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Floral Soil Design Nite at Starbucks

Make Your Own Floral Creation!

So last night my young buddy Andrea talked me into taking part in Floral Soil Design Nite at Starbucks.  Yeah, I had no idea what that would encompass, either.

It turns out that creative entrepreneur Mickey Blake, of Floral Soil, has created a non-toxic, plant-based foam for florists to arrange cut flowers and foliage.


Mickey of Floral Soil


I couldn’t actually see how this would interest me, as I have no living plants in my home (my motto:  gift me a plant and see how quickly I can kill it) but the images on Mickey’s website of what we’d be creating—a “cake” of succulents and cut flowers—was so adorable I signed on right away.  I could just imagine all the compliments I’d be receiving with one of them as a centerpiece on my dining table.


Adding plants and flowers to Floral Soil

Floral Soil and plants

Floral Soil at Starbucks Madison Park


Mickey told us a bit about the history of Floral Soil and let us practice on a cupcake of the material before graduating to working with our cakes.  She showed us how to use chopsticks to create a hole for inserting the stem.


Mickey of Floral Soil demonstrates planting technique

planting Floral Soil cupcake


We discussed how to wrap the design around the Floral Soil mold in a creative way while sipping tea and exchanging life stories.  Mickey was very encouraging, as in “that looks great, but maybe a smaller plant would look better right there.”


Using Floral Soil at Starbucks Madison Park

Mickey demonstrates variety of Floral Soil shapes


As we created our masterpieces, it became clear even to me, with my limited home decorating talents, that this would be a fantastic way to incorporate brightness into a room and tie the decor together.  Using colors that play nicely with the hue of your sofa bed and change the vibe of your living room.  Pull in some of the tones in the recliner over in the corner and suddenly your design scheme will look more intentional than haphazard.


Mickey introduces Floral Soil to participants of Design Nite at Starbucks Madison Park


I could see how “my” creation would look a lot better if Mickey worked on it a bit so I offered to shoot some images while she “finished” what I was working on.  (Full disclosure:  I basically got Mickey to make mine, so I knew it would look good.)  (We have a different skill set.)  (Mine does not include anything with “floral” in the title.)


Floral Soil Design Nite at Starbucks


That was fun!  And now I have a centerpiece to use as long as I follow Mickey’s careful  instructions of not over-watering.

Or was that under-watering?

I may need to repeat Floral Soil Design Nite soon.

Posted in General | 4 Comments

Decorating With Salvage!

A chat with Mary Anne Carter of Second Use, Seattle

My favorite part of any project is the shopping part.  Even a new sport.  Once I’ve purchased the cute new outfit and the equipment I’m pretty much done.    Ooooh, those weights come in colors?  And then I lose interest.

So when I learned about upcycling (see one of my previous blog posts) I was excited about the shopping element.  I’m always trying to bring things into the house and my family is always trying to get rid of them.

I hurried over to meet with Mary Anne at Second Use, whose motto is:  “Reclaiming building materials for reuse in the Puget Sound region since 1994.”  We browsed the store’s offerings to see what might appeal to readers of this blog and folks interested in furniture.

Mary Anne, in an important bit of information, revealed to me that she collects vintage hats.  I love Mary Anne.  Anyone who collects vintage hats is all right with me.  This is Mary Anne in one of her spiffy hats and the vintage hat rack she has her eye on.

Mary Anne from Second Use


I wondered why I felt so at home at Second Use.  It suddenly hit me that a store full of salvage was comforting because it reminds me of my childhood.  My father was a scrap dealer.  He referred to himself as “the original recycler” (he also like to jog before it was fashionable.)  My mother referred to him as an MD.  (Metal Dealer.  I think she was less than comfortable being the wife of the junkman.)  Here is my dad, or Pops, as my kids called him, at his scrap yard around 1960.

Pops Salvage


Some of my best childhood memories involve riding along as he hauled a truckload of car bodies and other discarded metal items to sell in Portland.  We drove up Highway 99, as I5 hadn’t been completed yet.  Yes, I’m old enough to remember a world before freeways. We’d stop at a few of your finer scrap dealerships to unload the merchandise and then celebrate at a fancy restaurant in the big city.  So I have more than a passing interest in salvage.

Mary Anne showed me some of her favorite items at Second Use and we considered how they would be handy, vis-à-vis sleeper sofas, furniture and decorating in general, which is what this blog is about, after all.

First we looked at foundry patterns from the late 1800s.  These were used to cast molds at a foundry in Everett.  Second Use has over 10,000 of these molds.  I had never heard of foundry patterns, but all of a sudden I see how I could need many, many of these appealing shapes for……well, I’m not sure what for.  And that is what the Foundry Pattern Project Gallery is for.

