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Sofas

Dialectic

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My family was very lucky to move to a big house in the suburbs recently.

Having found rugs and gotten window treatments installed earlier in the pandemic, my better half and I are now looking to outfit our living room with a piano and a sofa. We know folks who are advising us on pianos. However, finding a non-disposable sofa that suits our tastes has been challenging.

Most furniture sold new in the United States today seems to be disposable. A sofa purchased new from West Elm in 2017 came with the house, and it is in poor condition. I bought an item from Crate and Barrel in 2018. It is disposable fiberboard junk and has been relegated to the audio room to hold various boxes and wires.

Sadly, there is no Furniture Science Review, and I cannot find enlightening furniture reviews online. I am thus directing my queries to the only place I know of to get informed commentary on physical stuff.

We have looked at buying a four-seat Vitsoe couch with leather upholstery. Delivered to our home, the all-in cost would be approximately--gulp--$17K. We both like Vitsoe seating, and in pre-COVID times, we spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in it in airport lounges. (I guess we are looking to replicate the airport experience at home.) It seems as though it will last a long time, but I don't know anyone who uses a Vitsoe chair or sofa in a private residence.

Do any of our members have recent experience buying high-quality modern-looking sofas? Any views on Vitsoe seating?
 
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Jimbob54

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My family was very lucky to get out of Manhattan and move to a big house in the suburbs in late 2019.

Having found rugs and gotten window treatments installed earlier in the pandemic, my better half and I are now looking to outfit our living room with a piano and a sofa. We know folks who are advising us on pianos. However, finding a non-disposable sofa that suits our tastes has been challenging.

Most furniture sold new in the United States today seems to be disposable. A sofa purchased new from West Elm in 2017 came with the house, and it is in poor condition. I bought an item from Crate and Barrel in 2018. It is disposable fiberboard junk and has been relegated to the audio room to hold various boxes and wires.

Sadly, there is no Furniture Science Review, and I cannot find enlightening furniture reviews online. I am thus directing my queries to the only place I know of to get informed commentary on physical stuff.

We have looked at buying a four-seat Vitsoe couch with leather upholstery. Delivered to our home in Westchester County, NY, the all-in cost would be approximately--gulp--$17K. We both like Vitsoe seating, and in pre-COVID times, we spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in it in airport lounges. (I guess we are looking to replicate the airport experience at home.) It seems as though it will last a long time, but I don't know anyone who uses a Vitsoe chair or sofa in a private residence.

Do any of our members have recent experience buying high-quality modern-looking sofas? Any views on Vitsoe seating?

Well that is silly money (on the up side, would only be £11k in the UK) but I sympathise with your plight. I need to get rid of a torture device/ sofa that came with this house but everything is either junk, or junk masquerading as quality as you say. But I would personally rather have new junk every couple or 3 years whilst it is still comfy than take out a large loan for this kind of thing.
 

Racheski

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If you are looking for affordable mid-century modern sofas, Article.com is great. I ordered their Sitka couch 3.5 years ago based on a recommendation from Wirecutter.com, and now all of my furniture is from them. Couldn't be happier. Made of real pine with no cheap MDF or particle board to be found.

If your family is on the taller side (like if you are over 6 feet) then may not be the best choice because their furniture runs a little on the smaller side, so check the measurements carefully.
 
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Inner Space

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My go-to is Restoration Hardware. Their sofas are generally overbuilt and pretty good. You might like the "Modern" part of their store. Lots of length and depth options.

Pro tip - apparently a simple test for quality of a sofa is to lift one end and try to twist the frame. Any rotational give, move on.
 

JeffS7444

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Random thought: Vitsoe furniture is modular, so why not just buy one module at a time as your budget allows?
 

Chrise36

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I love my mezzo sofa from Boconcept
1615744192026.png
 

Jimbob54

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Random thought: Vitsoe furniture is modular, so why not just buy one module at a time as your budget allows?
I wouldn't want my other half sat on my knee on a single seater for the year it would take me to save $3k
 

Midwest Blade

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Based on the Vitsoe link, is that industrial/ lounge look exactly what you are looking for or just a starting point?
There are many quality domestic manufacturers still in the game here in North America that offer a very broad range of styles and quality. You could start by shopping a few websites like Design Within Reach (retail), Thayer Coggin (mfg) just to get started. You would easily be able to find something under $17k with very good quality. Also suggest browsing design oriented web sites, NYC has a good base of higher end retail that may offer glimpses of what is available.
I am a retired home furnishings marketing executive, feel free to check in with any questions.
 

Wes

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Over $2,000 for a sofa you are just getting ripped off. I like my Natuzzi pretty well and it is a "Danish modern" look.

