Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Sofa that Wasn't

As mentioned in several posts, I've been coveting this Lee Industries sofa and was all lined up to buy it. But I was a little concerned about the seat depth (24"). It's 2" deeper than my current sofa, which fits my 5'5" build perfectly. I don't mind curling up on a sofa, but for a living room sofa, this piece needs to accommodate various people who will want to sit "normally"(feet on the floor). Since no one in the Pacific northwest (or western Canada) seems to carry this sofa, I was unsure how to proceed. I finally contacted a shop who contacted their Lee representative for me. She confirmed my fears. She said this is a "perching" sofa or a "curling up" sofa (unless you are tall). To sit normally (feet on the ground), you need to put a pillow behind you. She got me this great side photo from the production floor:
Why can't Lee put side profile photos on their website?

The sofa is beautiful, without a doubt. But the seat is too deep. Someone my height or shorter cannot sit normally without a pillow behind them. The back also has a significant rake, making the piece very deep (41"). I cannot ascertain whether the pitch of the back would be comfortable or would it pitch you backwards? Our current sofa, though not gorgeous, is SO comfortable, so I'm comparing everything to it in terms of dimensions and angles. Yes, I am an engineer too! The Lee sofa has a significantly more sloped back than our current piece, which is a bit more upright and supportive for my miserable back. I sit A LOT on the sofa to read and listen to music in the evenings and weekends, so it must be comfortable and supportive.

The Lee rep said the sofa is "very elegant", but you "need a pillow behind you". I think that sounds annoying. I can handle a deep seat in a TV room, but not in a proper living room where guests want to sit normally.

So until we can test this sofa, it isn't coming home with us! Comfort is king in our house. I want elegant and stylish but it must be comfortable and normal for this much money.

So sadly the new furniture is on hold. I'm a little dejected as I spent so much time on this and already had my perfect linen chosen for the sofa and chair. But I want to get this furniture right so I'm glad I was persistent in getting more information.

So, I started looking for something else.

I found this little beauty at a local shop:
The manufacturer is not as reputable as Lee and the fabrics are awful, but I can always do custom for a zillion dollars more. The other problem with this piece is that it's small - a small sofa or large loveseat, at only 71" long. My current sofa is 86" long and the Lee sofa is 78" long (apartment size). Darnit. The universe is conspiring against me!

This little sofa sits very prettily in the room and has nice proportions. It is very comfortable and I love the nestling comfort of the back, although it does not have the good "reading arm" I've been wanting.
It actually would fit the scale of our small living room, but isn't as accommodating as a larger piece that can easily hold three.

I love the side and rear views:
I'm thinking of bringing this piece home on approval to test for scale in our room. I do think this size would feel very nice in our small living room, together with a similar chair and my existing two chairs.

So now I'm waiting again...for a new sofa crush.


  1. oh! when I saw your post title, my heart sank a little. I know how long and hard you have been looking. but I agree with your assessment. it's a beauty, but in the end you and your guests want to be comfortable.

    best wishes, I like your alternative...

    wonderful weekend to you! donna

  2. I always tell you that I so appreciate your attention to detail and am trying to learn. All too often, I have purchased items on a whim. I'm so glad that you won't have that Lee sofa because it does not fit your requirements. That simple. Case closed.

  3. maybe the universe is not working against you...hmmm. just a thought.

    happy fall to you terri.


  4. So sorry it didn't work out but so glad that you found out before you ordered it! When we were looking for sofas, I was amazed at how often the piece we loved the most could only be viewed in the catalogue.
    I'm sure you'll find another sofa crush and when you do, it will be exactly what you're looking for.

  5. I'm sorry it didn't work out Terri. And after looking at your image of the Lee 3106 profile, I can see how different it is from C&B's Azure sofa.

    And to riff on Gardener's Cottage - I agree - the Universe is telling you that something better will come along.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help,

  6. Hi Terri - Sorry to hear about the sofa. I think I've heard everything now since the rep referred to it as a "perching" sofa, as if it were for birds. Really. These furniture companies take themselves so seriously. Anyway, as others have said, you will find something better, but it is frustrating when you know what you want and can't seem to find it easily. Have a great weekend.

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  8. i like them both, but i like a deep sofa - that's what lumbar pillows are great for. maybe you should reconsider it?

  9. i love the tufted sofa, stunning.

  10. I agree with Joni, a tight back sofa is usually deeper because then you adjust the toss cushions so that you're comfortable. The only thing I would change about my new tight back is the back itself should be 25 inches high (not 21 which is what it is now) then you sit down and your head rests perfectly on the back of it.

    Anyway, I love your first choice, you might not be happy unless you get it. Just have it made at a local sofa makers.

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents!

  11. Oh no....but I LOVE the alternative. Tufting is my favourite and I have always wanted a Chesterfield. Maybe you need to actually try a sofa that is as deep as the original one you wanted and try the cushions with, lumbars etc. They are SO comfy!
    Ness xx

  12. Found your blog through A Perfect Gray! I do love that Lee sofa, but I myself do not like a pitch like that unless it is for a den where there will be a lot of TV watching. Especially if the TV is over the mantel. It makes it easy to lean back. That just made me think that maybe they are making them like that because so many people are placing their TV's so high? Anyway, love the second selection also.....very classic.

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