Foundry Molds for Decoration


Foundry Pattern Project Gallery


Here is a project that a clever Second Use customer, Carma Gael, created using foundry patters.  A handy dandy coat rack.

Foundry Pattern Hat Rack


Who knew you could do so much with molds?  Pinterest has a slew of ideas for working with them and lots of vendors sell them on Etsy.  You can make clocks, book ends and wall art from foundry molds.  They can be used as shelf brackets and lamp bases.  Foundry molds regularly win the Miss Congeniality Contest and have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Well, maybe not.  But still, there is a lot to love about foundry molds.  And should you be ever so hesitant to get started, Mary Anne has created a guide for the perplexed right here:

Another Second Use favorite:  letterpress trays.  They once held moveable type, but now are available to help us create an instant art display.  Fill them with teeny objects and hang them on the wall.  I have a houseful of teeny objects.  Mr. Gutenberg was so forward-thinking!  I’m a fan.

Letterpress Salvage for Decoration


Second Use carries old hardware, like these 12-sided vintage crystal knob-sets.  Imagine what these would do for your humdrum door.  Changing your knob set is a quick and easy way to redecorate your living space using salvage.

Vintage Crystal Knob-Sets for Decoration


Some of Mary Anne’s suggestions for quick interior design inspiration:

  • Add caster sets to furniture to make it easily moveable.
  • Old industrial letters make unique wall decor.
  • Experienced gardeners know you can upcycle old sash windows as cold frames.
  • Repurposing cabinets is a popular way to incorporate reclaimed materials into a remodel.
  • An old trunk is a great coffee table that also includes storage.

Here are few more fun finds at Second Use.  Who doesn’t need a few life-size mannequins and a vintage typewriter?

Mannequins for Decoration

Vintage Typewriter for Decoration


Mary Anne explained even though you might not choose to furnish your home with a used sofa or mattress (for me, the ick factor is too high) (plus we own a furniture store—but still) you can add interest to your living space with quirky accessories salvaged from someone else’s demolition.  A coat of paint and some new hardware can make an old chest of drawers into something unique and eye-catching.  Full disclosure:  I’d be paying someone to do the painting and the changing of hardware, but I would still call it “my project.”

Some of the perks of repurposing building materials:

  • Salvage saves you money.
  • Salvage saves you time.
  • Salvage saves energy.
  • Salvage saves value.

And, if those benefits are not enough, consider this:  Decorating with Salvage is very chic.  And we are all about chic, aren’t we?

Posted in Informative, Meryl at Sleepers, Sleeper Sofas are fun | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Five Clever Home Decor Ideas to Try Right Now

And All of Them are Budget-Friendly!

We just became empty-nesters.  After complaining about how quiet the house was without a roomful of teenagers at all hours of the day and night, I realized that this was my opportunity to do some redecorating and exchange the kid clutter for some of those carefully curated chic home decor ideas I’ve been considering for a long time.  As no one would ever consider my home curated, chic or encompassing any “decor ideas” I have nothing to lose.

Home Decor Idea 1: Mix and Match Dining chairs

We are sort of forced into rethinking our dining chair situation.  This is how the chair cushions on our dining chairs look.  I blame the dog.  However, alert guests notice we don’t have any pets, which makes this excuse hard to pull off.


Frayed Seat Cushions



I’ve been eyeballing those suggestions on mix and match dining chairs online for a long time. The concept is to buy either all matching chairs, in a variety of colors, or buy all different chairs and refinish them to match.  Or just use seating elements that don’t match at all, which reminds me too much of how I decorated my first college apartment so that’s out.


Various Dining Chairs



I always love the shopping element of any new project, so I have now purchased 8 vintage chairs to refinish and reupholster in the same fabric.  Here are three of them.  They are similar in scale, width and design period.  The one on the right is Biedermeier.  Don’t I sound knowledgeable?  Actually, aside from reading the attached sales tags, I know nothing about where or when these chairs were made, but I like them together, and that’s what counts, right?


Fun Chair Furniture Assortment



So I now have my original 6 dining chairs with frayed cushions, 8 assorted antique chairs waiting to be refinished, 2 of the same metal chair that I thought looked great in the Los Angeles showroom but they are too short for the table, and a variety of other odd chairs that I purchased to be used as props for my photography business but they don’t really live anywhere.  Between the kitchen, dining room and living room I have 23 assorted chairs.  But still, this is a great idea.  I’ll check back in once I’ve finished the project.

Home Decor Idea 2: Display Something Unusual on Your Wall

We lived in Spain for a long time, and whenever we traveled around, I was on the lookout for hand-painted plates to display in the dining room.  They were always sold in these massive pottery showrooms on rural country roads.  My kids came to the realization that when we slowed down in the middle of nowhere, it meant that Mom was about to hop out and shop for ceramics and they would scream “NO NO NO DON’T STOP” from the back seat.  We did that so often I suppose I should add trauma therapy for my kids into the cost of these inexpensive decor elements.


