Out with the old, in with the new

Living room make-oveer

| I bought my living room furniture when I moved into my condo in San Jose, 1990. The couches were splendid white leather in a modern style and looked wonderful.

And then time went on. And on. And on. And the couches began to look the worse for wear. By the time I moved into my current house, they had clearly seen better days, but one does grow attached to one's things. And besides, replacing them would have meant making the kind of decisions I hate to make. Eventually the seams began to split revealing the stuffing inside, and the cushions had lost all resilience and ability to support.

At the same time, Fiona (my Roomba) had succeeded in drawing crop circles in the carpet around all the table legs and leaving tire tracks wherever she went on the old carpet. It was not a pretty picture. At the end of 2016 I bit the bullet and began shopping for new carpet and new sofas.

At Flooring Innovations I explained my predicament and went over the pros and cons of replacing the carpet with more carpet versus hardwood flooring, perhaps. Complicating the calculations was the fact that I knew I had also to replace my dishwasher and sofas and the budget would simply not allow for new flooring throughout the house. I brought home carpet samples and pored over them, eventually choosing to my surprise a dark brown, almost chocolate colored carpet with a short pile (no more crop circles!). And they would install it in just a couple of weeks. Great!

That was the easy part. Then came the matter of sofas. I checked out several vendors but found nothing to my liking. At last I ventured into Scandinavian Designs where I found several models more in my taste. One of the advantages offered by Scandinavian Designs is that you can choose among many different fabrics; at other stores, what you see is what you get. I enlisted the aid of Réal to help me choose fabrics and colors, and on December 22 handed over my credit card for three loveseats to replace the one sofa and one loveseat I had. Because it would be a "special order" it would take "8 to 10 weeks" but would be "probably much sooner." Okay then. Thinking it would be at most two months I decided to keep this all a secret and swore Réal to secrecy.

When the new carpet was installed in early January I trashed my sofas to get them out of the way and set about living with a single chair and coffee table in the living room.

As the weeks went by, and the two-month mark approached, I became more and more uneasy about where my new furniture was. At week 10 I called the store and was told that they were "expected any day now" and that I should relax because "someone will call as soon as they come in." 

At week 11, I called the store again and insisted on speaking to the salesperson who had sold me the items. She assured me that the loveseats "left the factory on Wednesday 3/8" and it would be just a couple of days, the beginning of next week.

At week 12 I visited the store and this time was told that the loveseats had left the factory "on Friday 3/10." Wait a minute! A week ago you told me they left on 3/8 — it's a strange product cycle when something leaves the factory twice on two different dates. "All I know is what it shows in the computer." I sat and waited patiently, a sure-fire way to make the other person talk. Finally she called the factory rep and left a voicemail (it was Saturday). "There, I've left a voicemail, I don't know what else I can do," she said. "That's not going to work," said I, "because you don't work on Monday and Tuesday so by the time you guys get done playing telephone tag, another week will have gone by." "No, no, I'll take his number and make sure I talk to him on Monday." "So I will hear from you on Monday then?" queried I.

On Monday, Mary did in fact call to say that the sofas were due to arrive at the Scandinavian Designs warehouse in Corona that very day and she would let me know the instant they were in hand.

Monday afternoon: no call. Tuesday: no call. Wednesday: finally a cheery call, "The sofas just arrived and will be delivered to you on Saturday."

On Saturday (which is now week 13) a delivery truck did pull up and a crew of four strong young men unloaded, unwrapped, and positioned my loveseats. Interestingly, one of the delivery guys had been on the crew that delivered the big console under my TV set and recalled how heavy it had been. (It does weigh a ton.)

So, while I am pleased as punch with the loveseats themselves, the whole experience of buying from Scandinavian Designs was so frustrating and disappointing that I can't imagine buying anything from them again.

On the other hand, my other sofas lasted 27 years, so maybe there won't be an occasion to replace these! (I probably won't live that long.)

Having kept the whole make-over a secret, the big reveal was last night, when I invited the guys over for an April Fools dinner.

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Last updated on Apr 13, 2018



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