Thursday, October 30, 2014

Slipcovers from HELL

Long time ago, when I actually had some pocket money, I had a sofa made.  I am an indecisive person so the sofa that I saw/had it modeled from (a $6000 Roche Bobois one that I saw in a magazine in the States) was red.  I loved it, but I didn’t know for how long my "red phase" would last.  Then, I decided to have white slipcovers made from a similar fabric.  Later, I got another set made in deep purple.  My theory was that I could change them seasonally and use neutral tones in the room (like carpets and drapes) and then just change out the accessories and pillows to reflect the sofa color.  It has worked out really nicely.
When I originally had the sofa made, I had a few glitches,  but overall it was a timely process and I had a finished sofa in a little over a week.  Unfortunately (for the guys who delivered it, carrying it up 5 flights to my apartment), it was approximately 20cm too large to get into the apartment, so they had to take it back and chop it down (at no cost to me). 
I love the sofa.  My friends love the sofa.  It was really well made with solid wood and good springs and cushions.  It has lasted me quite a long time now.  I’ve had it re-sprung once several years ago when having the purple slipcovers made.  I think at that time, the total price to have the slipcovers made was around KD150.
So as trends in décor change, I decided to have aqua-blue slipcovers made.  I searched through most of the shops in Dhajeej and couldn’t find what I was looking for; finally walking into a store (the 2nd one I walked into) in the fabric souq downtown (“blockat” – or the commercial block) and found the right fabric at the right price.
I felt comfortable as I was greeted by a very nice Indian man named Felix.  I asked him if he could make slipcovers and the 2 nice Kuwaiti ladies (customers) sitting next to me said that the shop (called “Craft” on their sign) does very good work.  Usually, the places where you buy upholstery fabric are usually the same guys who send it to their workshop to have curtains and upholstery made for clients.
Felix handed me a card that read “Silver Fabrics”.  I’ve learned long ago not to question the details in Kuwait because it only frustrates me.  I made an appointment for Felix to come to my house and take measurements of my sofa and get my requirements.  He said, "Trust me, you'll like it."  (That should have been a clue - I never trust men who say, "Trust me.")   He came with several men and they took the sofa to their workshop, handing me a receipt with yet another name on the top, “Kaiser Sofa Factory.” 
I went on vacation for 2 weeks.  When I returned, I called Felix.  His phone was switched off.  I continued calling for several days.  His phone was still off.  I finally called the shop “Silver Fabrics” or “Craft” – and asked to speak to the manager.  He said that he didn’t know what happened to Felix – that his phone had been switched off for several weeks.  He also said that he didn’t know where my sofa was, but he would, “Try to do me a favor and find out where it is.”  What?!   Dude is supposed to be an employee, right?  Or is he just some random guy, hanging around your shop, selling fabric and making upholstery deals?
 Every day I called, the answer was, “Tomorrow, Inshallah.”  (I can be very persistent and I had several of my Kuwaiti friends calling also.)  It took me 2 more weeks (a full month) to get my sofa back. When the sofa arrived, it had not been made to my requirements and there were 4 cushions missing (including 2 that I had given them as samples).  Also missing were my purple slipcovers and several of the red (original) cushion covers.  Oh no he d’int!
That turned into a game of, “I’ll do you a favor and try to get them back for you.”  What?!  Do me a FAVOR?  I paid you – TWICE what the slipcovers cost a few years ago. 
Last night, they finally delivered the covers.  It has taken a total of 5 weeks.  It wasn’t done the way I asked, but it is still pretty and my mission is finally over.  I learned a lesson on this one.  Felix is NOT a wonderful, wonderful cat!  for one thing.

(Top) Roche Bobois ad. (bottom) sofa I had made 

Purple slipcovers
I had white slipcovers also but I don't have a photo.


Chirp said...

Hi DG! Sorry that you had this experience, I never trust those stores they always tell you something and it takes them forever to get things done. What I usually do is I buy my fabric from them and then have anything I want done by someone else, if you would like I can email you the number of a good upholsterer dude that did all my moms couches, hes not very cheap but very reliable. I also have another guy who did my couches he was good also.

Desert Girl said...

Thanks, Chirp.

I'm going to write to you now.

These guys were not cheap either. 340KD total ("We're not going to charge you for the half-lorey." Thaaaaanks) with the fabric. I'm just looking for quality and above all - reliability.

I appreciate the comment. :)

Sara R said...

Hello Desertgirl,
Thank you very much for your work on this blog! It has been invaluable when I moved to Kuwait. Who would you suggest for honest and quality furniture upholstery repair? You refer to a place called Dajeej in a different post, where are they? Going into the third year in Kuwait, and the (fake) leather chairs bought from the Home center are All torn at seams.
Thank you again and God bless,

Desert Girl said...

Hi Sara and thanks for the compliment. Dhajeej is the area next to the airport. If you are on 6th Ring Road going away from the city, Dhajeej is on the right (the area where Sears is). There are many upholstery and furniture making shops there. The one I used way back in the day is no longer there. Kakooli is a safe bet, but if you want to check out other places, just go in and look at their sample furniture for workmanship.

I've had my sofa since 2004. It's got good bones; good wood. I've had it reupholstered (slipcovers) 3 times and had the straps redone once. It's still in great shape.

Good luck.