Hanging Art Plates as a Home Decor Idea



Many unusual items can be displayed on the wall—and when framed, take on a new dimension.  Foreign coins, your kids’ art, embroidery, buttons, a scarf are all ideas that can be affordable and intriguing.  If you’ve picked up something while traveling, great.  And if your latest trip was to the Goodwill Outlet store, even better.  “Traveling” is such a relative term, don’t you think?


Hanging Button Art Collection



Handmade Art


Home Decor Idea 3: Hang a Collection of Mirrors

Pick up an assortment of mirrors at the thrift store and just spray paint the frames all the same—or an interesting array—of colors.  I toss around the term “just spray paint” as if I would do this in my driveway, but I would totally hire this out as I’m not even a teensy bit handy and I hate the smell of paint.

These would look amazing hanging over a sofa your living room or above a sleeper sofa in the guest room.  Or, be really edgy and hang them in the bathroom.

I have a friend who did this to frame the seating lists for her daughter’s wedding.  It looked spectacular and unusual.  This friend also created all the table decorations for the event.  I question her sanity.  But the wedding was gorgeous.


Painted Mirror Frames


Home Decor Idea 4: Display a collection of virtually anything

As a dedicated collector, I think the world of this idea, although I imagine most of my friends would be happier living with just one or two collections.  Or, maybe none.  If they are really boring.  No judgement here, of course.  However, I’m usually in the More Is Better camp, and I like being surrounded by Stuff.

Create a rotating display on your dining table.  Put an extra shelf above your mantle.  Display a collection in a curio cabinet.  No two assortments will ever be identical, so let your personality shine through your unique displays.

This is my hand collection.  I don’t think my family even realizes I collect ceramic, wood and fabric hands, in addition to the miniature chairs, tiny boxes, birds, blue bottles and Spanish ceramics that clutter, I mean adorn, our home.  Someday downsizing is going to be a major challenge for me.


Collections as Art


Home Decor Idea 5: Paint Just One Wall

Four walls of color can overwhelm a room, but painting just one wall in an accent color can be off-beat and clever.

Ideas to keep in mind when painting just one wall:

Use an existing color from one of the room accessories or furniture.

Select the wall with an architectural feature you’d like to highlight.

Paint just the inside of an arch or nook with a contrasting color.

Use an accent color on the wall behind your bed.

Use color theory for choosing a hue, remembering that cool colors give the effect of a wall receding, and warm colors bring things visually closer.

Experiment!  You can always repaint if you didn’t get it quite right the first time.

You may have friends that don’t understand the concept behind painting one wall a contrasting color.  They are probably not creative.  Maybe they are crazy.  Tell them at your own risk.


Color One Wall as a Home Decor Idea



And who coined the phrase, “no compulsion in the world is stronger than the urge to rearrange the furniture?”  OK, maybe no one.  But moving your furniture around the house is a great way to:

  1. Get some needed exercise
  1. Create the illusion that you redecorated.

During the night, as you bump your shin on something that wasn’t there yesterday, you will thank me for this inspired idea.

Posted in General, Informative, Meryl at Sleepers | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Solve The Home Office/Guest Room Dilemma

Solutions Revealed: My Favorite Organizer On The Home Office/Guest Room

I met Lauren, of Casual Uncluttering, at a business meeting a few years ago.  She introduced herself as an organizer and I immediately thought, “I’m never letting her into my house.”

I consider myself the poster child for clutter and I have no intention of giving up my title as I suspect Organizing involves two things I hate:  Cleaning and Putting Stuff Away.

Fast forward a week.  Favorite cousins, of the beautifully-decorated-and-chic-home persuasion, announced an upcoming visit.  I put Lauren on speed-dial and begged her to come help me get my house in shape.  Well, at least the parts that the visitors would see.

Lauren got right down to work.  We quickly identified my home office/guest room as the primary offender. It’s also the exercise room and the room where excess books are stored.  It’s also the hurry-up-and-stash-that-pile-of-mail spot when we entertain.  Unfortunately, it also houses boxes of “Important Stuff I Will Never Look at Again But You Must Store This For Me” that we receive whenever our kids change apartments which is approximately every two and a half weeks.  We got the guest room in shape and moved on to other projects around my house.  No lack of projects here!

So I asked Lauren to help me write a blog post on how to organize a home office that also serves as a guest room.  And when I say “help me” I really mean I just had her write it.  She uses words like “clutter-free” and “clean up” and “organize.”  That’s how you know it’s not coming from me.  Here’s Lauren:

An Age-Old Dilemma – The Office Where the Guests Sleep

I’ve lived in over a dozen houses in 15 years, and have hosted many guests, male, female, married couples, sometimes for several months at a time, sometime “sets” in several rooms at once. Keeping a dual-use office isn’t as easy as it sounds. I approach the problem in stages: first make sure the area is a functional office, then make sure it works as a guest room, then develop habits to keep the space in a clutter-free state. I emphasize “office” first because it is the more “permanent” use of the space – guests come and go!

