This is the archive page description

Making Sustainable Furniture Choices for Your Business

Making smart business decisions no longer means thinking only of yourself, your employees, and your customers or clients: Present-day commercial entities are challenged with making sustainable choices that are as environmentally friendly as possible. Part of this involves considering how your furniture upgrades impact the environment, and what you might do to lessen that impact.

Mass-Produced Furniture’s Environmental Impact

You’ve probably heard people lament that “they just don’t make things the way they used to.” Whoever first said this may have been speaking specifically about the furniture industry. Mass-producing is the norm today, manufacturing products that are cheaply made and won’t last. This creates a continual cycle of waste: People buy cheap furniture, throw it away once it no longer works or looks good, and then buy more cheap furniture to replace it.

As this cycle repeats itself, it perpetuates deforestation, climate change, and landfill waste.

Deforestation

In the past ten years, we’ve cleared over 380.5 million acres of tropical forests, or three times the land area of France. This is a completely unsustainable practice that destroys the habitat of many plants and animals, causes water runoff that leads to flooding and landslides, and increases greenhouse gas emissions.

Deforestation

                                      Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Although paper production is the biggest driver of deforestation, furniture production is another major cause.

Climate Change

Greenhouse gas emissions don’t end with logging: As furniture manufacturers transport trees to sawmills, turn them into furniture, package the furniture, and transport the furniture to warehouses and, eventually, clients, they produce more and more carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.

Smoke from a sawmill

                      Photo via Pixabay

Landfills

When people throw out old furniture they no longer want, it ends up in landfills. As it decomposes, this furniture produces a number of harmful glasses, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that further contribute to the greenhouse effect and, consequently, global warming.

Landfill

                                                          Photo via Pixabay

Sustainable Furniture Choices

Instead of buying mass-produced, low-quality furniture, try to reupholster or invest in durable furniture that will last.

Reupholster

If the furniture you’re looking to upgrade qualifies — for example, if it’s sturdy enough and isn’t damaged beyond repair — reupholstering is the most sustainable choice you can make. Reupholstering requires using fewer natural resources, since you’re not creating anything from scratch, and also contributes less to landfill waste.

Because the process of reupholstering requires much less production and transportation, it produces significantly less emissions. In fact, one organization found that refinishing the furniture in 100 hotel rooms produced just 1.245 tons of carbon dioxide, compared to 125.33 tons when replacing all the furniture. These numbers will vary depending on the type and quantity of furniture your business is renovating, but reupholstering will prove incredibly more environmentally friendly regardless of your industry.

Ecofriendly Materials

Reupholstering also gives you the opportunity to choose ecofriendly materials. For example, when selecting fabric for your upholstery, you can consider whether it is:

  • Sustainable: Fibers come from rapidly renewable resources that have growth and harvest cycles of five years or less.
  • Organic: No pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers are used to grow the fibers.
  • Recycled: Fibers come from postconsumer waste and postindustrial waste byproducts from the manufacturing process.

QA Group offers fabrics that meet all of these requirements. We’re happy to work with you to find a fabric that is both environmentally friendly and suitable for your business’ needs.

When Buying New, Consider Durability

If reupholstering isn’t an option, purchase higher-quality, durable furniture that will last to avoid contributing to the cycle of waste.

Buy Vintage

As the saying implies, furniture manufacturers really did have higher standards in the past. While this can make it hard to find quality new furniture, it makes buying vintage pieces a viable option. Even if it is significantly older, vintage and preowned furniture may last much longer than new mass-produced options, making for less landfill waste. These older options also require no additional resources to manufacture, so you’re not contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.  Plus, vintage items can add unique character to your business’ space.

In your search for the right furniture, you may find vintage pieces that need some work to be suitable for your commercial space. Don’t pass these by — they may just require reupholstery or refinishing to make them look brand new.

Buy High-Quality New Furniture

When you have to buy new furniture, make the sustainable choice of choosing a durable option — even if it means paying more. Buying well-made furniture could easily save you money in the long run and, like buying vintage furniture, lessens the waste that will end up in landfills.

If you’re not sure what makes a piece of furniture durable, work with someone who does. QA Group has a large variety of new products for sale for your business, and we’re also happy to answer any questions you have about furniture quality.  

