Simplicity Sofas' furniture construction is more of an art form than an industrial process. Our furniture is built by hand, one piece at a time, very much the same as it was 100 years ago. After fabric is cut and sewn, a single master craftsperson upholsters the entire piece from start to finish, unlike many modern factories where different workers can be assigned to inside arms, outside arms, inside backs, outside backs, etc.
Simplicity Sofas customers can choose from more than 100,000 different product options which can all be hand-built in 30 days or less using a manufacturing process developed by the company which it terms "extreme modular customization."
All 1 million+ different product options are constructed using a total of only 30 different modular frame components. Specifically, there are 6 different arm styles, 6 different size backs and 6 different size bases.. In addition the sectionals use 4 different bases and 4 different backs. (The sectional arms are the same as those used for the sofas.) That totals 26 frame components. The remaining 4 components are shorter-size arms which are used only when customers order the T-cushion option.
So, how do we get from 30 frame components to more than 100,000 products available within 30 days? This is simple arithmetic. There are 6 arm styles and 6 sizes for each different arm style. There are 8 different cushion combinations. Then there are other custom options such as slipcovers, contrast welts, skirts, and sleep sofa options. Finally, there are over 200 in-stock fabric choices. Each component part of every piece of furniture can be used in thousands of different combinations.
The raw materials inventory required so that each of these options is immediately available is equivalent to approximately 2 weeks of sales. More than three quarters of that inventory is fabrics.
Frames – All frames are made using solid oak with a very few exceptions. The Jenna style uses a small piece of plywood in the arms to help smooth out the shape of the radical curve. Plywood is also used in the sectional bases which require precise computerized routing which cannot be done with solid wood. (Sectional backs are solid oak.) The wide Ashton arm has a plywood front panel. There may also be other non-oak solid woods used for corner blocks and plywood used for frame reinforcement components. The Timothy and Christie sleep sofas use all-plywood frames because of a need to reduce weight in these heavy pull-out sofa beds.
All frames are corner-blocked, doweled, stapled and glued. The sofas and love seats all have horizontal support beams between each seat. For example on a full-size (3 seat) sofa there will be two horizontal support beams for both the backs and seats reinforced with corner blocks. The mid-size and apartment-size sofas will have only one horizontal support beam for the seat and back. All frames are backed by an unlimited lifetime warranty.
Spring Support System – Our sofas, sleepers and chairs use a Permalator spring system which is manufactured by the Flexalator division of Leggett & Platt, the world's largest manufacturer of spring systems for furniture. It has been used in the furniture industry for more than 100 years.
Most people are more familiar with the sinuous wire spring system (also known as "no-sag) which is by far the most common spring system currently in use and which is very similar cost-wise to the Permalator. The permalator and sinuous wire systems share the same high durability characteristics. (It is very rare for either system to break down over the life of the furniture.) The permalator, however, is typically used in furniture styles that require a flatter spring profile. Sinuous wire springs have an arch which interferes with the attachment hardware of our patented designs. The permalator is flat, composed of a coated wire grid attached to the frame with helical coil springs and takes up very little vertical space. This makes it ideal for our QAS (Quick Assembly System) hardware and mechanisms.
Some customers have asked whether we can offer an 8 way hand-tied coil option. Unfortunately those units require a lot of space between the deck of the sofa and the floor. Our furniture does not have enough space to fit an 8 way unit. From a comfort standpoint the Permalator is indistinguishable from the sinuous wire support.
Keep in mind that the spring system contributes only a very small percentage of the overall comfort of the furniture. The cushion quality, depth and the pitch of the sofa, as well as the fabric selected, all combine to determine the complete comfort of the furniture.
The sectionals use a different support system, an elastic webbing which has also been used in the furniture industry for well over 100 years. This webbing is commonly used in contemprary-styled high end furniture, particularly for chairs. Since our sectionals are comprised of small, individual seat units where the individual frame dimensions are similar to those of chairs the webbing provides the best cobination of comfort and durability.
Both of our spring systems are covered by unlimited lifetime warranties. This means that if one of our frames fails at any time for any reason (including customer abuse) we will replace the furniture at no charge.
Cushions - Simplicity Sofas offers a choice of two different cushion constructions. Both types of cushions are premium quality and are backed by lifetime warranties:
8" Thick Ultracel® HR Foam Cushions - Our standard seat cushion is made with premium quality HR (High Resilience) Ultracel® foam which comes with an unlimited lifetime warranty. The Ultracel® foam is wrapped on the top and bottom with a 1" layer of dacron polyester fiber and enclosed in a non-woven ticking. The cushions have a rated density of 1.8 and an ILD (firmness rating) of 24. Our Ultracel® cushions are built to be "firm" but not rock hard firm. The finished seat cushions are 7" high at the corners and 8 1/2" high in the center.
