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The oversized leather sectional that we had in our previous home was too large for the Underdog’s family room.

Technically, it would have fit but it would have taken up nearly all of the floor space in the downsized space and engulfed our future family room. So, we decided to sell it and put the money towards a more appropriately sized version for the Underdog.

Since Handy Hubby liked the previous sectional so much, he had a few stipulations for our next sofa.

  • No loose back cushions. The leather sectional we’d owned before had attached back pillows and HH really liked not having to adjust them every time he sat down and got up. From a design standpoint, I liked this characteristic as well. Loose back cushions can start to look frumpy or lumpy over time. This meant we were on the hunt for either a couch with attached back cushions or a tight back.
  • No microfiber. HH doesn’t particularly like the feel or texture of microfiber. I was okay with this requirement too since microfiber tends to look differently if the fibers are pushed one way or the other. I.e., you get the famous butt print effect after someone gets up from sitting. Not that I haven’t seen some good microfiber pieces out there – I have – but if HH didn’t want it, then I was willing to toss it out of the search.
  • Kid-friendly. We have kids – two boys ages 6 and 3. And a baby on the way. The sofa will serve as main seating in the family room, so it has to hold up to bouncy, rowdy kids. And even though we don’t allow food or drinks {except for water and the occasional bowl of popcorn} outside the kitchen/dining area, upholstery fabric had to be durable and easy to clean. That meant we were looking at either leather {like we’d had before}, faux leather or slipcovered pieces. Microfiber would have fit the kid-friendly bill but, again, neither of us really wanted it.
  • Long-term investment. HH and I were both willing to spend a little more moolah on a quality piece that would stand the test of time as opposed to shelling out hundreds of dollars only to replace a couch of lesser quality in a few short years. This is not our stand on every piece of furniture. But for a sofa that would see regular daily use and be somewhat of a centerpiece for the great room, we felt this would be a good ‘splurge’ item. $2,000 was the max limit we felt comfortable spending. {Again, it helped that we were selling a bunch of the furniture from our previous home to invest in fewer, higher quality items for the Underdog.}
  • Comfortable. Not too soft that we’d sink while watching TV. Not too firm that we couldn’t lounge or nap. Not too shallow that we couldn’t curl up with a book and our kiddos. Not too deep that we’d have to install one of those lift mechanisms just to get up from a sitting position.

Our future couch had to meet a few requirements to say the least. Maybe one other requirement for me was that it have a good aesthetic. Naturally. I didn’t want an expensive, comfy, kid-friendly, non-microfiber sofa with a tight back that stood out like the black sheep of the Underdog! I wasn’t exactly sure what specific aesthetic I was looking for but I knew I wanted something with clean lines and not too high of a back since I planned on floating the sofa in the middle of the family room, facing the fireplace.

So, the search was on.

On a trip to IKEA over the summer {before we’d even sold our previous sectional}, we stumbled upon the Klippan four-seater sofa. It was comfy and slipcovered with straight lines and a low tight back. It wasn’t microfiber and while it would have been kid-friendly with its removable, washable slipcover, I started to wonder if the low, low price tag {less than $500} wasn’t an indication of its long-term durability. Still, I envisioned it with a linen-like custom slipcover and kept that idea on the back burner for a while.

I didn’t get a chance to try it out because once we sold our sectional, the Klippan four-seater had already been discontinued. Boo. I even called the nearest IKEA store to make sure they didn’t have any stragglers sitting in stock but they were completely out. The loveseat version was {and is} still available but it was smaller than what we were needing. I took it as a sign. A sign to move on.

What I moved onto was Crate & Barrel’s Aris sofa.

 

Again, it had nice lines, a non-microfiber slipcover, tight back and down cushions that screamed ‘comfy!’ The only things that had me questioning ‘Is it the one?’ were the slightly curved back and dry-clean only hemp slipcover. At $1,600, it wasn’t cheap and if I couldn’t throw the cover into the wash every time one of the kids accidentally marked it up then it didn’t sound perfect. So, I decided it wasn’t. Good thing, too. Because it turned up discontinued right when I decided it wasn’t for us.

I was slowly discovering that whatever ‘perfect’ sofa came along, I’d jump at buying it after watching the two above be discontinued. I was starting to think all the good ones were gone. I scoured Craigslist for vintage sofas with modern lines that could be reupholstered…to no avail. I hit up consignment stores and outlets all around the area…to no avail.

