In my search for something to sleep on for my new apartment I've come across some interesting options. The apartment is a nice sized studio, so what I decide on will have to do double duty. I've pretty much settled on a sofa bed. I like the fact that it tucks away without a hint of it's dual purpose and I'm particularly fond of following in the footsteps of Mary Richards (thanks to Julia at HookedOnHouses.net for the photo)
I have some concerns, however. Sofa beds are notoriously uncomfortable. I've slept on my share of them to know the rumors are true, so I went in search of some options. I knew that the sofa bed manufacturers would have plenty of solutions aimed at making them more comfortable, and I was pleasantly surprised!
My first stop was Carlyle. They're a local New York/New Jersey brand known for their quality furniture. I spoke with Thomas who clued me in on what they do to make a sofa bed comfortable for every day use - a daily sleeper they called it. First off the mechanism is solidly built and the foundation for the bed is composed of a mesh of metal pieces that look like large staples linked together. They call it Steelweave. Additionally, they make their frames out of hardwood and their deluxe mattresses have more coils than the average mattress and are also padded for extra comfort. Part of the Carlyle demonstration is for the salesman to jump up and down on the folded sofa to show how solidly built they are. It was convincing, but not as convincing as laying down on the bed. The deluxe mattress was very comfortable. Comparable to a regular bed. I couldn't feel the bar across my back at all, which is one of the general complaints about sofa beds. The big drawback was price. The simple sofa that I picked out was a cost prohibitive $4000.
My next stop was Jennifer Convertibles. They're known for being more cost effective. I spoke with Fredelisa, who gave me the inside story on their daily sleeper option - an inflatable mattress they call the Airdream. I have to say I was equally impressed with the comfort of that bed - again, no bar across my back and it felt like a regular bed as well. There is the added step of inflating it every night when you open up the bed, but it inflates in 45 seconds to a minute with a special little device you plug into a valve on one of the corners. To deflate, just pop the cap and the mattress deflates. Their other option was a coil mattress like Carlyle, but I wasn't as impressed with that - I felt the bar across my back. Jennifer Convertibles has the edge on price. The sofa I looked at there would run me about $1200 - $1500 with custom fabric choices.
Now, no post here would be complete without a discussion of styling! My goal with this new apartment is to evoke the early 1970's with an eclectic David Hicks feel. With that in mind, I'm looking for a tuxedo style sofa (one in which the arms are as high as the back) with boxed back cushions. It's a basic style that was popular back then. If upholstered correctly it will look period. At Carlyle that's no problem. They will customize everything about the sofa I choose. I can give them the picture below and they will replicate it exactly.
Jennifer Convertibles isn't as flexible, however. They won't work with a customer's fabric, they won't change back cushion styles, they won't customize anything except fabric choices within their range of fabrics, which is fairly broad - I found a few options I could consider.
This brings me to a third option - vintage. Now buying a vintage sofa bed presents several problems. First and foremost is upholstery. Finding one that doesn't need to be reupholstered is challenging - unless it's been preserved in plastic! Reupholstery can be as expensive as a new sofa, so it's wise to consider whether the frame is worth the investment. I was concerned about the mechanism and that bar across my back until I found out that the inflatable mattress could be bought for any bed. That opened up the possibility of a well preserved vintage sofa working, should I find the right specimen.
I'll keep you posted on my choices and show you a picture of the final purchase! Right now this thrifty girl is leaning toward Jennifer Convertibles with the inflatable mattress.
My trip to Denver was a great success after a bit of a snafu with the flight out (it was canceled). Look for a video featuring the trip soon!
(Thanks to Christian Montone for the vintage sofa bed image!)