No Such Thing as a Cheap Couch

I blame the couch. It started all this... all this... nesting. The old couch was a smelly memory, gifted to a happy couple in a smelly house some weeks ago. Our empty living room became the Hooping Room, where I could practice my clumsy hoop-dancing moves while watching Oprah on one of the two channels we get in the house. It was perfect. Then Deborah sent me a link to a couch for sale on Craigslist. Green leather, near us in Taos, and only $75. I had said it out loud, I want a couch. And while I wasn't specific about the color and fabric, here was the answer to my request--a good sturdy couch at a price I could afford. We drove out to see it, and brought it home to live with us... even though it's green leather.

Leather is a tricky thing for vegans. We, mostly I, don't eat meat or other animal products, except for the rare special occasion cheese splurge. Rick, it turns out, is one of those people who craves a good chicken mole enchilada periodically, and I can't fault him for that. I'm perfectly happy with grains, greens, and beans, and feel good not supporting the animal "processing" industry in this country. I won't talk about it here, but if you want to know more about my whacky sounding choices, is a good place to start... But anyway, back to the green leather couch... I would never buy a new leather couch, but we are at least the third owners of this one, so at this point it can practically be classified as recycled. Every time I sit on it, I stroke it lovingly and thank the big green cow who once lived in that skin. We treat it with respect, and we intend to keep it for a long, long time.

So the couch moved in, and few days later, we did too, as you might recall, with deep resistance. We sat on the couch, surrounded by the red walls we had painted several years ago, and almost immediately I announced that we (meaning Rick) would have to paint the living room. He knows me well. I was not going to let this go, or be easy to live with if my house wasn't making my eyes happy. So the very next day he brought home some paint chips, and the day after that he started painting. After one false start, we got the color right on the second try. I wanted "chocolate," and what we got was more like "Swiss Miss"-- sort of an anemic, watery brown that simply wouldn't do. Back to the paint store for the darkest brown on the chart, and we had it, a deep, delicious looking chocolate color that looks good enough to eat. Deborah came over to help, because she says she likes to paint, and the two of them knocked it out in just a few hours. It's really beautiful. And I'm really happy... but the room's not finished...

A new couch and new walls call for new curtains, of course. And pillows. And maybe a rug. And with everything so new and clean and pretty, the raggy, hairy old dog bed has to be replaced. But at least we already have a lot of wonderful art that we could just shuffle around and re-hang. Old paintings look new again, and the whole house seems to be refreshed and breathing and smiling.

I'm the one who always says, no more stuff, but I have to ease up on myself here, and remember that this is our home, for now, for a while, maybe for a long time. So maybe there's no such thing as a cheap couch. After all, it made it necessary to make so many other changes. But so what? Change is good. It's part of the creative process. I'm grateful to the couch for being a catalyst, and an inspiration. Bringing this one beloved, used thing into our home has helped us to feel comfortable here again. I don't know how Rick feels about it, but to me, it's already a member of the family.

I don't have everything in place yet, but here's a sampler from the new Chocolate Room. I'll show you more when it's finished.


  1. Mmmmm...chocolate. Looks great Kim!

  2. It looks great Kim! Enjoy the chocolate :)
    Hugs, Carolien

  3. The colors look great together and no one would ever guess that you were the 3rd owners! In colllege we all chipped in for a $25.00 couch and it was pure heavan. It was a feather couch! Pillows seat cushions all feather. We had a huge debate who would get the couch when we moved out. It's not the price tag it's the quality. Beth

  4. Kim
    I love your chocolate walls and the green coach is beautiful and very Taos-like. Welcome Home!

  5. What great colors for your lovely new couch...
    Enjoy Taos!

  6. Ummmm, that is very pretty. I thought dark brown would be cave like - not so. Lovely, warm. Some friends started with a sofa purchase and ended up adding a second story on their house. You've had great restraint by comparison. Norine

  7. Kim, I love the chocolate and I love the green leather couch. It has character. Lots of it. You're nesting. And I'm thinking about how "things" begin to fill up our spaces. I am afraid I guess of feeling trapped by my things. It's a tender balance. This is said not to caste a shadow on your joy but to be conscious of the choices I am making at the moment.

  8. Really nice.... I can feel the warm cozy fire sitting all comfy on that wonderful leather couch! Yum...

  9. I really like the color on the walls! Looks very nice and homey, for both the short and long haul :).

    Penny \IiiI

  10. Great wall color. I would love some more bird beads. Suzie

  11. Beautiful! The couch was a real bargain but it's easy to see how that could bring on all the other things! In the military we had a term for that - "mission creep" - you start with one little thing and end up with a major mission you never expected. My mother also had a saying that "you can't just wash one spot on a wall." That makes the rest of the wall look dirty and then you have a whole 'nother chore! Polly Anna

  12. Hi kim; I LOVE IT...all :D But you're totally right, in your hilarious way you have of phrasing things - no cheap - anything really.
    I did go to the Uptown Mktpls. in Albq. (I know it seemed a million miles away from here in Santa Fe.....but SO WORTH IT); between dr. visits yesterday.

