Quality is what matters in the furniture that you will use to decorate your home, but there is more than one way to define it. For example, quality in outdoor poly furniture might be defined in part by resistance to ultraviolet light, but that is not something you would consider - hardly - in your pursuit of unique designs in indoor furniture.
There are a few things it will all come down to in indoor furniture. Among them are the techniques used in construction, how the upholstery has been handled (if applicable) the visual appeal of a given arrangement as well as whether or not it can be customized to a given setting. If the furniture in question is seating, then you can also account for comfort during your evaluation.
We would be remiss as a furniture maker if we didn’t give a fellow furniture maker like McKinley Leather Furniture the respect they deserve. Among makers of fine, handmade, customizable furniture, they stand as tall atop the list as any other, and they offer their customers a huge amount of quality in their designs. In this article, we’re going to give a quick impression of what it is about McKinley Furniture that sets them apart from the rest. At the end of it, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed a bit if you end up going with one of their seating arrangements for your home. As you’ll see, they’re suitable for basically any room in the house.
A Short History of McKinley Leather
McKinley Leather Furniture is actually one of the younger furniture makers in our catalog. Whereas others boast of 50 years or more of crafting fine designs in hardwood and iron furniture and upholstery, McKinley is just a bit younger. Since 1989, McKinley has been producing and handcrafting fine furniture for homes around the country, all from High Point, North Carolina.
Interestingly enough, North Carolina is like a Mecca for furniture crafters, so it’s not a big surprise that they settled their operation there. In fact, many of our other large furniture partners are also based in North Carolina, like Thayer Coggin, Wesley Hall, Charleston Forge, Hubbardton Forge, and others. It’s fitting to see a maker like McKinley based there, even though their history is slightly shorter.
However, what McKinley lacks in longevity it makes up for in quality and experience. Founded in 1989 by Lori Sadowski along with her father and sister, they rolled many collective years of working leather and wood into one visionary collective that later became known as McKinley Leather Furniture.
Over the years, they have grown from a small operation into the business that they are today - still family-run - but with national repute. McKinley stands atop the bar by which all other upholstered furniture is measured, not only for comfort and durability but also for aesthetic design. Here’s a little bit about how they do what they do.
Grades of Leather
Leather is an amazing material. It is remarkable not only for its strength and longevity but also for its ability to present so many natural facades. The folks at McKinley themselves say that leather is “the world’s oldest and best natural material.”
We won’t officially weigh in on that claim, but there’s no way to deny that leather has been used for thousands of years for its strength, adaptability, durability, and longevity. When the craftsmen at McKinley furniture set out to upholster a piece of furniture, they use only the highest quality materials possible.
They also make a point of drawing fine distinctions between the different grades of leather as well as how the leather has been treated during the process of creating the piece of furniture in question.
They also make it a point to draw out the distinction between cowhides and other forms of leather, as when a product is labeled as “all leather” or “genuine leather,” no distinction is made between what types of leathers have been used or mixed. For example, genuine leather is an inferior grade of leather made from bonded leathers and will not age well; in fact, it will eventually delaminate.
Other leathers, like pigskin and lambskin, while they can be treated to remain soft and supple, will not have the same feel or respond as well to treatments as cowhide leather. You will see the grade of leather that McKinley uses in any piece of furniture prominently disclosed, as well as how it has been treated.
Why It Matters
This matters for many reasons. Among them is the fact that the grade of leather will be one of the determining factors for the overall quality of any given piece of furniture. Another is the fact that how the leather was treated (or what grade was used in the making) will impact how the leather will accept a dye, in accordance with the wishes of the customer.
Yet the quality of the leathers that they use with their furniture is only a small part of the bigger picture of the quality that you can expect from McKinley Furniture. All of their furniture is made from start to finish, by hand, by skilled craftsmen in their shop in High Point, North Carolina.
They start out with the construction of a reinforced hardwood frame for their furniture and attach a traditional spring system that is tied 8-ways for structure and support. Only their frames are constructed can they begin the process of upholstery that has made them so famous. They chiefly use top-grain cowhide leather that has been treated or dyed in accordance with the wishes of the customer.
That’s another thing that has set McKinley apart. Their seating arrangements are made to the highest standards of quality and comfort. Still, they are noteworthy for the breadth of the ability they offer their customers to customize their furniture.
