Thursday, February 21, 2013

England Furniture - Review

Hi all!  Thought I'd tack on a review of our experience with the manufacturer of our couch & chair, England furniture (American-made!  Located in Tennessee), including their warranty.

So far we are extremely pleased with the company.  Their website says they can make your furniture in as little as 21 days and ship using their own line of trucks, and that "We pride ourselves on being on time, every time. In our fiscal year (ended April 2010), we delivered 98.5% of our orders on time. We did this during one of the worst winters in recent history"....and I now believe that!  We submitted our order at the furniture store on a Friday night, January 18th, and they delivered our sofa and chair in our home on February 19th!  That's amazing!

The workmanship, as you can see from their detailed assembly explanation here, and our couch pictures in this post, is quality stuff.  I'm also fond of details like the exposed wooden legs not being just straight pegs like you see with many couches - it adds so much character.

I especially am glad that you can flip the cushions on the couch and chair.  Word to the wise who may be couch-searching at this moment: look under the seat cushions in the showrooms you go to.  Many furniture makers are cutting corners by covering the hidden side with a lesser-quality, non-matching fabric.  Flipping greatly helps further the life of your cushions.

We've also been able to already test their warranty, lol.  It was snowing the day our furniture arrived.  I noticed that there was a smudge on the center couch cushion, and when I asked the mover about it, he said it was likely from the snow and would be gone when it dried, but to call the store if it didn't.

The spot was not as noticeable after it dried, but was still there, so I quickly called the store (which we're also really really happy with - if you know us on facebook and are in the market for furniture, we'd be glad to tell you the name of the company.  For security we'd rather not share it outside of friends/family - thanks for understanding) and the lady gave me her email so I could send some pictures of the spot, and she promptly sent them to England.

As for the discoloration, truly, it's such a faint spot that I would have made-do if they hadn't approved our claim, so when the lady called me today (that was fast!) to say that England was shipping us the replacement fabric for the cushion, I was this:

I read so many disappointed and angry customer reviews who paid hundreds for special warranties in addition to what they paid for their furniture on many other brands who did not follow through with their warranty, had bad customer service, shoddy workmanship, etc, when we were researching sofas.  So I am beyond thrilled at the no-hassle, quick follow-through service we're experiencing!  Guess what else - it didn't cost us a dime extra for their warranty - it comes standard.  10 year cushion warranty, 5 year warranty on mechanisms, springs, legs, and casters, lifetime frame warranty.

My faith in humanity has been slightly buoyed to find that companies that really do care about their customers still exist!!  I highly recommend England!!

What we learned from our couch-seeking & buying experience:

1) You really do get what you pay for with sofas.  If you're looking for furniture that will last you 15-20 years, go for higher quality.  It will pay itself back seven-fold.

2) Get feedback from friends/family on furniture stores they personally have had a good experience with.  Same goes for when looking into furniture brands.

3) Don't be afraid to (respectfully) approach a company that isn't following through with their promise to you.

We may have earned a couple of gray hairs of wisdom from this whole experience since we started sofa-shopping, but it's been worth it.  What's life without a learning experience, right?  ;)  Thanks to everyone who offered their advice and cheerfully brought their own camp chairs to our home these last few months - you all deserve medals!

P.S. - If you liked this post, make sure to check out my guide for 9 Ideas for Decorating a Blank Wall Behind Your Sofa.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Promised Land! (Sofa!)

...and there was much rejoicing!!!!!  Amidst a snow squall, our furniture arrived this morning, an hour earlier than expected.  I was in our laundry room when it arrived - I happened to look outside and saw a huge truck backing up towards the room.  I flew out of there to greet them with a huge grin, lemme tell ya!

This is a post where pictures speak louder than words, so without further ado.....!

The "before" with our lawn furniture (and dining chair) that served us for 5 months in our time of wandering the wilderness:

Exhibit C: A Karl:

Eve of the sofa and chair's arrival, the empty living room:

And now!

We're so grateful to have nice cozy furniture again.  I love how this couch & chair set is exactly to the "T" what we were looking for (nail-head trim and all!), and a much better quality than the first one we had ordered.  It was a blessing in disguise that our initial couch deal turned sour.  We're both very pleased with the workmanship of the pieces (England - american made!) - we'll see how they stand the test of time!

First major purchase - check!  A big step towards starting to make the living room we envisioned! *does a little dance*

What do y'all think - should we have a "couch" party now that we can have y'all over without the BYOC advice?  ;-P

Friday, February 15, 2013

Obligatory V-day Post

Karl knows I would love to have a cat again, and I like flowers.  We can't have a cat where we're living right now, so he got me this humorous book for when we do, and lovely flowers (that were actually not from walmart!  he's learning, hehe).
I went back 10 yrs into some saved AIM chats we had before we were dating, and found the convo in which he asked me out on our first date to go see Pixar's The Incredibles.  I framed it and it's displayed on his side of our office.  :)   Now, b/c we're doing v-day today (rebels, we are), we're off to see Argo and then dinner.  :-D
Love ya, Kar-man.   Happy v-day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Light at the End of the Tunnel!

I'll get to the reason for this post's title in a bit, but first...rock-climbing!

