Is this shoddy workmanship?

magmasonMay 12, 2011


After an exhaustive search and not finding a true leather (not bicast) ottoman in the size I wanted, I had one custom made according to specs I copied from the Pottery Barn Sullivan. When I went to pick it up today, after unwrapping it discovered the finish on the legs had been marred by the wrapping...apparently they wrapped it before it was completely dry. The owner of the company immediately agreed to have it fixed, so no problem there. However, when it was on its side, I noticed staples and the black fabric duster on the bottom showed through between the leather and the wood apron/base. Note this isn't deep underneath the piece, but low on the outside. Not visible if you're standing over it, but visible nonetheless.

I didn't like that, and said so. The owner told me I was being overly picky, that I could only see it if I was lying on the floor next to it, and that she couldn't have it altered. After I left, I called her and told her I didn't think it looked right, that I shouldn't be able to see any staples or duster fabric sticking out the sides past the apron. She again insisted I was too picky, said she'd been in the furniture business for a long time and this was standard. She said she would see if they could clean it up, but again said I was too picky and if it didn't meet my standards she would refund my deposit. I am paying $800 for this ottoman. If I AM on the floor (stretching or whatnot) I don't want staples showing, and I think it is reasonable to expect a clean finish on all parts of the furniture that is in view. Am I being too picky?

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A friend of mine that used to make models for a machine manufacturer calls this, "Observation distance."

Unless you have unlimited money, these things need to be manufactured to reasonable standards. I'll bet you got a much nicer piece than the PB piece you were trying to emulate (at a lower price). I'll bet you can see a row of staples and dust cover cambric on every piece of upholstered furniture you own, if you turn it over.

About the worst I had was the woman who was on her hands and knees with a flashlight following me around underneath a dining table looking for excess wax in the distressing.

This was probably matched by the woman who got a high gloss table and put it in a room with three walls of windows and, while on her knees, bobbed up and down finding a 2" spot of different gloss level. That table has never looked any better than when I left, after the first time it was used or dusted. Need I mention that she bought this table because she'd tried to remove a spot of juice from her prior table by scrubbing with the abrasive side of a Scotch-Brite sponge pad?

Here is a link that might be useful: this ottoman

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 1:33PM
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Thanks for your reply! Granted, yes, if you turn it over, any furniture will show the cambric and staples. But this is on the outside, in view (but not when looking down on it). And the PB ottoman definitely has a clean transition from leather to wood base/apron, very neatly finished, no sign of any staples or cambric.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 2:09PM
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