That’s when I discovered this bad boy.

He’s leather with straight lines and attached back cushions. He’s much like the sectional we had previously with three notably different qualities:

1) He’s not an oversized sectional. This 90″ long sofa is big enough to fit our entire family but modest enough to fit our downsized family room. I taped out his footprint onto the family room floor for good measure. Literally.

2) His back is lower. While the high back of our previous sectional was helpful in delineating the family room from the adjacent open dining area, it would have been too high for the Underdog’s much smaller space.

3) He’s not chocolate brown. This cognac-like sofa is a bit lighter on the eyes than our darker sectional. The color makes me think of saddles and boots.

I immediately showed him to HH who approved whole-heartedly and was a bit surprised by my masculine choice. As much as I adore slipcovered pieces {they’re so airy and cottage-y, aren’t they?}, I really did like how easy it was to keep our last leather sectional clean and how durable it was. Seriously, after 3.5 years of kids jumping on it, it looked exactly like it did the day we originally bought it. Not a tear or stain to be found. I knew this top grain sofa would stand the test of time as well.

I stalked him for a while until he popped up with a free shipping special. I called and talked to a salesperson and was able to get him for $1,800 flat – shipping and taxes included – which was about $200 off the listed price. Not exactly cheap by any means but he was within our budget and I was already picturing him in the Underdog, so I knew this was ‘the one.’

He was delivered to the Underdog last week. HH was away on business, so I had the delivery guys shove him {completely boxed and packaged} into the crowded garage. I haven’t even had a chance to open him up yet. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. I hope he’s as sexy and rich as I imagine him to be. I’ve already named him Nate after Nate Berkus. Doesn’t he feel very ‘Nate’ to you?

The plan is to float him in the family room facing the fireplace. The two linen-like upholstered chairs I already showed you will sit opposite him to round out a nice, comfy casual seating area. At some point I need to hunt down a rug to ground the floating furniture arrangement and I’m playing around with the idea of using a console behind the sofa. But I think I’ll wait and see how the space feels once we’re moved in before I start scoping out consoles. I want to make sure things won’t feel cramped.

So, there you go. Our latest furniture purchase. I can’t wait to test him out. The petite sofa we have in our apartment {which I plan to use as a dining settee in the future} is soooo not for lounging. It has more of an upright seat and isn’t even long enough for my 5’3″ body to stretch out on completely.

What about you? What characteristics do/are you look/looking for in a sofa? Or maybe you call it a couch. I went back and forth in this post because sofa sounds better but I typically say couch due to my rural upbringing.

FYI – Good news for you! Just found the exact sofa for cheaper than I paid here if you’re interested. Looks like quantities are limited.

images: 1) IKEA  2) Crate & Barrel 3) Elements Fine Home Furnishings

58 Comments

14.December.2011

You really dodged a bullet on that IKEA Klippan sofa. I had two of the loveseats, and while they looked awesome (I dyed the slipcovers eggplant, which was EPIC!) they were probably the most uncomfortable sofas I’ve ever sat on. Stiff and too short, with the armrests at an awkward height. I gave them to a friend when I moved, and she hates them as much as I did! Hahaha. Love the one you went with though!

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replied on December 14th, 2011

Brooke – I guess it just wasn’t meant to be!

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14.December.2011

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I was seriously under the impression that you were a tall lady. Turns out we are both on the short list. Never would have guessed.

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replied on December 15th, 2011

Lou – Sorry to disappoint! Isn’t it funny how we interpret people’s images online? I’ve totally thought the same thing about other bloggers before and then found out they weren’t any taller than me.

So, yes, I’m ~5’3″ {maybe 5’4″ on good day} and have been ever since 7th grade. I was the awkward, skinny kid with knobby knees and no curves whatsoever. I had a very hard time finding clothes – particularly jeans – that fit because although I’m petite, my legs make up most of me. {I have a short torso.} Pants that were small enough to fit me in the waist were always too short. Pants that were long enough for my legs were gaping at the waist. Needless to say, I learned to sew at an early age so I could alter clothes to fit me. Just in the last few years have I been able to purchase some store bought clothing that can be worn without altering it first. It’s taken me 30+ years to grow some curves!! Hehe. I guess that’s why I’ve always enjoyed being prego…I feel the most like a woman when I’m prego.

