The IKEA furniture finally arrived last night.

When we were moving into this apartment, my niece asked me if we still had our old couch, a giant thing that wrapped around the living room in our old Hermosa Beach apartment. It was red. Red red, not some subtler shade softened with a touch of brown or purple. Red.

It was a memorable couch, no doubt. A bold decorating decision. And sadly a piece of furniture that did not make the trip east with us – it never would have fit in our NYC apartment and it was too big for storage.

When I ordered new living room furniture for this new place, despite Amelia’s pleas, I opted to go with a different color scheme – somewhat limited by the style of armchair Kin insisted upon and the color in which IKEA upholstered its matching sofa.

I went with “beige-yellow” thinking that it would be bright and that the color would go nicely with some of the art hanging on the living room wall. (Most notably, a cat print that I bought at the ABBA Museum in Stockholm.) But it is not yellow yellow like the old red red, which is a pity.

As we unboxed and assembled everything last night, that “beige-yellow” was a bit surreal. The set reminded me of the color and texture of furniture at my grandma’s house – or perhaps at my great aunt’s. I couldn’t remember who had the yellow sofa, who had the yellow chair. Maybe both of them did. I did not recall noticing in the IKEA description that my new furniture would be covered in a velvet-like material. But I suddenly could recall the feel of my great aunt’s furniture: velvet stripes, the softness interspersed with a stiffer canvas-like material. The sofa in my grandmother’s living room was orange and scratchy. I think. (But I was always more comfortable at her house.)

I texted my brother, who was incredibly (impressively) quickly able to text me back with a number of photos of me at various ages sitting on various sofas in various family members’ houses. And to my horror (and, yes, to my glee), it appears with this new furniture, I am maintaining a longstanding family tradition of rather hideous and quite glorious yellow sofas.

Audrey Watters


Audrey Watters


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