Do You Have This Lee Sofa? How Does it Sit?

kswl2March 1, 2014

ID is trying to find this Lee Sofa somewhere in Atlanta for test sitting purposes, as the last sofas we had in our basement (chosen by me online) were extremely umcomfortable and I do not want to make that mistake again. We will be purchasing two of the same sofa which, along with two swivel chairs, will be the main seating in this room. The sofa has no name, just a stock number: 3974-03. My preference tends toward tight back sofas-- especially if people are going to stretch out on them as we seem to do--and these are three cushion models. While Lee is locating this item in a showroom, I would like opinions from GWers if they own or have owned this sofa. We will be doing COM, so the upholstery durability per se isn't a concern except as it relates to any obvious wear points caused by the design of the sofa. As always, thanks in advance!

Dimensions are 86" width 40" depth 37" height

Here is a link that might be useful: Three cushion sofa Lee Industries

This post was edited by kswl on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 8:18

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Be careful. After a disastrous run with a custom CR Laine sofa and the nasties at Hickory Park Furniture who sold it to me, I decided I had to go higher up in quality. I got a Hickory Chair Olivier sofa. But this time I did even more homework, on cushions, I bought it through a local store and went in over and over and sat on Hickory Chair sofas - LOVED them. Made a huge stink about how the CR Laine cushions sank into the sofa and had to constant be pulled out, noted that the HC's didn't do that, etc.

Paid a fortune for my HC sofa…and the cushions is HORRIBLE. Immediately sank into the frame, it is not very comfortable, not what I was describing I wanted. I had to go out and buy camping floor padding to put under the cushion to keep it from sinking into the frame, and while it solves that problem, it created another….

It is absolutely maddening and infuriating. And again, these companies blame YOU and NEVER take responsibility. Oh, they're all full of assurances and seriousness when your going through the ordering process, but the second your credit card pays them, you're nothing to them and they could care less. The frame is fantastic, other than allowing the cushion to sink in, which they did NOT do in the store! I don't know what has gone on with cushioning in that industry, but it's terrible. I'm assuming that, if you pay $20K for a sofa, MAYBE you can get a good cushion.

In a few years, I'll have a cushion custom made by a private upholsterer. These companies are impossible.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:18AM
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Well these sofas won't be anything like 20k! They will be (I hope) more like 3500 to 4000, no leather or any other kind of fancy upholstery. ID is spec-ing a very specific type of fill for the cushions, there is some kind of rating system I have never heard of and as we like firm I am to sit on two types of cushion to see which is better for us.

Adding that if sofa is delivered and does not perform it will be the ID's responsibility to make it right with the manufacturer. He is a client advocate of anything is wrong or doesn't hold up under reasonable use, but I can't expect him to guarantee a personal preference and that is why we need to sit in these sofas beforehand.

Our most comfortable sofa is from Chelsea House (now out of business) which was not a manufacturer and I do not know who made their sofas :-(

This post was edited by kswl on Sat, Mar 1, 14 at 8:31

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:26AM
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Yes, I did that as well. Went with Ultracel by Bayer and a higher than usual density and all those rating things. HC assured me the specs I gave were what I was looking for, firm, dense, etc.

Maybe. But I think the problem is that they put probably like a 2" pad of that foam in the cushion. So, plausible deniability: We gave you want you asked for.

At this point, I'm at a complete loss as to how one goes about these things. I did so much research and homework, I spent a fortune trying to get it right; I tried them out in person…I get most of my furniture on CL or via hand-me-downs. The two items I'm very picky about are mattresses and sofas. Mattresses I'd only buy new because of cleanliness issues, but buying mattresses today is also a nightmare. I regret getting a new sofa. I wish I'd bought an antique on CL and had it refurbished and reupholstered. As I said, I expect the HC frame to last to the end of my life. But when I can afford it, I'm going to have a custom cushion made for it. HC did make another cushion for me, splitting the cost with me. It's worse than the one I had made! It feels futile to deal with big companies nowadays.

Maybe I've just had bad luck. I truly hope your own sofa search goes a lot better and that you get what you want…or, better put, that what you want is what you end up getting!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:36AM
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Not that one, but I did just order a Lee, one I'd sat on, and it was quit comfy. It was their "cloud nine" option. I should think it would be indicative, other than the impact of arms and height and proportions ... But your style sofa should not be a cause of discomfort, it's more constructions that I'm guessing you are questioning .

