In the furniture and design business we hear a lot about quality. It’s an adjective thrown around with more or less reckless abandon, and of course, it’s used to sell pieces and services. But what does it really mean? When we talk about a custom upholstered chair, for example, this is exactly what we mean:
1. We’re using the best raw materials. In our case, we use 5/4″ kiln dried hardwood. Hardwood resists warping and is infinitely stronger and more durable than other materials that mass producers often use (like pine–about as bendy as a trampoline, and particle board–believe it, Ikea fans). Hardwood is also a sustainable and locally available resource. We also use superior construction methods to improve durability. So, we start with exceptional materials then we assemble the piece with double dowel joints and corner blocks glued and screwed for additional strength, stability and structural integrity.
2. For the seating and spring system, we use an eight-way hand tied seating support, which is double cone coil springs supported by polypropylene webbing and steel bands fastened directly to the hardwood frame. Steel bands provide strength and prevent sagging. Springs are then hand tied together in eight different directions to permanently secure coils in place and allow for superior comfort and durability. No sad slouching or sagging seats here. What you can expect from imitators in big box stores is just that: imitation. They typically use prefabricated spring coil systems that are tied to one another (not affixed to the frame), so the springs have no support and start to fail quickly, compromising the comfort and lifespan of the piece.
3. For the upholstery process we use 360 tailoring. First we hand cut and sew all of our fabrics to ensure the pattern’s consistency and accurate placement on the piece. Our skilled craftsmen make sure the pattern of the fabric matches from every vantage point, and that the fabric is taut and smooth throughout.
And ultimately, it’s the craftsmen who determine the quality of a piece of furniture. It’s through their skill and experience that they’re able to translate quality so effectively and consistently to a piece. Quality, to us, is something expertly and carefully made, and something that endures.
What does quality mean to you? Have you had any experiences with custom-made furniture that you’d like to share? Feel free to post in the comment field below.