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14.December.2011

your new sofa/couch really sexy, love it !!
our black faux leather sofa are too dark & now i’m thinking how to make them work without breaking the bank.

Anyway, love your posts about underdog, you have a great taste :)

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14.December.2011

Hi Dana, We purchased (he did- befre we lived together– but I helped design it) from BoConcept in 2008. Thankfully we did the because it seems like their prices have risen a bit. It was the Indivi model where you can piece it together custom the way you like it. We also wanted something with clean lines that would last a lifetime, comfy but pretty. We chose 2 wider cushions with a chaise, 10 3/4″ armrests, walnut block feet, and a beautiful aqua turquoise-ish woven upholstery with browns and Greys woven in. It was the only thing keeping us from getting a cat because we knew she’d looove to tear it up. We have managed to train her to keep off unless she’s on our lap. It’s the most wonderful couch! If only we had more time to spend sitting on it, but we’re working on it! The one you chose is super-classy, but homey with that beautiful warm brown. Saddles and boots, yup! Nice work.

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14.December.2011

There’s a nice furniture store off I-75 on the southwest side of Exit 29 (where the outlet mall is) forget the name but I purchased a sofa there once, they have a pretty large showroom and are easy to work with, in case you’re looking for furniture stores.

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14.December.2011

I agree with Brooke, that ikea sofa is better of discontinued! I could never take a nap on it! Love the one you bought :) Good eye!

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15.December.2011

I literally just posted my chocolate brown sectional on craigslist and started my search for a new couch (with exactly all of your criteria!) — so thanks for posting and doing all the legwork! I think you just found my new couch for me! Nate is super awesome.

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15.December.2011

We moved to our new house last year and of course we are still looking for the right furniture fo some rooms. As our couch was old and stained (it was one of those microfibre ones that you can clean once or twice, but after that the impregnation wears off and even just plain water will stain it!) and as much as I wanted something new, we could not afford it. I really think leather is a nice choice, we have one child and a cat and we like to eat on that couch, too… As buying a new leather couch was out of the question right now, I looked for one on ebay and last week I was lucky and got a 3-seater and a 2-seater for only 30 Euros, that is like 40 US dollars/40 Canadian dollars and not far away from where we live, either. It is cream leather, which I really wanted our new couch to be. Of course, had we been able to spend a sum on a new one, it would have been a different one, a little more modern, but I regard this one as our “let’s try and see if we like leather” exemplar and then when we will have saved a little sum, we will have made up our minds about whether we want leather or not. ;)
Jule

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15.December.2011

I love it! I’m not usually a big brown furniture person, but that is such a gorgeous shade and I think it’s going to look amazing in the room.

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15.December.2011

I like it. I think sofa are a tough purchase and it looks like this will be a great one for you all. The house is looking great, it is really coming along.

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15.December.2011

Awesome choice in the couch Dana, it will look great in the underdog. I have the Klippan loveseat, and agree witht he other posters, very uncomfortable. Glad you didnt buy it.

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15.December.2011

I love the colour of the new sofa and I think it’s going to look amazing against all the white – it looks so cozy and comfy too! And like one of the other commenters said, I totally thought you were tall! Never would have guessed that you were petite like me.

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15.December.2011

I love him! I want him! LOL.

I had some red couches that I actually liked a lot. Attached back cushions, soft but not too soft…and definitely kid and pet friendly. Problem was, they didn’t fit into the little house we rented and we didn’t have any place to put them (I refuse to pay for storage…it’s a pain to me). SO…we sold them. And a friend of ours was getting rid of his leather and microfiber sectional. It fit the little house perefectly. One problem…it’s a light color…HATE it…and the back is pillows…HATE IT MORE! UGH! I really want a nice small sectional that is leather…like “Nate”…:) The Man loves this sectional…the kids love this sectional…I. HATE. it. With a passion. *sigh* Guess I will have to live vicariously thru you until I can convince the rest of them a nice soft leather couch will function so much better…:)

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15.December.2011

Just love the new sofa, great choice. I was wondering where you purchased your old leather sectional? We are redoing our bonus room and I am just beginning the hunt for a sofa. Your sectional would be perfect. Thanks for the info. Have a great day!

