I do not like shopping in general. I always joke that I do not have the shopping gene that most females are born with. My problem is that I have visions in my head of what I want, whether it be furniture or clothing, but most times I just can’t find the things I envision. However, when I do see something that “speaks to me”, I get excited and usually do end up purchasing it. Some may call this impulse shopping, but that is the only way that I don’t end up regretting my purchases.
Furniture and Impulse Shopping
For example, my living room has needed new furniture for years now, but I refused to go out and buy something just to fill it up. This room had ended up as the “collector” room in the house where items we have but don’t know what to do with pile up. Last year I finally got it cleared out leaving only my piano against one wall. I looked through most of the furniture stores in the Ottawa area but found nothing that really caught my eye. My vision for this room was something stylish, yet comfortable, not super modern yet not really fussy looking, with dark green as the primary color…
Last winter, when taking my son’s hockey skates in to be sharpened, I walked past an antique shop and saw the sofa of my dreams in a picture taped to the window. Well, sort of. The sofa was beaten up with an ugly, torn, and well-worn gold-colored fabric on the seats, but the “bones” were beautiful. The back, arms, and legs were carved walnut with only a few chips and dents. I phoned the number listed with the sofa and went to visit it on a country road just west of Ottawa. Of course, it looked worse in real life, with the stuffing coming out of the seats and a few broken springs, but I loved it and thought it was well worth the $89 price tag. It weighed a ton, but the owner and I managed to load it into the back of my van.
On my GPS device, I looked up the phone number for Frank Cantusci’s shop on Hazledean Rd in Stittsville to see if they could recommend someone to restore the woodwork and cushions for me. Years ago I had gone into this store to look for upholstering fabric to cover a sofa at our cottage, and remembered that Frank and his wife Nancy were very friendly and helpful then. As luck would have it, Nancy chuckled at my request, claiming that restoring antique furniture is Frank’s specialty. I needed no further encouragement and drove straight there.
Frank and his son Johnny unloaded the sofa from my van and took it into their shop where they examined it thoroughly. They were excited with my purchase too, claiming that although the sofa needed lots of work, it was indeed a beautiful piece, and could be restored. Nancy and I went through most of their fabric samples, concentrating on those in the green category until I had made my final selection. I left the sofa with them for a few weeks and was astounded at the difference when I went in to pay for their services.
Of course, my vision for my living room was not yet complete…
When I next walked in the door of Cantusci’s to see my sofa, the first thing I saw was an old, very high-backed armchair. Once again it was love at first sight AKA impulse shopping. Frank laughed at my reaction. His friend had dropped off the chair for him to get rid of and he was going to “throw it on the fire pit” because it was so ugly and in need of repair. I quickly convinced him not to throw the chair out, so he agreed to “donate” it to my living room furniture vision. I picked out another fabric, one to coordinate with the dark green sofa, and Frank began to work his magic on the old chair. In the meantime, I had him looking for a second wingback armchair to complete the set, as he and Nancy spend many weekends browsing antique shops for items they can restore. By the time I went back to the shop to pay for the first chair, he had a few others for me to choose from…
While I was waiting for my living room furniture to be restored, I had another great impulse. Again, for a few years, I had been looking for an armchair and ottoman to compliment the wine-colored leather sofa and chair in my family room and had not been able to find exactly what I envisioned in any stores. I mentioned this dilemma to Frank and Nancy on one of my visits to their shop; Frank simply shrugged “no problem” and asked what size of an ottoman I wanted. The chair I needed for that room could not be too large or bulky, yet I wanted it to be comfortable and stylish. I chose one from the collection he had picked up for possibilities in my living room; a smaller wing-back armchair with straight, plain legs. Frank promised to paint the legs of the chair black and then create the legs of the ottoman to match the chair. The ottoman is not a restored piece of furniture; it was created in their shop, exactly to my specifications: I needed something to replace a coffee table that could also be used as extra seating, but that would not take up too much room. I had already seen a fabric I loved when choosing the green for the living room; a patterned fabric of wine, dark green, and black, perfect for both the chair and ottoman.
I am thrilled with my custom-designed living (AKA the green room by my grandkids) and family rooms, even if every piece might be categorized as impulse shopping. I don’t really care if the colours and styles of my choices are not trendy. I love them, they are unique and exactly what I had envisioned. I only wish I had the foresight to take some “before” pictures to show you the incredible job Frank did on my selections.
Update: Since this posting, Frank Cantusci Upholstery is permanently closed.