How we build lasting value into our customizable smaller scale, non-toxic sofas

How are our Condo Sofas constructed?

Smaller spaces require a combination of style and practicality, so we provide safer and healthier solutions with affordable design flexibility. We call this line Condo Sofa, and it is made just for our website and retail store in Scarborough, Maine. 


We use eight-way hand-tied springs on frames made of a combination of hardwood and furniture grade plywood made specifically for upholstery frames from hardwoods certified as sustainably harvested by SFI

Hardwood frames can dry, warp, crack, and sometimes creak over a period of ten or more years. We therefore use an American made plywood that is made with soy glues, without added urea formaldehyde or toluene, constructed from sustainably harvested hardwoods specially for furniture construction.



Our eight-way hand tied springs require hardwood solids in areas where we need to nail in the twine tying the springs. Eight-way hand-tied is generally known to be the oldest and most dependable foundation for lasting upholstery. We use sinuous (also called "no-sag" or "zig zag" springs) only in the tight backs of some sofas and chairs. 

These construction methods result in exceptionally strong frames made with sustainably harvested materials, many recycled materials, and zero flame retardants in the batting, polyurethane foam, smolder barriers, and Dacron. Our expert partners then cut fabric with professional skill, laying patterns out by hand when necessary, and the entire factory adds lasting value as the piece moves through a state-of-the-art factory in rural North Carolina.



What about the foam - what's in it?

We use 100% polyurethane foam with zero flame retardants. Our foam is of exceptional, long lasting quality, which enables us to offer lifetime warranty (a single replacement free of charge, though shipping charges may apply). While it is known that some polyurethane foam can emit toxic gases, it’s cheaper foams made with carcinogenic urea formaldehyde fillers and drying agents like toluene that cause eye and respiratory irritation, nausea, headaches, etc.

In 2013 we asked Dr. Heather Stapleton at Duke University about polyurethane foam. Her unofficial summary was that cheaper foams can be dangerous, but better, sturdy, and more expensive premium foams are not the source of any significant concerns with respect to indoor air quality.

We do not offer natural latex foam seat cushions, because we found the cost was too high for most people who asked. Substitution of the foam seat cores for natural latex alone roughly doubles the cost of the furniture. 

Smaller spaces require a combination of style and practicality. We strive to provide safer and healthier solutions with affordable design flexibility.

We know our standards for non-toxic come with some compromises, but we do what is possible while keeping it affordable. Removing the carcinogenic flame retardants was our main focus; finding suitable alternatives made from clean, dependable, biodegradable/recycled materials is also important to us. Developing an affordable alternative to poly foam seat cores will take more time. 





Free eBook on Downsizing


What about the sleeper mattresses?

There are no flame retardants in our mattresses. Instead of boric acid, chemicals and carcinogens, our mattresses use the same non-toxic smolder barriers made of polyester batting that we had tested by California's state labs in Sacramento, and therefore our sleep sofas are 100% free of chemical flame retardants.

Our sleepers work like a conventional sleeper you have probably seen before. The mechanism is under the seat cushions, and opens out to become a bed in front of and over the area where the seat cushions were. We changed a lot of things you probably would never look for, but would feel in the substance and comfort when laying on the open mattress. We don't use the mattress as a foundation for supporting the seat cushions, instead using stronger tarpaulin material, stronger helical springs, and extra cross-wires mounted with springs to keep people from feeling the bars, which we lowered so they are not at the height of the tarpaulin, which must flex a bit. We also don't compress the mattress much at all when we close the mechanism up to fold and stow it in the closed position, so when it opens, you have inner coil springs that are not tired out from supporting everyday sitting. When it's closed, we use the same mechanics (stronger tarpaulin material, stronger helical springs, and extra cross-wires mounted with springs) to prevent the everyday use and seating weight from wearing out the mattress. 

In order to appreciate these subtle, but significant changes, and how comfortable the sleepers are as a result, it makes sense to come and try them in our store.

We also offer an optional air-over-coil combination mattress and a memory foam upgrade. Over our standard 6" thick mattress, we have the option (for $389, regardless of size) of upgrading the mattress to an 11" adjustable firmness air mattress that inflates 5" tall over the standard 6" mattress. This is all done with an electronic control, and it only takes about :60 to inflate or deflate with power. If there is no power source available, the sleeper is still fine with the 6" inner coil spring mattress, but the inflatable portion makes it a real bed, and makes getting in and out hardly distinguishable from a real bed in height, as well as feel. The memory foam mattress upgrade is available for an additional $225 on any sleeper we offer.

NOTE: On sofa and chair frames 33" deep, if we offer a sleeper in any size, the depth will increase to 36" to accommodate the mechanism, which must fold up and retract into that depth frame for stowing. Be sure to note the dimensions of all pieces and contact us with any questions or concerns.





What about the fabrics?


Fabric Tips


Performance fabrics

We work with several suppliers in North Carolina, including Temple Furniture, that source fabrics from many different mills and distributors. (This is why you may find that we occasionally might direct you to look at certain parts of a factory's website, for leg finish options, fabric and leather choices, etc.)

When you can visit out store, you’ll find we keep our fabrics from each supplier organized and up to date. Many more options and selections exist for the in-store customer than we can show on the website. Condo Sofa upholstery offerings have a link to see more fabrics in our online swatch store. Select the fabrics you would like sent to your home at $1 each, go through the checkout process, and we will send those cuttings to the mailing address you enter at checkout time. There is no limit to the number of swatches you can order through the swatch store. 

Most fabrics we have access to do not come with durability or chemical treatment information.  To know whether a fabric has been treated with a particular chemical or compound, we have to specifically ask whether that chemical is present in the manufacture of the fabric.


Free eBook on Downsizing