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Kofod-Larsen sofas need restoration

- 17 Jul 2017 -
12 posts / 0 new

We've had these original Kofod-Larsen sofas since the early 60's, (see photo) but don't really have a place for them now.

The webbing is gone and new cushions are needed. Also the frames are becoming a bit loose. I'm sure they can be restored but don't know where to find someone qualified to do the work.

We are located near Toronto, ON - the GTA.

Also, I may find the cost of restoration too expensive and should just sell them as is if there is a market for them.

Any advice on what to do?

 Kofod-Larsen sofas need restoration
1950 - 1959


- 17 Jul 2017

That's a tough one. They appear to be stained and lacquered beech. If the frames really need re-gluing and refinishing along with new straps and cushions, the return likely wouldn't cover the cost of having it done right. I'd probably shop them around as is to dealers that specialize in mid-century to see if there's any interest there. If you're lucky enough to get a firm offer, list them locally for double first. You never know.

- 17 Jul 2017

Or, get a couple of estimates on repair and refinishing, then look at ended Ebay auctions for similar sofas to see what they really sell for. You can also look for listed prices online on many other sites but this can be misleading as many sellers will accept lower offers and usually when the item sells the final price is not posted.

Skip 1stdibs as they're a special exception for all kinds of reasons.

Some dealers will not give free appraisals, which is what you're essentially asking if you follow tktoo's advice. People do this all the time. I have friends with an MCM shop and they get asked constantly what this or that is worth, only to see it listed on Craigslist a week later---which is then essentially competition.

There's definitely a market for them in as is condition, but you won't get a lot of money for them. Hopefully you can price them a little too high for the person who would paint them pale blue with flowers twining up the legs and then slap a plywood seat deck down instead of redoing the webbing---!

Where I live (large-ish east coast city in US), refinishing would cost at least $500-600, regluing joints $150-300+, webbing at least $150 (just stapled on), new foam cushions & covers (foam & labor) $350-450, so about $1200 minimum---- plus fabric which can be anything from not too bad to considerable, depending on what you choose.

You could get it done for less than that or you may have to pay more, it's impossible to say without getting estimates. And even though you are paying others to do the actual work, it will take a chunk of your time and energy to deal with it.

If you can store them a bit longer, keep an eye on CL listings and see what similar things sell for (pay attention to chair frames, too). Check CL in other areas similar to where you live. I think--maybe??---Danish furniture is harder to find in Canada than in the US so maybe you will do a bit better with them? I don't really know.

Good luck!

- 17 Jul 2017

Not to argue, but offers from dealers are not fair appraisals, IMO. Their margins are calculated by different criteria than private sales.

As an example, I snagged my ES670 from a nice lady that listed it on CL for roughly twice what she had been offered for it by an established and respected Boston dealer of higher-end vintage MCM. I was happy to give her the $700 she was asking for a chair in remarkable condition for its age.

- 17 Jul 2017

You're right--I was confusing the issue here. There are a lot of people who will fish for offers when they have no intention of actually selling it to the dealer making the offer--then they turn around and sell it for retail (more or less), which is effectively competing against the dealer who was offering a wholesale appraisal of it. Does tha make sense? If you go in knowing that dealers offer no more than half of retail value, that's as good as an appraisal of the value---a free appraisal, at that. Just double it.

On the other hand, finding someone who knows the MCM market well enough to do reasonably accurate appraisals, even for a fee---well, good luck. I say just take good photos, write up an accurate but positive description, and stick it on CL for what you'd love to get for it. And then add "open to offers." See where it goes.

- 17 Jul 2017

You're right, too, as usual, spanky. Just trying to clarify.

It's a tricky subject in general and proves that there's no short-cutting educating oneself. But, even those with vast knowledge and experience in the market get lucky and/or blow it occasionally. I guess maybe it's part of what makes it all so fascinating and fun.

- 17 Jul 2017

Yeah, that's for sure---I've been lucky way more times than I deserve but have definitely balanced it a bit with some real fails!! Haha...ha.....let's not think about those.

- 17 Jul 2017

Spanky and tktoo, Thanks for the useful perspectives and estimates. I haven't looked at CL so will do that. I've been leaning towards simply selling them and get what I can. I don't expect to make a bundle and would prefer that they live on with someone else enjoying them. Also, I have no problem with a dealer getting them, restoring them, and making a profit. So selling 'as is' is probably the simplest and most straightforward path.

BTW, I'm pretty sure you are right about the frames being walnut stained beechwood.

Though I'm in Ontario Canada, I make monthly trips to see relatives in the Cleveland, OH area. Since I pass through parts of New York and Pennsylvania, I could bring them down with me to meet an interested buyer. Could probably leave them with a relative in Ohio, or even PA if necessary. Will have to check if there are any issues with Customs when crossing the border.

One dealer in Ohio was kind enough to suggest I might get $600USD for the pair, though was not offering. A local fellow here is offering me $500CAD (roughly $400USD) for the pair online. That seems a bit low, though his estimate for restoring is similar to Spanky's. The guy says that is his business.

Gotta admit that if it was years ago I would have done the plywood seat bit, etc. as Spanky suggested. But just not up to that anymore.

Any other sites besides CL to check and or post on? I've looked on Kijiji here and Classified in US, plus of course ebay and amazon. What about posting for sale as is on Design Addict?

Thanks again.

- 17 Jul 2017

Make sure to include clear pix of the Selig medallions. Those always seem to attract attention...

Bon chance!

- 18 Jul 2017

Is there much fixer-upper stuff listed in the selling section here? I don't know, i have never poked around in there much since i am not really in the market for anything these days. I've always gotten the impression that it's higher end stuff but I could be way off.

Think about whether or not you want to deal with packing and shipping the things. You can list on ebay and limit it to pickup only--that does narrow your field of buyers but a lot of people won't want to pay a lot of shipping for stuff that needs work, unless they get the stuff for nothing. Six of one, half a dozen of another.

I probably wouldn't pay more than $400, if that, if I was going to redo them to sell. To keep for myself---maybe.

- 18 Jul 2017

tktoo and spanky

Going to try selling them as is on line, starting with CL. Also going to visit a local high-end used furniture dealer I remembered, to see if they have any leads. Sure would like to do better than the $500CAD, but maybe not. No rush anyway.

Whatever happens I will let you know since you've been kind enough to provide some ideas and direction.

Might be a week or two. Cheers.

- 05 Aug 2017

Hey t9rfbb

Did you ever figure out what you were going to do with these?
I have a small network of people who specialize in restoration in Ontario and could put you in touch for a quote.

Let me know!

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