Create Custom Pieces

If you can’t find vintage or new options that meet your needs, you can still be environmentally conscious by ordering custom furniture. This allows you to ensure that your furniture is as durable as possible, choose ecofriendly materials, buy local (thus reducing carbon emissions due to transportation), and customize the style to your commercial space.

QA Group offers custom design and builds for a variety of different types of furniture, including restaurant and bar seating, outdoor and patio seating, table tops and bases, guest room and common area furniture, and more.

Merrill Gardens Retirement Communities Conference Room Table Refinished

This conference table was completely refinished in our spray booth at our production facility with durable polyurethane finish for the corporate offices at Merrill Gardens Retirement Communities!

BEFORE

 

 

AFTER

Commercial and Residential Project Spotlight

Architectural upholstery for a private residential client

QA Group staff worked with the construction team at Neil Kelly Company to create a corner banquette, completely custom made to fit the client’s unique space and desired look.

The piece was upholstered in genuine leather from Seattle-based interior design and architectural wholesale resource Trammell-Gagne and features a channeled back and stainless steel Plastic-Laminate (P-LAM) toe kick with brushed horizontal grain.

The QA Group team safely hand-delivered and installed the finished product inside the client’s home in the Windermere neighborhood.

Arboretum Dermatology waiting room project

For this project, our team collaborated with the client’s interior designer and architect along with the millwork shop at Interior Environments. We started with a series of mockups:

And eventually installed a customized, upholstered waiting room bench:

Heirloom chair overhaul in Anacortes

Queen Anne Upholstery’s client in Anacortes wanted to spruce up a prized Victorian dining room chair set passed down from her grandmother. The mahogany chairs originated in the 1860s and eventually shipped from England to Calgary by boat. They were then sold at an auction.

Each chair features a beautiful needlepoint seat and back made by the family’s great grandmother, grandmother, and mother. The elaborate design — which was done entirely by hand with no pattern — took a total of five years to complete throughout the early 1900s and the chairs were finished in 1934. We were honored to refinish these beautiful heirloom pieces so the family can continue to enjoy them for years to come!

Upholstered Essentials Checklists and Tips for Your Industry

When it comes to the upholstered furniture pieces commonly found in the following industry settings, condition is key, as they make up some of the most visible and frequently used areas that define your space’s ambience and comfort. Whether your pieces are showing signs of damage and in need of an upholstery overhaul or you simply want to update an existing piece’s style, make sure your space is outfitted with the following upholstered essentials. Just remember to regularly inspect each item for visible signs of wear and tear (such as broken springs, limbs, fading, etc.)… and reupholster when necessary to maintain that good-as-new quality without re-furnishing!

Offices

Whether you need to furnish a sprawling corporate campus, a multi-floor building, a small startup headquarters, or a single office for personal use, you’ll want to keep every piece looking new, clean, modern, and on brand. Beyond aesthetics, make sure seating remains as comfortable as possible for yourself, your employees, and your clients and other visitors. Don’t be embarrassed by deteriorating conference room chairs or a common area sofa with a broken spring (ouch!).

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Desk chairs
  • Lobby seating
  • Customer seating
  • Hallway benches
  • Common areas
  • Partition panels for cubicles
  • Sofas and/or armchairs

Hotels and restaurants

If you work in the hospitality industry, your success is dependent on each guest’s satisfaction. The stakes are high to deliver consistent comfort and customer care, and this means you and your staff must maintain attention to detail — right down to the seams of that lobby furniture and the backs on those cafe chairs. No hotel guest wants to check into a tattered guest room during their otherwise relaxing vacation, and no restaurant customer wants to plan a date at a location whose dining room is distastefully outdated or in shambles. Keep a close eye on the condition of the upholstered pieces in these key areas.

Upholstered essentials checklist (Hotels):

  • Lobby seating
  • Outdoor furniture for patios, courtyards, pool area, etc.
  • Reception and concierge desk
  • Staff offices
  • Hotel bar and restaurant
  • Guest rooms and suites
  • Ballroom or event space
  • Conference and meeting rooms
  • Fitness center
  • Corridors

Upholstered essentials checklist (Restaurants):

  • Dining room seating
  • Booths and banquettes
  • Bar
  • Entrance
  • Waiting area
  • Restroom lounge

Educational and governmental institutions

Big things are happening inside our nation’s legislative buildings. Meanwhile, future leaders are molded in our school system from preschool through college. Yet even seemingly small details and accommodations (yes, this includes furnishings!) matter in the governmental and educational setting. Don’t overlook the upholstered elements in the following areas.