What You Can Customize
McKinley enables their customers to create their own personalized visions through their furniture, customizing just about any and every aspect of the finish. When you customize each and every one of these aspects of their furniture, you can really come up with unique designs for your entire house. Ranging across everything from sofas and sectionals to your family room to barstools and office chairs for the library, there’s something for every room in the house, and every taste - and, if there isn’t you can create it yourself through customization!
- Cushion Options - Before you get onto customizing the look of the rest of your seating, you might as well start with the comfort that it will offer to you and your guests. The best way to do that is by customizing the cushions that will be used with the arrangement.
McKinley Leather Furniture offers no fewer than six options for cushions, ranging from the comfort of Poly Fiber cushioning to the luxurious resiliency and soft feel of their Royal Down. For those that appreciate a firmer feel in their seating, they offer firmer versions of the Poly Fiber cushioning as well as much more in between. There’s something for every preference in their catalog.
- Leathers - Once you settle on a cushioning option, you can pick out your favorite leather color, finish, or pattern. McKinley is unique in a few ways, in that they offer much more than just a rainbow of finishes. They do, so you can match the color of your seating to your setting, but there’s more.
They also provide a number of different finishes in their leather upholstery as well as several hair-on-hide options, including Axis deer hide.
- Fabrics - Despite the fact that leather is imbued with unique natural beauty and character, McKinley understands that not every customer wants leather upholstery, and that some settings might look better without it.
For these customers, McKinley has provided a wealth of different fabrics that can be used in place of their leathers to upholster their seating arrangements. They offer many classic patterns and fabrics that can be mated to their furniture, all of which are of the highest quality and can be viewed on their website.
- Hardware and nailhead options - Sometimes the setting is best complemented by something as seemingly meager as the finish or color of the hardware that is used to secure and accent the upholstery.
You might not point to the hardware, like the tacks or the nailheads, as the first thing that sets off the impression of a piece of fine furniture, but it can make the difference between good and great. Among the many finishes that McKinley Furniture offers are Nickel, Pewter, and Old Gold, as well as others. In addition, they also give their customers the choice of how the nailheads are arranged on the upholstery, which can change the entire impression of a sofa or chair.
- Wood finishes, legs, and casters - Just like the nailheads will impact the impression of the finished piece, so will the finish of the wood as well as the legs and casters that you pair with your McKinley Furniture.
McKinley offers wood finishes ranging from the lightness of sandstone to the deep, black tones of black walnut, but they also provide many other unique finishes. As for the legs and casters, you can customize the actual wooden legs of the furniture themselves, or, if the piece requires casters, the casters. Whether you’re going with a modern, simplified look or the Baroque impression of an ornately graven set of legs for your couch, McKinley Furniture makes it possible.
- Pillows - As a final nice touch, McKinley Furniture makes it easy for you to finish off the look of your seating arrangement with decorative pillows. You can see a full listing of their pillow options on their website, but suffice it to say that you can basically create any image or spirit you want with them.
Contact Us for More Information
We know that it’s critically important to take some serious time for thought and reflection before you design your home. The furniture you use in your home will say a lot about the vision you have for it, and it will impact the mood and feeling of the location, both upon entry and long afterward.
Furniture is a part of the soul of your home, and as such it will have a powerful, profound impact. What we can say in words will never do it justice, but once you’ve experienced the impact that furnishings and decor have on a setting, you’ll never be able to deny it.
That’s why we offer so many unique designs in indoor and outdoor furniture, ranging from greats like Wesley Hall seating and Copeland furniture for the interior of your home to Luxcraft and Berlin Gardens furniture for the exterior.
We also specialize in providing our customers with unique, customized designs, including many that we make in house, held to the highest possible standards of quality. Sometimes what you can find in a showroom doesn’t reflect your vision or direction, and that’s alright. A premium furniture maker should offer you more. They should offer you the ability to customize, and that’s why we do it.
If you want to learn more about our processes or see how we can help you create the right vision for your home, get in touch with us today. You might settle on a piece of McKinley furniture from our collection, or you might end up working with us to create custom hardwood furniture for your home, all made in our own shop. It all starts with a call, though - contact us at 330-657-2095.
We’d love to hear from you, but we’d also like to welcome you to our actual showroom in Peninsula, Ohio. It’s a bit out of the way unless you’re in the neighborhood already, but it’s also the best way to see and interact with our furniture firsthand. Give us a call today and set up a time to visit so we can get onto coming up with the designs that will best compliment your home!