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Monday, April 03, 2023


I haven't written here on The Little House in the City in quite some time, but a steady trickle of folks find there way here through search. If you like what you've found here on my old blog, you might also like my Substack newsletter LIVING SMALL. You can subscribe right here; most of the content in free, but if you chose to subscribe for the paid edition, you'll get additional content. 

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Slipcover for My Room & Board Jasper Sofa from Comfortworks

Friday, February 05, 2021

This post is about my new Comfortworks slipcover for my 86-inch Jasper sofa from Room & Board. The slipcover was a gift from Comfortworks but all the opinions below are my own.

Back in 2010, I bought my first major piece of furniture: A Jasper sofa from Room & Board. At the time, this was a big investment for me (heck it still would be!), but I had been down the road of cheap couches, including an IKEA sofa that literally split in two. This time, I wanted something that would last for years, if not a lifetime. 

And last it has! Our sofa is in its eleventh year, and it is still in great shape. I am really impressed by the quality of the Room & Board construction—even the pillows have held their shape pretty well. The slipcover, however, has seen better days (blame me and my kid, not Room & Board), and strangely, the base layer upholstery has also faded in weird ways (though the fabric is in mint condition otherwise). It looked fine from a distance and in photos (see below), but was time for a new slipcover. 

So, when Comfortworks reached out to ask if I would be interested in trying out their slipcovers, I eagerly said yes. Comfortworks is an Australian-based, family-owned manufacturer of slipcovers, whose motto is "Give your sofa another chance" (love that!). They started out specializing in covers for popular couches, from IKEA, Pottery Barn, and Muji, but Comfortworks has recently expanded to include many more brands, including, you guessed it, Room & Board’s Jasper. They can also create custom slipcovers for almost any type of sofa.

I love slipcovers because they let you give an old piece a new life and they can completely transform the look of a room in the process. However, living in New York City, commissioning a custom slipcover would have cost much more than the $519 Comfortworks charges for a slipcover for the 86-inch Jasper (fabric alone could have eaten up a $500 budget!). We were also ready for a new look in our living room, which made working with Comfortworks appealing, since Room & Board only offers the Jasper slipcover in various shades of taupe, ivory, and gray, which are all similar to what we already had. 

When I worked with Comforworks earlier this year, Jasper was not yet an off-the-shelf offering, so my slipcover was technically a custom cover. (I suspect I was their Jasper guinea pig.) Here's what the process of ordering a custom slipcover looked like:

First, I ordered various shades of blue fabric samples from Comfortworks to test out in our space, including (Kino Denim, Kino Navy, Claw-proof Velvet Blue, Performance Velvet Indigo, Cotton Canvas Navy, and Cotton Canvas Madison Coal). When the samples finally arrived, the Cotton Canvas Navy was the clear winner. I preferred the natural-fiber fabric for the feel of the fabric. (I know many experts will recommend a performance fabric for life with kids, but I find cotton cleans up remarkably well, if you take the time to spot-treat stains.)

Next, I sent Comforworks a ton of photos of my sofa from various angles and measured all the lengths they needed. After sending in my photos and measurements, they came back and asked for additional measurements to make sure they had everything accurately measure. I felt a little nervous taking the measurements, but their forms and guidelines made it really easy to do.

None of the options in the Comfortworks’ Style Guide exactly matched Jasper's style (the Comfortworks Modern is closest, but it has a piped finish on the seams). When I asked about plains seams and boxed cushions Comforworks was able to style the slipcover as I requested—hurray!

After we finalized the order the slipcover took about a month to arrive. When it did, I was full of anticipation taking it out of the box: Would it fit? I was thrilled to find it fit the sofa as well as the original cover from Room & Board. It was amazing to me that Comfortworks could get this level of tailored fit for a sofa via measurements and digital photos, especially on the Jasper which is a fairly firm sofa with lots of boxed corners (aka very unforgiving). 

The Cotton Canvas fabric feels very durable, and the stitching is straight and strong. All the zippers open and close easily and the box seams line up with the frame very well. One tiny detail that was different from our original Jasper is that the bottom hem of the Comforworks cover has velcro, so you can adhere it to the underside of the sofa for a more tailored look, but I left the hem hanging down because I prefer it that way. 

