Author Archives: EliteAdmin

In today’s furniture market, You don’t always get what you pay for.

Recently I discovered 2 almost identical looking chairs whose prices were almost $400.00 apart. How can this be? I used to tell my clients that when purchasing furniture, you get what you pay for, unfortunately, this is no longer always the case. While It is still very rare to get an extremely well-made piece of furniture at discount pricing, it is not uncommon to spend a considerable  amount of money for an item of furniture that is not well made at all. Some of the most expensive furnishings manufactured by well-established and trusted names in the industry are coming up short in the quality department. Gone are the days when one could be assured, by brand name alone, that the purchase was an item of exceptional quality. So how will one know if a hard-earned dollar is going toward the purchase of a quality item?

For this article, we will focus solely on dining/kitchen chair construction.  Later articles will focus on additional types of furnishings.

The number one item that plays a factor in a chair frame’s durability is the type and quality of the joinery. A chair is an assembly of multiple pieces. A simple design can have as little as 8 pieces/parts, while a much more complex design can have upwards of 20. The way all those pieces are joined together will have a major outcome regarding the chair’s durability; if it will remain tight and together for decades, or quickly become an unstable wobbly mess.


The most durable, desirable joints are comprised of wood, added for integrity and strength. These joints are glued together and clamped under pressure to ensure a tight and secure fit. 2 widely used examples of this type of joinery are “Mortise and Tenon”, and “Doweled”. For added strength, corner blocks are often glued and screwed to the seat rails.

Corner blocks are added at the greatest stress point. These corner blocks are used to strengthen the seat corners They also prevent dowels from breaking under pressure.


Mortise and Tenon joint with Corner block







Doweled Joint





Inferior chairs usually come in the form of KD “Knock Down”. These chairs are generally shipped to the retailer in a flat box and assembled before delivery.  Knock Down chairs rarely, if ever, contain any type of substantial wood joinery. The parts are usually held together with some type of mechanical fasteners such as bolts, screws or Cam locks. They are manufactured to be assembled quickly, therefore, there are no glue joints or clamping. Due to the absence of wood on wood joinery and glue, this construction lends itself to a less stable frame, that with regular use will loosen and become wobbly in a short time. It is not uncommon to find chairs that are $200.00 and up constructed in this manner. It is very likely that this subgrade chair will start to fall apart in less than a year’s time.



                      Some examples of hardware used in cheaply made, inexpensive furniture.             


So, how do you know if you are getting a well-made chair?

First, ask the retailer if the chair is assembled at the point of manufacturer or shipped un-assembled. Unless the chair is going to be used infrequently I strongly suggest never buying a “KD” chair.

Ask what type of joinery is used in the chair’s construction and if corner block is used for re-enforcement? If so, are they glued and screwed, or stapled? I strongly suggest staying away from the latter if possible.

Flip the chair over. Are the bottom rungs or stretchers screwed into the legs? If so, this is a clue that points to cutting corners during assembly, that the chair joinery may not have been glued and clamped when assembled.

Finally, what kind of warranty is provided?   I cannot stress this enough; warranty speaks volumes to the quality and faith in the longevity of the product. If the manufacturer or store is unwilling to back their product for an extended period, Chances are it will not stand the test of time.




Furniture trends 2017- as we see it

cerused finishbarcart il_570xN.1065481725_ddh7Cerused wood finishes:
We have seen this trend for a bit with some higher end pieces. 2017 will be the year that we see it trickle down and become more universally accepted.





Bar Carts:
Bar Carts Are Back. in 2016 we restored several vintage bar carts for our clientele. Couple this information with Bar cart pins on pinterest trending up 40% in the last 6 months along with the Bar carts being one of Crate and Barrel and west Elms biggest sellers.





A prominent color in 2016 interiors and it will continue to reign in 2017. Gray compliments many shades from deep bold red to muted ivory. We expect to see different tones of gray, and grays in deeper colors.





hand tied

We are starting to see buyers remorse from our clientele who have purchased cheap poorly constructed furniture that is not holding up along with turning unsightly in a short amount of time. We see the focus going back to quality instead of quantity, and having a more conscientious approach to consumerism.






Customization allows for the chance for the client and the maker to collaborate i
n the final stages of the design process. No longer do you need to incorporate a mass produced product or style into your space when you can customize a unique piece for your personal style or space. Our clientele craves originality, personalization.





This is a feature that more and more of our clients have been requesting lately and we don’t predict the demand for this classic accent diminishing anytime soon




Greens, from lime to dark emerald, jewel tones, Terracotta. Fabric books containing these colors have been the most checked out of our sample library and the fabric colors interior designers have begun requesting the most. Working with Jewel tones is a tricky proposition but when done right the results are truly striking.

Take a seat.

A frustrated client walks into our shop with a misshapen sofa cushion in tow. The cushion is less than a few years old, no longer has the ability to spring back into shape, or bear the weight of those who sit on the sofa. The problem is substandard foam.

So, how is one to know that the quality of foam is sufficient? In the past this problem seemed to only exist for those who bought inexpensive, imported upholstered goods, but more and more we are starting to see it creep into the mid and upper mid priced line pieces as well. All foams are not created equal. Cheaper foams, used for packaging, do not need to be as durable as those in upholstered furniture. The constant compression on a sofa seat will show quickly in the form of an uneven and uncomfortable seating surface when inferior foam is used.

There is simply no way to tell by appearance, or feel, if the foam is adequate. Three cushions could be placed side-by-side with the same dimensions, appearance, feel, and firmness, each having a distinctly different level of quality. So, how can you tell if what you’re getting is quality foam that will hold up to daily use or something less desirable?

Foam is basically made of two things; the physical performance material you can see and feel, and the pockets of air within the material. The greater the weight and density, equals the more performance material within the cushion. Ask the retailer for the foam’s Density Value. All foam is designated by its Density Value. The Value is derived by taking the weight of one cubic foot block of foam. The higher the Density Value, the more performance based material resides within the cushion. A good quality entry level Chair or sofa seat cushion should have no less than a 1.8 Density rating.

So what steps can the consumer take to ensure they are getting quality long lasting foam. First and foremost ask about the warranty. Manufacturers who use inferior materials in their pieces know that the seating area will be the first thing to show wear and break down. Therefore they will only offer a 1 year guarantee on foam. This is the first sign to keep shopping. I can almost guarantee you that shortly after the first year the foam will stop springing back to form.

Second, try and avoid purchasing a sofa with fixed cushions that can not be reversed. Even quality foam should be rotated and flipped on a consistent basis. Switch out the cushion that gets the most use with those that get the least. This will also prolong the life of your fabric and help it show less wear throughout the years.

Lastly, If you have been unfortunate enough to already purchase a sofa with poor quality foam consult with a knowledgeable upholstery shop, It is often cost effective to replace with new high resiliency foam. A good shop will Guarantee the foam they are selling you and be able to offer you multiple density options to fit just about any budget.