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Designing Dilemmas June 2007

A Perfect Match

Dear Debbie: I bought 2 matching chairs for the same room with matching fabric - the fabric is a multi-colored arabesque - the chairs have arrived at the store, but when I looked at them, the fabric was applied in a random manner, rather than matching - is this acceptable? The store seems to think it is ok. Thanks!! Lisa

Dear Lisa: Hmmmm. What is this store and how much was the fabric and labor?

It is standard practice in the upholstery industry to pattern match all the pieces. In order to do so, you must be aware of the fabric's pattern repeat and compensate by purchasing additional yardage to make sure each chair will match up. Was that explained to you when you made this purchase? I'm just guessing that perhaps there was not enough fabric in the initial order to do the pattern match on each chair. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the upholsterer should have known better and should have ordered enough fabric to do the job correctly.

Leather Care

Dear Debbie: How do you preserve or restore the color to an aniline dyed leather sofa from La-Z-Boy? We have a sofa and love seat we love and the design has been great with kids. After a number of years they look just slightly lighter and less lustrous. I would like to arrest this trend. Is there any thing I can do? Brenda

Dear Brenda: I consulted with the leather furniture experts at American Leather (www.americanleather.com) and here's what they recommend:

In general, the majority of leather that is sold by La-Z-Boy is "semi-aniline." Semi aniline leathers are typically (but not always) aniline dyed throughout and then have a colored topcoat applied. The topcoat helps to hide slight imperfections (scars, stretch marks) in the hide along with providing the leather a very consistent color so that there will be no color variation. Top-coated leathers are much easier to clean and maintain than full-aniline leathers.

Your Furniture Requires Regular Maintenance:
Leather furniture should be vacuumed monthly using the soft brush attachment that comes with most vacuum cleaners these days. Vacuuming will remove dust from the pores of the leather.

When cleaning minor spots and spills, use distilled water and a clean colorfast cloth. Distilled water has no chemical or mineral content so it is safe for the leather. If water alone does not remedy the situation, use a mild soap that you might use on your skin or a fine fabric such as silk. If you are working with a food spill, remove as much of the food material as possible before cleaning. Remember to blot the stain - don't wipe it!

Leather Needs Hydration:
Leather reacts to the elements much like your skin. In the dryer months, leather needs additional moisture, which can be added by applying leather balm, conditioner or moisturizer. You can most likely find these products where you purchased your furniture or at better hardware and home stores. If you notice a build-up of static electricity when you sit on your furniture, that's generally an indication of dry leather.

Let An Expert Do It:
For the major things, turn to an expert. You can get the names of leather repair technicians from the store where you purchased your furniture.

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