I suppose, really, that I should have taken photos of each stage of this, because it was a mammoth undertaking. I didn't though, so you'll all have to put up with boring old text :)
When we first moved in to our flat, Ben's parents very kindly gave us an old sofa of theirs. It was leather and a little worn, but basically sound, very comfy and, most importantly as we had no
money after buying essentials like a fridge freezer, was free.
Cut to four and a half years later, and the sofa was rather a lot worse for wear. The leather had cracked in the seats, and so was held together from the inside with duct tape. One of the struts had gone, so it was saggy and the lining under the cushions had split open so stuff kept falling right down. Basically it was on borrowed time before it completely disintegrated and we knew it.
With that in mind, we went Sofa shopping, and after much deliberation, we found one we liked at Harveys (the three seater "Clarissa"
) and having measured our hall, our old sofa and the new one, we were certain we could fit it in. The dimensions were all within a couple of centimetres. So we ordered it, we paid for it and we waited 4-6 weeks for it to be delivered.And right now I'm so unbelievably pissed off because I finished writing this, only to lose it because LJ logged me out and I'm an idiot who didn't copy paste it before logging back in so LJ *helpfully* restored the last saved draft which involved losing over three quarters of what I had already written. So the rest of this is a rewrite of what I've already done once and my heart isn't really in it.
So four to six weeks later we moved everything in the flat around so that we could fit the new sofa in. This was no mean feat, because our flat has been full to bursting for the last two years or so and we've just been coming up with ever more inventive ways to fit things in. This particular moving of stuff involved taking everything out of the hall - two bookcases full of books, computers and assorted internet paraphernalia, coats and shoes, printer, ironing board and clothes horse, fan... No, our hall is not some sort of Tardis, just very packed ;) It also involved moving two bookcases full of books and another two cd racks from the living room so that the doorway was clear. For the record, 3 of the bookcases ended up in the bedroom where they now form a sort of library ;) The CD towers are still there as well. The layout made enough sense that we decided not to move the stuff back.
Anyway, after lots of hard work to clear a path, we then had to get the old sofa out (which we did and put it safely in the garage for a couple of days) so we could get the new one in. I arranged for it to be picked up by the Council, who did so on the morning of our next rubbish collection, which was handily on the morning the new sofa was being delivered. I think that by the title, and this statement, most of you can guess that what happened next was not straightforward. Really I should have known better than to arrange for our old sofa to go before we had the new one safe and sound in our living room. Alas. I am an idiot who bites her thumb at the fates ;)
The sofa delivery men arrived about an hour or so after the council men had come to get the old sofa. They came up to see what obstacles were in their way and the first and clearly senior man declared that the new sofa would not fit. We had measured everything and were convinced he was wrong, so he brought up the sofa to prove it. And he was right. We had the sofa men try getting it in several ways. We
tried getting it in several ways. There was no getting around the fact that this shiny new sofa just would not fit. The problem lay in two places. First, we have a funny corner you have to get around to get into the living room, and this prevented us lying it down horizontally and sliding it through the door that way, and it was too high to get in vertically. Secondly, although this sofa was more or less the same size as the old one the edges are all hard, whereas they were squishy on the old one, so they squished to get round awkward things. There was literally no more than 2cm between us and the sofa getting through the door into the space where it would certainly fit.
The delivery men suggested two possible solutions. Option A involved them leaving the sofa with us and (they suggested) swapping our bedroom with our living room. Ben and I quickly realised that that plan was a no-go for a number of reasons. Option B was that they took the sofa with them back to Harveys. Option B was at this point looking the most palatable, so Ben called Harveys to see what they could offer us if we chose to do that. I say he called - he had to, because I was having a freak out (hysterical tears) by this point, convinced that it was all my fault because I'd taken the initial measurements, and that I could never have nice things and I never would again because I'd messed the sofa business up so badly. I think that this is probably an example of what my old Mental Health Nurse would have called "Catastrophic Thinking
Anyway, Ben called Harveys and they told us they could give us 50% of what we paid for the sofa if we returned it because making it fit was our responsibility and if it didn't they weren't actually obliged to give us anything. They said that they would then take a £50 charge out of the store credit to cover the cost of bringing the sofa back from our flat, where it was currently vertical on one end in the hall, and then when we picked a new sofa they'd take another £50 for delivering a new one. Basically, when all was said and done, we were looking at getting nothing back and essentially losing all the money that we had paid for the perfectly good sofa in our hall.
After this call, we decided to pick Option C, which was to keep the thing and figure out something. And Ben had the beginnings of a Very Cunning Plan.
The shiny Sofa sat in our hall for the best part of a week while Ben gathered his plans and tools. This involved borrowing a Jigsaw (the power tool, not the puzzle) from dmc
, buying lots of supplies from toolstation, and an electric screwdriver from B&Q. Finally, his plan was ready to be put in to action, and to be honest, it scared me rather a lot, but I'd been sitting on a beanbag whenever I was in the living room for the best part of week by this time and ready for drastic action that could have ended with severed fingers.
It turns out that the new sofa basically has a box made of MDF or chipboard or something at each end where the arms are, which aren't structural. So Ben picked the staples out of the fabric at the bottom of the sofa at one end, which was pretty difficult because the staples are cheap and kept breaking, then peeled the fabric back ([Edit] Ben says this staple remover deserves an honourable mention in this story. Possibly because he couldn't have managed the staples without it. Anyway, if you need a staple remover, that one is awesome, apparently
Next he used the jigsaw to cut the box about half way down (this was higher than Ben is tall, and where the plan could have ended with severed fingers as he was jigsawing above his head, and possibly the scariest thing I have ever witnessed), we slid it into the living room as it now fitted under the door easily being about half a foot shorter than it had been previously and then Ben put the end back together with mending plates
. It took forever. There is literally barely a millimetre of the join that is not covered by one mending plate or another. After this was done, he pulled the fabric back over the end and stapled it down again. Apart from the alarming creaking noise it made the first time it was sat on, it's not moved or made a noise since, and we've now been using it for 4 months or so. Ben thinks it may be stronger now with all the mending plates than it was before.
Regardless, it's now in, and not being moved again until we move. What we'll do then, I don't know. Possibly the procedure in reverse, or maybe leaving it for the removal company to try and get it out while scratching our heads and sounding bewildered that it doesn't fit given it went in.
I tell this story largely as a cautionary tale to anyone even considering new furniture. Measure, measure, measure. And that there is usually a Plan C, even were one doesn't appear to be readily available.
The sofa in situWhen I lost this entry, I got a case of the fuckits and considered giving up. I went and washed up instead and I'm glad I re-wrote it. I got into the swing again, and I think it was worth it.