How hard can it be to get a couch into a rowhouse?

I mean, I knew my front door was narrow. Then I learned that authentic 18th Century furniture doesn’t have legs that come off. So I knew I was bringing it in the back. That means bringing it up through the alley from the street 60 feet away. No big deal, right? The alley is narrower than the sofa, but it’s only lined with 6 foot walls, so it just means holding it up above your head. My mom’s friend offered to come so she could ride in on it wearing Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra eye makeup.

Before we could bring it in, the patio door had to come out. I had the foresight to contact the sales rep my distributor was in touch with and he sent me instructions to take the panels out. Because this isn’t something that normal people do.

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The really aggravating part here was cutting out the caulk all the way around that door panel. And for that you get a super exciting short video of me cutting out the caulk.

Then on to actually bringing it in. Remember what I said about the 6 foot walls? Well, that’s true after the first pair of houses. Right next to the street, the house on the right has a 7 foot wall plus barbed wire on the street side. And the house on the left is built all the way to the alley with a wall way to high to pass anything over. And if that’s not bad enough, the phone lines are all droopy and criss crossing the alley everywhere. Yayy.

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So we needed chairs and a ladder. My friend sat on the wall and lifted the wires up so we could push the couch through under them. 2 other friends stood on the sidewalk lifting it as high as they could to pass it to us.

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And then part way through someone was smart enough to think of covering the wall with blankets. This was revolutionary because we could set it down on the stringers halfway onto someone else’s property.

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And then after this it was easier for a bit. But you see we had more power lines to cross. Then finally we took it through 2 other people’s back yards, which was so much better. Just not the one you can see above because the whole yard is completely full of junk.

And… In it went!

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But let’s back up a bit before you get too excited about how my living room looks.

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I’ll need to clean off the residue from when the phone lines rubbed against it and then cover it with sheets before I use the saws again. We also broke the guys off some of the phone lines. My friend said he’d help me reattach them and I said no. I accept no responsibility for the disgraceful state of those lines. If I’m feeling generous, I’ll call them and tell them to come clean it up themselves.

But it’s out of the way before my parents get their Christmas tree. Or, before they bring it in. Look what’s on their driveway now.

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15 thoughts on “How hard can it be to get a couch into a rowhouse?

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    Well, from now on it ought to be all assemble-yourself-flat-pack furniture, as in IKEA and This End Up! Or you could start building your own furniture. But that has its own challenges. My DH built five tall storage units for the master bedroom (in our 1959 ranch) in our basement, then discovered they would not go up the basement stairs. So he and a neighbor took them out into the back yard, around the house and into the breezeway door. (The front door was obviously out, as the foyer is a mere postage stamp size, and when we moved in, the sofa and loveseat had to come through the breezeway door and through the kitchen.) The first unit went easily through the doors and the kitchen and down the narrow hallway to the bedroom. But no matter how they turned it, it couldn’t make it through the door of the bedroom. Finally, it went back out through the dining room sliding glass doors, onto the deck, then through the popped-out bedroom window, So for the next project, I’ve suggested he cut and paint the individual pieces and then assemble them on the spot. There is a good reason that furniture since at least the mid-20th century has legs that come off.

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      The one with the beard is just waiting for his building permits to be approved and then he has some favors in the bank that he’ll be cashing in. As for narrow house problems, I haven’t even gotten to the refrigerator and laundry appliances yet.

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    1. Mary Elizabeth

      This is maybe why wall ovens and cooktops that install in a cabinet became popular. You can get those in a door more easily than a full range.

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      1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

        I think wall ovens are all about ergonomics. A range is more space efficient. And I had no problem getting the old one out once I took the door down. I need a 28 inch refrigerator, which is about as small as they come in North America.

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      2. Mary Elizabeth

        Have you looked at ESKO, the Swedish company? They make small appliances, and there are dealers in the U.S.

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  2. Christine Harris

    Personally, I have sworn off sofas, entertainment centers and beds larger than full-size for the reasons that your post illustrates.

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