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15.December.2011

You will be so glad you did not get microfiber. I live with a roommate and the couch is hers. Its red and microfiber. I totally hate it. The red isn’t really my thing, but I can get past that. I hate the microfiber. It gets way to hot when you sit on it for too long. In the summer you practically start sweating as soon as you sit down. I will never buy anything microfiber as long as I live. I’ve seen microfiber sheets and I practically sweat just looking at them.
Can’t wait to see what this couch looks like when your room gets all put together!

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15.December.2011

What a great choice for your couch! I love the lines of it. It’s going to be perfect in your space! I had a difficult time finding a sectional for our new home, and I stumbled upon one at Macy’s and scored it while they were having a great sale. I’ve had to push the delivery 6 times so far…and now it’s set to be delivered on Tuesday. I’m so very excited to see it in our space! I almost forget what it looks like since I bought it in the summer. I’m praying I fall in love with it all over again when it gets dropped off!

Can’t wait to see your family room all set up! :)

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15.December.2011

I love the sectional you sold- where did you get that from?

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15.December.2011

Thats funny about what Lou said, not that 5’3 is short, but I thought you were tall too…I was just curious, it seems like you always know where to find good deals. Maybe you could talk about the way you search for needed items. Do you type in “couch” in a search engine and weed out suggestions, do you have only “favorites” sites that you visit? I am always so overwhelmed, and worried about buying junk that I often don’t buy big items online.. thanks!

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15.December.2011

I never grew up in a rural environment and we’ve always said, “couch”. Maybe it’s a regional choice. Sofa always sounds more formal . . . like dinner vs. supper.

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15.December.2011

My husband would love that couch.

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15.December.2011

may i ask where you originally found the leather sectional?

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15.December.2011

Not sure how long ago you purchased the couch. But I would definitely try to call the co and see if they will price match on an already purchased item. It’s worth a shot – think! Beautiful couch either way! Enjoy it!

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15.December.2011

I was just about to say what the previous post says, I’d definitely call for a price match or a discount or even a “split the difference in the prices” type deal. just don’t open the boxes yet. You usually have a few days to return furniture (I think), so if you haven’t opened it and some is offering a better deal I’d give it a try. A few hundred dollars difference would buy alot of diapers, throw pillows, etc….you get the point.

It’s lovely sofa/couch…masculine or not. :)

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replied on December 15th, 2011

Y and Valerie – I’ll definitely look into it! You’re right…a few hundred dollars could buy us some paint for our naked walls!

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15.December.2011

That is a seriously beautiful couch!

When we bought our huge loft seven years ago we invested in a GIANT sectional that fit the space perfectly. It was definitely a splurge, but it was a beautiful piece of furniture. Two years later we moved into a much smaller craftsman and had to make the behemoth work in the new space. For the last two years I’ve had my heart set on our next couch being leather. The one you’ve purchased is exactly what I would have picked too. Can’t wait to see it in the space.

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15.December.2011

May I ask where you purchased your original sectional?

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replied on December 15th, 2011

Kathleen & S.I. & Deena & Omoge25 – Our previous leather sectional was from a store in Illinois called American Furniture. We actually bought it right before we moved to Ohio and had them hold it for a few days until we could load it into our moving truck. It served us well!

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15.December.2011

Love the couch.. it looks really comfy. What kind of coffee table to you have in mind to go with “Nate”..??

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15.December.2011

I love the couch. I honestly cannot wait to see your house when its done. I think everything you are picking it so crisp and clean and will look great in your house. Its simple- but so stylish!

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15.December.2011

I’m so excited to see it all put together! I have a couch that is the same shade of leather but I’m having a terrible time finding two accent chairs that I like with it. I loved the pictures you posted of your new chairs and I have always wondered what a chair like that would look like with my couch but now I will get to see it in real life!! (well real blog life anyway!)

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15.December.2011

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Great choice and price!

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15.December.2011

love love LOVE the new sofa (couch!)!!! It’s gorgeous – can’t wait to see it in the underdog!

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16.December.2011

I’m SO in agreement about no loose back cushions. I’m on the hunt for the perfect corner sectional and that is one of my top priorities…unfortunately, I’m having trouble finding one that is also super comfy. Love your pick!

