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Thread: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Default Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    Hello,
    I am looking to purchase a sofa and loveseat. Originally I was hoping to pay about 4 - 5 K, but given my parameters, I really don't know any more (so I am willing to spend more now). I looked at Ethan Allen (and found terrible reviews about product and customer service) and realized that they do the drop in spring system, which I have learned I don't want, plus they shifted to plywood frames. I saw many designer recommendations for Lee Industries, and again ran into really bad reviews). My wife and I saw sofas from both companies locally (as we plan to buy locally - Cape Cod or Boston region).

    We went to Jordan's a big enterprise up here with 7 locations, and looked at Kincaid, which has very few reviews anywhere. No reviews may be a good thing I think, because people tend to write reviews more often when they are angry than pleased. But Jordan's customer service also has a lot of negative reviews. Also, I have dogs, and Kincaid voids their entire warranty if there is evidence of pets on the sofa! So then I saw recommendations for Thomasville brand, and again I encountered a slew of horrible reviews. My parents, when they were alive had two small furniture stores in Phila and they carried Thomasville brand. But that was from a time when quality was much better I guess.

    So, I am looking for companies that might be better for me to look at without all the awful reviews. I just read a lot of the posts here and I see H&M recommended a lot. So I looked up reviews - hard to find, but some good ones including from our wonderful host here. It will be about a 2 hour drive each way to go see them (but I have no idea of their pricing yet).

    Here is my question. Given a price range of about 6K for both sofa and love seat, is it reasonable to find a sofa (87" +/- 2") and loveseat with seat depth of about 23", with welted wrapped spring type seat cushions (so they hold up better), in a performance fabric (Crypton possibly)(not slip cover) with a traditional design (sock arm or English arm), with real 8-way tied springs or well made sinuous design, that is custom made so we can choose a fabric. Are there other brands out there that aren't buried with bad reviews, that could meet my needs. Does what I want actually exist, perhaps with real solid hardwood frames that are going to last a long time with proper care?!

    Thanks so much for creating and hosting this forum. It is really helpful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria VA
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    14,987

    Default Re: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    I think you have to be very wary of reviews - most I find are very biased in all things (restaurants / hotels / furniture, etc) unless you see a marked trend one way or the other.

    Yes, you can get a sofa/loveseat in your target price range that is well made, and you won't be disappointed with. I'd send you to look at the Taylor King Portfolio collection which is their Taylor Made Grouping done in a Plush depth to get you to 23" and you can get a Crypton fabric from my store for $ 1,812 (60" to 68") and a 88" sofa for $ 1,967 (GR 1 fabrics). If you step up to the Cryptons in GR 2, then $ 2,045 / $ 2,199. Delivery fees would be additional based on location.

    There is a very common misconception that Crypton fabrics are more durable - they are not. What Crypton fabrics do is give you the capability to use soap & water cleaning on the piece - that does not equate to longevity. Most fabrics are dry cleaning fluids only (Cleaning Code S) which means you buy Carbona at the Wal Mart and use that to clean soiled fabric. With Crypton, you get soap and water and that's all you need. A lot of Cryptons are 100 % Polyester and we all know that means it will pill over time - just like Polyester pants. Personally, I'd buy a heavier chenille-type fabric that is a blend for longevity and not worry too much about the cleaning capability as I know that chenille will last 3x longer than that poly. The cleaning benefit really only comes into play if your lifestyle is such that you are using the upholstery as a dining room table.

    Solid wood frames are the best, but truth be told they are not really needed because the 7/8" plywood ones are very good AND your fabric will need replacing on it way before the frame fatigues. The cost of re-upholstery on a sofa is nearly the price of a replacement one. And while the solid wood frame keeps the suspension very stiff and prevents sag - there are only a handful of companies still using them (Hancock and Moore, Century Signature, Leathercraft) and it makes more sense in leather furniture as the cover will go 4x the lifespan of fabric. More importantly is "how is the frame constructed?" And for that, you have to see a cut-away from the maker, there's the challenge to find that because generally only makers that are proud of their build quality will show you photos. Here's two photos I have taken that show cutaways, one is Hancock and Moore and shows how much attention they put into the frame build (I own this cutaway chair and display it in my store when I have room for it):

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a Taylor King cutaway. Plywood and solids, however you can see there is attention to the build joinery. It's not the level of H&M, but its not the price point, either. Still, far better than most the builds that are imported, etc.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's what you don't want. This is rough plywood held together by staples and there is no rigidity to the frame, this has problems written all over it:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The question of diminishing returns comes into play. Keeping in mind that most fabrics run an average of 10 to 12 years before they need a recover - how important is it to seek a 100-year frame when you have (todays prices) a $ 1,600 re-upholstery cost on the sofa and $ 1,200 on the loveseat every dozen years? You still have older cushion cores and weaker suspension so often it makes more sense to donate to a charity - get the tax write off and start with new. Now, when you switch to leather you have a higher initial cash outlay, but you have a 40 year cover (or longer) if you follow the cleaning and conditioning guidelines here and don't let the sun UV rays blow the color out of it. Now it makes sense to chase the top-shelf frame builds as your suspension will stay taunt over the life of the piece. No sag means its sits as good in twenty years as the day you bought it. Likely you will need to replace the cushion cores at that twenty year mark, but companies like H&M send those to you at no charge (that policy could change at some point in the future, but they have done so since I have been a dealer for them).

