Thursday, January 17, 2008

Speaking of home loveliness

I have a futon dilemma.

In our old apartment we had two "couches". One was a futon which was housed in the "study" and used as a guest bed (much to the dismay of our guests). As futons go, it's pretty nice, but it's still a futon. The other couch was the "bird couch" which matched the wallpaper in the nursing home it came from. We got a slipcover for it but that made it sort of a wash because the slipcover was not fitted and could not be kept neat. When we moved to this smaller place one couch had to go and the bird couch got the axe.

Neither of us loves that a futon is such a prominent part of our living space. I've had it arranged with a beautiful quilt across the back and cushions on the sides. But it's a futon. It's completely uncomfortable. Only very tall guests can sit on it and have their feet touch the floor. Sitting curled up at one end as you might do on a cozy winter evening with a book is completely out of the question because the seating surface is a sharp downward slope. We have two chairs in the room and those are our first choice for places to sit.

Margaret recently baptized the futon with a full mug of hot coffee so we put it in "bed" mode, stripped the cover and left it to sort of air out, reshape, etc. We were thinking we'd rotate the mattress and replace the cover in a day or two and put the thing back up to "sofa" mode.

The thing is, we don't want to. Bed mode is better in almost every way. It's suddenly comfortable because we can sit on a flat surface and lean against the big cushions. We can sprawl on our stomachs and read at night. The kids have a raised, soft surface for wrestling (nice in a place with hard floors). It's good for Joseph's trunk muscles that he has to sit with no back support and now he can see out our bay windows to our fairly lively street scene--whereas before the high back of the futon blocked his view.

My only concern is that now we not only have a futon in our living room but a bed as well. Is this kind of wierd? Are we contributing to the downfall of civilization and the erosion of manners and hospitality by leaving a bed in our living room? Are we going to have to quickly get the futon into sofa mode whenever a guest arrives? I need help from fellow homemakers, here.

(By the way, the pile in the picture above is Joseph pretending that he is driving an elevator cage a la Allen Say's Tea With Milk).


Robyn said...

I miss sprawling on my stomach.

majellamom said...

I vote for: if you know that company is coming, fold it into the couch position. If you are caught off guard by unexpected company, a simple apology (Oh, I'm sorry about the mess!) should suffice.

Mrs Pea said...

I'd keep it.

Once, as a kitchen designer in a previous life time, I visited a beautiful old georgian house owned by a young german couple. I LOVED the downstairs rooms [totally cool - they gave me a whole house tour so I could "get" them] - spare, spacious rooms (the front sitting room, for example, contained a chaise longue, a book cabinet and two antique wooden chairs) - but the room that thrilled me most was the private sitting room at the top of the house - huge, white space, with a ginormous futon they used as a couch, covered with pillows and blankets, and it just all looked so comfortable - so right for their life with their babies and who cares what anyone thinks.

Go for it.