Can a Sofa Change Your Life? The Green Sofa and MADE.COM
It is the sofa upon which my Instagram Handle @the_girl_with_the_green_sofa is based, it is also the sofa which inspired the name of my blog and it was the highlight of my very first ever Instagram post in March 2016.
So, I'm going to dwell a little on how this all came about and some of the history that has led me to where I am today. Forgive me, if you have been around long enough to have read some of this before, stick with me, some of it is new.
And, I hope that at the end of this story, you can see how buying this sofa really did have an impact on my life in so many ways.
I am also going to be launching a giveaway alongside this post, for one of my lucky followers to win a green sofa just like mine.
Yes, you too can be the Girl (or Guy) with the Green Sofa! Head on over to my Instagram Feed to find out how to enter.
Before I launch into this post, let me just introduce you to MADE.COM, for those of you perhaps reading this outside of Europe.
MADE.COM, headquartered in London, was created to bring design to you, by connecting you directly with the makers, cutting any hidden costs. MADE.COM retail online, and through a network of showrooms across Europe, and work with both industry big names and with new talent through their TalentLAB which you can read about here, to bring you the best in design at a great price.
Redbrick, where I am Brand Ambassador, houses MADE.COM's first flagship store outside of London which occupies the entire third floor, allowing you to go in and try before you buy. You can visit here to see my sofa and many of the others in their collection.
So, let's look at how this all came about............
How I Got Started
This whole interiors' hobby, for me began publicly in March 2016, when Abigail Ahern announced that she was giving away 25 copies of her book Abigail Ahern Colour when she hit 25k followers, all you had to do was to post a colourful picture to her hashtag on Instagram.
I have actually been following Abigail Ahern since 2007, so I read this on her website, but duly opened an Instagram account to see what it was all about. Having just gone through a "stress induced" re-paint of my living room and having just bought my green velvet sofa from MADE.COM, I decided to enter.
Of course, back then I was woefully unprepared, using an old iPhone to take my pictures and in a room, that wasn't quite finished, I naturally didn't win, although Abigail very sweetly commented on my picture which made my week.
However, it did open my eyes to a whole Instagram community that loved interiors, just as much as me. I had never found this before. Local people and friends commented on my house, but I had never had an in-depth chat about interiors. I was hooked!
I began posting, tentatively at first, after all this design hobby of mine had been well and truly in the closet for 15 years, but gradually I found people liked my rooms, talked to me and my following grew as did the number of people I could have an "insta chat" to when I was stuck in a hotel, while travelling for my day job.
Much to my husband's despair, I also discovered a community of people marketing their businesses through Instagram, finding people to buy products from, and I started collecting unique and wonderful things. These people would become the basis of my blog in due course.
And so, this is how it all began on Instagram for me.
In January of 2017, the team at MADE/Unboxed approached me about shooting my home for their site. This was my first ever home photoshoot and I was so excited to take part, which you can seehere. I look back on these photos and realise just how much my home has changed since then, but it felt wonderful for someone to be interested in those early days, when my Instagram following was just nudging 5k.
so MADE.COM were involved in my first Instagram post and my first home shoot.
I also got my first (of many) trolls in response to their Facebook Post, but we won't dwell on that point too long.
Naturally, as my following on Instagram grew, my home started appearing in press articles, the first was "An Abigail Ahern Inspired Living Room filled with Thrifted Treasures" room tour on Apartment Therapy, followed by "A Dark, Moody, Vintage-Filled Victorian in the UK", my home tour on the same site, plus an update early this year which you can read here.
Local press, such as the Ilkley Gazette and Yorkshire Living picked up the story and my home featured in 25 Beautiful Homes Magazine, late August last year. CasaVogue featured my Home Tour here and I was invited to talk, all things interior and specifically kids and velvet, on The Little Yellow Couch, which you can listen too here.
Finally, my Home featured in the centrefold of the Home Section of the Sunday Times "The art of dark interiors" which you can read here.
And the reason I'm telling you this (is not to gloat) is in every single one of these press articles, my MADE.COM Sofa was the main photo on the first page.
