Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Leather furniture purchasing advice
Old 09-01-2008, 07:33 PM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
Leather furniture purchasing advice

So we've got a living room and a family room. The former has a 4 year old "microfiber" cloth sectional and the ladder has two 10 year old low end leather couches. Due to the kids and cats, the 4 year old sectional looks HORRIBLE but the leather couch and love seat set still look great, despite being more than twice as old.

So DW and I are beginning to look for a replacement for the sectional (there are a lot of things we don't like about it I won't go into here) and we know we want to go leather....but when we began store and Internet research today we were hopelessly lost. Full grain, top grain, levels of grade, etc. all confused us terribly, and each store had a completely different system and they were happy to sandbag their competitors' selection.

Is there something I should be looking for? Should I just go by what I think looks nice and not worry about it? I'm thinking with the kids I should go with the cheaper, glossier stuff as they might hurt it less, especially considering how well the other couches have stood up. I'm starting to think the leather furniture industry can give the jewelry and used car market a run for it's money on consumer obfuscation....
__________________

__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-01-2008, 07:52 PM   #2
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Treasure Coast
Posts: 337
Our decorator turned us on to Hancock & Moore furniture (www.hancockandmoore.com). Very high quality leather in lots of different styles and finishes, and some are oversized. The best thing, price is comparable to the mail-order sellers (Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, etc.) but much higher quality. We found a sofa-exactly what we were looking for-as a floor model at a furniture store and scored an even better price. It has held up very well and looks great.
__________________

__________________
45th Birthday is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 07:54 PM   #3
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
Cheaper glossier is my vote. I went with a leather sofa because of the herd of mammals we have here, and it is great for hair and slobber. The cats are a problem, though. They fly through the air and land on it, sinking their claws in and making tiny tears. Now that we've had it a few years, it doesn't make us quite as angry, but I'm glad we didn't go higher end. The leather wipes are a great way to clean it.

After dealing with hair on the cloth sofa, it is a godsend. Ours has zippered back cushions and the bottom ones are velcroed. They are leather on the front and sides and fabric on the bottom (cheaper, I guess).

I bought local from a sharpie furniture dealer who has been in business forever--better prices than the big guys and better quality than the pottery barn stuff (which is junk, unfortunately).
__________________
One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 08:12 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,614
We bought our leather sofa from a chain called The Leather Center. It is 10 years old and still looks great. Unfortunately, they are out of business. The company below was started by one of the partners of that company, and it looks like their design philosophy is the same. The site has some useful info.
http://www.theluxuryofleather.com
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 08:24 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Leonidas's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Where the stars at night are big and bright
Posts: 2,847
Kids and cats, huh? Well, I have the first, but not the latter. However, the Princess' little beast is a Yorkie that occasionally mistakes itself for a cat and likes to "dig" in my leather chairs with her claws. She has yet to leave a mark.

I bought them about ten years ago and I spent a lot of time looking at chairs, and I saw a lot that I liked for their looks, but they seemed overpriced and poorly made. Until I went to Restoration Hardware. To be honest, I thought they were a little overpriced as well, but I'm a cheapskate. Still, after falling in love with the chairs I searched high and low trying to find the same chairs cheaper, and what I found was that RH had bought the manufacturer.

Very well-constructed and rugged furniture. They make an extensive line, and your kids might be able to tear it up if they have flame throwers, but my boys couldn't defeat our chairs. My only regret is that I bought like the only chairs they make that don't have a matching sofa. My living room sofa has been recovered about five times in 25 years and I keep hoping the thing will just finally fall apart so I can justify the need for a leather sofa to go with the chairs.

Anyway, here's a link to their line of leather sofas Restoration Hardware. I'm not sure what your average leather sofa goes for nowadays, but remember this is Restoration Hardware, which is Yuppie for "uncheap".
__________________
There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
Leonidas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 08:38 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,030
I love Broyhill furniture . The price is right and it is almost impossible to destroy . I've bought different brands but they never hold up like broyhill does . We have five grandchildren and they have not been able to destroy the furniture and believe me they've tried .
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 10:25 PM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
Thanks for the tips! I'm going to research these sites now. The cats tore some holes in the sides of our old couches until we put two sided tape on them. That freaked them out and stopped the activity quickly. Now that they are 9 years old they are not as hyper and don't try to scratch everything in site.
__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 10:27 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,418
We've had decades of good results from Natuzzi leather furniture. It's not cheap, but it's been well worth it. Recently however, we've been told that they quit using the kiln dried wood for their frames, which one of the hallmarks of their quality. And make sure to get springs instead of just foam. The sofa will wear much better, and won't get that "bucket seat" look.