Upholstered essentials checklist (Governmental: municipal buildings, courthouses, elected official offices, boardrooms, etc.):

  • Lobby and waiting rooms
  • Communal seating areas
  • Conference rooms and meeting spaces

Upholstered essentials checklist (Educational: preschool, K-8, high schools, universities, technical schools):

  • Staff and faculty offices
  • Lobby and waiting rooms
  • Communal seating areas
  • Dining areas
  • Lecture halls
  • Libraries and study areas
  • Dorm common areas

Additional industries and areas to consider:

Senior living communities

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Lobby and parlor
  • Dining room
  • Common areas
  • Media room
  • Game and activity rooms
  • Physical therapy center
  • Gym
  • Salon
  • Furnished residences

Healthcare facilities

Furnishings in healthcare settings require medical-grade materials and/or treated surfaces (hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, flame retardant, odor and fluid resistant).

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Hospitals
  • Medical, dental, and veterinary practices
  • Clinics
  • Urgent care
  • Holistic health practices
  • Inpatient facilities

Fitness centers

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Locker rooms
  • Child care centers
  • Strength machines
  • Weight benches
  • Membership offices

Yachts

Yacht furniture upholstery varies based on whether the piece will be housed in the interior or exterior. Outdoor fabric must be colorfast and water-resistant, durable, and resistant to wrinkles, fading from the sun, and mold and mildew from moisture. Popular options include materials with a high UV rating (often polyester, blends containing polyester, acrylic, canvas, or PVC-based fabrics).

Upholstered essentials checklist:

  • Interior and exterior seating
  • Mattresses
  • Sundeck cushions
  • Covers

Washington State Capitol Enlists QA Group for Table Restoration

QA Group is proud to work with a wide variety of clients, from doctors and restaurants to resorts. But perhaps one of the client relationships we are most honored to maintain is with the Washington State Capitol.

The Capitol became a client in 2015, and we have completed multiple projects for them since, including updates to the Senate sofas and Governor Room chairs.

For this recent project, the Capitol called on QA Group to repair, refinish, and restore a historic State Reception Room table to its original state. The table had sustained damage from the Nisqually Earthquake as well as previous repairs that did not hold up. This made it impossible for our team to repair the table without re-veneering the top, so we collaborated with State personnel who oversee historic preservation to find veneers as close as possible to those used in the era the table was made.

Initially our refinishing team went out to review the project, then we submitted a quote, and then the search began to find veneers to restore the table. We then made up samples and had the team from the Capitol come and review them before making their final selection of restoration veneers.

Our delivery team removed the table from the Capitol and was brought back to the QA Production Facilities to be restored. This project was a complex procedure, so it took about 2 months to thoroughly complete. Throughout the process, our team took great care to preserve all original markings on the underside of the table. The veneer was the primary material used to complete the project. We also finished and polished the table with a clear coat.

This project was extremely unique, as our team used UV rays to develop a patina on the new veneer so that the wood replicated that of the original table and it would remain a historic piece of furniture. This special technique was long and tedious, but the finished piece is beautiful and looked almost identical to how the table would have looked in its early years.

The QA Group team feels privileged to have worked with State personnel who are meticulous in historic preservation. Take a look at the finished product in the photo above.

QA Group: Commercial Project Spotlight

QA Group has been hard at work helping businesses bring unique upholstery and refinishing visions to life. From Lynnwood up north to Bellingham, our team has been taking on an influx of architectural upholstery projects — or, in other words, projects on which our custom furniture expertise lends a hand to third-party construction companies as they complete an architect’s building plans.

We’re proud to collaborate with business owners, architects, builders, and other project team members to hand-select materials, execute design goals, and prepare commercial operations to best serve their customer base — all within a reasonable timeframe. The following projects were recently completed in our Seattle production facility and delivered to our satisfied clients.