Home Office and Guest Room


There are many many many many many (getting the idea?) ways to organize an office. The details are dependent on who uses it, and why. If it’s “only” the space where Dad writes the occasional birthday party invitation, a desk, chair, basket for cards, envelopes, stamps and a pen, and a table lamp may be all that ever needs to be in the space.

Home Office / Guest Room


If Ms. runs a home-based business with an employee, the room may need to hold two desks, two chairs, standing lamp, two computers, a printer, computer accessories such as a router, storage for supplies, file cabinets and a bookcase. It’s critical to plot out exactly “what” and “why” needs to be in the area. It’s also worth experimenting with “where” and “how.” A pentagonal corner desk might be a much better fit than a traditional rectangular shape. Maybe you can even find a folding or wall-mounted version. A folding chair might tuck in between the bookcase and the printer stand. A clothes wardrobe might be the perfect size for supplies when most people would use classic wire racks. In other words, it’s OK to think outside of the box to furnish a space – for example, I currently have office supplies on bathroom shelves. My pantry is a set of bookcases in my bedroom, but that’s a whole ‘nother mess.

Tools for Overnight Guests


The single most important guest feature is, of course, the bed. The same “’exactly” “what” and “why’” thinking applies to choosing the bed. Do you only have room for a chair sleeper? Would a full sleeper sofa let you meet with clients during office hours?  A sofa bed will always look more professional than a traditional bed if you do meet with clients in your office.

Are you just hosting your teenage daughter’s best friend overnight, or your elderly parents visit for a month? If you can fit a standard bed, you can add drawers to it, or put it on risers: you or your guests can use the storage as you decide.

Boulder Leather Chair Sofa Bed


Hiding the office stuff with a screen, keeping it behind cabinet doors, or even just draping a tablecloth over it, is a quick way to make the room more comfortable.  I’ve always tried to disguise the work – decorate the desk with the same kinds of items you’ve got on the nightstand, or keep the furniture all the same wood, whatever is attractive. Using furniture with hidden storage can help – your guests can put their feet up on the storage ottoman where you hide your printer paper.

The Valencia Storage Ottoman by Savvy


Keep what you can in rolling storage and whisk it away. Think vertical when you need to squeeze extra space out of nowhere: make the bookcase a little taller for an extra shelf, hang some floating shelves or add a picture rail to the walls.

A complementary strategy is to always keep the guest towels, sheets, soaps, hangers etc., including extras, in the room. Your guests will understand the excess, and you may effectively crowd out unrelated possessions.

Towels and Linens for Guests


Keeping the room organized means doing a clean-up pass at least once a week. Make it an appointment on your calendar. At least one wastebasket is a must. Understanding how you like to store things and giving yourself those tools is just as important – you won’t put the pens away if you want a green ceramic cup but you’re using a white plastic silverware tray.

From personal experience, the single most welcome feature you can offer a guest is a full, private, attached bathroom. It’s a gift which allows your guests to relax and maintain their personal care habits most easily. It also keeps the homeowners’ privacy intact, and lessens the degree to which a guest might feel like an intruder or burden. It also avoids “rush hour” build-ups: the guest doesn’t add traffic to the family’s bathroom(s). If you’ve got a water heater which is sized for peak usage + excess, that’s even more effective – no one runs out of hot water during a shower. Yup, been there, wasn’t fun. Was thrilled when the darn thing burst and I got an upgrade.


Posted in Informative, Meryl at Sleepers, Sleeper Sofa Buying Guide | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Kids and Furniture: Can this Relationship Be Saved?

One Mom’s Kid-Generated Furniture Mishaps and How to Avoid Them

For decades, starting in 1953, The Ladies’ Home Journal ran a feature called “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” A troubled relationship was described by the wife, and then the husband was allowed to vent, and finally the therapist announced what was needed to save the marriage. My mother subscribed to the magazine and I remember reading this column as a child, wondering how men and women ever managed to live together. It was quite alarming.

Fast-forward a few years and I’m raising three boys. And they’ve pretty much destroyed
every piece of furniture we own. And I’m wondering, “can this relationship be saved?” Is it possible to live with children and furniture under the same roof?

What did you say? Your kids always respect your couch? Oh sure, mine do, too. Haha. That’s a lie.

My mother’s solution: the living room was only for guests. No one ever found out who was considered a guest, because the living room, with its white sectional and designer coordinated accessories, was off limits to anyone I’d ever met. As an adult, I never went near the living room.

This is my mother’s sofa. It was purchased in 1959. It’s still white. I still don’t sit on it.