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:49AM
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I don't know if it will be deep enough with the seat back cushions. The overall depth is 40", but the inside depth is something like 21". DH is a big, tall guy, and IDK if that is enough depth for a man of his size plus at least one dog (which he ALWAYS has) to stretch out comfortably. That's why I am soliciting opinions from people who have lived with this sofa, hoping there are some! I assume the quality will be fine--- if not, that is the ID's problem as he will be the one to order them.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:56AM
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kswl, that's not especially deep if your husband is tall. What is the depth of his sofa now?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:10AM
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btw, kswl, the resason I settled on Hickory Chair is because it was the only company I had found that had a seat height of 21"+. All the rest were 18" or 19", which is so low, IMO. For tall people, your knees are practically in your face on sofas that low (bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean), and for aging people, it makes getting out of sofas harder. the higher seat height is just more comfortable, IMO. Although, contemporary coffee tables tend to be extra LOW, so if a person likes contemporary furniture…

It's all craziness! I really dislike the cushion on my Hickory Chair, but I definitely like the height much better than that horrid CR Laine sofa, and seemingly all others.

I would have, in fact, gotten a Lee if their sofa seat heights were at least 21" off the ground, but that was definitely a deciding factor for me.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:26AM
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ahh, ok, so it is NOT construction but ergonomics that concerns you.

You could go to someplace with a big selection, get out your tape, and see how the various dimensions feel?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:48AM
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I'm going to recommend you find a store that carries Cisco furniture. A family business that manufacture here in Los Angeles. They can customize any of their pieces with your dimensions, fabric, etc. I prefer the quality of their sofas/chairs compared to other sofas I got from Century and Duralee. Their pricing was also very competitive and they give a discount to designers. They only have retail stores in LA, but they sell through other furniture stores throughout the country.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:54PM
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I think you are right to want a tight back sofa. Don't compromise on that if you aren't positive the loose cushions will be comfortable and/or you can't try it out.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:12PM
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cyn, IMO tight backs are the only way to go. Cushion backs get out of shape so quickly and destroy both the look and comfort of a sofa. Tight backs keep their shape forever.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 6:31PM
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I will ask the ID about Cisco, Chispa, thanks for that lead.
Tight back sofas are really my favorite, we have four sofas right now and three have the tight back. The new sofa in our MBR (replacing a 30 year old very heavy sleeper sofa with a tight back) is a two cushion sofa that does have to be fluffed to look good. However, we purchased it primarily so DH could relax stretched out (of course) while I was reading or GWing in my chair and it is VERY comfortable. But I don't want to dismiss IDs suggestion out of hand because I do trust his opinions. If I cannot find one of the Lee sofas to sit on I will not buy them, though.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:27PM
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That 21 inch inside depth seems awfully narrow. I will echo what mtn suggested that you go and try out sofas to find which sits best for you. I just purchased a tight back sofa and the inside depth is 23 1/2 inches. I'm 5'5" (but often sit with my legs up and crossed indian style), and my husband is 6'1". It's very comfortable for both of us. We had also looked at Smith Brothers, but found them to be too narrow. While I can't remember the exact model, a quick look at their website shows that most are around 21 inches. Of course everybody has different comfort preferences!

Regarding the sofas you mentioned owning, what do you hate about the sofa you find uncomfortable and find most comfortable about the one that you love?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:06PM
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Ok this proves I should not ever try to remember dimensions. The inside depth of the sofa I pictured above is 23". But I am thinking a tight back might be 24" or even 25" inside width.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 9:50PM
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i don't have any leads for you as far as locating the sofa, but i did order two lee sofas a couple of years ago. just an FYI: i would strongly suggest staying away from any cushion of theirs that contains feathers. i ordered all down and feather cushions and they turned out to be disastrous. every time someone sat on any of the sofas they'd get poked the in the backside. the fill was coming out from all over and i was constantly cleaning up feathers from my floors; and not one or two, but dozens each day -and they would migrate all over the house. i finally asked my designer-friend who ordered them for me to contact lee. they wanted pictures and a written statement from me describing the problem, but they finally agreed to replace the all down/feather seat cushions with the spring fiber option at no charge. but wow, i can't even begin to describe the mess i had on my hands when i went to swap out the old cushions with the new. i think it took three weeks of cleaning before i finally cleaned out all the feathers.

and i wish i were happy now, but i'm not. as it turns out the spring fiber cushions have flattened out in areas where people sit most often. i'm currently looking to buy a stanford sectional to replace the lee sofas. i've had one of their chairs for over fifteen years. it's the best piece of furniture i've ever sat in and the cushions are as perfect now as the day that chair came home. fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:08PM
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Goodness, I've never heard of a migrating feather problem of that magnitude! Were the cushions wrapped in something over the fabric containing the down??

