Behind the scenes at Sofas and Stuff in Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 00:00 28 December 2013
Joan Russell Photography
Discover a different way of shopping for one of your most favourite pieces of furniture
Choosing a sofa is shopping to savour. It’s not something to hurry but to enjoy at leisure with expert help if you need it. Andrew Cousins, founder and managing director of Sofas & Stuff understands this. He has combined the convenience of online buying with a real life shopping experience but not on the high street.
Instead he has created airy countryside showrooms that encourage customers to take their time. And there isn’t the burden of high street operating costs, which means prices are very competitive.
People shop in many different ways today, thanks to the internet, says Andrew who has been in the sofa business for more than 30 years. ‘We have both a virtual shop on the internet and beautiful barns in the countryside. The barns are a lovely environment with knowledgeable people who can help customers if they need it. It’s the best of both worlds.’
And because a Sofas & Stuff barn is usually not too far from a country pub or a pretty market town, it’s not unusual for customers to take in the sights and have lunch during their sofa shopping. ‘People can make a day of it,’ adds Andrew.
Sofas & Stuff not only sell sofas but make them too in their workshops outside Nottingham using traditional craftsmanship and beautiful, hard wearing often hand woven fabric. ‘There are two things we want. One is that the sofa is physically made to last and its design has to have longevity too,’ says Andrew. ‘Sofas should be made to last, to be handed down to the children. They should be like old family friends.’
Claire Sutcliffe, a company director based at the Yorkshire Sofas & Stuff barn just outside Ripley, near Harrogate has expert knowledge of the wide range of sofas and fabrics available as well as other furniture which includes tables, chairs, benches, lighting and beds. She will help customers picture a sofa or chair in a particular pattern or fabric which isn’t easy for many.
‘Quite often people don’t know what they want until they see it,’ says Claire. ‘There is such a wide choice of fabrics and designs.’ Customers are welcome to look for as long as they like without being interrupted but there is always expert advice at hand. Claire will answer any questions and will also ask a few to help in the search for the right design and fabric. She’ll throw large samples of fabric over a sofa to give customers the best idea of how a pattern will look.
‘There is now such a choice of natural fabrics which are warm and hard wearing like our lovely Abraham Moon fabrics and Harris Tweed hand woven in the Outer Hebrides.’
For three years now Barra check white has been one of Sofa & Stuff’s best selling fabrics. Designed by their in-house design team and woven in their favourite mill in Scotland, this gorgeous 100 per cent linen cloth has now been introduced in six new colours, to coordinate with our new Barra Plain linen colours.
Biscay washable cotton
This is beautiful, heavy weight 100 per cent cotton ideal for washable loose or fitted covers. Suitable too for curtains, blinds, bedspreads, or whatever takes your fancy.
Trafalgar house linen
This mix of 63 per cent cotton, 37 per cent linen makes the best washable loose covers. It’s the most popular fabric since 1979. Suitable for sofa covers, curtains, blinds, bedspreads.
A really hard wearing fabric for tight covered sofas, with an unusual faded striate effect that gives movement and lightness to what is a plain fabric.
Go to sofasandstuff.com for details of the full range of fabrics from Sofas & Stuff
Sofas & Stuff
The Clock Tower
North Yorkshire HG3 3BF (was HG3 3JN)
10am - 5pm Monday to Saturday
Open until 8pm every Thursday
Sundays by appointment only
Bank Holidays 11am - 4pm