To beat off the winter boredom, I and a couple of gals banded together to go rock-climbing this past weekend.  Not my first time climbing, but first time belaying and learning to strap myself in for climbing.  I had trouble with belaying - I felt like a blond trying to get the procedure down.  The poor guy instructing us, Rich, had to patiently explain it to me several times while a 13-ish-yr-old girl near us causally belayed for her friend like she'd done it all her life.  But I was feeling good about tying the knots for myself to climb before the end of the night, so I did learn something.

view from 35 ft up.  and yes, doesn't everyone climb with a camera...?

I love that it's a workout not only for your arms but also your brain as you try to figure out how best to navigate yourself up the wall.  Keeping things fun and interesting is my kind of exercise!

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday night, right?

So what else has been going on?  Well, glad you asked, my savvy friend, you.  I've been bad at getting around to telling this, but I've been working a good book-keeping job since this past Fall.  Karl started a new job at the end of last year as well that puts us close to the income we were before being jobless.  For the first time in nearly a year, we have an income again.  Big praises, right?!  Better yet, my job still allows me the flexibility to work film stuff into the side.  As a result, I've recently been hired on as the Production Coordinator for a feature film shooting this spring, so I'll be starting posts about that project pretty soon!  Exciting!

Last but not least, to enlighten y'all about the title of this entry.  But first, make a guess.

No really, guess.

Hint: it's something to do with furniture - begins with "c" and ends with "ouch".

You get me?

Then get ready to jump up and down with me!

News came our way yesterday that our couch & chair set are due to arrive either by the end of this week or the beginning of next!!!!   WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  That means that we'll have a couch by the end of next week at the latest!!!  It's been FIVE MONTHS since we've had a lick of furniture in the living room, and let me tell ya, we've "survived", but man will it be wonderful to have real furniture again!  Now we can have people over without adding "BYOC" (Bring your own chair).  No seriously, we really did that.  Check it here.  lol.

Lots keeping us busy through this winter!  Very blessed.  I think I'm gonna be catching myself breaking into goofy grins for the next few days every time I think about our couch arriving soon....hehe - Until then, ciao!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Design Dilemma - Living Room (Revisited)

As promised, today we're revisiting the living room with a new mood board that I've been creating over time as we've twiddled our thumbs, waiting for the holy grail our sofa to arrive.  First, to spark your memory, here's the initial mood board for the living room that Karl and I came up with to mesh our furniture/decorating tastes back in October (original entry here):

You can see in the first mood board how we had a lot of neutral tones, and a few accessories that had blue, brown, gray (and very small hints of red, green, and yellow).

Now nearly 5 months later, we've had time to move on from this neutral "playing it safe" room, and get a little more adventuresome with colors.

As I was looking through pictures on pinterest of living rooms again one day, I started to see a pattern with the colors of the rooms I was pinning.  Earthy colors of reds, golds, and blues were dominating.  Karl liked the rooms as well when I showed them to him, so I began to drum up ideas for ways to improve our living room idea.  Here's some of my pinterest examples of the Living Rooms that got thumbs up from the both of us:

Karl, though he doesn't like the style of the furniture in this one (above) as we found when we were creating our first mood board, he does like the colors

So in phase #2, we've kept much of the aesthetics of what we were originally aiming for in the first mood board: earthy colors, natural textiles like wood and woven fibers, a bit of steampunk snuck in, and an overall cozy feeling.  But now we have much more color, and are pretty pleased with our daring selves.  May I present, Living Room oh-so-much-better mood board #2! :

I'll spare y'all and not go into as much detail about each of the items in this one as I did the first, but I will say that the rug is definitely what we're using as the focal point.  Also, the rug on this board has more red in it than we're looking for - if we can find one with more navy blue in it, that'd be perfect.

The wood slatted shutters behind the sofa are an idea we're toying with - we'll see if we can't find something like them, or perhaps even make?

Steel bluish-gray curtains to neutralize the other colors in the room, rustic wood furniture, some greens from plants, and bits of blue thrown in with the decor for a companion to the red....we're excited!  What do you guys think?  Any suggestions?

[Edit: see our 2014 home tour here]

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Treasure Hunting

I'm still cementing my post about an updated look for our living room, but in the meantime I've been stumbling upon some pretty neat items.

The other weekend I was in a consignment store to check out their furniture and paintings for sale.  I found one I liked of an old 1800's naval ship, but they wanted $60 for it (a lot of their things were too over-priced for my budget).  So I went to a nearby thrift store and this mini painting (below) caught my eye.  I don't usually get drawn towards city-scapes, but this one just captured me and wouldn't let go (I even went around the store again to give it some thought before coming back to snatch it).  At a pricetag of $2, I was excited to walk away with this find!

I replaced the original ugly gold frame it came in for a white frame from the Christmas Tree Shop ($7).  Now it sits on the wall keeping Leo company.

filling up the blank wall bit by bit!

Speaking of Leo, I was so excited this past week in another store when lo and behold, a small statue of a lion sat on a shelf next to Buddha and an elephant.  My wallet is now $6 lighter and he sits on the temporary hall table.  I have plans of painting him....leaning towards a white top-coat with a worn gray underneath (gold just doesn't suit my taste).

In other news, this is the month our couch is to be delivered!  :-D

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