Sofa Frustrated

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Blog entry by Tiggr posted 08-11-2011 05:26 AM 2876 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For several months now, I have been admiring a couch I found in a local furniture store. I absolutely LOVE the design and the way the pieces fit together. I like that it is deep enough to be good for cuddling, which also means it has enough depth to handle long legs comfortably, which a lot of couches simply don’t do. I like that it has ottomans that fit in with the curvature of the front of the couch and make it long enough to act as a bed if the guest room is filled… or the boyfriend is snoring too loudly for me to get any sleep. What I do NOT like is the colors of this couch. I’m NOT a fan of this recent trend toward tan and brown as good colors for living room furniture!

I looked everywhere to find another couch like this one, and finally discovered that the manufacturer, makes their furniture EXCLUSIVELY for this store. So I contacted the store to see if they would be willing to work with me on the colors a bit, since I can’t get the couch from anyone else… they responded to my email so fast, there is no way they had time to contact the manufacturer and ask. The answer a decided NO, we do not offer this sectional in any other colors. I grumbled for about 30 minutes about how fast they responded that they basically didn’t care if they lost a sale for me not liking the colors because if I wanted that style of couch, I was basically going to have to purchase it from them and then immediately have it recovered…

OR… I realized I could make it myself. It won’t be exactly the same, and I will probably make some adjustments to it, like attaching fasteners to make sure the sections don’t dance apart on a wood or tile floor, and adding storage to the ottomans. I’m currently working in Sketch-up to create a general form that I am happy with, and then I’ll start creating the mini models so I can start estimating the project. Since I currently have two couches that are college freebies, I am seeing where couches begin to wear first, and I’m considering making some adjustments to the design to alleviate these problems, since it is almost impossible to eliminate them.

Once I have the general form created and some implementation ideas, I’ll post images and start a project page. If anyone has any experience and can offer guidance, I’m open to ideas for implementation. I know it’s going to be complicated because of the flowing lines of the front and the rounded versus square corners. I have never attempted a project this big and for the better part of a decade, the biggest thing I’ve worked with in wood was the models I made for my studio classes from balsa and bass woods. I can say, what I lack in practical knowledge, I make up for in blind determination and perfectionist precision.

-- Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.

7 comments so far

View Servelan's profile


39 posts in 2808 days

#1 posted 08-11-2011 06:25 AM

Can you post a picture of the wish-it-wasn’t-brown version? It might help to focus advice and suggestions if people can see what you want the end result to look like.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3703 days

#2 posted 08-11-2011 07:59 AM

There are plenty of friendlies on here that will be more than happy to guide you along with any construction issues. Good luck.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3336 days

#3 posted 08-11-2011 03:55 PM

I would contact the manufacturer and talk to them. Don’t give up so easily just because of an uncaring person at the furniture store. You might just find a more concerned, cooperative and helpful person at the manufacturer…especially in todays economy.

View Tiggr's profile


7 posts in 2509 days

#4 posted 08-11-2011 06:45 PM

Here’s an image of one of the corners of the sectional.

On further investigation, the manufacturer’s name is Trademarked by the furniture store, so it looks like I’m SOL.

-- Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18291 posts in 3703 days

#5 posted 08-12-2011 04:11 AM

You could reupholster it, make a cover for it or build your own. They can’t stop those with their trademark ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View BobTheFish's profile


361 posts in 2579 days

#6 posted 08-12-2011 04:45 AM

If you’ve never upholstered before, you’re in for a world of hurt trying to do that as your first project.

But, maybe you have some hidden skills, and it might come up fantastic. Just to give you an idea what’s involved, here’s a how to on reupholstering a chair frame:

I’m not trying to say that what you want isn’t possible, nor is meant to say you can’t accomplish it, I’m just seeing a lot of tricky areas in this project.

I want to point out that the picture you post has a REALLY complex curve, both in and out, It means bending the wood to frame (or using plywoods), and then a very thin layer of batting, and it looks like sewn leather. It also appears to have relatively minimalist (READ: unforgiving) lines to it, which means you have to be somewhat precise with your stitches lining up with the lines on the frame. And everything has to be sewn before you start stapling.

The only real upholstery work I’ve done is redoing some chair panels, which was relatively easy, but still required a bit of effort when I pulled the fabric taut and had to make fabric (a relatively big weave in a solid color) didn’t hang askew or went wobbly, (which, imagine pulling a fabric with all your strength with one hand over a piece of 2” foam, wrapping slightly over a piece of plywood, while stapling it with the other, hoping to make sure the threads all were straight. It’s easy, but it’s also not.)

View Tiggr's profile


7 posts in 2509 days

#7 posted 08-12-2011 06:57 PM

I have been sewing since I was about 7, and using a machine since I was 9. Thanks for the link on Upholstering, I’ll get some good use out of that. I’ve created a good mockup of the base in Sketch-up, now I just need to start making the modifications to that model to get the best design for me. The corner pictured above is usually placed in a group of three , but I only want to put 2 of them together, so I need to make some adjustments so the front of the sofa doesn’t vary too drastically between the two sections. I’ll post an image once the adjustments are complete.

I was planning on handling the curves on the front piecemeal since they are going to be covered anyway. In the image, they are covered in vinyl instead of leather. I’m not sure I could justify the expense of leather for my first BIG project, but I might change to leather the first time I recover it.

I’m also considering a wooden back instead of covering it with vinyl so there is less wear if it rubs the wall. I’ll have to figure out the corner issue first, although, I could probably put the back together piecemeal, same as the front, and cover it with real wood veneer to make it smooth since I don’t have a machine to do steam bends on hard woods.

I am still VERY early in the planning phase since I only found out I couldn’t get it in another color from the manufacturer/furniture store a couple of days ago so these plans could change drastically.

-- Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.

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