    There's a store there called Chapparall that's going out of biz (they say they are moving to Santa Fe to a cheaper place ???) anyway everything was 65-75% off - and having sold some of those same items for a friend (they have furniture, lighting, sort of Jackalope(.com) style knick knacks& tons of women's clothing & jewelry - i KNOW that those prices were really a deal.

    I bought a beautiful silk & glass bead embroidered kimono jacket for my mother in law, $229 for $65 (shhh, she'll still bargain down a bit more).

    BUT the point is they had a 'fainting couch' there, it matches NOTHING in my house or world, but what a prize for any woman's boudoir !! Ah well I only had a $100 bill i've been carrying in secret for a while, so no expensive or otherwise, couch for me. But i'm happy for YOouuuu!

    Anyone near Albq. got to uptown or better yet buy some of those fantastic bird beads Kim has. Kim the variety of skills you are using to make them are impressive and clever. I'd be SO AFRAID to make a rivet onto a glass bead with my skills (& hammers!!) but you are FEARLESS.

    Fly on lady, thank you SO MUCH for the note, i'm getting better news & this too shall pass. I found an open house at the oncologist's office, for cancer awareness & they had a box - full of "99 reasons to live" perhaps there's a project for us in there somewhere. it was really moving!

    xoxo. to Kim & friends...

  13. Love the wall color!

  14. That wall color is gorgeous! I'm one of those weirdos who likes to paint. I just don't like to get up on ladders, so I rarely do.

  15. Love the colors together, never considered the combination in home furnishings. I tend to stick with 'safe' neutrals, but went wild when I painted part of my kitchen 'Home Depot' orange and then added a blue Craftsman tool chest for additional storage! Family thought I was crazy, but it works!!
    Sara in FL

  16. That couch looks great with your new paint job!

  17. I love the chocolate and green combo!! And I agree, sometimes you have to cut yourself some slack and not sacrifice NOW on the altar of THEN - as in, a future you can't predict.

    (P.S. I don't want entered in the gratitude bracelet giveaway. As much as I *adore* them I am feeling particularly grateful and balanced this jolly evening, there must be someone needs it more than me. xox)

  18. Love the comfy feeling of the green leather sofa and new chocolate colored walls. The art is right, too. Just feels good to the eyes here, and I'm sure to the body there. Enjoy.


  19. Love the the couch..... and mostly love the fact that you have a warm and comfortable place to rest. Comfort is a good thing! By the way, leather furniture is great when you have pets. The dog hair just brushes off along with any doggie odor (or is it just my sweet dog that tends to get that doggie perfume going?)
    Diane in PA

  20. Love the chocolate wall. Great choice. I could only imagine what the Swiss Miss color looked like, and am glad you insisted on the darker chocolate. Looks great! Enjoy your "new" digs.
    Linda Gregory

  21. The funniest part is that soon you'll think that you're through acquiring stuff! You won't be!!! I'm 70, 71 in February. In 2008 I made a very expensive life change which didn't work out. At that time, I reduced my stuff to a studio apartment and one wall of storage in a garage. Within 7 months I knew I had made a gross error in judgment and picked up my small supply of stuff and moved into a very deceiving house. It appears very large from the exterior and does actually have four elevations but not that great a number of square feet inside. I moved my office into a 22 x 22 foot space above the garage, and I live on the "ground" floor. I moved my small amount of stuff in and was happy for two years. Then, the TV began deteriorating. I finally found one that was satisfactory; however, in order to enjoy it I have now ordered a new sofa, am scouring the earth for a coffee table which needs to be long and narrow and a new TV stand or media center which can be no longer than 50" -- I HATE shopping. Let me explain -- I pay other people to shop for me! I only shop for beads and other jewelry oriented supplies and tools. That's it, that's all I'm willing to shop for. But, because a TV was more than 10 years old and had to be replaced, I'm having to SHOP!

    I sincerely hope you enjoy shopping since it's only just begun!

    Great wall color.


    P.S. I put the old TV out on the curb and some fool has already adopted it.

  22. Nice & warm and inviting that chocolate brown is!
    Lovely with the recycled couch.
    Julie K

  23. Lovin' the re-newed home !! Home IS where the heart IS ! April N

  24. I LOVE that couch! And it sounds like it was meant to be yours ... you found out it existed, it ended up in your house and is now a member of the family. No use fighting it - the universe wanted you to have it! And maybe to stay in Taos awhile ....
    Barb C.


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