Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Sofa Saga

It started back in the spring of 2015, when the Ashley sectional sofa we had purchased in 2005 began showing signs of wear.

As in, bolts on one side of the recliner broke, tossing my husband into the floor. We replaced them, but after a few weeks they would shear off again.

The Ashley Sectional Sofa
It was a lovely sofa, and we spent many hours watching TV in the recliner/loveseat. The other part had a sleep-sofa on it. It did not sleep well but we did not use it much. The nephews slept on it a few times and found it so lumpy that they gave us an air bed for Christmas so they'd have something else to use.

I was expecting to get 20 years out the Ashley. Apparently, that is laughable in this day of replacement furniture. The recliners were not power, but required us to use a little force and exertion. After my surgery, I had difficulty getting in and out of the sofa and did not sit on it unless my husband was home.

So in July 2015, we went sofa shopping. We had been looking for a while. Ashley had a similar sectional but also there were literally over a thousand complaints against the company online, and we became a bit skittish about purchasing another sofa from them. Brands can drop in quality over the years and from what we were reading, Ashley seemed to be having issues.

Finally, at Grand Valley View, we ran across a brand of sofas called Southern Motion. It sat well and they had what we wanted - a love seat without the cup holder in the middle. We like to sit without something between us and hold hands while we watch TV. Maybe not the most important feature in a piece of furniture, but it mattered to us.

We didn't look the brand up online and made an impulse purchase, more or less, even though we'd been looking a while. We bought two of the love seats to replace the sectional. We don't entertain much and figured we could make the love seats last a while if we swapped them out once a year.

Two months after a late August delivery, the spring came through the back of one of the love seats.


We called the furniture store and they sent out a repairman. I was not happy with having to have the entire backing of the furniture removed so soon after purchase, but I agreed to the repair. We then sat in the other sofa, the one that hadn't broken.

It broke after two months of use, too, right after the new year. Obviously the furniture style itself was defective. We called Grand, had a chat with the general manager (a very nice man), and he agreed to replace the furniture.

The new furniture finally arrived on March 1.

It stank.

I mean, it smelled like burned rubber tires. Even my husband could smell it and was put off by it, and he can barely smell anything. I was already ill with a cold and whatever was off-gassing from the furniture made me even more ill. My husband could tell my breathing was better every time we went out of the house. I couldn't sit on the furniture and for a week I was trapped in the back part of the house, avoiding the smell, because we have a great room with the kitchen and living room connected. We put out baking soda, activated charcoal, and bowls of white vinegar, and ran two air purifiers in the room. We opened the windows when feasible with the weather.

Finally, my husband brought home a friend and they moved the furniture into the garage.

With the garage door open, I was able to finally inspect the furniture.

I found flaws in the leather in the cushions. It doesn't show up well in the photo, but the leather was thin in two places, and looked as if it would split open about the third time we sat down.

I also noticed that the dye coloring on the leather was uneven. I could have lived with that. But I couldn't live with the thin leather in the cushion and the smell, not for what we paid for this furniture.

So back it went to Grand. I will give Grand much credit, for they have worked with us very well to try to resolve our issues.

Now we had no furniture. We went back to Grand but this time to the Tanglewood store, first, to see if they had anything different on the floor. We knew we would not purchase the same brand.

At Tanglewood, they had this very nice power recliner, but no love seat and sofa. The other store did have the love seat and sofa on the floor where we could see it.

So back to Valley View.

We liked the sofa and the love seat, but they were not power. I could not get the manual recliners to work at all, since I no longer have any abdominal muscles to speak of thanks to my multiple surgeries.

We ordered power furniture. Delivery is 10 to 12 weeks.

That's a long time to sit on the floor, so yesterday I decided to have the power recliner delivered, because they had that in stock. We hadn't planned on buying it but three months of trying to live without furniture when I'm already in pain did not seem like a good idea. I was afraid I'd be a pretzel by the time the love seat and sofa arrived.

One of the morals of the story? Most everything out there that you can purchase today is junk. Expensive junk. If you have your grandmother's sofa, you are better off to refurbish it and have it restuffed or refinished or whatever, if you can find someone to do that and you like the piece. It will last forever but the furniture you buy today will not. I am hoping to get 10 years out of this new furniture, and the sales people told me upfront that would be pushing it. But I have no children jumping around on things, or animals, and no one smokes to put holes in the leather, so maybe we can get the 10 years we want.

Another moral? Do your homework. Southern Motion does not have many complaints listed against it, but there are some. I think that is because it is a fairly new company. Most telling, I think, is the fact that their website doesn't have any contact information listed. They don't even say what state they are in (they're supposed to be a USA company). They have a Facebook page but do not respond to things there (or at least ignored my inquiry). If a company doesn't have a mailing address or other contact information on their Internet information, I think in the future that is not a company with which I will do business, especially for a major purchase.

The other moral? Deal with a reputable, long-standing company. I cannot commend Grand Home Furnishings enough for their customer service. They have been excellent to work with. Of course, I have an empty living room but they have dealt fairly with us as we try to resolve our issues. I feel confident that this time we will get furniture that will hold up and take care of our needs.

And I also feel confident that if for some reason it does not, then Grand will work with us yet again. But I sure hope it doesn't come to that.

I am too old to watch TV from the floor.


  1. Wow you sound like me with probs with computers. Nothing lasts today. I hope you get some comfortable years from this furniture. We bought lazyboy chairs and hassacks 15 years ago and they are still AOK!!! My moms love seat that pulls out into a bed is also still in good shape, it must be 25 years old. I love the pattern. I guess I should thank my lucky stars. Hugs, LJ

  2. You are so right about furniture being junk these days. AND it all costs a fortune. Hope it all goes better for you this time around! xo

  3. Here's you a phone number and Address for Southern Motion:
    Southern Motion  
    Address: 195 Henry Southern, Pontotoc, MS 38863
    Phone:(662) 488-9301

  4. What a saga over very needed furniture!
    We just replaced our blue lazy-boy recliners after 25 years, and I noticed immediately that the new chairs are lighter.


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