Home Sweet Home, Indonesia, Life in Asia

My Indonesian Home Makeover Part 8: Creating That Cozy Sofa

Does anything make a house feel more homey than a cozy living room with a comfy sofa? I think not. Our new Indonesian home however did not exactly have the floor plan of a typical American home [surprise, surprise], so yet again, creativity was needed to create some living room magic.

We have one LARGE room right off the master bedroom with lots of light and space. We decided to make this room both the dining room and the living room. I searched Pinterest for creative ways to combine these rooms. After moving our large [and heavy!] 8 piece dining room table set, I finally decided on a layout for the room which would allow for both a sofa and the table to coexist. Now all I had to do was choose a sofa.

Living Room

For perhaps the hundredth time since redecorating this home, I’ve longed for the ease and convenience of a one-stop furniture shop. But alas, no such thing exists in our town. As I begin to look at what kind of sofas were available to me, I began to notice how the styled differed here than back home. Most sofas I’ve used in the USA are completely covered in fabric, often microfiber, usually reclining and sometimes even a hideaway bed included. I’m not sure any of those features are available on a sofa in Indonesia. I soon realized the entire way I thought about a sofa had to change. I looked at my American, Canadian and European friends’ sofas. I discovered that most people chose to use a wood frame for the sofa and then add cushions for comfort. This style of furniture would be considered outdoor or patio furniture back home. Which is exactly the type of furniture I began to browse on my favorite American furniture company websites!

From West Elm to Pottery Barn to Anthropologie and back to West Elm, I finally picked a style of sofa I wanted to recreate. It was one long bench, a large footstool that could either create a chaise lounge or move to be it’s own seat, a single seat chair and small round coffee table. I was heavily inspired by a West Elm collection that retailed for over $2,000 US dollars. I was hoping to get a similar set custom made for a fraction of the price. [Fun fact, that exact West Elm frame set is made in Indonesia!]

I chose a new furniture maker [tukang muebel] because his shop was nearby our home and he makes many sofa frames. I showed him the pictures. We talked about the dimensions. He came to my house and measured out the space with me. We talked about the height of the arms. We talked about the thickness of the cushions. We talked about the color of the wood and the texture of the cushions. At this point I’ll remind you, dear reader, that this is all being done in my second language. Yet again, I am learning so much.

Once all the details were set, he quoted me a price and a time frame. And then he got to work. More than once during the time frame [about two weeks], he would call me to come by his shop and look something. Whether it was a style or color question, he was always quick to ask me what I wanted. Because I wanted the fabric on the cushions to be removable, the price had to go up by a little bit. I got to see the entire set develop. But finally, in under three weeks time, tukang muebel and his time delivered the final product. It was a perfect fit. And did I mention the entire collection was under $500 US dollars? If I would have tried to buy the type of sofa I could only find in America [imported] or only used a furniture maker who spoke English, the price would have increased significantly. But all the hard work of language learning and building local relationships is worth it. For so many reasons.

We love our new sofa set and the guests we can host with it. Baby girl thinks the coffee table was made just for her, and she’s not entirely wrong. As we continue to make a home in Indonesia, we are blessed with more and more opportunities to open it up and use it to help those around us. Whether it’s offering someone a place to stay, hosting an event, or just having friends gather, we love that we have a place that we can call home in our new nation.

Stay tuned for our next house updates and be sure to check out all the work we’ve already done!

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