    So - having said that if you want to go H&M and leather, its going to take you beyond your $ 5K budget for sofa / loveseat, however if shop the JUST IN TIME program that is listed here on the forum, most the styles and covers won't take you that far over budget (City. Austin, Ricki, etc).

    Hope that helps !
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    9

    Default Re: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    Duane,

    Thank you. I will speak to my wife about the content of your post. It is very helpful. I did read your post about performance fabrics. One that we found that we liked had a rub rating of 63,000, so I thought durability would be pretty good. I will look into the fabrics you recommended. For my wife cleanability is critical too. Regarding the negative reviews of other manufacturers, I always expect some bad reviews. Mostly what I see is quite overwhelming in number (meaning a trend). A question: When I look at the Taylor King Photo, I don't see the plywood. Where is it? :-)
    Regarding shipping costs from you, I would be interested in knowing to 02652. I imagine you would e-mail me privately on that.

    Thanks you again.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2018
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    Default Re: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    Hi again Duane,
    While researching chenilles, I also looked at specs for Crypton, and found that they do not have to be polyester and actually can include chenilles. Here is a link to their specs. I thought you might find this of interest. https://www.crypton.com/wp-content/u...YPTON_2015.pdf

    Regards,

    Steve

  5. #5
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    Alexandria VA
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    Default Re: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    What you don't want to do is buy a cover primarily on rub ratings, that's just one of the criteria you use in your decision making process. When rub ratings get high - above 50,000, they can often (but not always) get stiff and scratchy, so you have to be mindful of both the "hand" and the "drape" of the material. High rub ratings are great for commercial use but not always desirable for homes. Be sure to get a large enough sample to check out the feel of the fabric and don't buy on photos alone.

    Yes, the Crypton process can go on any kind of fabric - it's even on leather now - its just a bonding agent to the material itself. You can get up into much higher price grades however, that might break through your budget. Most the lower end Cryptons are Polyester or other man-made fibers.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Default Re: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    Hi Duane,
    I am looking seriously at the recommendation you made for Taylor King sofas. You recommended the Portfolio Collection of the Taylor Grouping, and I see in earlier posts that you said it is not on the Taylor King website and that only higher volume dealers have access to it. I also found some old photos you posted of the sofas (which looked great). What I don't understand is what is the difference between the Portfolio Collection and the Taylor Grouping sofas on their Website, such as the Hedley, Glanmar, and McGee sofas (which we liked as possible designs and are all 23" seat depth) on their website?

    Thanks again,

    Steve

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    526

    Default Re: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    Snowdog, for what it's worth, I ordered a sofa from Duane when I lived in Cambridge and was happy with the experience, the delivery company was Sun delivery. I definitely understand wanting to look locally but if you do decide to go the shipped route I think you can have confidence.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    Hi Steve,

    The Portfolio collection is the Taylor Made pieces done in about 120 special price-reduction fabrics. That keeps you in your budget that way. The Taylor Made configuration worksheet is here:

    https://www.taylorking.com/PDF/Category/21.PDF

    Choose PLUSH depth to get the mid-depth units.

    The applicable fabrics you can use and still stay in the price points are here (I need to update this list, its one generation old)

    http://www.myfurnitureforum.com/show...ic-List-Update

    Then you have to go to the TK website to see the fabrics in the program by cross referencing from the list. It's awkward to do on-line and MUCH easier in a store where the fabrics are all on handles. The reason they don't post it on their website is because many dealers don't qualify for it. I do enough business with TK that I get the Portfolio program plus free down seat cushion upgrades for my customers (exclude the backs) upon request. We can always get samples mailed to you of fabrics if you like, just have to select a dozen or so you would like to see and email me the list or post a request under QUOTES AND ORDERS.

    There are other frames in the Portfolio program as well, the book has become quite large on it (30) pages and I just don't have time it seems to scan that much in. I can always check to see if a frame is in Portfolio, however please use the model number and not the name of the piece as the book is all in model numbers.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    9

    Default Re: Seeking sofas without awful reviews :-). Does what I want actually exist?

    Duane,
    Thanks again, I do think that my wife is set on the performance fabrics. The only one on their site that might work is Sky Baltic, which is on the list you posted. (we are looking for blue to match some colors in an oriental carpet. Of course on a computer screen the colors are not accurate, so we can't tell.
    The numbers of the sofas I mentioned are: 1036-03 HEDLEY SOFA, 2717-03 MCGEE SOFA, and 1811-03 GLANMAR SOFA. BTW, we are looking quite seriously at this, but we need to sit in one. We hope to maybe do that on Friday. It is a long drive to Boston from here to do that (2 hours each way). No one really local carries TK.

    By the way, I can recommend a scanning program for your phone (I have an Iphone). It is nice because you don't need to press the button once the page is framed. Once it lines up, it automatically takes each pic. Also, it realigns the photo to compensate for the angle you are shooting at (small angles). It produces PDF files that you can e-mail or fax. It is called Scanner Pro by Readdle ($4 I think). It does require pages being clearly defined (so if you had a double page you would need to put a plain piece of paper on one side so it knows what to frame. I have no connection to the company.

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