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BARGAINS / GERI COOK

Slip On Some Style : Forget the middlemen. The latest hot decorating trend can be tailored to your budget at Best Slipcover Co.

June 02, 1995|Geri Cook

VAN NUYS — What may be the most intense comeback in decorating history is the slipcover craze. Popular in the 1930s and '40s, particularly in the East, this recent mania started in Southern California with Shabby Chic in Santa Monica and has taken the furniture industry by storm.

Upholsterers get more orders these days for slipcovers than for upholstery, and all the major furniture manufacturers make their version of the slipcovered sofa. There's hardly a piece of furniture in the home that's safe from the slipcover maniac's passion.

Most upholsterers subcontract their slipcover orders to specialty shops and add their own markup. One of those contractors now dealing with the public is 35-year-old Best Slipcover Co., whose clients include major department stores and upscale hotels such as the Carmel Valley Ranch and L'Auberge Del Mar.

Of course, you can save money by dealing directly, as these labor quotes from Best indicate: For a sofa up to seven feet long, with one to three seat cushions and no back cushions, the price is $160. The average quote from upholsterers and furniture stores was $275. For a love seat with the same requirements, Best's price is $145, whereas we were quoted $250 elsewhere.

Armless dining chairs are a chic target for slipcovers. At Best, four or more are $80 each. Some shops ask $120 each.

The prices quoted are without fabric. If you can save big on fabrics (check Stern's Draperies in Sherman Oaks and other fabric discounters), then this is probably the best deal. For the sofa, as described above, figure about 16 yards; the love seat would require about 14 yards, and each dining chair about 4 yards.

Best's "including fabric" prices, however, are excellent, although the selection is somewhat limited. Using Best's fabrics, figure $320 for the sofa (with no back cushions and as many as three seat cushions). The love seat will be $285 and the armless dining chairs $118 each. All of Best's fabrics are preshrunk and can be washed in a washing machine without fear of shrinkage.

Throw pillows, fitted arm caps and ruffles all are extra. And keep in mind when selecting fabrics that stripes and plaids, which require matching, also add to the cost. Stuart Dones, owner of Best, suggests cottons and cotton blends for the best slipcover results and does not recommend chintz, loose weaves or rubber-backed fabrics.

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All work is guaranteed for one year when a suitable fabric is used. Brass--not plastic--zippers are used, and flounces, bows and other add-ons are lined.

You probably already know whether you want the tailored look or the very popular loose fit, but should you need some design ideas, Best will send you a packet with pictures, fabric samples and price lists. A visit to their showroom, however, gives you the opportunity to see some of the actual designs and the extra touches that can add panache.

One big plus at Best is the fact that they come to you. An expert craftsman will measure, cut and fit the slipcovers in your home or office, then Best delivers the finished covers and puts them on. This way you're not without furniture for weeks on end.

A 50% deposit is required when the fabric is cut, with the balance due when the slipcover is delivered.

Average delivery time is about two weeks.

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Geri Cook's Bargains column runs every Friday in Valley Life! Questions about shopping may be sent to her, in care of Valley Life!, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. Letters will not be answered individually, but topics of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Geri Cook can be heard from 9 to 10 a.m. on Saturdays on KIEV 870-AM.

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WHERE TO SHOP

What: Best Slipcover Co.

Location: 14627 Bessemer St., Van Nuys.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday; by appointment Friday.

Cards: None. Cash or check only.

Call: (818) 780-4569.

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