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Old 09-13-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
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Help - Can upholstery really be this expensive?

I just finished building out a new U-shaped dinette for my 99 Safari. Picture is below with temporary cushions and pillows. I've got solid woodworking skills and had no problem building the dinette, but I have a feeling that making cushions is more of an art form so I thought I would go with professionals for this portion.

I've gone to two upholstery places to get quotes for getting cushions made - I need both seat cushions and backrests - one quote came back at $3,500 and the other is $4,100. I about fell over. I spent less than $500 on materials for building the benches.

For materials for the cushions I'm looking at 4 inch thick medium density foam and $40 per yard imitation leather. Two of the backrests will drop down on top of the table (not shown here) to form a queen sized bed.

The $4,100 quote breaks down into:
Fabric - 23 yards, $1,000
Foam - 7 pieces, $800
Labor - $2,200

Any insight or advice on how to proceed? Is this just insane California Bay Area pricing, or am I just ignorant of how much upholstery costs...
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:50 AM   #2
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Hi, we bought our fabric at the LA garment district. I ordered my foam from e-bay. I sewed it on our home sewing machine. Not perfect, but OK for us. Wish I had a commercial sewing machine. Foam and Labor is expensive. I also did all of my own wood work and my first time with formica too. Check my blog; "2005 Safari remodel."
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:00 AM   #3
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10 years ago I had my Caravel done with high quality materials, for about $700, labor and materials, as I recall. It was about the size of two couches overall, but one part was a dinette, so more cushions. I had the foam, the original was in good condition. Work done in rural Idaho though.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:12 AM   #4
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It would be worth a trip to Oregon I think. I got my bubble upholstered for under 2 thousand with no sales tax. I ended up going with our local guys and was really pleased with the work. If included a dinette with lots of curved pieces and a bed in the back. Cheers. Ted
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:16 AM   #5
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Here's a couple pix
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Old 09-13-2012, 06:36 AM   #6
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Try shopping remnants at a good fabric store and go to an auto upholstery shop, they tend to be cheaper. If you are planning on sleeping on the foam I would not recommend leather (or pleather) as the cold nature of it seeps right through no matter what you put over it. One more recommendation is to back it with something far less expensive so you can flip it over to sleep on it. It cuts down on your yardage cost significantly if you go with a plain solid fabric that complements the top fabric.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:05 AM   #7
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After putting over $20,000.00 to date into our restoration of the trailer, I too thought it was too expensive to have the upholstery work done from a shop and decided to do it myself. Not that they don't deserve the money for what they do but I just couldn't cough that up at this time.

I got the nice foam from the same place I got our beds from, bought good quality upholstery material at half price with a coupon, and spent a few days sewing. They are not perfect but good enough for us. The other great deal is that if I change my mind and want something different in a few years, I don't have as much money into it and could justify replacing the fabric.

If you want a really nice leather or something that looks perfect, I would hire out for that. I don't have a heavy duty commercial sewing machine but do have all the necessary equipment to get something that I think looks pretty good. I also liked the ability to do it the way I wanted it done and to be able to change it if I decided to. Good luck on your project.
Sandy
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:47 AM   #8
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Am picking up our newly re-upholstered gaucho for our 89 Excella this weekend. Just the labor was $450. Bought commercial grade fabric in a discount retailer. Total cost under $1000. We had labor-only quotes up to $1400 and estimates of fabric from 14 yds to 24 yds (that last one came from a contract upholsterer located *IN* a fabric store). The upholstered we used I found in this forum. He was the least expensive and the only one to have done a gaucho before. He is situated 90 minutes outside of Atlanta. I will post after I get it installed this weekend.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:44 AM   #9
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Concur With ASIcons

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASIcons View Post
Try shopping remnants at a good fabric store and go to an auto upholstery shop, they tend to be cheaper. If you are planning on sleeping on the foam I would not recommend leather (or pleather) as the cold nature of it seeps right through no matter what you put over it. One more recommendation is to back it with something far less expensive so you can flip it over to sleep on it. It cuts down on your yardage cost significantly if you go with a plain solid fabric that complements the top fabric.
Purchase your own materials.
Take the project to an auto upholstery shop.
That's what we did on Old No. 1.
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:30 AM   #10
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Too bad you can't buy a couch in a furniture store and use that for cushions. I am using a Futon matress over my coucho a the moment and it does not look that bad. I think you can get futon covers that might be a source for material you would trim down and make cushions out of.

Perry
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:21 AM   #11
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single most expensive thing

The upholstry was the single most expensive thing in my trailer. I too was knocked back by the price. In the same ballpark as yours. My wife was there and did not flinch. I saw the opening and went for it and had the professional do it. (She was the same person who did our curtains inthe house)

Ours are both sofas and beds.

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Old 09-13-2012, 11:02 AM   #12
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We recently moved from Redwood City. My wife used this company for several years doing commercial work.

The Tack Shop (ask for Lupe)
1071 McCue Ave
San Carlos, CA 94070
(650) 592-6963

Tell them Ruth sent you.

Alternatively, we used Wellmans Upholstery,a shop in Sparks, NV for our upholstery. Quick and reasonable. $2600 for our couch and dinette with all new materials.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:02 AM   #13
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Yup - Upholstery is expensive even if you do it your self.

Look here for high end discount fabrics and take the time to order swatches:
Discount Upholstery Fabric, Drapery Fabrics, & Fabric Remnants Online at NewToto.com
http://www.auctiva.com/stores/viewst...1304&page=home

I've had good experiences with both places and saved 70 percent over bricks and mortar stores best sale prices.

Spend your money on good foam! Crumby foam breaks down in a few years even without use.

You can learn to make cushion covers (check youtube for how to vids) or as suggested take the parts to a local shop for assembly.
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Old 09-13-2012, 12:05 PM   #14
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I have two quotes from local auto upholstery shops for $1700 plus material for two small barrel chairs in our moho. The thing I find interesting is I can buy two new chairs for $900 including shipping. I bought two captains chairs from this outfit and am happy with their products so I'll soon be ordering the chairs from them.

Cheers, Dan
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