So here was where we kicked it off last week:
A secondhand couch, a thrifted rug, and one Lowe’s bucketful of hopes and dreams.

Since then, a lot of exciting additions have been made: most of them secondhand internet dream finds, which might just be the most thrilling feeling of all!


The Tale of Two Sven Chairs

We got the brown couch you see above from a secondhand promo they were having at a furniture rental warehouse. It was basically a $999 Starter Home package where you can mix and match from the available pieces from their warehouse. I wasn’t a big fan of this couch, but it was the best deal available, and most importantly, it came with next day delivery. All the IKEA pieces we looked at had a 3 to 4 week lead time, and we didn’t want to spend a month sitting on the floor.

But since then, you bet that I was prowling Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace daily, waiting for a sectional or a second couch to pop up at a good price.

I’ve always had my eye on the sectionals and armchairs over at Article, particularly in the Charm Leather and Cascadia Blue velvet iterations. I don’t know if the Furniture Fairies were just straight up listening to me, but these two pieces showed up in the secondhand market:

I found the Article Sven armchair first. I got lucky because I was randomly browsing FB Marketplace for tall plants for the living room, and found a 7-foot tall palm tree being sold by someone moving out of Virginia. Clicking on his other items for sale, I saw the shape of this familiar leather chair, but the item was only titled “Wide chair” — which is probably why no one else had snapped it up. Bingo!

Next hurdle: We don’t have a truck, so I couldn’t just pick it up. With a little research, I found an app called Bungii (it’s like Uber/Lyft, but you book a pick-up truck and a driver), and I frantically booked a pick-up for the next day. After much finger-twiddling and sweating (because I’ve never used the app before, I wasn’t sure if the seller was legit, or if the driver was reliable), I finally got the chair. And the palm tree and 6 other free plants. Winning!

This Sven armchair is as cozy as it looks. Every morning, I bundle up in fur blankets and the chair swallows me up whole as I enjoy my coffee. I’ll do a full review later, but Cliff’s Notes version: yes, yes, yes, I love it.

The next find — the Article Sven couch in Cascadia Blue velvet — was much more of an adventure/physical ordeal. I found the couch on Craigslist, priced to sell (ridiculously cheap!) by a guy who was very curt in all his e-mails.

But since this was a huge couch, I couldn’t just book one driver/mover. I either had to book two trucks and two drivers, or… go to the location and help carry the couch myself. I chose the latter because honestly, I wasn’t super sure that the guy was legit (hah – Craigslist red flag – please don’t emulate me) and so I wanted to pay in cash rather than a digital transfer.

The seller assured me that the couch fit in their apartment’s service elevator, as that was what the movers used when they brought the couch into his place when he moved in. Great, I replied, I’ll be there tomorrow.

Spoiler alert: IT DIDN’T FIT IN THE ELEVATOR. The mover and I heaved and huffed and struggled for a good five minutes before deciding we needed a Plan B.

We ended up having to carry the couch down a stairwell, through several flights of stairs, and as a result, my arms and legs couldn’t fully function over the following two days. But in the moment? Pumped with adrenaline, I felt like Wonder Woman.

Our New Living Room Layout

All thrifting adventures said and done, here is what our living room looks like now:

A million times cozier, both in feel and aesthetics! One couch for my husband (the brown one, duh), one couch for me (the blue velvet one, of course), and another armchair also for me. Hah!

We’ve also placed that gorgeous palm tree over by the window, and it reminds us of the tropics everyday.

Here are a few more shots from around the living room:

Side table from the salvage yard
Picture frame from the dollar store
Palawan postcard from back home in the Philippines
Lamp, secondhand from Cort Furniture Rental
Navy blue velvet couch from Article (Sven sofa)
Brown couch, secondhand from Cort Furniture Rental

Plant stand from Amazon
Custom frame from Framebridge
Plants, all hand-me-downs

Live edge coffee table from World Market

And just for the heck of it, a before and after to see the progress!

Next week, the gallery wall

For Week 3, I’ll be sharing with you our gallery wall, which will hang above the brown couch. I had been planning it for a while now, but just didn’t have enough pieces for it yet.

All I knew was I wanted it to feel super personal: I had two of our photos framed by Framebridge (the best online framing service there is, I’m telling you – I’ve tried others, but they outperform every one of them by a mile), and a custom flag made by an Etsy artist.

Can’t wait to show you how it all comes together!


Are we friends on Instagram yet?

Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more real-time behind-the-scenes updates! This is where I’ll be sharing more real-time, behind-the-scenes updates throughout the next six weeks.

The ORC is a biannual design event. Over the course of six weeks, participants share their process as they transform a room. You may check out all the other guest participants here.

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