIP First Hanneman would rip off the old fabric. For pieces that are older than say 10 years, chances are the foam will need replacing too. Riiip some more.

*Paint: Next, she'll paint the frame according to your specifications. The nice thing about one-of-a-kind furniture is that you can get pretty much EXACTLY what you want. Teal velour fabric with bright raspberry legs? You got it!
(Of course, the cat is optional. It's just that in my experience, cats are master reupholsterers... and they're usually willing to work for just a few tablespoons of tuna. But then... there's the question of taste...)
* Padding: Then Sarah will replace the foam. Cut it, glue it and make sure it fits perfectly.
*Cover up: New fabric must be sourced (and this can take a while if you have particular tastes), bought and cut to measure. Embellishments like piping, tassles, etc will also be added at this stage.

And what's the bill for all this?
$800 for a single seater armchair!

Which is certainly on the steep side. But for this price, you'd be getting the same value as a brand new piece, something that's customised to your taste, one-of-a-kind... and you'd be keeping something perfectly useful out of a landfill.

If you don't have $800 but have a couch that could benefit from this sort of treatment, consider donating it to Hanneman or the Salvation Army where a (loaded) good Samaritan might be able to give it a loving new home. You can even make a bit of cash by selling your sofa on craigslist or lespac

If you're an IKEA fan and have a lovely couch that is beginning to look a little ratty (but is still perfectly good)--or for that matter, if you've recently moved in with someone and you find your furnishings just don't match, check out BEMZ

They make washable, nicely made slipcovers for most standard IKEA armchairs and couches. So instead of sending a perfectly good couch to the dump, save some money and give your living room a facelift!

So now it's your turn: Do you have a good story of furniture salvation?
I want to hear it (and see pictures if possible). Leave me a comment and send any photos to geeta.nadkarni@cbc.ca
Or you can call our talkback line: (514) 597-5626

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