Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Sofa: Revisted

I was lucky enough to receive a reader's photos of the coveted Lee sofa (3106) I posted about earlier this week.  

I think it looks positively lovely and it's nice to be able to see some of the detail missing in the retailer's sales photo, which only gives one angle(!!!).  Without the pillows in the corners, you can see how the corners look, how much the arms slope, and how the back is finished over the arms (no visible seam):
In the photo below, the back looks fairly deep (thick) but doesn't look like it slopes too extremely.  I just want a supportive enough back that doesn't feel like I'm leaning back too far.  

Unfortunately this is not a full-on side view.  The sofa measures over 15" deeper in the back than my current sofa, which seems quite thick/deep itself.  I think this back is deceivingly thick and puffy.  Is that good or bad?  I wonder if it's comfortable (the reader didn't say!):
I know the seat will be comfy as I've sat on this fill (Haven) many times, as mentioned.  The back sure looks comfy!  I am glad to see the arms don't splay out too far to the sides, just a little.  It looks like it's saying "come sit on me!".  

Oh, I wish I could...
I am totally on the fence on this decision.  I have never forked over so much money on something I couldn't try.  But I love Lee's design philosophy, their eco-friendly materials philosophy, and their quality.  Mostly, I love the modern, stylish, and varied designs.  

Honestly, I think people make this decision every day when customizing a new home.  They take a leap of faith when they install that shower tile or the counter top with those wood cupboards or that tile floor.  They make many impromptu decisions to keep the ball rolling and it all costs money.  And those are more permanent than a sofa, theoretically.

But I am not the kind to make hasty decisions.  I am a considered, informed, deliberate decision maker.  A slow decision maker.  I am tight with my hard-earned cash and want to love something if I bring it home.

Next I will look at fabrics and share my thoughts on those...and see if I can get off the fence. 

I am eternally annoyed with Calgary furniture shopping.  There is such a crummy selection of quality pieces.  Everything from Lee is available per se, but it is all custom and the decor shops have hardly any pieces.  Everything is catalogue.  How frustrating.   Might be fine for rich ladies who buy a new sofa every two years, but I plan to keep this for a good long while.

What do YOU think?  Ever make a costly decision you regretted? 


  1. hi terri,

    to be honest with you, i'd never buy a sofa that i couldn't sit on first. i spend way too much time on mine for that!


  2. Oh no! You can't try it? I'd have to try it before I spent a cent on it. Is there any way you can find one to try? How far away is your reader? :D

  3. Terri, we have 5 Lee dealers within 15 mile radius of my home. Do you want me to look for the exact 3106 sofa?

    We spent quite a bit of money on a new sofa from a boutique-sofa maker her in the Pacific NW. And it just hasn't worn very well. I would have hoped for better quality for what we spent.

    How can you determine how a sofa will last over the years? What features to look for? I'd love to know.

  4. That's a hard one...it's hard to spend cash without trying it out. I'm a slow decision maker even on cheap things! -lol.

  5. That's a hard one. I think I'd have to sit on it first too. I remember I was so excited to visit the George Smith showroom in LA but to my surprise I found the furniture much harder/stiffer than I expected. Is there some fun city you could go for a weekend getaway that will have this sofa available in a showroom?

  6. Okay, just relax. Get a tear sheet with the dimensions of the dream sofa, from the store, or the internet. What you want to try out is: Seat height, seat depth, and maybe arm height. Both you and your husband have to try these specifications out. Go to the store and find another sofa with the same kind of filling. And the same seat height, like 19 inches. Sit on it, too low, too high? Seat depth is probably more important. This is the inside measurement, from the edge of the seat to the inside of the seat where the back starts rising. If you sit on the sofa, this will be the measurement from the back of your knee to your spine when seated. You are an engineer, right, so you get the picture. Women are smaller than men, so you can use a pillow behind you. The sofa should be comfortable for your husband also, or buy a club chair to fit him. Arm height: So you sit on the sofa, it is fine, but the arms are too high, or way too low to be comfortable, or to read a book. Not for you. Also, do you want to lie down on the sofa? How do the arms feel when you are lying down? Is it too short?

    There is nothing to fear from a custom sofa. Many, many people get them. It will be the best investment you make. In ten years you can even get the shape altered when you get it reupholstered. I have done it. Get the best fabric grade you can afford.
    I would not buy a chair at the same time, especially not one like the sofa, because you a nervous. Try out the Lee sofa first. Be comfortable. Go to other places. Mitchell Gold has great chairs and sofas. Sometimes the right chair just pops up.
    I bought a red chenille Lee sofa for a condo in a ski area in 1998. It was near the lobby, so the bell men were always dropping in and resting on it. I thought it was the prettiest sofa I ever had. We sold that unit at a very nice profit to buy a larger unit. The people that bought it still talk about how nice that red sofa is. Unfortunately, Lee doesn't make that model anymore. So go ahead. Ann

  7. Hi Ann, thanks for your wonderful long comment. If you read my post and the last, I addressed the seat height, arm height, seat depth issue. Yes, I am well aware of understanding the "fit" and have already assessed that this sofa will "fit" us. What I said in my post is that I am concerned with how the BACK feels, like when you lean back. There are no dimensions to describe the SLOPE of the back or its firmness. I am not concerned with the scale of the sofa (measurements) only the comfort of the back as I mentioned.

    Thanks for the comments otherwise. Yes, people do this every day. But $4k is a large mistake if the back is too poofy.

    xo Terri

  8. Try looking at the Montreal Sofa or the Delray sofa, on the www.kincaidfurniture.com website.
    I think we have one of each on the floor you could try. There is also the new Brook sofa that I think is so comfortable and classic design.
    Kincaid is a super interesting company with very well made hardwood frames etc. and you can to do sinus or 8 way hand tided and pick the insides of the seat cushions etc not to mention pick the custom fabrics you want the sofa to be made in and you can totally custom the fabrics and cord or fringe on the pillows .
    Give the north store a call 403-240-1000 and see what they have in stock on the floor.
    If you like something and want me to help, just ask... Regards, Carol Ann

  9. Email Lee Industries, or call them. Tell them you are writing a story for HGTV Canada, which you probably are. Tell them your concerns about the angle (or rake?) of the back. Ask them for a schematic that shows it. Ask them what exactly the fill and tightness of the back is. Are there softness quotients, or bounce quotients? Ask them for a reference from a famous designer, so you can talk to them. Why don't you contact Candace Olson, and Sarah of Sarah's house for their take on this. I don't think a respected firm like Lee would have poufy backs. They would mat down too fast. This would make a fascinating story, of why expensive sofas are worth it, etc. Good Luck. I'll bet they respond in a really positive way. Ann

  10. Oh Terri, I so wish I had your decision making process as opposed to mine!

    Good luck with the sofa. I think its styling is a lovely marriage of modern and traditional (which I'm guessing is why you love it). But I'm with you, it is SO hard to buy a sofa you haven't sat in. But then again, I have commitment issues. :)

  11. That is one great looking sofa. I checked out the website and the only supplier in Boston is Crate & Barrel, which suprised me. I don't think C&B carries this sofa though, from looking at the website. I thought maybe I could try it out for you. My two cents--don't buy a sofa or any other piece of furniture you can't try first. It's just too much of an investment to leave to chance.

  12. Terri,

    I buy stuff all the time I've never sat in but none have been as comfortable as my Lee sofa. LOVE it and ppl comment on how comfy it is all the time.

    bug hug and talk to you soon old man,
    cousin old man ;)