Custom seating for Tony’s Coffee in Bellingham

QA Group was glad to assist the Bellingham-based Chuckanut Builders team, who is currently completing the full buildout for an upcoming Tony’s Coffee location. The Tony’s management team worked with Neil Gracey, QA Group’s very own consultant with extensive custom furniture building experience, to nail down the perfect booth and banquette styling and layout to fit their needs. We referred to the client’s original architectural drawings and collaborated with both Chuckanut Builders and Tony’s Coffee to optimize an upholstery plan that would maximize space in the cafe.

After reviewing and approving the plans, the Bellingham team ultimately selected a faux black leather material for a banquette series that could fit against a long wall and flex to accommodate tables for larger groups and intimate smaller groups.

Our Seattle shop then got to work building frames; fitting furniture with springs, webbing, and padding; cutting and sewing the material; assembling each booth and banquette; and hand-tufting each button to create the unique triangular design pictured above.

Finally, our team delivered the finished product to be installed… and voila!

Updated exam chair for Virginia Mason Lynnwood Medical Center

Virginia Mason Medical Center is a long-term QA Group customer. We’ve completed many projects on the main campus in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood, but this particular project was completed for a doctor at the Lynnwood location.

Our doctor client liked the functionality of the exam chairs they had long used, but the covers were dated and slightly damaged on the surface. Instead of replacing the chairs altogether, VMMC called in QA Group to reupholster the existing chairs.

Our team removed the old panels off the chair frame, brought them back to our shop, and completely re-padded and reupholstered each panel with contract-grade black vinyl. This material was selected in part for its ability to stand up to medical-grade cleaning. For extended durability, we also treated each panel with a coat of PreFixx protective finish.

Before we installed the newly upholstered exam chair panels, we used a custom dye blending technique (we call this “overcoloring”) to match the chair’s new body to its original arms, which were kept intact due to their superior condition.

The best part? We completed the entire process, from start to finish, in only 24 hours. The practice was able to see patients as usual on the following day.

QA Group is proud to be one of the only local upholstery firms with the capacity and experience to provide medical upholstery panels with a quick turnaround.

Are you a business owner or commercial contractor in need of professional upholstery services for your own project? We want to collaborate with you, too! Contact QA Group today.

Note: If you’re looking for upholstery, refinishing, or other luxury furniture solutions for your home, contact our residential furnishing experts right here at Queen Anne Upholstery.

QA Group Works With BN Builders and Gensler to Complete the Collective TI Project on Dexter Ave

QA Group worked with BN Builders and the Project Architect Gensler on the Collective TI Project on Dexter Ave to create custom architectural upholstery panels. These were designed, fabricated, and installed for Two Wall Niches to create a great gathering space!

We used a high end Stripe fabric from Maharam and “Ultra-Cell” Foam to meet all fire codes, and worked with the Project Manager to pre-measure the site and call attention to the challenges that arose affecting the Upholstery Seating Scope during the project. These challenges included a fire protection sprinkler head that was required in that location and recessed lighting that was requested from the owners.

 

Work was performed in the QA Group production facility, with the final install at the project site by the QA Group crew. All Project Site sub-contact requirements where met including licensing, specialized insurance, site safety plan, and adherence to the project schedule – making the project a great success for all!

How the Hospitality Industry Is Saving Profits in Today’s Economy

Good news if you’re in the hospitality industry, and looking for cost-effective solutions for interior furnishings! According to a recent story in the New York Times (Luxury Hotels Are Feeling Economy’s Pinch), you might relate to some of the situations other hoteliers are feeling.

Numbers from Smith Travel Research, the leading hotel research company, demonstrate that the average revenue per available room — the standard measure of hotel performance — is unsteady or falling in hotels in the United States. In some areas, average occupancy continues to fall, and average daily room rates continue to decline.

How-the-Hospitality-Industry-is-Saving-Profits-in-Todays-Economy-1Knowing, there are still ongoing expenses, repairs, remodels and constant furnishings and equipment to maintain a luxury or 5 STAR presence – many hotels have discovered an attractive solution.

You’ve heard the saying, “out with the old, in with the new,” but when it comes to furniture, sometimes keeping the old and giving it a new face is a better choice for hotels.