Here is what White Lotus, a manufacturer of high end "green" mattresses says about Ultracel foam:
Until July, 2010 the Ultracel® cushions were our optional up grade cushions for which we charged an additional $100 per sofa. Before that time our standard cushions were 2 inches thinner and used a far cheaper fiber wrapped polyurethane foam core. Throughout the furniture industry fiber wrapped polyurethane cushions typically have a 1 year warranty and a life expectancy of 3 - 4 years. That is the most common type of cushion used for upholstered furniture in our price range.
In 2010 we decided that it did not make sense for us to use cushions that would only last for 3 years with sofas that were built to last for 10-20 years. Our Ultracel® cushions are backed by a lifetime warranty.
8" Thick Spring-Down Cushions - Although these super-premium cushions are still "firm" they are more "plush" than the Ultracel foam cushions. The optional Spring-down cushions have an upcharge of $75 per cushion. For example a full-size sofa (with 3 seat cushions) costs $225 more while a mid-size or apartment-size sofa (with 2 cushions) has an upcharge of $150 each.
Genuine spring-down cushions are generally seen only in high end furniture, in sofas priced at $2500 or more. We buy our components from the same suppliers who sell to the highest quality (and most expensive) companies in the industry and follow the same specifications. The Spring-down cushions are slightly softer and plusher than the Ultracel foam.
Spring Down cushions are designed for a softer initial feel but to be highly supportive once compressed. To achieve this, the heart of the cushion is a pocketed coil spring unit (also known as a Marshall unit) made with 14 gauge tempered steel springs that are individually wrapped in a fabric cover and mechanically tied together to create a complete innerspring core. The spring core is then wrapped top and bottom with an Ultracel® foam cap and surrounded with a foam border to completely encase the spring unit. Next the foam is wrapped in a 1" thick layer of 2 oz. polyester fiber. The final cushion is then encased in a tightly woven channeled envelope of high quality down proof ticking, and filled with a 50% blend of feathers and down, and 50% super slick conjugated fiber. The final cushion provides a smooth elevator type of ride as each material layer yields as the weight is distributed. The first level of comfort comes from the slow release of air from the down proof ticked envelope. The second level comes from the compression of the feather-down and fiber layer and the air stored within. Lastly, you will feel the support of the innersprings as they equally distribute your weight across the cushion.
Both our Ultracel and Spring-down cushions are available in 4 configurations: Roll-front, Box Cushions, Roll-front T-cushions and Box T-cushions. These different shapes alter the styling of the sofas. They have nothing to do with overall quality or durability although the roll-front cushions do tend to "wrinkle" more easily than the box cushons with some types of fabrics.
Our standard cushion shape is the roll-front cushion (also known as a bull-nose cushion.) The roll-front cushion is generally considered more "casual." Our roll-front cushions are 7" thick at the corners and 8 1/2" thick with a slight crown in the center of the cushion.
Optional Box Cushions. Box cushions are slightly more expensive ($50 per sofa and $25 per chair or sectional unit) because of the extra labor required to sew the double welting all around the cushion. Box cushions are generally considered to be more "formal" than the roll-front cushions.
Optional T-Cushions. When ordering T-cushions you must specify whether you want a "roll-front" T-cushion ($50 per sofa) or a "Box" T-cushion ($100 per sofa.) A "Box" T-cushion will give the sofa a more formalized "traditional" look. A "Roll-front" T-cushion makes the sofa look larger and plusher. One advantage of the T-cushion is that it adds more leg room when lying down on the sofa since the cushion extends out in front of the arm.
Back cushions have a different construction than the seat cushions. When the Ultracel seat cushions are ordered the back cushions consist of 3.25lbs. of virgin conjugated polyester fiber (the highest grade available). When the spring down cushions are ordered the back cushion is made with 50% down/feathers and 50% virgin conjugated fiber.
Here is a diagram of our Spring-down cushion.
Here is a diagram of a foam cushion. The cushion below specifies a polyurethane foam. Our standard cushions have the same construction except that we substitute a long-lasting (and significantly more expensive) Ultracel HR high resilience foam in place of the polyurethane. Our Ultracel cushion comes with a lifetime warranty.