Vintage White Sofa


But I wanted my boys to enjoy our home and to feel free to have their friends over.

Son #1 and Son #2 had a fight on top of the coffee table. The coffee table lost, as it’s glass top was shattered. This happened a few times until I sprung for a safety-glass

Son #3 sat on the end of the dining table and a piece just split off. This is how it looks after glue and reinforcements.

Damaged Wood Table


Another view of a dining table mishap, after one of my children experimented with the contents of a glowstick. I’m not sure what’s in there, but nothing you’d want on your table. Or your skin. Or maybe in your house at all.

Stained Wood Table


There are ballpoint pen marks, unidentifiable splotches and questionable slits in the fabric on our arm chairs.

There is an oddly compelling stain on our kitchen bar when a graphic design was transferred to the wood from some unknown source.

Image Transfer On Wood


Our refrigerator wears this goofy grin it acquired soon after arriving in our home. I’m not sure which of my children applied it, but the original tape has disintegrated into a gooey mess and I haven’t been able to remove it.

Funny Refrigerator Stain


My boys all enjoyed entertaining their friends at our house, so it was never a question of one or two boys on the furniture. If they were at home, we had five or ten or twenty boys (the girls came later) lounging, bouncing on and generally disrespecting the chairs and sofas.

So, the first thing to remember about decorating a home with children is: avoid bringing any furniture into the house until your kids are in college. Haha, kidding!

Here are a few tips for kids-friendly home decor:

Forget the colors white, cream and light anything. Look for saturated color and patterns on furniture, walls and countertops. Even ceilings. My ceilings are painted blue. I tell my friends that it makes the rooms feel spacious. Sky-like. But the real reason is I remember the damage wrought by an agitated and then opened can of grape soda in the hands of a dangerous criminal—I mean child—and the stains that were never removable from the white walls and ceiling. Amazingly, my kids didn’t do that. It was a friend of mine, at my one-and-only slumber party in my parents’ newly-remodeled basement.

Look for, what we call in the business, “bulletproof” fabrics. Usually, you’ll find that engineered fabrics will hold up to more abuse than natural ones. Microfibers will outlast cotton or silk. Look for fabrics that are washable (cleaning code W for those that take a water-based cleaner) and that have a high thread count. Velvet, denim and twill all wear well.

Durable Sleeper Sofa Fabrics


Details to avoid: Throw pillows. They scream “pillow fight” to any red-blooded child in the zip code. Buttons on upholstery. Just begging to be picked off and played with or eaten. Shelves and dressers that are not secured to the walls. Did you see that video on Facebook of the toddler trapped under a chest because he and his brother were jumping in the open drawers? Of course they were.

Tufted Sleeper Sofa Cushions


Learn to love leather furniture. Scratches in leather give it “personality.” Think baseball glove.

You’d have to work hard to seriously damage a catcher’s mitt.  Not that kids won’t attempt it. Best virtue of leather: it can be repaired. You can get a leather expert to come to your home and do magical things to a rip in the surface of your couch, and you’d never know the cut was there. Take the cost out of your kid’s allowance because it won’t be cheap.

For floors, make sure that you can damp mop whatever surface is underfoot. Area rugs are a tripping hazard and are hard to clean. Wall-to-wall carpet is much harder to maintain than solid surfaces such as tile, wood and linoleum.

It makes sense to invest in high-end wood furniture if you love the design and are willing to refinish it in a few years. If not, opt for inexpensive tables and cabinets that won’t be missed once they’ve taken a beating. Look for rounded corners on tables to avoid the inevitable eye-meets-edge-of-coffee table incident that lands you in the emergency room with one of your children.

So enjoy living with your kids and with your furniture. And if you think that once your offspring have left home for good and you can redecorate your home however you like, think again. Because if you’re lucky, soon it will be filled with……….grandchildren.

Posted in General, Sleeper Sofa Buying Guide | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

How Upcycling Can Add Pizzazz to Your Home Decor

My good buddy, Leslie, who spent years working in the home staging industry suggested I do a blog post on upcycling.  I told her that was a great idea!  Then I quickly went home to google “upcycling.”

The first post I found was about repurposing toilet paper rolls to store things in.

Ewwwww.  Not what I was thinking.

But I kept going on the research, figuring that I could get creative, be politically correct and save the planet all at the same time by learning how to upcycle.

Wikipedia defines upcycling as creative reuse—the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.

I think of upcycling as finding something intriguing at a flea market or resale shop and turning it into something much more intriguing.  And possibly useful.  The best thing about upcycling?  You can bandy the word “upcycling” about and everyone will realize how impossibly hip you are.

Leslie sent me some images to illustrate the concept of upcycling in the home decor world.