The navy color gives our apartment a whole new look, which I love: It also really makes our throw pillow pop! And the dark color will (hopefully!) hide fingerprints and other marks from life with a young kid at home. You can see that the swatch and the cover match perfectly!

Comfortworks bills their covers as washable, which is important to me as a mom. I am going to wait to launder it until it needs it, since every washing wears fabric, but once I do, I will update the post about how it fared (FYI, the original Room & Board slipcovers did not do so well in the laundry because the seams were not double sewn and they began to fray after the first wash.)

Overall, I am incredibly pleased with my experience with Comfortworks, and I have already recommended their service to several friends. If you have a tired sofa, consider a new slipcover instead of a new piece of furniture: It’ll save you money and keep your couch out of the landfill. If you have any questions about the slipcover, please ask! I would love to see more couches getting a new life instead of being thrown away. Hopefully, ours will last another decade before it needs another refresh!

Digest 1.19.2021

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

On the eve of a new presidential chapter, it feels like this is the real start to the New Year. I have my head full of ideas for things I'd like to write and do in 2021 (but first, I have to finish writing Book #2, tentatively titled The Bunk Bed Book and due out in Spring 2022). Among those new projects is a newsletter that will replace these digest style posts. If you'd like to sign up, you can do so here. And I hope to write more personal posts here. In the meantime, here are ten links that I'd love to share with you:

Finally in Queens!

There was a lot of eye rolling about Marie Kondo’s collaboration with The Container Store, but I am impressed there’s no plastic to be found in her collection.

This off-the-grid house by Commune Design (above) has filled my daydreams since I saw it.

A beyond-easy vegetarian dinner my kid loved (we served it with rice and garlic yogurt).

A very good cookie recipe.

Test-driving and digging this new company’s eco laundry detergent.

Could paint be used to combat climate change?

Where I hope we’ll all be buying our next pairs of jeans.

I loved discovering that Yoplait sells tops so you can upcycle their glass Oui yogurt.

"Would the problem you’re trying to address with your shopping cart be better tackled by…"

Photo by Stephen Kent Johnson for Architectural Digest

Airing Cupboards & Linen Closets

Friday, November 06, 2020

Earlier this week Organized Home shared a detailed look at home organization ideas in the home of Matthew Axe and his partner Peyton Hays. I'd seen photos of this gorgeous apartment before (and even linked out to it from this blog), but the behind-the-scenes look at the organizing was new to me. 

One idea shared was to use slatted shelves instead of solid ones in a linen closet. I had never seen this shelf construction, but it makes so much sense. If you have ever lived in a humid climate or an older house, you know that clean linens can get musty if left on a shelf or inside a closet too long. Allowing air to circulate would likely alleviate some of this. 

A quick search on Pinterest found a few examples of other closets with slatted shelves, like this one from Charles Yorke above. My linen closet could easily be retrofitted with slatted shelves (and if I was handier, I could probably just slice the existing boards into slats). I am definitely adding this idea to my someday to-do list of home improvements.

My search also revealed that there is type of a closet an "airing cupboard," which is a heated cupboard where clothes and linens that have been washed and are almost dry are put so that they can become completely dry. For example, this luxe, modern airing cupboard by Humphrey Munson is outfitted with heating/dehumidifiers so that the linens dry in the cabinet—wow!

But in the past, an airing cabinet was taking advantage of existing heat. Here's what Wikipedia says:
An airing cupboard is a built-in storage space, sometimes of walk-in dimensions, containing a water heater, either an immersion heater for hot running water or a boiler for central heating water (hence, also "boiler cupboard"), or a hot water storage tank. Shelves, usually slatted to allow for circulation of heat, are positioned above or around the heater to provide room for clothing. The purpose is to allow air to circulate around the stored fabrics to prevent damp forming.

Some variants of airing cupboards also serve as the linen cupboard, the storing area of the household's clean sheets and towels.

In another version, the airing cupboard serves as a temporary drying space, either for laundry or for wet outdoor clothes and shoes. Its shelves can be used to fully remove traces of damp from dried clothing before the items are put away elsewhere in drawers and wardrobes. A moveable electrical version of this is a drying cabinet.
Tank-style hot water heaters (or boilers) give off heat, so this is a clever way to use it. Seems like an energy-saving solution to me!

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