Pandemic = supply chain mess = delay in shipping = problems with said furniture = delay in sharing…
Back in June of this year (it feels like it was years ago, not just a few months), Won and I found a new place to live and signed a lease. This new apartment was unfurnished, unlike the place we had rented before. The move in date of August 1 was giving me plenty of time shop and source furniture, or so I thought (we didn’t bring any of our furniture from the states). Turns out, the @!#$% virus created all sorts of well-publicized havoc with the supply chain (sourcing raw materials, labor to make products, and transportation to get them shipped around the world). I’m pretty sure many of you have experienced this first hand.
As soon as I realized there would be significant delays on some of the things I wanted, I made alternate choices to items that were in stock. Nearly everything I purchased was delivered on August 1 or within a week or two. Smaller items like some lamps and mirrors, I was able to find online and have shipped from France or Germany. Our bar stools came from a store in Lisbon. Overall, we were doing pretty well.
However, there were two big items I could not find alternates for that I liked, or that were within a price range I was willing to pay. These were the living room couch and dining room table. The anticipated delivery date for the dining room table was the first half of September and the couch was mid-November. Nothing could be done but to wait and become a thorn in the side of the Area Furniture Customer Service team (they were always very nice and patient).
In the meantime, we got to work getting our new place as ready as we possibly could. We painted all the walls a warm creamy tone, with the exception of the bedrooms, which we left the original color (a cool light grey). The back wall in the living room we painted a deep green. I felt the room could handle a strong color given the huge glass wall of doors.
This is what we started with…
Living Room/Dining Room/Kitchen (one big room)
We made due with no dining room table by sitting at the kitchen counter. The couch we chose for the second bedroom, which we have turned into an office/TV room, stayed in the living room. We used camping chairs to watch TV. In early September we were notified of more delays for the dining table. To say I was frustrated, was an understatement. This was the status for all of August, September and October.
In the meantime, we traveled to the US and rummaged around our storage unit to find and return with some original artwork and seven Swedish scientific antique framed botanicals, six of which we planned to hang over the couch in a grid pattern. It’s a good thing Won and I like/love each other. Trying to hang pictures in a perfect grid would challenge Mother Theresa!
Also during this time, we had custom curtains made for the living room/dining room. I wanted one seamless ceiling to floor curtain that I could pull to either side since the doors opened from either direction. It was 16 square meters of fabric. I love them!! Our view faces south which means the morning light bounces off the high gloss kitchen cabinets nearly blinding us. The curtains are the perfect solution. The fabric is a lovely woven linen the same color as the walls. It creates intimacy, privacy, and ambiance, especially at night.
We used the same material for the window (which is also a door) in the master bedroom. Oh, and remember that pesky problem with the glass shower wall? I was originally going to put up a curtain panel covering it to gain some privacy, but as the weeks and months wore on, I realized I didn’t really need to, if I put them up on the window. It provides the necessary privacy I craved without compromising the light. Now we only lower the blackout shade when we go to sleep.
We decided against putting them up in the office/TV room initially, but have since changed our mind. We’ve just placed an order for that window/door and are hoping they will be installed before Christmas.
The long-awaited table finally arrived on October 30 and guess what? The tabletop was cracked on BOTH ends!!! AARRGGGHHH!!!
The team at Area Furniture offered us a 35% discount on future purchases if we kept it…uh, no thank you. It’s CRACKED. They agreed to replace it. The second table came the day before we left on our trip to Madeira. They replaced the top of the table and it looked great. Plus, the finish on this one was much smoother (the first one felt like they forgot the final sanding). That same week we were informed that our living room couch was ready for delivery too. YAY!!! It would arrive the day after we got back.
When we got home from Madeira, you will not believe what we saw. The second table had cracked on BOTH ends while we were away. I could not believe my eyes. I contacted the Area Service Team. They made the same offer as before, which I declined. They once again, agreed to replace it for a third time.
The couch arrived as promised, but it was missing the third leg that supports the middle of the couch.
I contacted Area and told them to send it to their store where we would go and pick it up, reasoning that it would be faster than waiting to be slotted in for a delivery. We got it within a few days, but Won and I were careful to avoid sitting in the middle until that problem was solved.
The third table was delivered on Monday of this week. I insisted they also replace the base too, just in case that was the reason they were cracking. So far so good, no cracking, but I’m checking it daily. Unfortunately, the walnut table top is just like the first one, a bit rough and the finish is slightly mottled in color. I figure we can fix that problem ourselves.
Our place is finally beginning to look and feel like home. It’s not 100% done yet. We still have artwork to find that will go above the couch in the office/TV room. We also need to find lamps for our bedroom side tables (I want to replace the Ikea lamps that are there now) and we are hoping to score some artwork from a new friend, Juliana for over the bed. She uses alcohol inks to produce the loveliest pieces!! Can’t wait to show you in a future post.
So…here’s where we are today. I’ll take you on a little tour. This is the entryway that also has a powder room with a very practical pocket door. There is also a doorway that leads to the bedrooms, but let’s see the main living space first.
This is the living room/dining room/kitchen:
We love our balcony! We had originally only purchased one lounger, but quickly decided we both wanted our own. Both ends can be put in an upright position or laid flat. Won and Sweet Pea made good use of them until the weather turned chilly. We are just in the process of decorating for Christmas and have strung LED lights around the upper and lower railings. It’s so pretty and festive!
It’s been weird to decorate having to buy everything new. It will take time to make it feel like our own space as we fill it with treasures we acquire over time. For now, we have “Naked Neo” (think Keanu Reeves in the Matrix). We were originally calling him ‘naked bendy man,’ but my son Matthew redubbed him “Naked Neo” and it has stuck. As mentioned earlier, we were able to bring back some of our own collected items. A signed and numbered print from my brother-in-law Tom Nakashima (who has pieces in the Smithsonian) and the above referenced antique botanicals.
Let’s finish up the tour…here are pictures of our office/TV room, master bedroom and hallway.
We still have a bit of a way to go until we are finished, but we are happy with how far we’ve come and what we have accomplished up to this point.
It has occurred to me that I should probably update my post called “Average Monthly Expenses” (one of the most read posts behind, oddly enough, The Iconic Lisbon Tram 28) since this place is more expensive, but we feel it is worth every Euro cent!
Next week, I will be publishing a post on what Cascais is like at Christmas. Let me give you a hint…charming!!! Until then, please stay safe, stay healthy and stay in touch.
From Portugal with love,