FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where can you see the furniture in person? Do we have a store near you?
We are a “micro” business with about 5 employees in a small retail store in Scarborough, Maine. Sorry, we do not (yet) have showrooms elsewhere.  

What furniture can be customized, or modified if not shown in the size I need?
For certain items, we have the ability to customize. Each item will show available options on its product page. If no options are visible on the website, it likely cannot be modified. Our Condo Sofa line of furniture can be customized in many ways, usually for not more than around an extra $300. We frequently alter overall sizes, dimensions, arm styles, cushion configurations, add a skirt or a swivel mechanism, etc. Please note that due to the specifications of some mass-produced motion mechanisms, our recliner and sleeper styles have fewer options for modifications.

We do not offer reclining loveseats or sofas other than those featured in our Amish-built "The Alamo" Collection of Mission style furniture. 

What does non-toxic mean on this website?
Our furniture is not organic. We do use foam cushions because there is not a viable, affordable alternative safer than what we are doing now. 

We offer nontoxic sofa and seating alternatives (standardly built furniture without unnecessary carcinogens) for healthy people who want well made, American built, furniture that is affordable and customizable. 

We began removing all flame retardants from the materials that go into our designs years ago, because it was the right thing to do, and finished doing so in 2012 before most people knew carcinogenic chemicals were being put into furniture. For more information on toxic flame retardants, please read this Flame Retardants Overview. 

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. 

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 nontoxic smolder barriers made of polyester patting that we had tested by California's state abs 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?
We work with an excellent factory in North Carolina, Temple Furniture, that sources its 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 that 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.

Can I use my own fabric?
In most cases, yes, though we might advise against it in some cases. “COM”, or using a Customer's Own Material, is a bit different with us. We charge a rate set by each factory that offers COM services based on that factory’s COM fees. Some factories welcome COM work and charge the same as doing the same piece in a relatively low grade of fabric, while others may be discouraging the practice by charging more than their highest cover would cost. 

COM Fabric must be sent to our store in Scarborough, Maine.Yardage is inspected by us before going to the factory to be applied to your furniture order. There would also be UPS charges to have the fabric sent to us, inspection charges covering our cost to make sure the fabric can be applied without defects, and a second UPS charge for shipping to the factory. 

Because we are responsible in the event that a slub, run or defect goes undetected into the production of your furniture, we must personally inspect and report the everything we find happening in the fabric to the factory, along with photos and indexed descriptions of our findings, so that the fabric can be hand-spread to use without the defects showing in high visibility areas. We do not handle COM orders where the fabric is sent directly to the factory unless the consumer waives all warranty benefits. 

Fabric Care
Most modern cleaning services today do not use solvent based cleaners, instead using powerful suction to remove all the moisture when cleaning with a nontoxic water based cleaner.

The backings can become compromised over time after a single exposure to moisture, leading to stretching, unraveling, or other adverse effects, sometimes months after the area was allowed to become wet. If you have a fabric that you believe has a cleaning code, click here to see what our friends at Temple Furniture advise for care instructions.  

What if the furniture doesn't fit, can I return it?
No, we will make every effort to help you determine whether the size of a piece will fit into the place you want it to go in your home. This can generally be done with emailed photographs and a few phone conversations. The consumer purchasing the furniture, however, is ultimately and solely responsible for making sure furniture fits where it is intended to ultimately go. Returns are authorized on a case by case basis with very few returns because we only accept returns for manufacturing defects or order entry mistakes, and strive to avoid letting you order something that's too large - talk to us before ordering, if you have a doubt.  Any freight damage must be noted on the driver's paperwork, and must be handled as a freight damage claim. We will act with you, advocate for you, and make sure a resolution is closely managed to minimize inconvenience and hardship for the consumer. Any seriously damaged items should, of course, be rejected at the time of delivery, with clear notes on the driver's paperwork. We will work on your behalf with the transport company and the factory to expedite a rush replacement at no charge. Minor repairs can be handled locally in many cases, but that would be an option only upon agreement with the transport company, ourselves, and the consumer.

How do I order?
You may order from this website – there are some items we can ship directly from our factories and suppliers directly to your home. (See our local service area to learn how we handle home delivery.) Factory-direct items are usually available only as you see them on this site, unless you see options to order different fabrics, finishes, or other features on that product’s page. One product’s options may not apply to any other.

Ordering online will lead us to contact you to confirm all order details. Many suppliers feed this site and our business. Shipping costs will be based on the number of suppliers, their location, and the best way to get the furniture to its intended destination.

If the options on a product page are insufficient, feel free to contact us with questions. We will gladly respond with whether an item can be modified, or had with options not shown. In some cases, we may have relationships with small shops not shown on this site who would be willing to duplicate a product. Custom, hand-crafted products come with longer lead times and higher costs; we’d be glad to quote any reasonable project for you, if we can get it made.

We may ask questions to make sure the furniture you’re interested in will be a good fit. As a small, family run business, we hope you will want to share information with us so we can make sensible suggestions. You should place an order only once you are sure of your choices, and only once you have considered many points we may bring to your attention, outside what people might think of everyday. We want to make sure you make well informed decisions, and do not take back any custom furniture orders. See our return policy for more information.

Once we settle purchase details by phone or email, we write up the order (yep, old fashioned style, for now) and scan it, then email it to you for review. We ask you to check it VERY CAREFULLY to ensure everything is written up correctly, and if so, respond with your approval by email, which serves as your signature on the ordering line of our sales order. If we need to make changes, you let us know and we re-send the scanned, revised sales order again for your approval. Only with deposit and order approval do we place orders with the makers of your furniture.

Payment:
Online orders shipped directly to the home from the factory are billed at 100% up front via this website’s shopping cart. We will contact you after receiving your order to confirm order details and product availability. We may need to calculate shipping offline and bill separately.

In-store, telephone and email orders within our local delivery area:

A 50% minimum deposit is required to put an order into production (more if customized, see below). You may call anytime during our business hours to provide credit card (Visa or M/C or Discover) payment info, as we keep retain no credit card information anywhere. If we need to run a charge again later, we will need to request that credit card billing information all over again, by phone.

REMINDER:
Please, for security reasons, NEVER email your credit card info or leave that info on an answering machine.

Standard orders (without customization or use of customer's own material) are prepaid with a 50% deposit before the order goes into production, with the balance paid before the furniture leaves the factory. Orders involving any custom frame changes or options are subject to higher prepaid deposits, i.e. 75-100% prepaid before the order enters production. Currently $0 sales and use tax applies to shipments direct from the NC factory to any state outside Maine.

Picking up custom orders from the Integrity Movers warehouse in Portland, Maine? Please click here for directions to the warehouse, hours, and contact information.