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Recently, my friend Lesley sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal called, Your New $3,000 Couch Might Be Garbage in Three Years. This is Why. If you have a subscription, I suggest you read it. If you don’t then the gist of it is that the construction of upholstered furniture has declined over the years, and it is compared to fast fashion. People don’t want to spend a lot on furniture and they want the latest trend. Just like the rayon blouse you bought at H&M, it will last you a fraction of the time the similar Tibi or Frank & Eileen top from The Hive would. Quality matters. Construction counts. Now, I know I’m preaching to the choir. Alexandria Stylebook readers know this already. I mean, that’s why you’re here, right? But, it bears repeating.

I’ve often said that Red Barn Mercantile is the third level of furniture purchasing. When you’re in college or get your first apartment, hand-me-downs mixed with Ikea are your go-to’s. Then when you start building a home for yourself and a family (or not) you move up to Pottery Barn or West Elm. RH if you have a little more money. Finally, when the kids are older or the dog is trained, you’re ready for grown-up furniture. That’s when most people come to us. They are tired of cheap sofas, they don’t want to buy another one that will just go into a landfill in three years, and they want to invest in design.

In the article, they quote Adam Rogers, an independent furniture maker in Portland, Maine. He says, “It has become kind of the Wild West. People have to choose between the right aesthetic, quality, and price. If they want all three, good luck.” Well, I’m here to tell you that you are in luck. Cisco Home furniture has all three and this is the month to get it. 

First, the construction. Most furniture is made with pressed woods, which are compressed wood chips mixed with glue. This kind of “wood” doesn’t hold a screw and can’t be repaired if it gets wet. That’s not the case at Cisco Home. Every piece is made with kiln-dried hardwood like Maple or Alder. All the wood is sourced from FSC-certified companies sourced within North America, and frames are reinforced with double dowelled stress joints, counter sunk screws, and corner blocks. They build the support option into each frame as opposed to dropping in a support option that came from off the shelf. All of which makes every piece stronger than most. 

Next, the craftsmanship. Each piece of furniture is hand crafted from scratch and can be customized to fit your space. It’s literally a pile of wood, metal, foam and fabric before we tell them what to make based on your specifications. One craftsperson ushers the piece from start to finish. Because no machines are used to make the furniture (when I say hand crafted, I mean hand crafted!), each piece has its own individual personality which makes it a work of art. 

Their design is timeless allowing you to mix in trends with pillows, throws, art, etc. Ranging from modern to transitional to classic, their designs are nuanced and beautifully executed. Compare their designs to anyone and you’ll see what I mean: the proportions are spot on, the pillows are part of the personality of the sofa and not just an afterthought, the lines are clean and the curves gentle. They use natural fabrics and allow you to use your own material from whatever designer you like, adding a whole new dimension of design not offered by the mass market.

Compare, for instance, the Donato sofa designed by Cisco Pinedo for Cisco Home (on the left) and the Ever Slipcovered Sofa “designed” by Leanne Ford for Crate & Barrel (on the right). It’s clear the design of the Cisco sofa is much more sophisticated than that of the Crate & Barrel sofa. The Ever sofa is made from FSC-certified engineered hardwood and has a sinuous wire support. The Donato is made in the US from FSC-certified hardwood and comes standard with 8-way hand tied support. It’s also available with jute webbing support in their Essentials collection. We have a Donato sofa from the Essentials collection on our floor right now if you want to see and feel the difference. It really is dramatic.

Cisco makes heirloom quality furniture that you will have for as long as it suits your taste. It doesn’t come cheap, but nothing of quality does. However, this month we continue our semi-annual upholstery sale that helps you afford the quality that will last and that you deserve. Stop in and talk to any of our team members to learn more. Or email to set up an appointment to shop one-on-one with someone on our team.