Reupholstering is one way hotels and restaurants can keep furniture looking attractive, feeling comfortable and be cost-effective. Hoteliers need to determine the cost to reupholster an item versus buying it new, and should consider the quality of the piece and the time each option would take. Case in point…

Ron Hildebrand, Director of Purchasing for Crown American Hotels

 

“If we have high-end pieces like a sofa or [lobby] chairs, we think it’s worth it to reupholster them. Everything depends on the foundation–the frame. We can have the [reupholstery done] quicker than we can buy new and have them made, most of the time.”

Kristina Malcolm, Project Manager, Interior Design for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

 

“Reupholstery is more specific to public areas where we have older, more ornate pieces that aren’t entirely upholstered.  We end up replacing the seating part, which is more cost effective than replacing the whole chair.

If the piece is well-made, that often tips the scale in favor of reupholstering.

 

Malcolm said Fairmont, (which has 43 hotels in its portfolio), is reupholstering beautiful carved lobby chairs at its property in San Jose, Calif., and is working on a similar project at its hotel in Ottawa, Ontario. Day Hospitality Group also bases much of the decision to purchase new – or reupholster, on the quality of the furniture.

“We buy very good furniture, and that’s why it’s worth reupholstering it if we can,” said Phillip Bullard, Director of Facilities for Day Hospitality, which has 14 properties in its portfolio. “Those in the lobby don’t really go out of style, and it’s inexpensive to do it.”

Another point to consider that will affect reupholstery decisions is historical significance.

 

The Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a member of Historic Hotels of America, reupholstered 100 vintage dining room and lobby chairs during a recent renovation, and presently is undergoing a major renovation that includes more reupholstery work.

“Anything that is original or close to original that we can preserve and keep in any new design schemes or renovations, that is what we are going to want to keep,” said Gregg Balton, General Manager of the Gideon Putnam. “We found some photos of the lobby of the hotel that date back to the 1930s, when the hotel first opened.

A few of our wingback and Queen Anne chairs were originals, and we had those reupholstered. We will be recycling them into the next lobby renovation, as well.” Balton said the property also had some dining room chairs from the 1940s or 1950s that were reupholstered, and in some cases, a partial reupholstering will work, according to Bullard.

“When we do our [renovations] every five or six years, we check our couches and the condition they are in,” he said. “We might just reupholster the cushions because they get the most wear. It saves us a lot of money over having to do the whole couch.

The Goal?  A Smooth Transition.

 

How-the-Hospitality-Industry-is-Saving-Profits-in-Todays-Economy-2Once a hotel or restaurant has decided to reupholster, it’s important to come up with a schedule that causes guests the least inconvenience. To achieve that, Malcolm said the San Jose project is scheduled to be completed over several nights.

“The center of the lobby is a lounge, and the periphery is surrounded by banquettes that are being reupholstered,” she said.

“The chairs are being reupholstered or replaced based on their current quality level. We’ll remove one quadrant at a time while the rest remain, and we just have a few less chairs for that day.” Hildebrand said Crown American typically selects reupholsterers near the property that needs the work done because it reduces time, and therefore, inconvenience to guests.

“We have a prefunction area in [a hotel] in York, Pa., that had eight different kinds of chairs that needed to be reupholstered. We took four out, had them refinished and reupholstered, then we took the other four out and had them done.

The dining room project at the Gideon Putnam was made easier because the 120-room property had extra chairs it could use in place of those being reupholstered.”We sent out a dozen a week,” Balton said. “They’d be able to turn them around in a week or 10 days, and then we’d send out more. In about six weeks’ time, we had all new chairs in the dining room.”

For hotels and other professionals in the hospitality industry, it’s important to know and understand your options. Use the services available to you by experts who know your industry, and can help you make wise decisions when it comes to maintaining a 5 STAR presence in a cost-effective way.

 

Queen Anne Upholstery, named ‘One of Seattle’s Best’ by Seattle Magazine, is an industry leader in customer service. Established on the top of Queen Anne Hill in 1936, Family owned and operatedQueen Anne Upholstery is committed to the excellence of ‘old world’ craftsmanship.

Queen Anne Upholstery can restore your custom and antique furniture to its original beauty. Durable and unique in character, such furniture helps create a remarkable interior for the entire home, office, theater, hotel and restaurant.