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:18PM
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i don't think so. at least, it didn't seem so. however they were incased just wasn't good enough.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 11:00PM
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kswl- what seat cushion (and back cushion) is your ID suggesting on your Lee? Haven, Cloud Nine etc. That will really, really affect how the sofa sits.

The model above has an inside depth of 23 in according to the Lee website which is a bit of extra depth. But if you prefer a tight back, I think you should avoid back cushions. Lee's boxed back cushions are quite bulky. If you decide you like Lee, why not look at a tight back Lee option?

There are a lot of retailers who carry Lee in Atlanta. I think it is more important that you sit on a Lee that is the same depth (40in) with the seat CUSHION option you are considering and the back (cushions or no cushion) option you want rather than this exact model. If you look at Lee's webpage you will see that quite a few of their sofas are alike except for arm style and skirt so it is very possible that a store close to you will have the basic body style but maybe with a sock arm and a full skirt or some other variation.

I like LEE a lot but there are two other things you should consider- 1. their seat height is lower than a lot of other similarly priced manufacturers. Usually 18 or 19 in. Some people like this and some do not. If you are used to a more traditional height (20-21 in) you will feel the difference and if you are considering one of their down cushion options, you will really feel the difference. The other thing is that most Lee sofas have quite a pitch in the back. This is my favorite aspect of their design but again, it 'sits' differently than other companies.

Good luck! Sofa shopping is an adventure.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 9:16PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I did try a similar sofa and it was deep enough, and cloud nine was my firmness choice. Lee doesn't have a tight back sofa with exposed legs and stretchers, so we kept the style for that reason. The sofas were ordered last week and have a delivery time of 8 weeks.....we shall see. Just found final fabric choice for swivel chairs, LOVE it, a tweedy medium green (mostly cotton) with a tan thread running through it. The bottom three inches of the swivel chair skirts will be deep green, and we're still looking for fabric a color between the two for the 1" strip above the darker skirt fabric. I think this detail will be wonderful, as the dark green is the fabric of pillows on the two sofas, and the fabric on the body of the chair will be made into pillows on the daybed, so there is a nice progression of greens tying the two rooms together. Still have to choose the pool table felt--- how I wish we could use a heathered tweed there instead of felt!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:28PM
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My client just received this model sofa yesterday. Beautiful! Ordered it in Tote Camouflage with the Cloud Nine cushion since we wanted a single bench cushion, and didn't want to deal with "rolling". Yes, Lee is typically a lower seat height, however the Cloud nine lofts it up substantially. It is not what I would classify as a really deep sofa, but an extremely comfortable one. Sofas that one can completely curl up on are generally not great for guest seating or conversation in that they are just too deep to sit on without a plethora of pillows behind you to move you forward so that you don't feel like a 5 year old with your legs sticking straight out. So hope this is helpful. This style is available in a tight back but with a skirted bottom -7041-32. You could possibly special order the exposed legs and stretcher.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 6:07PM
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kswl, your room sounds beautiful and so classy! i hope you'll post a photo when it is all done and let us know how you like the sofa. i noticed today on the lee website that they are now offering totally custom modifications on their furniture- any length, depth, even a change of seat height! i am in the market for a new formal living room sofa and was looking at other companies because i need (want) an unusual size. of course, the cost of lee's custom modifications might push me into the next tier of upholstery!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 7:37PM
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i am just now seeing this, so i may be too late, but just to let you know, thomasville has a nearly identical sofa with a tight back...i sat in the sofa at the showroom and found it to be comfortable....i decided against it because of the design feature of the horizontal bars....they were only about 2" off the floor, and i felt no way could i vacuum under them without damaging the wood...

one other thing....

actually this probably deserves it's own thread...i recently rec'd my LEE SOFA with loose back cushions which i ordered from Crate and put it mildly, it was a disaster....

the color was wrong, (custom), the cushions were beyond SLOPPY, i won't go into it all here, but suffice to say the sofa is being returned and i will NOT buy another LEE sofa....thus far Crate and Barrel has been exceptionally reasonable and have acknowledged the sofa is unacceptable and will 'make it right' ...

that means i will probably (assuming i can find one) purchase another sofa from C&B (they have another upholstery company other than LEE) and will quite frankly probably only do so *IF* i can find a stock item i can use, otherwise it will be return for refund

my suggestion is to put a hold on this order right now, assuming the fabric hasn't been ordered....

if not...i hope your experience was better than mine!

this sofa is tragic on every level....seriously...

again thus far kudos to C& B for standing with the customer!