As far as the leather, we've had good wear from both the pebbled and smooth surfaces. I personally like Top Grain leather, which has the scars and defects from the hide. Definitely avoid Nubuck, it gets stains from moisture.

Also, don't let your daughter lay on the new cream colored sectional the same day she gets a henna tattoo. Just in case the situation arises.
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 10:33 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 6,418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post
Anyway, here's a link to their line of leather sofas Restoration Hardware. I'm not sure what your average leather sofa goes for nowadays, but remember this is Restoration Hardware, which is Yuppie for "uncheap".
My daughter (the henna tattoo girl) was working at "Resto" (as the kids call it) when our house was being built. No sooner were we ready to start buying stuff than she quit. That 40% discount would have made it a reasonably priced store, and we like a lot of what they have. We're trying to talk her into going back for a part-time weekend job. For her own good, of course. She can use the extra money!
__________________
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers, or maybe Sam Clemens
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 10:36 PM   #10
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
PHEW - SPLUTTER! Restoration Hardware may be just a little bit out of our budget. That's motor vehicle prices! I'm sure it's a case of getting what you pay for, but yowza. Bookmarked it anyway for comparison/research.
__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 11:15 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Leonidas's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Where the stars at night are big and bright
Posts: 2,847
Quote:
Originally Posted by harley View Post
We've had decades of good results from Natuzzi leather furniture. It's not cheap, but it's been well worth it.
We had a Natuzzi chair, sofa and ottoman - neither of which made past it the second kid's 4th birthday. Beautiful furniture though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by laurencewill View Post
PHEW - SPLUTTER! Restoration Hardware may be just a little bit out of our budget. That's motor vehicle prices! I'm sure it's a case of getting what you pay for, but yowza. Bookmarked it anyway for comparison/research.
Sorry man, I tried to warn you. Next time I'll say "Warning - it's as expensive as @#$%!"

I bought a long time ago and prices were a little cheaper. Still, it is expensive as @#$%!. However, I think these chairs will definitely outlast me.

So, I have to correct myself on one point, the manufacturer is not owned by Restoration Hardware. It's been years since I bought the chairs, and I remember tracking the company down and being frustrated that the only place I could buy was from Restoration Hardware. I guess somewhere I crossed some wire or misread something because I was sure that resto had bought them.

Anyway, the company is Mitchell Gold from North Carolina. Interesting company, run by two gay men who went to Taylorsville, N.C to start a furniture company and have sort of won over the hearts and minds of their workers. Inc.com published an article about them titled "26 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs." 26 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs: Mitchell Gold <amp></amp> Bob Williams, Leading Your Company Article - Inc. Article

From reading their site and other articles, it turns out that they do sell furniture only through several different retailers (no factory discounts): Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Storehouse, and Williams Sonoma Home. They sell different lines at the different retailers, and I think Restoration Hardware must have got the top of the line from the looks of what I saw at Pottery Barn's website.

Anyway, you may find a less expensive version, but I can't vouch for how good the line they sell at Storehouse or Pottery Barn will be. Maybe you can start at Resto and get a feel for what the Lexus line is like and go from there. At the very least it might soften up the sticker shock for when you get to the other stores.

Mitchell Gold (now known as Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams) http://www.mgbwhome.com/
__________________
There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
Leonidas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2008, 11:37 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,614
The LBYM approach in 2 words:

Furniture Covers

(until the kids, or at least the sippy cups, crayons, and markers are gone)
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2008, 12:49 AM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post
We had a Natuzzi chair, sofa and ottoman - neither of which made past it the second kid's 4th birthday. Beautiful furniture though.Sorry man, I tried to warn you. Next time I'll say "Warning - it's as expensive as @#$%!"

I bought a long time ago and prices were a little cheaper. Still, it is expensive as @#$%!. However, I think these chairs will definitely outlast me.

So, I have to correct myself on one point, the manufacturer is not owned by Restoration Hardware. It's been years since I bought the chairs, and I remember tracking the company down and being frustrated that the only place I could buy was from Restoration Hardware. I guess somewhere I crossed some wire or misread something because I was sure that resto had bought them.

Anyway, the company is Mitchell Gold from North Carolina. Interesting company, run by two gay men who went to Taylorsville, N.C to start a furniture company and have sort of won over the hearts and minds of their workers. Inc.com published an article about them titled "26 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs." 26 Most Fascinating Entrepreneurs: Mitchell Gold <amp></amp> Bob Williams, Leading Your Company Article - Inc. Article

From reading their site and other articles, it turns out that they do sell furniture only through several different retailers (no factory discounts): Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Storehouse, and Williams Sonoma Home. They sell different lines at the different retailers, and I think Restoration Hardware must have got the top of the line from the looks of what I saw at Pottery Barn's website.