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16.December.2011

Nice couch! I have the same criteria, adding that is must have legs and no skirt. There is something about a little space between the floor and the furniture that I like, even if it is only a couple of inches. Pillow backs are the worst, unless you enjoy constantly arranging pillows – I imagine with kids they would be on the floor a lot too. Did you sit in this sofa somewhere before ordering? I am not sure I could order without sitting first!

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16.December.2011

What brand was your old sofa? Also was it faux leather or the real stuff?

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replied on December 18th, 2011

Jennifer – Sorry, I don’t know who the manufacturer was. It was real leather but not the kind that patinas over time…that kind is craaaaazy expensive.

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16.December.2011

It’s perfect! That is absolutely beautiful! I am on the hunt for a sofa and that is exactly what I’ve been looking for…beautiful!

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16.December.2011

I’ve been looking for a sofa lately too… and it made me laugh because our requirements are almost exactly the same as the ones you listed. BEAUTIFUL sofa, I love the color and I think it’s going to look awesome. Congrats!

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17.December.2011

Question – my husband and I are going to need a new couch, and are having trouble picking out what the material should be. We have two cats that unlike any I have ever had, throw up all the time! What’s nice about our current couch is that we can remove the cover and wash it. I know this is gross, but it’s real life! How do you think the clean up would be on a leather couch?

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replied on December 18th, 2011

Heather – Not sure how cat vomit compares to human…but our second kiddo had some pretty severe reflux as a baby. Daily projectile vomiting was routine for about 10 months. Our previous leather sectional saw it’s fair share of baby yak {gross, sorry} since that’s where I sat to nurse him during the day. I’m happy to say that the leather couch always cleaned up easily for us. We’d wipe up the mess right away and it never affected the appearance of the leather. Hope that helps a little!

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18.December.2011

Hi Dana – I dare not show your new couch to my guys! They will be green with leather envy. Love the cognac color. Excellent choice!

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(a) your response to baby yak above in response to the question about cat vomit = hilarious. (b) your sofa is my dream sofa! The hubs had a leather couch when we got married (that we still have) and I have totally transfered to team leather purely from a durability / maintenance point of view. Will be pinning your pic for future reference, and am now your newest follower!

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07.August.2012

Currently obsessing over this couch. Any chance you’re going to post a photo of it in your home soon, and/or give an update? Help a girl out. Love your blog!

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replied on August 7th, 2012

Yep, sure am!

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replied on July 21st, 2013

I’m just about to purchase this sofa based on your suggestions in this blog, but can you show us how you have set it up in your space? Would love to see a picture! Thanks!

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replied on July 22nd, 2013

This was a few months ago and some things have changed {mostly accessories} but the sofa still lives in front of our picture window. We LOVE it!

15.February.2013

In your first photo of your couch in your old home- what is that paint color? I love it and am looking to pain my living roon now- thanks so much!!

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replied on February 15th, 2013

Valspar {Lowe’s} bonsai. I don’t think they have swatches for it anymore but should have the formula in their computers. I have a bunch of swatches if you’d like me to mail you one. Just email me.

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10.October.2013

Do you still love this couch? I’m couch shopping, and this one is on the short list! How has it held up?

It would also go under a big picture window in my home — does the sun bleach the leather at all? Thanks!

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replied on October 10th, 2013

Still love our sofa! It has not faded at all. We have a deep overhang on our house so the sofa doesn’t receive direct sunlight often.

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Hi Dana! I’m in the market for a new couch and have been obsessing about yours. I just have one question: Are the bolster pillows removable, or are they attached? :)

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replied on November 1st, 2013

The bolsters are removable! The seat backs are not.

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20.March.2014

Hi Dana! Love your blog and this couch… After having it some time would you still recommend it?
Thanks!!

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replied on March 20th, 2014

Yes! It’s great for our family. I’ve seen other leather sofas that I like the look of better but this one is a decent size, isn’t on tall legs (which I like the look of but don’t think they’d work for a sofa in our family room), was affordable as far as leather goes and the leather has a great suppleness to it but holds up to all that we throw at it. I like the square arms, low profile and attached back cushions instead of something with rolled arms, a high back and loose cushions.

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08.July.2014

I’d love a post on other quality, leather sofas you like at different price points. Thanks!

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12.August.2014

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