BTW, whatever you do, avoid Lafer like the plague. Their stuff is just leather covered junk.

Cons. Report has an article on furniture and how some of it is made to look good but fall apart. may be pretty old.
 

Racheski

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I am a retired home furnishings marketing executive, feel free to check in with any questions.
Question given your expertise - how much are consumers getting ripped off when they purchase furniture from a showroom floor vs. the relatively new direct to consumer online retailers? Is it as large as the direct to consumer people say it is?
 

Blumlein 88

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Glad you started this thread. I need a sofa or two and like you find little worth bringing home. I've some good older sofas which are old and worn. Getting those redone is rather more pricey than I expected.
 

Helicopter

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https://smithbrothersfurniture.com/

We have a three seat sofa and two recliners in leather from this company. So far, about three years, they seem to be holding up extremely well. There are choices for cushioning material. Might not fit your preferred style though, but they do seem to have a lot of options.
Beat me to it. We've got two of these sofas and they are a great value. Made in Indiana. We may get more.

I've got a Natuzzi love seat too which has held up for 15 or 20 years and is very nice. It was a gift so not sure about the value. Comfortable but the leather is showing its age now.

My favorite is a cherry bedroom set from Century (North Carolina) which should last at least a lifetime, but it was expensive. Over $50k in the mid 90s.
 

Helicopter

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Here is a Smith Brothers sofa:

20210314_164623.jpg

The fabric is sturdy. 6 months ago my then three year old held up a screwdriver and told me "This is really pokey. It goes right through the couch." There was no damage at the crime scene.
 

Midwest Blade

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...for Racheski from his above post.

The distribution lines for consumers have never been better with choices and options along with to your door delivery. Competition has been kind to consumers due to this situation, however, a large dose of buyer beware must be advised.
Regular priced goods in a store generally carry a 50% margin for the retailer, sale or promoted items may be considerably less. Overhead costs are all over the board depending on the retailer whether a lower cost or higher cost type of operation.
Manufacturers make considerably less with an average closer to 20-30% margin on the wholesale price. This can vary widely by item due to the merchandising and pricing of items and groups of products in a mix to come up with an acceptable gross margin.
Certain manufacturers who retail direct to consumer can greatly expand their margins but then take on the added cost of servicing this business, shipping and transportation, service repairs and of course customer returns. These costs can quickly eat up a large slice of the margin.
Consumer warehouse clubs offer a small well priced assortment at much lower margins based on their operational process.
Rip offs abound in all sectors and consumer knowledge, while still lagging is more readily available on line then ever before. Making emotional or uneducated decisions can be costly as it is in any consumer product category.
In general buying home furnishings from a reputable retailer or direct from a manufacturer or an online web store is a pretty safe transaction. Always better to see and touch something but not everyone has that option. If something seems to good to be true, you probably already know the answer.
I would rather buy a sofa then go through buying a car and trading in the old one.
 
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Dialectic

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Here is a Smith Brothers sofa:

View attachment 118246
The fabric is sturdy. 6 months ago my then three year old held up a screwdriver and told me "This is really pokey. It goes right through the couch." There was no damage at the crime scene.
Love the durability, but the style will not be accepted. We looked at Stickley, which was deemed too traditional.

Judging by the trucks we see up and down our street, the popular brands around here are Room and Board and Restoration Hardware. We went to Room and Board, and my sense is that it's a cut above West Elm/Crate and Barrel/Pottery Barn but at roughly double the outlay.

Per the suggestion of @jhaider, I looked at Knoll sofas. Something comparable to the four-seat Vitsoe will be $14K-$18K, so I'm starting to see that we are in the correct price ballpark if we want something that is both modern-looking and high-quality.
 
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Helicopter

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Most of the Smith Brothers stuff is more traditional. We got ours from a local family business that has been in our little town for over 150 years. We've got an antique writing desk they manufactured before they switched to just retail.
 

Midwest Blade

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Love the durability, but my wife will never go for the style. We looked at Stickley, which was deemed too traditional.

Judging by the trucks we see up and down our street, the popular brands around here are Room and Board and Restoration Hardware. We went to Room and Board, and my sense is that it's a cut above West Elm/Crate and Barrel/Pottery Barn but at roughly double the outlay.

Per the suggestion of @jhaider, I looked at Knoll sofas. Something comparable to the four-seat Vitsoe will be $14K-$18K, so I'm starting to see that we are in the correct price ballpark if we want something that is both modern-looking and high-quality.

Room and Board products are generally domestic in origin. The others are most likely from offshore sources in Asia. Offshore suppliers have recently been crippled by the pandemic and container shipping costs have greatly increased. Retailers and manufacturers/wholesalers who import goods have faced enormous price increases and product flow problems.
 
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