Turbine Tables

Upcycled Cocktail Table

These turbines were spotted in a factory, a base was added and they were topped with custom glass.  Voila—coffee tables!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t hang out in factories a lot.  However, we can see the advantages of doing so.  I’d put these tables in front of a light colored couch in a solid fabric.  Note:  unless you are a weight-lifter, you won’t want to place the turbine table in front of a sleeper sofa.  Because when you open the sleeper, you’ll need to move the tables…..


Ceiling Tiles

Repurposed Wall Pieces

Sourced from a resale shop that specializes in reclaimed building materials, these tiles were attached to the wall and arranged as a headboard display.

Lots to love about this display:  it has texture, a variety of color, and it’s attached to the wall.  As in, it doesn’t have to be moved the clean under the bed.


Barrel Rings

Upcycled Wall Art

These rings originally held a wooden barrel together, but now have been repurposed and arranged on the wall as art.

These rings would pair well with a leather sofa bed or leather sleeper chair.

So the only issue I see with this item is that you’d have to drink a lot of beer, whiskey or wine to come up with that many barrel rings.  And I don’t like beer.   But there must be some place that old barrels go to die, and that’s where you could get ahold of these rings.  So this project needs a bit more research.  But for all of you beer, whiskey and/or wine drinkers out there, research could be a lot of fun.  For the simpler approach, maybe visit your local winery or distillery.


Painted Pillows

Upcycled Painted Pillows

These pillows started life as paintings on canvas.  The frame was removed, a backing added, zipper, stuffing……….and you have pillows!

If you sew, you’ll know where to get the supplies.  And if you don’t sew (like me), then you probably have a friend who does.  Trade favors.  This is a cool idea.

These pillows would sit beautifully on top of a sofa in white or cream fabric.  Imagine museum walls and shop accordingly.


Card Catalog Nightstands

Upcycled Night Stand

These two metal card catalogs were cleaned up and protected with a varnish to preserve the rustic patina.  They are now being used as night stands.

This is also an opportunity to teach anyone born after 1980 the joys of the Dewey Decimal System.


Repurposed Coffee Table

Upcycled Coffee Table

This table was originally part of a bed in the Philippines.  It is a piece of rough-hewn wood, about 4 1/2 feet long.  Metal legs were fabricated to convert it into a very sturdy table.   You could accent the rugged look of the table with a casual, wood-accented couch, or go for contrast and choose sleek, more formal upholstery.

As I’m not a metal worker, nor a seamstress, some of these projects are out of my league.  I can always find and hire those folks, but I pressed Leslie for some upcycling projects that could be done in a day, with minimal skill and funding.  Fortunately, Leslie has a huge photo library and she found me a few projects for those of us with less time, patience and proper tools:


Birdcage Candle Holders

Repurposed Candle Holders

Here’s a doable project.  Take some old metal birdcages, put them on a metal charger plate, surround a large candle with smooth stones or seashells and you’ve got a set of very cool candle holders or a unique centerpiece.  I’d probably clean the daylights out of the birdcages before I let them anywhere near my kitchen, but this is a possibility.  And I never seem to have a centerpiece—so extra points for this idea.


Upcycling Collections

Collection Showcase

The simplest idea of all is to create a collection of something.  You recycle them for their sculptural nature, amass a lot of them, and display them in a clear bowl.  Old game pieces, buttons, dice, or old vacuum tubes.  They have just been elevated to Art.  A trip or two to the thrift shop or antique mall and you are in business.  For a person like me, with an obsession for collecting, this is a license to shop.  I’m starting in on this idea today.

Here are a few local (we are in Seattle) resources, with online access for those of you who are not fortunate enough to live in the Pacific Northwest:

Second Use.  They reclaim building materials for reuse.  Great way to spend an afternoon browsing and imagining what items you could upcycle into others.

The RE Store.  They even have a Revision Division where they’ve built hand-crafted furniture from reclaimed materials, saving you the trouble.

Earthwise Architectural Salvage.  Retail warehouses in both Seattle and Tacoma, full of vintage and new building materials, in addition to a diverse assortment of architectural antiques.

The ever-popular and ubiquitous Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul and Value Village will have lots of old junk, I mean great materials, to work with.

Special Shout-out to Jon Rosichelli of Rosichelli Design for his creative design and staging,  and many thanks to Leslie Saber of SaberShots Photography for the wonderful ideas and photos.

Go forth and go green!

Meryl Alcabes, Sleepers In Seattle

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Six Tips for Furnishing Small Spaces

My home is 100 years old this year! And although I love the vintage detail and old-world charm, I’m not thrilled with the some of the compact rooms we live and entertain in. Over time, I’ve found a few furniture items that help us get the most from our small spaces. The key is to find furniture that can do double duty, or be stored away easily. These ideas for furnishing small spaces can be used by anyone with a condo or apartment, as well as those of us living in older homes with small rooms.

