I am sure that by now you have heard of the Slow Movement. Slow Food, Slow Living, Slow Church… Well, I am on that bandwagon in a big way. In fact it is something Sweet Man and I have been working towards for a few very slow years. During that time we have been working towards shedding an ethos that tells us that we should Do More Faster Now, and replacing it, bit by bit, by a philosophy I call Slow Home. The Slow Home philosophy is about creating a home life where we are able to be present and content, while still continuing to grow. Slow Home is about both enjoying the life that God has given us, and being good stewards of that life.
Slow Down, Dig In, and Spread Out, has become the mantra of this philosophy, and it is the filter that we run everything through when we are making decisions . This mantra has applied to everything from our work lives, to how we feed our family, to how we raise our boys, to how we are remodeling and decorating our new home, Preservation Acres. To help me stay on track and focused while fluffing our nest, I created a check list of Rules/Questions that I think get at the heart of what Slow Home is all about.
5 Rules of Slow Home Design
1. Is it practical? I now live on 8 acres with a host of critters and teenagers. White slipcovers are no longer going to cut it. Neither are dainty wooden chairs. I need items that are sturdy, washable, and not terribly precious. I do not need the increased anxiety that comes from worrying about things being ruined.
2.Does it have a place? This could also be “is it useful,” but frankly somethings are just lovely and not that useful. Like a collection of vintage globes. So instead I ask – do I have a place for it? Do I know where I will place it/hang it/use it? If not, I leave it behind. No sense in having a closet full of unused albeit lovely – items.
3. Does it brig joy? Do I really love it or is it just trendy? Does it make me do a happy dance or just feel “eh”? Am I just trying to “get it done,” or am I choosing things that bring me joy? This rule says “Only things that pass the happy dance test come through the doors.” Which sometimes means you wait six months to find the perfect pillow or three years to find the right rug.
4. Is it inviting? Does it make friends and family feel at home? Are their places for them to put their feet up, comfy chairs to sink into, a place to sit or stand in the kitchen while I cook, easy-to-find stemware for getting water? What is the point of having a home to share if no one feels welcome there?
5. Can I afford it without regret (i.e. debt, robbing Peter to pay Paul etc.) This is a big one for me, and has been a hard lesson to learn, and this is the one that will slow me down every time. Waiting to buy items that are pleasing, practical, inviting, have a place, and that I can afford with cash sometimes takes a while, but in the end, I never ever regret what I have purchased, and each item brings that much more joy for the time and thought I put into choosing it.
This process of Slow Home Design is how I came to possess two slipcovers for one couch.
I bought our super-comfy-not-too-huge-sectional a few years ago at a Goodwill for $60. (I know. BEST. FIND. EVER. Try not to hate.) While the maize yellow worked well at our last house I wasn’t loving it here at the farm. Also between the boys and the dogs and the occasional barn cat who sneaked inside there was A LOT of dirt being tracked in everywhere. Including on the furniture.
So something had to be done. My intention has always been to have custom white denim slipcovers made for this couch, but remembering rules 1,4,and 5, I realized that this was not the right season for this plan. especially after reading Serena’s post about white furniture.
Which led to Plan B.
Before I chose these slipcovers I did a lot of research and thinking.
I tried to find ready-made slipcovers that would fit my style of sectional but never found them, which led to the idea of using two regular sofa slipcovers for my one sectional. (Rule 2)
Next, I looked at pictures of sofas online and thought about what I liked and didn’t like colorwise. (Rule 3)
I determined how much I wanted to spend in total based on how much money I knew I could spend without breaking Rule 5.
Based on both my style and the wear and tear that they would get I eliminated all options that were made of a a precious fabric – so no velvet, stretch, damask, or silky textures. (Rules 1 & 4)
And finally I decided that I wanted to order them online via a store with a local location so that if I didn’t like them I could return them to store without having to pay return shipping (again helping me to live by Rule 5.)
All of these criteria led me to the Sure Fit Grainsack Sofa Slipcover from Target.
So how are they working?
Great! But again, I believe in a beautimess style of design, so I am not looking for perfect.
Here are the things you should know if you are thinking of trying this:
Loose Slipcovers Bunch Up. Often their “slip” shows.
I am actually thinking of cutting of the skirt on my sofas because eventually I will have them completely recovered, but I am not quite brave enough yet. For now, I just hike down the slipcover a little more when company is coming over.
Loose Slipcovers are…. Often Loose.
They never fit perfectly. They are baggy in some places and tight in others. But I am okay with that. It fits our comfy look.
Loose Slipcovers Move.
For our sofas, it is good that the back of the sofas don’t show. There is a lot of hiking up in the back as well due to our rough and rowdy crew.
And because I am using regular sofa covers on a sectional there are a few wonky spots where the slipcover doesn’t cover the back corner all the way to the floor.
This picture shows this corner all the way down, but after Sweet Man has watched a few basketball games on it, I have to pull it back down again, but it is worth it not to have worry about spilled salsa or muddy dog prints. These covers wash up great!
So there you have it. How I used two slipcovers (beautimess that they are) for one sofa, and a few little guidelines for Slow Home Design.
Our house is still in major upheaval (don’t let these pictures fool you – If you look closely you will see that there are no baseboard or trim molding anywhere and that is only a snippet of what needs to be done…) as the kitchen remodel continues and our to-do list only seems to grow longer, but by tackling this one issue – our sofa – I feel encouraged that in the end our Slow Home approach to working on this house will be well worth it.
Much like the Velveteen Rabbit, our home will be well-loved, and very real. A haven.