I recently went to a client’s home on a consultation about her living room. The homeowner had just taken delivery of a long-awaited brand-new sofa. She knew her room wasn’t pleasing her but didn’t know how to make it right. So she did what made the most sense, and reached out for a professional’s help.
Hers was a custom piece she had waited 16 weeks for with eager anticipation, and now she was left with the growing realization that it just didn’t fit! The piece came from a very popular large home furnishings giant (you know the ones) so I wasn’t surprised because I get phone calls like this all the time!
We hear these complaints regularly:
“I keep returning things that just don’t seem to work.”
“I can’t find what I want in any of the stores!”
“The things I buy don’t seem to last more than a few years so why would I pay more?”
I’ve heard these concerns (and many more) over the years, which is why I specialize in custom upholstered furniture. Whether you need a unique piece to fit your space or want something special you just can’t find in a store, you will find so many more ways to furnish your home through custom designers.
Here are some of the things you might be wondering…
How do I know if I will like a sofa or a new furniture piece if I can’t see it?
We get it! Many people have difficulty visualizing something they can’t see. We were like that until we got lots of practice. In some cases we can give you sketches, illustrations, and other graphics to “show” you what your piece will look like, but most homeowners are reassured when they look back at our portfolio and remind them selves of why they chose to work with us. Because we CAN visualize.
To reassure you, we work together with you to select all the details. Nothing gets ordered until we are all ready to move forward.
Here’s what we specify:
- Size – Do you have an unusually long narrow room? We customize the size of many pieces so they will fit your space. This is usually done after we create a schematic plan and furniture layout of your entire room to make sure the adjacent spaces still work. We plan the layout with pieces drawn to scale, so that we are all assured everything will fit. Returning furniture that didn’t fit will no longer be a problem for you.
- Comfort – For our custom pieces, you can choose the softness or firmness of the seat you want. There are many options to customize for comfort from changing the number of seat cushions to how they are filled. Our Goldilocks test is how you will know for certain that you will love it! Whether you want a piece that has a piece has a T-cushion or a straight cushion we will help you navigate the choices (don’t know what that means? Don’t worry, we do!) Another considerations is whether you need a standard depth seat or an extra deep seat (perfect for lounging in pjs if you like to curl up)
- Arms – What style of arms do you prefer? There are many options to choose from so if your style is more modern or more traditional, we’ve got something in mind for you.
- Backs – The back can be tight upholstered (no back cushions) or can have loose cushions. Edge details include a loose knife edge, top-stitched, or a straight square back. All depends on the look and feel you want for your sofa.
- Frame – We will recommend the frame that is best for your purpose.
- Flourishes and details – Whether you like an elegant skirt, peg legs, or a turned or perhaps a bun foot.
- Upholstering with Fabric and Leather – for us, the fun part is selecting the fabric. We have all kinds of pretty fabrics to suite your lifestyle. For example, if you have young children or pets, we will help you select a fabric that is designed to resist stains and wear well.
I can find a less expensive sofa elsewhere.
Often, people say “cheaper” when they really mean “less expensive”, but the former is certainly what they get. Cheaper is, well, cheaper. Custom-made couches and chairs actually cost less than ready-made pieces when you factor in mistakes, and worn-out before their time pieces that you send to landfill.
- Quality – Quality of our custom pieces is always better than anything you can buy from a retailer that is mass-produced. The frames of pieces we supply are made from the best materials and construction techniques. This means you won’t have to worry about sagging seat-beds for a very long time.
- Value – You need to think more about investing in your key furniture pieces if you want them to last you a life-time. Might it cost more up-front? Maybe. But it will last – a LOT longer so is that really more expensive? Not if you calculate the cost over time.
- Protect our Landfill and Save the Planet – Buy well-buy once and you will be environmentally conscious. Take comfort in knowing that you won’t be sending old discarded furniture (that is poorly constructed or didn’t fit your room) to end up in a landfill.
- Shop Local – Your purchase of custom-made furniture supports not one but several local businesses (ours, our upholstery workroom, local fabric showrooms. All of these choices support your local economy and keep production from going to off-shore suppliers.
As a designer I have spent years searching and researching furniture manufacturers. More importantly I draw on my learning from my family heritage in the furniture industry when it comes to quality. You can read about what to look for. My grandfather taught me what a well-made piece looks like – on the inside! I travel to wholesale markets and visit manufacturing sites to make sure you get the best quality.
I’ve sat on many pieces to make sure they meet my criteria. I’ve touched, jiggled, turned over and picked up so many sofas and chairs in the past 12 years – showrooms see me coming and glaze over. Because of this hands-on research, I know I have the best sofa and chairs for you.
When most people head out on a furniture shopping expedition, they typically head to Restoration Hardware, West Elm, IKEA or Pottery Barn. Before you look into buying mass-produced furniture, from a retail supplier that doesn’t actually make any furniture, considering purchasing from a local designer or furniture firm that makes furniture! We believe in custom-made so you can get the quality you’re looking for and the personal style you desire to get the best value overall. I know I like getting exactly what I want when I am spending, and you can too.
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