Using lighter colors and smaller scale furniture will make a space seem larger. Not filling every available inch of real estate will help keep your room comfortable. Here are a few more specific ideas to consider:


1. Sleeper sofa

We have three sofa beds in our home. A queen sleeper sofa in the TV room which doubles as a guest room, a full sized sofa bed in the office and an ottoman sleeper that can be moved around wherever we need another bed. Or….an ottoman!

Compact Sleeper Sofa Perfect for Furnishing Small Spaces

For smaller spaces, consider the scale of your furniture. Don’t overwhelm a compact den with huge, overstuffed chairs. Many furniture retailers carry modestly-sized items, and it’s worth the research time to find them. Always keep your room measurements and color samples with you. You never know when you’ll happen upon the perfect accent piece for your home and you want to be sure it will fit. Look at all of our small space sleeper sofas from Sleepers In Seattle.

2. Folding or Stacking Chairs

You can find folding chairs in a variety of styles, prices and materials to match your decor and your pocketbook. Having a few extra seats stashed away in an unused corner is a lifesaver when you are entertaining. And it’s great to have them disappear when not needed.

Colorful Stackable Chairs Increase Pizzazz and Space UseStacking chairs now come in a huge variety of styles and colors. Check out this link for a wonderful assortment of stacking chairs.

3. Display or storage coffee table

I love collections, but they don’t always work well in small spaces. My oldest collection—tiny boxes from all over the world—resides in a display coffee table in our living room. I get to show off my well-loved assortment without taking up extra real estate.

Coffee Table with Glass Top Displaying Colletion It’s possible to find other coffee and end tables that serve multiple purposes: storage tables, lift-top coffee tables, and serving carts that do double duty as end tables. Here’s a great idea for a combination of storage and seating—the storage ottoman! With a tray balanced judiciously on top, an ottoman can double as a coffee table.

4. Dining table with butterfly leaf

Many dining tables come with extra leaves. But where to store them? The beauty of the butterfly leaf table is that the extra length is self-storing, which is perfect for smaller spaces. Huge benefit for those of us with less than huge dining rooms. Measure carefully before purchasing your dining table.

Table with Extra Leaf can be expandedIf you are always in need of more dining table seating, consider a pedestal table, rather than one with 4 legs, which can interfere with chair legs. And an oval table is more flexible, seating-wise, than a rectangular one.

5. Ceiling and wall lighting

Save floor and surface area by choosing lamps that can be mounted on the ceiling and walls. You’ll spend a bit more on the wiring but free up space on the floor and on your side tables.

Bedroom Wall Sconces Offer Unique and Space-Saving LightThis is a great idea for the bedroom, also. Save space and declutter by choosing wall-mounted lighting rather than table lamps for your nightstands.

6. Mirrors

A large mirror, placed strategically, will make a small room seem much larger. Find one that complements your decor—or fill a wall with a collection of mirrors for an original art statement.

Mirrors Along the Wall Increase Visual SpaceA mirror can also be used to bring the outdoors in, doubling a lovely garden or territorial view. Move the mirror around before hanging, to find its best position.

Let me know your best tips for decorating small spaces in the comments below.


I’m always on the lookout for new ideas!

Meryl Alcabes, Sleepers In Seattle

Posted in Informative, Meryl at Sleepers, Small Spaces | 15 Comments

Expanded Hospitality Solutions

More Hospitality Solutions Than Ever Before

We at Sleepers in Seattle have over a decade of experience providing the hospitality industry with the best sofa beds on the market. We recently expanded our hospitality solutions to even better serve hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, resorts and lodges throughout North America and beyond.


Dedicated Contract & Hospitality Team

We now offer a dedicated team of representatives, available to work one-on-one with buyers to develop personalized plans, tailor fitted to the specific needs of each customer. Our full-time hospitality department is never more than a click or call away. Contact us.

More Sleepers Than Anywhere Else

Those familiar with our sleeper selection know we offer more sofa beds than anywhere else. With over 500 unique models and thousands of upholstery options, we’ve got the right look and feel for any decor from traditional to contemporary. Our sleepers come in every shape from ottoman to sectional, providing sleep solutions for any size room. Customization is our calling card, if you can envision it, we can make it a reality. We offer a full range of matching furniture for all of our sleeper models, allowing clients to tie a room together like never before. A coordinating ottoman, chair, loveseat, sofa or even sectional can add a level of sophistication and comfort to any unit!


most popular sleeper sofas

Our Most Popular Solutions

Our new expanded hospitality section includes many of our most popular sleep solutions. Here you’ll find the pick of the litter from Stanton, American Leather, our very own Savvy brand and more. Visit our Hospitality Sleeper Sofa Selection page to view our most sought after designer, leather, fabric and eco-friendly sofa beds. Our hospitality program offers special pricing and comprehensive solutions in order to meet the wants and needs of each potential customer. Our sleepers are discounted according to volume and payment plans are flexible, allowing us to work within your budget and time frame.