Anyway, you may find a less expensive version, but I can't vouch for how good the line they sell at Storehouse or Pottery Barn will be. Maybe you can start at Resto and get a feel for what the Lexus line is like and go from there. At the very least it might soften up the sticker shock for when you get to the other stores.

Mitchell Gold (now known as Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams) Home of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Oooh, but they have a "Sale" page - some deals on there look really good after the initial sticker shock! Thanks for all the info, I'll share with DW.
__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2008, 01:15 AM   #14
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Quote:
Originally Posted by laurencewill View Post
Is there something I should be looking for?
Craigslist.

san diego furniture - all classifieds - craigslist

Something like this, perhaps?
Nice Living Room Set All Leather LIKE NEW

People are desperate and cash buyers are few & far between.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laurencewill View Post
The cats tore some holes in the sides of our old couches until we put two sided tape on them. That freaked them out and stopped the activity quickly. Now that they are 9 years old they are not as hyper and don't try to scratch everything in site.
That freaked out our bunny too, but he managed to do a number on the back corners before we figured out the trick.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2008, 11:13 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Costco has a ridiculous amount of leather furniture in a huge variety of styles. Its mostly very good stuff. Very cheap compared to buying retail.

I have friends in the furniture business. Its a tough contest as to whether furniture or jewelry has the most ridiculous markup.

Sams Club also has a lot of leather, cheaper and more cheaply made than what I've seen at Costco.

Plus you can buy it on-line and have it delivered, often for free or cheap. And if you dont like it or have a problem with it, you can throw it on a rental truck and take it back to the store for a full refund, including any shipping you may have paid.

They have some sets for $1700-2500 then up to about $5500, and you can buy a lot of it as individual pieces. They also put a couple of sets on sale every month.

Costco - Furniture - Living Room - Leather

Click the 'watch demo' button to get VR views of the products, materials, construction, etc. More than you'd get at most furniture stores.

Unfortunately my wife couldnt get past buying furniture online from a set of pictures and at the last minute when we moved in went to a local furniture store. Anything comparable to what Costco was selling was twice the price. We got a reasonably priced set that was in stock and...well...it stinks.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2008, 08:46 AM   #16
Moderator Emeritus
laurence's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego
Posts: 5,234
BUMP!

So we pulled the trigger. Lane was having a pretty amazing sale. They had knocked a lot off of their leather sets already, and this weekend they put out a flyer for "21% off already reduced prices!". How they came up with 21% and not 20 or 25, who knows. Anyway, we settled on a top grain leather couch and a snuggler (it's like a small loveseat). Both completely recline into what can best be described as a sealy posturepetic mattress configuration. As my friend Borat would say, "very niice!" After the combined sale prices and taxes added on, the total was $2,100 and we get to pay it off over six months same as cash. I guess recessions can be good if you still have cash!
__________________
laurence is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2008, 09:41 AM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
freebird5825's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,017
i have leather furniture (sofa, loveseat, recliner).
i do not have kids or cats. i have 2 dogs, but they are floor only dogs.

maintenance - 2x per year using a soft wool mitt to apply leather conditioner all over. it takes me about 1 hour without hustling.
direct sunlight is a factor in bleaching if it is colored leather. mine is navy blue.

there is nothing like leather for comfort. it warms up to body temperature quickly and i challenge you to stay awake once you sink in.

kids and cats factor - i would recommend buying a used set.
__________________
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
freebird5825 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2008, 02:55 PM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Central Oklahoma
Posts: 64
I would def. check classifieds & craigslist - providing you live near a large city. My latest purchase was a Sofa U Love sectional w/ slipcover & down cushions....very luxe and wonderful! Retail was $5,000. and I paid $220. brand new. Nope, that's not a typo. One of my favorite stores is an insurance salvage company, called Walls. Great place, great bargains!
__________________

__________________
slimm is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Leather cleaner and conditioner........... FinanceDude Other topics 4 08-03-2007 04:05 PM
Purchasing US Money My Dream FIRE and Money 15 05-07-2007 06:31 PM
Tip on purchasing furniture chinaco FIRE and Money 20 04-05-2007 12:26 PM
$2000 Leather recliner coming apart at the seams kbst Other topics 6 12-18-2006 03:52 PM
Furniture Whisper9999 FIRE and Money 31 08-21-2004 07:02 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:01 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.