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Any instance where a manufacturer puts a bed unit inside of a sofa frame, it is the actual folded mechanism and mattress providing the physical seating surface and support upon which cushions will be placed and people will ultimately sit. The mechanism, baring most of this burden, makes it the most highly abused sofa bed component. Currently there are no mass produced mechanisms offered for sale that meet our high quality standards thus inspiring us to fabricate our own standard, the STEELWEAVE™ mechanism, the standard by which all other sofa beds are measured. A standard in which form and function are never compromised. A good rule of thumb is, the heavier the better. The more steel, the better the mechanism. Especially under the mattress. For a sofa bed designed for every day use always make sure it’s an all steel, chain-link mechanism.
The quality of a convertible mattress is not determined by how thick it is. It is determined by what it is filled with and how it is held together. The number and gauge of its coils, the content and density of its padding, all add up to comfort and longevity. The best test for a mattress is to lie on it with another person for at least 15 minutes.
Carlyle sofa frames are constructed to house the STEELWEAVE™ mechanism. It is very simple. the mechanism is very heavy, about 85 lbs, and let us assume that two average 180 lb. adults, will be sitting or sleeping on the sofa bed at any given time. That amounts to a minimum of about 445 lbs of weight the frame will have to sustain through out it’s life time. No plywood, pressed wood, particle board frame or soft /hardwood frames, can sustain that type of weight for too long without warping, cracking, bending, or breaking. Carlyle frames, like our mechanism must be built to far exceed any industry standards. All frames are of hard wood,kiln dried, double doweled, glued, corner blocked and bolted. Frames not made of these features have a tendency to warp with use. Every frame is also smoothed of burrs and sharp edges to prevent any excessive internal fabric wear.
The entire frame should be well padded and fully webbed; inside and outside arms, inside and outside backs. This can be determined by giving a solid whack to the portion being tested. Loose fabric means little or no padding and/or insufficient webbing.
Legs should be sturdy enough to support the entire sofa. Ideally they should be part of the frame. Beware of plastic legs that screw into the frame. We only use them in transport, to keep the frame off the ground - it is all they are good for.
Tailoring begins with the cutting of the fabric, proceeds to the sewing and on to the application of the upholstery. All prints and stripes should match and all welting should be cut on a bias - across the pattern. All seams should be overlocked and all skirts should be constructed with an underskirt and a liner. This takes more fabric, but tremendously adds to the strength and over all appearance of the finished product.
The quality of the cushions determine comfort, durability, and the retention of shape. Cushions from the least costly to the most expensive are available in varying degrees of quality and construction. The cheapest ‘foam’ cushion available is polyurethane. The most costly is Poly-Dacron. The quality and comfort level of these cushions are determined by the density of the poly-urethane, the quality of the Dacron and the proportionate combination of the two. Any quality manufacturer should be able to offer varying densities of “poly core”, as well as a “spring and Dacron” constructed cushions. Any decent down and feather cushion should also be covered in muslin, particularly when the contents are ‘down and feather’ filled. In accordance with the law, it’s contents should be proudly displayed on the cushion itself, by form of a Law Tag. If it is not present one should question the credibility of the entire piece. Carlyle offers any percentage/combination of ‘down and feather’, as well as ‘down and feather’ wrapped products; such as, spring and down, and foam and down. Altogether we offer over 40 cushion arrangements for the most discerning client. Every Carlyle cushion is handcrafted and custom tailored to the finished piece. Notice the amount of detail given to a single “spring and down” seat cushion. The only cushion we refuse to distribute is “blend/down”. We are convinced that mixing foam and down, as in a blender, does nothing for the foam or the down, but cheapens both. Carlyle truly understands and is 100% committed to the subjective nature of comfort. In response to vast individual tastes combined with a completely hand-made product, each piece bares our Unconditional 30 Day Comfort Guarantee*.
Any quality custom manufacturer should be able to offer 8-way hand tied spring construction in the seat, arms and back of the sofa. As a quality and cost-effective alternative a well made “drop-in” spring unit can be employed. Under no circumstances is a “zigzag” unit used in any of our spring work, stationary sofa or otherwise. Units of this type do not even use conventional springs but rather inexpensive tension wire and are traditionally used for recliner and promotionally priced motion furniture.
We choose our stock fabrics very carefully. From the basic staples to the fashion forward, our fabric line is well suited for upholstery. C.O.M (customers own material) is common and welcome. Very special care is taken whether a clients supplied fabric is worth $5per yard or $500 per yard. C.O.M clients are always encouraged to ask their textile vendors questions like - Should the fabric be “backed”? Should it and could it be applied “railroaded”? Is the fabric suitable for upholstery and how much additional fabric will be needed for a proper pattern match?
A natural indicator for the level of any quality-custom product is the number of choices available to any given frame. Frame alterations, tailoring details, cushion options, spring-work options, bed sizes, sectionals, contrast-welt, base finishes, c.o.m’s, loveseats, chairs and ottomans are just to name a few. Any piece can be finished with a muslin underdressed* prior to final fabric application, whereupon it is inspected and if need be altered.
Time of delivery should be determined before an actual purchase pending fabric availability. If pressed, Carlyle can produce a custom made piece in as little as ten days. Difficult deliveries can be made by dis-assembly in the factory and re-assembly in the home. At Carlyle, if we can not deliver it, we own it.
Should be timely and effective. Dealing with a showroom whose manufacturing facility is local, ensures this. Remember, service can be no better than the product purchased.
Quite simply, you get what you pay for. There are no miracles or secrets. Any reputable product should be clearly identified, described and priced with a well informed courteous salesperson. Most importantly, do not be fooled by any imitations.