Bernhardt vs. Thomasville for leather.

Sparks72September 15, 2011

Thinking of getting a leather sofa for its durability. It will get a lot of use and we have a small dog. Which of these brands are best?

The store also sells Lane and Flexsteel.

I'm short on time so I'll have to go with what I can find locally.

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InteriorStylist

I would concentrate on Bernhardt & Flexsteel.

And you need to know if it is 100% FULL or TOP GRAIN COWHIDE. Those are the magic words. Not just 100% leather - it can be from a pig & be leather. COW or STEERHIDE are your toughest leathers.

FULL GRAIN & TOP GRAIN - Not splits, not bonded, not bicast. FULL Grain is the toughest part cause it is the ENTIRE hide. A hide can be split up to 3 x's, & the further down you go, the less durable it is - sometimes even less than fabric. Top Grain is split, but it is the top split of the hide, so it is the second most durable, but is usually more supple than Full grain.

Aniline dyed & pigmented - this is what you want to keep the color in the leather.

Is it LIGHTLY protected. You want a LIGHT protection because you still need the leather to breathe for comfort. Full Grain is often not protected at all, & will actually scratch & stain easily. Usually Top Grain is the biggest bang for the buck.

Are you willing to clean & condition it at least twice a year??? Will it get direct sunlight (That's a no-no)Are you willing to let the leather patina & age with some scratches & wrinkles??? In other words, do you like perfection or imperfection??? GOOD leather will be, & should be IMPERFECT. And an investment.

If you want perfect, go with bicast or bonded. However, this compromise, while saving you money, will also mean sacrificing comfort - it will always feel like plastic...cause it's leather "sawdust" bonded with polymers. And is worth nothing.

Either manufacturer should offer a variety of leather "grades" & colors & finishes in a variety of price points.

There ya go - LEATHER 101. :-)

~Jeana

1 Like    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 9:42PM
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Sparks72

Thanks very much. Great information.

I've also found a nearby store that sells Smith Brothers. I think they are suppose to be very good quality as well.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 2:41PM
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InteriorStylist

Yes. Check it out.

~Jeana

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 9:18PM
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Dr_jitsu

My house is mostly Henredon and Bernhardt, however I am primarily buying Hancock and Moore for my HT seating.

My Henredon is all made in North Carolina, as is my Bernhardt.

However it is my understanding that Henredon is now made in China and the quality is down dramatically. Not sure if the same is happening w/ Bernhardt.

My Bernhardt is lso solid wood, the question is are they still using solid wood?

In regards to leather, as has been noted, bonded is only 15% real leather. Many are now using married covers which are real 100% top grain that is tanned and cut in China.

That stuff is good quality and Handcock and Moore uses it for their lower priced models. I just bought a MC recliner for $2k in MC full grain analine and the leather was excellent.

It is my understanding that others are not as stringent. Flexsteel is still supposed to be very good, Lane is pretty much junk.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 8:09PM
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Sparks72

I think this might be my favorite. Its priced around 1800-1900.
I was able to sit on some from Smith Bros and I was hoping to find something from them, but they just didnt have tbe shape I was looking for. I want something you can really lounge on.

What do we think of this Bernhardt Foster? Will it last?

Here is a link that might be useful: Bernhardt Foster Sofa

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 9:14AM
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InteriorStylist

It seems fine for the price point, but I'd like to see at least a 3yr warranty on the seat cushions.

Is there a Bassett store near you??? The Bradford or Custom Classics would be good. With Custom Classics, you can choose the arm style, nailhead trim, you have your choice of 50 leathers, you have your choice of leg finish. Also seat comfort choice of blendown, sping down, firm or standard - all with lifetime warranty on cushions. The Bradford has a married leather only & no other custom choices, but that's why it's priced less. Bassett is a very good brand & good customer service. (I worked for them, so I know)

~Jeana

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 2:15PM
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Sparks72

I'll look around. Never would have thought of Bassett.

If the cushions go flat, couldn't I have new foam put in it. I'm talking about any sofa with zippered cushions ? Wonder what that would cost.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 12:55PM
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Sparks72

Now the husband has thrown a wrench in my plan, he wants something with a chaise on it. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 11:50AM
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InteriorStylist

Yes of course you can get new cores for any sofa. Foam prices have skyrocketed though (there's actually an interesting story about the foam industry, but I won't bore you with that)...ANYWAY, for new cores that are a good high quality density, you would pay about $250 or more for 3 cushions. To me, that's a lot of money for one aspect of a sofa. So you might as well have them warrantied for life. Bassett also has chaise styles, but again, stick with their Custom line.

~Jeana

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 12:33PM
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Sparks72

Took the husband shopping last night. We ended up liking a sofa, chair and ottoman from Smith Brothers in leather. I looked at swatches that were analine, semi-analine and protected. They said the protected would likely be best for us because of our dog. They also offered a
5 year care package (For a fee of course) that covers any defects and most damage, not claw or chew related.

The whole thing was around $5k so I had to sleep on it.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 8:52AM
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InteriorStylist

Glad you found a new set!!! You should be very happy with Smith Bros!!! I agree on the protected. As for the additional warranty, that should be for accidents that are not pet related except for urine & vomit. It probably won't cover manufacturer defects. Who's the protection warranty from???

~Jeana

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 9:37PM
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Sparks72

That extra warranty (5 yr) might be from the store then, Homemakers. Added about 250. to the total. We are hard on furniture so it seemed worth it.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 8:29AM
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InteriorStylist

Please look at the document that you should've received with the extended warranty. Store do not extend manufacturer warranties.

~Jeana

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 3:28PM
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Sparks72

I spoke with an interior designer yesterday that also said that extra store warranty isn't really a great deal.

She also suggested I go look at leather sofas at Ethan Allen before making my decision. She said they'd be in my price range, around 2500.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 9:13AM
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InteriorStylist

EA is also a good choice.

As for the warranty, if you can tell me what the parameters are of the warranty & the name of the actual company guarnateeing it, I can tell you if it's a good deal or not. I know EVERY warranty company in the industry.

~Jeana

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 11:26AM
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Sparks72

I'll find out who provides the warranty, the store was Homemakers in Des Moines.

Going to EA tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 8:37PM
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rmanbike

I suggest that test your pet in how it will react to leathers and also the specific leather you will have on your sofa. This may be hard to get from some manufacturers. Some dogs and cats will and can destroy leather furniture, usually when no one is at home. This is almost never covered by any warranty, you must read the fine print and not what the salesperson is telling you.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 10:55PM
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Sparks72

My search is over. Ordered a Smith Bros sofa in leather and a chair and ottoman in fabric. I think I will be very happy.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 7:43PM
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sjbrewer26

Does Thomasville use bonded leather on any of their sofas? I saw a Thomasville leather sofa with recliners on both ends at HomeGoods for $800 but don't know how to find out what type of leather it's made from.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 6:55AM
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lascatx

I'm sure the sofa is gone now and you either got it or didn't, but bonded leather is pretty easy to distinguish by looking and feeling it. It is stiffer and will have you questioning whether it is leather or vinyl. I have only seen bonded in black or dark brown. I wouldn't expect Thomasville to use bonded leather -- sounds like it was a good buy if the reclining mechanisms were in good shape -- but next time you have a question, you are more likely to get a timely reply if you post a new thread rather than adding on to a three or four year old one.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2015 at 10:29AM
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