The Girl with The Green Sofa Blog
I was known as Nicola Broughton 38 (yeah, I know, very dull) before becoming The Girl with The Green Sofa, when I launched my blog, 12 months ago. A local friend of mine can take credit for the name, we were joking about the Girl in the Green Scarf from Confessions of a Shopaholic and she suggested a twist on this, bringing my sofa into play. It was great idea and I still need to buy her a bottle of wine to say thanks!
As you will know my blog launched 12 months ago today and I've already written a post about this, so I won't dwell too much. You can read this post here, but in summary;
There have been brand collaborations, as my blog became recognised and of course the blog has evolved. I've been asked to feature a small number of events, if I couldn't squeeze someone in on the Spotlights, I wrote about them in Trends. I evolved the spotlights to feature People, Bloggers, Influencers journeys, I've opened up my blog to take Guest Bloggers and in between all of this I've managed to do a bit of DIY and write a bit about my home.
A grand total of 205 (207, if you count this one) blog posts in 12 months.
The Redbrick Ambassador Role
The MADE.COM Green sofa came into play again in my new role as Brand Ambassador for Redbrick. Here Redbrick re-created my living room at the entrance to the Complex, where MADE.COM have their first show room outside of London.
And finally, though not sofa related, I recently worked with MADE.COM to style my study, in "What my Desk says About Me", where a psychologist analysed my style.
Did you know "The colour green typically protrudes confidence and intelligence."?
And so now I have dwelled on the reason behind my longstanding "relationship" with MADE.COM, let's look a little at why I chose to buy the sofa, I have become so well known for.
Why I Chose Green Velvet?
I have to admit that when our 50-year-old Chesterfield Sofa, "gave up the ghost" after one too many exuberant bounces by my young children, a green velvet sofa was the last thing on my mind. I mean they were 6 and 3 years old at the time, and messy, dirty boys and velvet do not go together, right? My husband was also adamant that practical was the name of the game (but then I rarely listen to him for interiors advice).
But then I saw the MADE.COM Scott Sofa in Living etc., I fell in love with it, I knew it was the perfect match to my inky walls and I was determined to find a way to have it. The deep green velvet, the square modern shape, the button cushions, all helped to seal the deal in my mind, but the practicality issue was still a hurdle to overcome.
So, I put on my scientific hat and researched how velvet could be looked after properly. I asked an old mate from school, who is an upholstery specialist, on how I could care for it, and I came armed with arguments for both myself and the hubby.
The result was the sofa was ordered and the wait began.
Now, I'm going to admit to one small crisis, having diligently researched the velvet side of things, I completely ignored the size. Yup, this sofa is big enough for us all to snuggle down in and watch a movie, but I hadn't planned on how we were going to get it into the room, through our narrow Victorian Hallway, and for a brief moment, the delivery men simply couldn't get the sofa turned around to go through the door. Now if you ever meet my husband, he will tell you I'm very much aesthetic over practical and this is a classic example of such. Thankfully, you know we managed it in the end, but for one horrible moment I thought I was sending it back.
Imagine, how this journey would look then?
How Do I Keep It Clean?
The question I get asked the most, other than would I recommend the sofa (yes of course), is how on earth do you keep it clean? Well, I've already admitted to rather having a velvet sofa covered in chocolate fingerprints than a bland beige one, but my OCD tidying still means I have to look after it, at the end of the day.
It's quite simple really. I take the cushions off regularly to plump them and the sofa gets a good vacuum once a week. If the kids do spill a drink, I immediately mop it up with kitchen roll and then take a cloth and run it under the tap, wringing it out until almost completely dry and wash gently along the nape. I then pat the sofa with a towel until it is a dry as possible (this avoids white marks you can get when water stains sit on velvet) and that is it. Same if they smear chocolate or any other food substances; a lightly damp cloth and rub gently at the stain.
So, who knew that a sofa could change someone's life? Little did I know it would start such a journey for me.
Good Luck to whoever wins the Sofa Giveaway associated with this post, you never know where you may end up!
The Girl with The Green Sofa