Ask the Design Hivemind
December 18, 2009 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have any experience with or opinions on Room and Board or CB2 as sofa merchants?

Specifically, I'm interested in the Westwood sofa from Room and Board, and the Avec sofa from CB2.

For years, I heard nothing but good things about Room and Board, but recently I've seen a number of negative reviews, especially about their lower-end sofas, of which the Westwood is definitely one. Meanwhile, what I've heard about CB2 is positive, but I've heard much less.

I live too far away from a major city to actually try any of these before I buy, and I unfortunately need a new sofa pretty badly (if anyone has any tips for a different sofa of the same style that they love, I'd be glad to hear them).
posted by scrim to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Bought a 71" Eugene sofa and a Eugene chair w/ ottoman a coupla years ago. Still clean, comfy and sturdy.
posted by notyou at 7:04 AM on December 18, 2009

We bought a different low end sofa from Room & Board, the Eugene, in March 2008. Aside from the spot where the cat sharpens his claws, it's still in pretty good shape. That is, I agree with notyou.

No experience with CB2 couches, but we have a few lamps from them. They look very nice from afar but a little cheap close up.

It's too bad you won't be able to get to R&B in person - they have a pretty good day after Xmas sale.
posted by Xalf at 7:11 AM on December 18, 2009

We bought a sectional from Room & Board (the Klein, I think) when we moved about a year and a half ago. Hands down, it's our favorite piece of furniture- amazingly comfortable, holds it shape very well, and I've gotten crazy pet and food stains out with nothing more than dish soap and water. Everyone who comes over comments on it. I've never owned anything from CB2, but I'd vouch for Room & Board's craftsmanship any day.
posted by mkultra at 7:21 AM on December 18, 2009

My husband and I bought a leather sleeper sofa from Room and Board about a year ago and have been very happy with it. It was actually a floor sample and had a couple of small scuffs, but we haven't had any trouble with the craftsmanship since. The delivery was also not a problem. The couch itself feels very solidly constructed, looks nice and is really comfortable both for sitting and sleeping on, and we've had no regrets so far (apart from the inherent incompatibility of leather and kitty claws, but we knew what we were getting in to, oh well =)
posted by Jemstar at 7:31 AM on December 18, 2009

Room and Board is fantastic. Great customer service, nice collection. All their furniture is made by third parties; if you're concerned about this specific sofa ask them who makes it and read up on their reputation.
posted by Nelson at 7:38 AM on December 18, 2009

Nthing Room and Board. We have some stains on our Jasper couch, but they are the result of toddler hijinks and could be a lot worse. Not R&B's fault.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:40 AM on December 18, 2009

Well, CB2 is Crate & Barrel, and I would think the design / branding is the difference, rather than the quality of the furniture. And I'm sure there are plenty of Crate & Barrel reviews.
posted by smackfu at 7:46 AM on December 18, 2009

CB2 is Crate & Barrel

CB2 is actually C&B's downmarket/mod store (think Gap > Old Navy). The materials and construction are of lower quality pretty much across the board.
posted by mkultra at 8:02 AM on December 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Really? I thought it was just a more hip branding. The prices aren't very downmarket!
posted by smackfu at 8:07 AM on December 18, 2009

Thanks for all the answers so far, guys. I just found the thread (also on Apartment Therapy) that made me concerned specifically about the Westwood. It makes it sound like some of the cheaper, bench-style couches don't wear well. Originally I was totally sold on R&B, but now I'm worried that I'll regret it in a year (and $1000 is a lot to spend on something that I'll regret that soon).
posted by scrim at 8:16 AM on December 18, 2009

I was thinking seriously about this sofa, which also has a single long cushion. I similar concerns about how well one long cushion would wear; I talked to a guy who custom-makes sofas and he mentioned that while foam holds up fine in that shape, the fabric will start to ripple fairly quickly (within a couple years, depending on the fabric). It's too much unbroken area being stressed and stretched repeatedly. Then I took a look at the floor sample at DWR and saw it was beginning to stretch already.

Something to consider when looking at bench-style sofas.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:44 AM on December 18, 2009

I have never been more disappointed with a purchase than the sofa we bought from room and board. It was expensive, it took ages to get to us (4 months!) and within no time, it started looking like crap. It is also perfectly fine for sitting on in the amount of time you might sit on it in a store to "try it out" but in real life doesn't work well for the TV watching for which it was bought. There are nail heads starting to protrude from the top that are pokey and snag your nice sweaters, the cushion covers have stretched out - so the fabric is kind of baggy. Even though it was expensive - it's now the kid couch. We plan on keeping it until our kid is done peeing on things then replacing it with something much much better. I love the store, the people are nice, but man that couch blows.
posted by Wolfie at 10:07 AM on December 18, 2009

We have a sofa from Room and Board that has not performed terribly well.... I think it's this one. The basic construction has held up ok, but the cushions have lost their form and the fabric has worn well, btu the color seems to have seriously faded. We've had it 3-4 years. Possibly a few hundred bucks in reconditioning and shampooing will revive it...
posted by mzurer at 10:36 AM on December 18, 2009

Hi, mzurer - thanks for the info, but I just wanted to let you know that I believe your link goes to the iTunes store...
posted by scrim at 10:51 AM on December 18, 2009

We have a sleeper sofa from Room and Board that we bought 3 years ago. (The specific sofa is no longer on their website, but it is similar to the Kendall sleeper.) Aside from cat-inflicted fabric damage (which is surprisingly not that bad, considering the cats), it has held up well. It's very comfortable and the cushions have held their shape well. The back cushions are down-filled and sometimes the occasional feather pops out, but pretty much every down-filled product I have ever seen does that.

I don't have any sofas or seating from CB2, but I have a bookshelf and a side table from them, and they seem to be just as sturdy and well-built as their Crate & Barrel counterparts.
posted by bedhead at 11:42 AM on December 18, 2009

I have this couch from Macy's, in a somewhat similar style, and love it. Comfy, durable, inexpensive. There was a discussion about it on Apartment Therapy shortly before I bought it two and a half years ago with overwhelmingly positive comments. Macy's has a few other 50s-modern-style couches these days as well.
posted by doift at 12:18 PM on December 18, 2009

I have the Avec, and I love it. The cushions will definitely get a bit compressed if you sit in the same spot day after day, but I've found that as long as I switch spots every few weeks they spring back. I've only had it a few months, though, so I can't say how it'll hold up in the long term.

Be aware that the Avec is definitely on the firm side. I prefer firmer cushions, so it works for me, but I could see it bothering someone else.
posted by asterix at 11:02 PM on December 18, 2009

I've read somewhere that those bench style couches are actually a different construction and they're more likely to age poorly than 'regular' couches. Something like that length of foam and fabric can't really sustain different tensions and it ends up getting baggy and indented. The normal cushions on the seat of the couch allow different weights to be distributed without pulling from the opposite corner of the couch. Obviously there are some beautiful vintage and antique couches with this look, but they're constructed differently (and much firmer) and don't have the same 'pulling' problem. So - buyer beware with those bench couches. If you like that look, I'd probably suggest something more like this - with two seat cushions.

And CB2 is definitely the cheaper version of Crate and Barrel. Their stuff is hip and a bit cheaper than, oh, something like DWR, but the quality isn't even as good as the regular Crate and Barrel furnishings.

Not sure if this guy is still in business, but I've always thought about ordering something from him. Apparently anything can be shipped from the factory in CA. I think he was referenced on Apartment Therapy or some other design blog.
posted by barnone at 9:10 AM on December 19, 2009

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