Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sorry For The Lateness. Check Out Our Good Friend's Sofa Quandry. Status: What To Do?

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Our good friends have recently acquired a vintage (Mid Century Modest - thanks Pam, for coining the term!) sofa from their Grandparents.  The bad news: the sofa went through a house fire and it's suffused of smoke aromatics and such.

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First let's all give a big "thank you" to Jet the kitty for modeling on the sofa for our amusement!

He fat little bundle of "hamming it up for the camera" and apparently thinks the sofa is fine the

way it is.  He was all over it like white on rice.  Our friends, however, are not so enthusiastic.

Even though the sofa has been professionally cleaned, they can still smell the smoke from the

fire.  They plan on having it cleaned again and I can see a little discoloration after being shown

it so it might help.

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But...then they are also considering having the whole sofa re-upholstered.  Other than the smokey

smell, the upholstery isn't damaged and is in good shape.  The cushions are firm, yet soft...just as

they should be.  It's a good solid sofa and has decades of life left in it.  I've never had a sofa re-

upholstered but I've read on various other blog that it can be prohibitively expensive.

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This sofa looks like it might not be at the top of the price guide since the arms aren't upholstered,

I'm still guessing that it might be between $400 and $700 to have done.  Has anyone ever had a

sofa done?  How much did you spend?  Where you surprised at the estimate?  Please share any

stories you've got, good or bad, from having a piece of furniture either re-upholstered or just

gotten an estimate on.


  1. I believe you and your friends are onto another "thing". First Slavic Modern, now Mid Century Modest. Nice!

    -Your Friendly Nieghborhood Upholsterer

    1. Sorry about the big empty space above. I decided to delete my big upholstery dissertation and didn't realize I left my sign-off at the bottom. Your estimate of labor cost is right in the ballpark. $150- $300 for new padding/cushions, plus 12 yards of cool, inexpensive fabric puts the bottom dollar around $600.

    2. Hi Y.F.N.U. Thanks for the good info. Funny thing is, I only just now figured out what you were talking about in your second comment (empty space wise) because I read both as e-mails on my phone and I guess all those blank lines weren't apparent in the first e-mail. Now that I've had a chance to take a look here I finally understand!

  2. I had quotes range from 700-1200, if it had been a really collectible piece I think I would have gone for it but being a run of the mill couch I passed. The smell will leach out for a long time but you could try repeated powdering's of Arm & Hammer baking powder all over and letting it sit overnight each time with a good vacuum in between, or replace the foam in the cushions at least.

    1. Hi David. We knew what you meant. Thanks for the tips and quote info.

  3. I just received a quote for my couch of 750.00. I thought it was a fair price, my couch would be more work since it is all fabric than this one, but I would expect it to be around that. There is probably someone in the area that could give them a quote via email just using pictures and measurements (what i did). It would also give them an idea on the yards of fabric required as well. If they want to start looking.

    1. Hi Beccalina. You know...$750 sounds like a lot of money to me at first...but then, if I knew I was going to keep the sofa / couch (I prefer sofa but I don't really know if there is a difference) for a very long time, then that's not too bad. Plus, I'd get to pick out the fabric and pattern (I'm a guy...really, I swear!).

  4. If the upholstery has a smoky smell, I would imagine that the cushions would too.

    If they are really in love with this couch and are willing to do a last ditch effort to save it, consider removing the covers from the cushions and washing them turned inside out. Then air dry. (I have a newer Henredon couch that my dog loves to nap on and stink up. I am too cheap to buy a new couch or get the upholstery professionally cleaned, so I took a chance and washed all removable upholstery pieces. It worked out great!)

    Do the same with the padding, but by hand. As far as the non-removable parts of upholstery and padding, air them out and try baking soda.

    Also, have they checked with a restoration company?

    Best of luck to them, let us know how it goes.

    1. Hi Rachael. Thanks so much for the tips and ideas. They have had the sofa professionally cleaned but after having it pointed out, I can see were it is still a little "brown" in some areas and if I get right up on it I can smell the smoke. I think they are going to try one more cleaning before deciding on the next step.

  5. Since my dogs like my vintage sofa and they leave odors behind, I mixed baking soda with eucalyptus oil (mix it up well) and sprinkled it onto the cushions and let it sit for a couple days. Odor was gone and surprisingly the eucalyptus scent did not remain.

    I've also put pieces out in the sun for a few days, it works for musty smells, maybe for smoke it will, too?

    Here in CT I received a quote of $500 for reupholstering a similar sofa (it's 93") but with a little more curves in the cushions and 3 back panels instead of one long one like this one. Plus the back is fabric. I purchased the material myself at a discount fabric store which saved me a lot of money. The cost of foam for the cushions took up about half that cost. I'd shop around for the best price. The women that gave me the quote works for herself, does excellent work, and works out of her home, which I'm going to assume helps keep the price down. And she was recommended -- I always suggest getting references.