Hospitality Case Studies

View our wide range of case studies to learn more about the solutions we have already provided to a number of satisfied clients in the hospitality industry. From the Hotel Sorrento in Seattle to the Travaasa Austin to the Flamingo Resort and Conference Center in Santa Ana, our sleepers can be found in top notch facilities all over the map.

hospitality sleeper sofa solutions

Adding Value

Sleeper sofas conserve space while providing seating and sleeping room, making them the perfect addition for many units. Sofa beds are the most cost effective method of adding sleeping capacity to an existing space, efficiently adding value to any room. Precisely why our recently expanded hospitality solutions function as the perfect starting point for any motel or hotel looking to enhance their existing facilities.

sofa beds for hotels

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New American Leather Comfort Sleeper

New Comfort Sleeper Model

We are happy to announce the arrival of a brand new style from American Leather’s Comfort Sleeper collection. This new model brings a contemporary edge to a collection best known for comfort and durability.

The Noah

The Noah is the most recent addition to the Comfort Sleeper collection. Marked by flared arms, clean edges and stiletto metal legs, the Noah is as stylish as it is comfortable. The Noah’s modern design offers a current, yet sophisticated look. The Noah provides a sense of refinement while remaining unique and eye-catching.

American Leather Noah Comfort Sleeper



Tiffany 24/7 Sleep Surface

Like all of American Leather’s Comfort Sleepers, the Noah features the patented Tiffany 24/7 sleep surface. This groundbreaking feature provides a solid platform with zero bars or springs for maximum comfort! The Noah is available in a full range of sleeper sizes. The sleeper is even available in three mattress options: Tempur-pedic, Gel and Premier. How’s that for options?

American Leather Noah Sleeper


Now available for purchase on Sleepers in Seattle, the Noah is fully customizable. The Noah is available in our huge selection of 100% top-grain leathers. We offer our leather products in every imaginable color and texture. Choose from uniform to natural finish and extremely durable to extra soft.  With so many different leathers, you’re practically guaranteed to find the right leather sleeper for you and your home.

Since 1990, American Leather has been an industry leader, producing top of the line leather and fabric furniture at its manufacturing facility in Dallas, Texas. We at Sleepers in Seattle are proud to carry American Leather products.  We can’t wait to share this new and innovative model with our customers. Visit the site now to view this modern masterpiece along with over a dozen other American Leather models. What are you waiting for? You’re new leather sofa is just a few clicks away!

American Leather on Site


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Three New Leather Sleeper Sofas

Just this week, Sleepers in Seattle added three brand new leather sleeper sofas to our already extensive selection.  With additions from Bernhardt Interiors and our very own Savvy Brand, we continue to build upon our mission statement of “More Sleeper Sofas Than Anywhere Else.”

Savvy Calgary Leather Sleeper Sofa

calgary leather sofa

Our new line of Savvy Calgary Leather Sleepers is available in chairs, studio sofas and sofas.  The Calgary is marked by rolled arms, a tightly upholstered seat-back, box cushions and elegant wooden legs. Available in a vast array of top-grain leathers, there is surely a Calgary to match your home décor.

Reasonably priced at well under $2,000, the Calgary is as affordable as it is luxurious.  Available for delivery 4-6 weeks from the time of purchase, the Calgary is truly a slice of economical elegance for the astute furniture shopper.

Bernhardt Interiors Denton Leather Sleeper

bernhardt interiors denton leather sleeper sofa


The Bernhardt Interiors Denton Leather Queen Sleeper is another recent addition to our Leather Sleeper collection. The Denton features straight arms, supple t-cushion seating and a giant dose of classic style. This luxurious new piece is guaranteed to transform any room into a sophisticated setting.

But.. the Denton is far more than just a looker.  Down blend cushions offer an extra comfortable seating experience. Additionally, the sofa pulls out into a Queen Size bed, sleeping two with room to spare.

Bernhardt Interiors Franco Leather Sleeper Sofa


franco 725

Also new from Bernhardt is the Franco Leather Queen Sleeper. The Franco offers an uncommon balance of style and comfort. The Franco features soft yet supportive down blend cushions and your choice of top grain leather exterior. A tufted back cushion and nailhead accents only add to the Franco’s allure.

The Franco easily transforms from elegant couch to supportive Queen Size bed in a few simple motions. Whether sitting or sleeping, you and your guests are in for a wonderful experience.

Visit the site to view these new Leather Sleepers, all of which are fully customizable in our signature Savvy Design Center. Don’t see what you’re looking for here? No need to worry. We have endless leather sleeper varieties to choose from. Take a minute to browse through our products today.

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