The majority of our furniture is handmade by legendary furniture company George Smith in the north of England using traditional tools and techniques. Here, our Furniture Buyer explains what makes these pieces a worthwhile investment, and what to think about when choosing the right one for you.

'The main thing that makes our George Smith sofas and armchairs stand out from the rest is the level of quality underneath the fabric (and the fabric itself!) - all the things that you don't see but are just as important as how the sofa looks. Many of the skilled upholsterers at George Smith have been making sofas for 40 years. That’s a lot of experience and quality - not every factory can say that.'

 

 

Successive generations have come into the business with huge amounts of skill. Knowing that you’ve got someone with that amount of knowledge making your sofa means peace of mind. The second thing is the materials that George Smith use, including feather and down fillings through to quality solid wood frames. These are all finished off with beautiful fabrics including mohair for a soft, luxurious look and feel.

 

Hand sewn buttons

'I’m a sucker for a Chesterfield – it has that distinguished look which never ages. They can look the same to the naked eye, but it's what’s under the surface that counts. From the individually hand-sewn buttons, which create perfect pleats, to the bold scroll arms, each of ours takes up to 50 hours to craft. Not many have the button back detailing on the seat as well as the arms and back, but ours does.'

Luxurious mohair

'The Spoon is a lovely looking sofa. I like it because of the clean lines and petite scroll arms. It’s all finished in two beautiful fabrics – flax linen, and my favourite, cumin mohair. The luxurious feel that mohair provides. It’s a sofa that wears many hats! You could use it anywhere from the living room to your bedroom or use it as a statement piece in a hallway or study.'

Small but powerful

'I’m a button-back fan, so I have two favourite armchairs in our collection: the first is Betsy. I like Betsy because it’s more of a petite piece, but its size doesn’t stop it making an impact. With its pleated arms, piping detail and button back, Betsy would stand out in any room.

'The King of Chairs'

'The second would be Charles. If you’re looking for the ultimate in luxury and detail, then look no further than Charles. With the deep button detailing to the arms and back of the chair and a soft sprung seat, all upholstered in claret mohair, Charles really is the king of chairs.'

 

'When you’re looking to buy a new sofa, there are a few things you need to consider:

Comfort. It can be too easy sometimes to focus on the look of the sofa and forget about the comfort level.

Shape. The average life of a sofa is around 7-10 years so it’s a long time before you will be thinking about replacing it. Consider a shape based on a contemporary, classic or core design, choose a plain fabric, then add cushions and throws. This way you can change the look of your sofa on a yearly or even a seasonal basis.

Colour. Remember, the sofa is one of the main pieces of furniture in your living room and will receive the most attention - you want the attention to be for the right reason! There’s nothing wrong with being adventurous and trying new fabrics and colours, however too bold and it can be an eyesore. Try patterns, stripes and bold colours on an occasional chair or a footstool.

Fabric. Before you buy, make sure that the fabric that you are looking at is fit for purpose. If you are looking for a family sofa, then our flax linen is durable enough to stand up to plenty of wear and tear and family time. For a real statement piece, mohair is the natural choice.

Space. Always measure the space so you know what will fit and what won’t. The last thing you need is a sofa that takes over your living room or is too big to go up the stairs and therefore unable to make it into the bedroom. You’ll find the dimensions of all our sofas and armchairs on our site so you can make sure you know exactly what you are buying before delivery day.

Looking after your sofa or armchair and keeping it in top condition over the years all depends on the two things: the fillings and the fabric. If the filling is a soft filling like feather and down, then this will need regular ‘plumping’ (basically a good shake of the cushion) to bring the cushion back to its original look and feel after use, this helps to maintain the longevity of the sofa. If the sofa has a soft, delicate fabric, then a regular gentle brush with an upholstery-friendly brush will help to keep the fabric in good condition.'

Soho House Chicago

Discover our sofas and armchairs for yourself at Soho House Chicago.