Frecuently asked questions
My father Ralph Alfaro has been an upholsterer for over 50 years, he owned a business since the mid 1970’s when he moved to the US. His businesses have been on the East Coast, in the Mid- West and here in California. Yet, he has been semi -retired since the late 1990’s and I (Sherry Alfaro) took over the business in early 2001. Ralph still visits a couple times a year to give us a hand and to make sure the newer generation learns from the best! I of course grew up with this business and it was always my afternoon and weekend job so, you can say it’s in my blood.
For the Trade: If you email us a plan, drawings, pictures or combination of documents with measurements and specifications of what you want we are will answer back with both labor costs as well as yardage requirements. For pieces that will be reupholstered or slipcovered, we require is pictures plus width x depth x height of the pieces to provide you with a price estimate and yardage requirement. For the Public (walk-ins or referred customers): If it’s a new piece that we will be building from scratch, but you aren’t sure of the measurements you need or if it will fit in your room, we are happy to come measure for you, plus assist on the process of choosing the ideal piece for your space. Both my assistant and I have interior design degrees, therefore we have extensive knowledge of space planning and can make a floor plans, elevations and if needed can put styles or design aspects together based on any inspiration pictures or descriptions you provide. This process is billed separately from the labor, yardage and upholstery fabric for any pieces that will be made. Design fees are based on time and aspects of the project required by the individual customer. For existing pieces we ask for pictures along with width x depth x height so, that we can give you an estimate for labor and the yardage requirement. If there are any pieces that need a pattern made or need to be done on site we are happy to do so and prefer to take our own measurements. Yet, for the initial cost estimate, email is the best tool. Once you have decided that you would like to proceed, we are happy to pick up or come over and measure to make 100% sure that the estimate and yardage requirements are precise.
I always say, «If it was a good piece to begin with and has good bones then absolutely!» Furniture now days, unless made by a place like ours (from scratch), is simply not made with the same quality or life expectancy. Salvaging an antique or vintage piece is always worth it. Plus, you are being eco-friendly by re-upholstering and not using as much new material for the piece. For many, the sentimental value of a piece passed down by generations can make a piece priceless.
It is really difficult for us to give you a price based on you coming in or calling and asking for a price. For instance: How much for a chair? Start by imagining how many different styles of chairs you have seen over the years? Exactly! That is probably the same, if not more, amount of chair styles we have upholstered over the years. Some pieces, when they get re-done, still have good bones and basically all they need is a new fabric while others need to be taken down to the bare frame and some even need the frame re-doweled and glued. As far as specifications go there are pieces with: tufting, channeling, with and without welt, trims, nail heads, exposed wooden frames, different types of padding and cushion inserts and all of those aspects will need to be taken into account. That is why with the advantage of today’s technology we offer you the opportunity to email or text us pictures and rough measurements (height x length x width) of the piece to guide you through the process more efficiently.
Checks, Paypal and all major credit cards with a processing fee charge.
Our library has an extensive range of sample books to choose from. We have accounts with most textile (fabric and leather) manufacturers and if we don’t have one for a company you want materials from, we are more than willing to open an account. For companies that we do not have samples books in our shop (usually due to the fact that they don’t make sample books) we offer you a few options: 1. You can either go online to their sites and make a list of the fabrics you like and we can order samples for you or 2. You can go to showrooms, look through their sample libraries and again make a list. We are always happy to assist with ordering samples. You are also more than welcome to get a quote for yardage requirements so you can buy fabric yourself.
Ralph’s Interiors has been around for 2 generations, still upholstering the old-fashioned way; all by hand. We honor pieces for what they are and adhere to how they were originally meant to be. We never cut corners with labor or materials used. On top of having a combined 60 years of experience between my father and I we also have the education to back up our knowledge of furniture.
To start, I would suggest emailing us a picture or compilation of pictures of what you have in mind with measurements (if possible.) From there we can make suggestions and provide you with an estimate and needed yardage requirements. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to and keep an open mind. Many people get stuck in the box of what they see in a magazine or online. DON’T! We can take the arm that you like from a picture of a sofa you saw in a design magazine and marry it to the base you like from a picture you took of a piece on display in a showroom and add the type of cushions you find most comfortable mash it all together and come up with a piece that is just right for you. We don’t work with nor are we stuck to a catalog of pre-configured designs. We can literally customize a piece down to the very last detail.
We are not just an upholstery shop. My assistant and I are trained designers. We understand the lingo, space planning, color theory, design styles, materials, lighting and all aspects of what makes a space come together as a successful and harmonious design. We can make you just a pillow, but we can also transform your space. That’s the difference with hiring us as your dedicated furniture experts.
Yes both my assistant and I continue to learn new computer programs, go to trade events to stay up to date with what is happening in the world of interior design and of course subscribe to trade magazines and virtual aids to keep our knowledge to the newest trends as fresh as possible.
Eco Friendly Products are on the rise! The return of products from the past (both natural and man-made) especially in the area of padding has been a blessing: natural latex, organic, chemical free cotton and wool batting; plus fillers for pillows such as buckwheat and non-treated down have made it possible to make pieces that are fume free without any off-gassing. Fabrics such as hemp and chemical free cottons and linens have created a whole niche of possibilities for our clients that have allergies, pulmonary issues or simply want to be nicer to our planet, Earth. The revolution of indoor/outdoor fabrics has come such a long way with regards to feel, texture, colors and prints. We are using them more and more on the inside of homes due to how easy they are to maintain, especially for people that have kids and/or pets.
The fact that I have now worked for 3 generations of families and how that relationship of trust keeps on getting stronger over the years. My loyal customers are what make the difference.