Here is a link that might be useful: thomasville tight back sofa

This post was edited by desert_solitaire on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 17:05

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 4:54PM
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forgot to add, here is the thomasville sofa

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 5:01PM
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That Thomasville sofa is lovely, desert, thank you for posting this, but two sofas have already been ordered from Lee Industries. I am not too worried that the color will not be right, as this is a COM order and the fabric is being sent to them from a different vendor. Our interior designer ordered the sofas and happily, he alone is responsible to see that we receive the product and quality ordered.

There is never any excuse for poor workmanship, but this is not the first time I've heard of a private label item (like Crate and Barrel selling Lee products under their own name) that is poorer quality than the stuff sold under the manufacturer's own name. I'm glad C&B is standing behind the sale!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 5:29PM
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Just another voice to say that it is non-negotiable IMO to actually sit in any chair or sofa you are considering, especially one that you're having custom made.

I just experienced this with a recliner purchase. Had picked something online from Ethan Allen but since the Miami store didn't have it on display, I made a pilgrimage to Ft. Lauderdale to sit in what I thought I wanted. And yep, when I actually did the sit test the model I thought I liked was a not-even-close second to another recliner that I would have never picked out of the line up! I'm very, very grateful for being able to make an informed choice and good for you kswl for doing the same thing.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 5:31PM
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mine was a custom order as well, fabric from a different vendor (which only ADDED to the debacle, let LEE and the fabric supplier fight over who eats this)

truth be told, even if the color was exactly as i had ordered, no way would i accept this hasn't even been 2 weeks and it already looks 'cushion wise' worse than my 15 year old ethan allen sofa which is no longer here 'in anticipation' of my new LEE sofa...

i also had considered order TWO of the same sofa for my living space, but decided to order one just so i could make certain i felt comfortable with the workmanship and quality...thankfully ....can't imagine have two of these poorly constructed sofas....btw, these aren't lee sofas manufactured under some different standard for crate and barrel's name...i purchased them from crate and barrel, but i selected sofas from the LEE catalog with a different fabric supplier...this is NOT stock a "C&B" sofa...quite the contrary....i paid over $3500 for a custom LEE sofa sold by C& B....

in fact i would say thus far were it not for C&B, i would be up a creek without a paddle with LEE....i hesitate to write publicly about this at this juncture, because the final chapter hasn't been written, but thus far, customer service and my sales rep and C& B have been excellent and have assured me that they will 'make it right' (i'm assuming this is no matter what culpability LEE assumes....considering they probably sell a ton of LEE upholstered products....i'm very happy i have them standing behind me..they're just as upset as i am (at least they seem to be! they were pretty shocked at the pictures i sent them)

bottom line, i will never buy a LEE upholstered product again...i just don't believe this was some 'one off' event....this company manufactured a piece of shoddy merchandise and sold it through C& B, thankfully C&B is standing by their customer

at any rate, good luck and i hope the sofas you ordered live up to your expectations

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 5:50PM
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I can see your dilemma.... the 3rd party vendor sent the wrong fabric to Lee, so that was their fault, but since the cushions were poorly constructed you did not just want a replacement sofa with the correct fabric--- is that it? Would you mind posting a picture or two on this thread of the problem areas of your sofa? I would like to see what to check for when they are delivered.

Btw, the private label curse works both ways. Some stores say their furniture is better because they have higher standard specs and that is why they private label. They charge far more than someone selling Lee products under their own name. (I was at such a store this weekend.) Others offer the products in a limited range of fabrics and styles and sell them less expensively. When they arrive they have the store name, not the mfg name.... That's what I thought CB was doing.

Btw, our sofas are in the same price range at $4200 each but are still considered "mid range." I'm not about to put an $8k sofa in my basement, for Pete's sake, but I DO want the one I've paid half that for to be well constructed, comfortable, and last a reasonable amount of time. So if you do have pictures.... And thank you for sharing your experiences!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:11PM
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I think the quality of furniture simply isn't what it used to be. We bought 2 custom sofas with an ID this past year and I'm not impressed with either. One was Century and the other Duralee. I've been more impressed with the Cisco Brothers sofas I bought on my own. They have stores her in CA, but sell through other stores nationwide, so I'm lucky to be able to test all their pieces and select exactly what I want. I wish I had stuck with them for the other sofas and not gone with the ID recommendation ... the ID made more money having me buy from the design center.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:12PM
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exactly, kwsl....

