WeeHavyn is just under 500 square feet, which is about one quarter the size of the average American home. Living in such a small space can be difficult for three people, yet I find it a delightful puzzle to arrange and design the rooms to use every inch. I love to hear visitors exclaim in surprise when they discover the actual square footage. The secret to making a small space seem larger is to keep as much open space as possible. Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of furniture or knickknacks. It can be a real challenge to find furniture that works for us and we’re slowly building in the majority of it. Fortunately, God has blessed me with Tony, who is extremely talented at building almost anything I can imagine.
With cold winter weather keeping the outside projects to a minimum, we have embarked on improving the seating in the living area complete with much-needed storage. The $300 love-seat I purchased from Walmart nearly 5 years ago was basically falling apart and had never been particularly comfortable anyway. As far as I can see, the only disadvantage to built-in furniture is that is cannot be moved. This is not really an issue for us at WeeHavyn as there is only one place a couch works in this space anyway. Even if this were not the case, the added storage would have outweighed the question of decorating.
It took Tony about 3 days to build the frame and cover it with plywood. Now it is my turn to sew the upholstery to fit the cushions and pillows. As with any new project, there have been some changes as we went along and we did struggle a bit with the fact that WeeHavyn is not exactly level or square anywhere (we all sag a bit as we get older). We should have around $800 in the frame, cushions, and upholstery. I am well aware that we could easily have purchased a nice couch for that amount. Still….I think the advantages of a couch that is VERY sturdily built, fits exactly in our available space, and provides tons of storage outweighs the ease of going to the store and coming home with a ready-to-sit-on couch. I chose a very sturdy black marine vinyl for the fabric. It should last for ages and all the hair, mud, etc. that comes with homesteading will just wipe off.
While we are not really saving money in the initial construction of this custom piece, over its lifetime it will be much easier on the pocketbook than the store bought couch. The frame will last a lifetime since Tony built it of 2×4’s and 3/4″ plywood. I love the idea of never again having to send a broken-down couch to the landfill. This means that we will only need to replace the cushion foam and fabric when it starts to look worn. These are not particularly cheap, but we purchased the best we could find for this project and they should last a long while. I’ll have the pattern for the covers done and saved, so it should go much more quickly than this first time as well.
As far as we’re concerned, it’s a bargain.