my color was a medium gray velvet 'pewter' and the color is more like a deep loden green...i actually tried to talk myself into the color (btw, be sure to note that the fabric companies have a CYA notice on the samples stating that 'fabric colors can vary'.....well, alrighty!! that fixes it! (vvbg).... but the more i looked at the sofa itself, (it already has cushion wrinkles!) i realized that no amount of 're-working' or even a new sofa in a different color would be satisfactory...the cushions are poorly made and there is definitely a design issue with my back essence if you are sitting on the far side of the sofa (as one typically does to be next to the end table) the cushion leans forward on you, and you are always pushing it quite literally is 'in your face' if you have someone on the opposite end of the sofa (yours is 3 cushion, mine is 2, so i doubt this will be as much of an issue for you) i said after just two weeks the cushions are wrinkling and have developed the 'concave' spots where you typically sit....cannot even imagine what it would look like in 6 months....there was a poster here, i believe it was beverly, who even posted a pic of a LEE sofa for one of her clients and she pointed out to me that the cushion quality wasn't the best (but this was after a couple of YEARS so i didn't give it the credence i should have)

i'll consider posting pictures, but i will not do so until the matter is completely resolved to my satisfaction...i plan to meet in person with my sales person and customer service rep at C&B this week

i checked the date of your last posting which was only a few days ago, and that is why i decided to go ahead and respond this way....mostly though because you said you really preferred the tight back sofa, and as i pointed out, thomasville has one, which i have actually seen in person and sat experience with LEE may not be the same as yours....i too preferred a tight back sofa (all of mine have always been constructed thus) but decided to go with the LEE loose back because of the overall design (just like you)

anyway, it took several weeks before my fabric went to LEE for manufacture (it was shipped to C&B then off to LEE) so there was/is plenty of time to put the order on hold should you decide to do so as i doubt the fabric has been sent (although it might have been)

one thing i would suggest is that you go to see the fabric yourself, ask your designer to have it delivered to him....mine was a solid color and definitely 'off' (i took a picture of my sample laid upon my sofa and the color differential is obvious but yes, i guess you could call it 'grey' certainly not the color i anyway, that would at the very least what i would advise anyone getting a custom sofa (live and learn!)

i agree with you, kswl....while a $3500~$4000 sofa isn't 'high end' it is far too much to spend on such mediocre craftsmanship...i have an old sofa i bought from macy's over 20 years the floor, WHITE, and it is STILL in nearly perfect condition...the cushions look better than this brand new LEE...i am NOT joking! way back then, i think i paid $600 for it!

it's very frustrating because obviously stores cannot keep every make and model of sofas (LEE has a LARGE catalog of sofas) so sitting on one is pretty much impossible unless you purchase a stock item....i sat on one of the sofas at C&B that was closest to the model i ultimately selected, and even after having the salesperson get a DIAGRAM of my sofa showing the pitch of the back (which was my biggest concern at the time) i still ended up with an unacceptable product...

btw...LEE has a TERRIBLE website....they don't have side views of their sofas, let alone a 360 degree view! that should have been the 'tell' for hard can it be to make front, back and SIDE views of custom upholstery?

on a more positive note, the thomasville sofa was very pretty and comfortable, and if the LEE is VERY similar, you should be happy with it....looking back i wish i had probably just purchased their floor model!

sorry this is so long...your basement is going to be lovely....very much looking forward to the finished room!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:51PM
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Who makes Duralee's frames, chispa, do you know? I have wondered about that.

With respect to IDs, they do make money on the furniture ordered through them, and that should be in the contract for services you sign before the project commences. We pay ID's cost plus 35%, regardless of where it's ordered. He knows my price tolerance and keeps his choices---- which I have to approve and for which I know the prices in advance---in the zone ;-)

That said, if we bought something through him that proved poor quality I would expect him to go to bat for me and get it replaced. To date, no problems, thank heavens.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Thank you, desert--- will be very interested to see how your situation is resolved. The cushion thing sounds like a fundamental design issue, or perhaps the cushions were made too thick or thin for the design. Either Lee or CB should send out a rep to your house to inspect the sofa. It will be interesting to know what that person has to say.

With respect to color, I am keeping fabric sample until sofas arrive. While it is true that color runs vary, and there is a certain margin or difference I can live with, if the color is substantially "off" to the point that it doesn't coordinate with the rest of the room I would certainly send it back. I know this must be a huge annoyance to deal with, and I'm sorry your purchase turned out like this.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2014 at 7:07PM
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