Western Living Magazine
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Burrow has arrived in Canada: how does it stack up against other online sofa brands?
I’ll be the first to admit that online furniture shopping theoretically makes me nervous, yet I’ve done it many times over. My mattress is one of those bed-in-a-box deals that has proven to be both super comfortable and super convenient to get delivered to my house, as a single person without a giant pickup truck. (It’s a Recore bed, with a graphite layer that is supposed to be good for muscle recovery when I do one of my kettlebell workouts. I’m not totally sold on that side of the equation, but it’s got the right balance of support for great sleeps. And now that I’ve put that hyperlink into the previous sentence I know I’m going to followed by mattress ads for weeks to come. Too late, mattress folks!)
I’ve also purchased a West Elm side table and a sideboard entirely based on the photos. Am I really nervous? No, I am not. So I gave myself a self-talk—you can do this!—and jumped in with a new Burrow sofa.
What or who is Burrow, you ask? It was started in 2017 in the U.S. by co-founders Stephen Kuhl and Kabeer Chopra, with the concept of easy-to-construct, modular designs that are built from sustainably sourced wood—pieces that are also easy to deconstruct when it’s time to move, too. They launched in Canada in late fall 2022—orders are shipped for free from their Toronto warehouse—which is when I received my Nomad sectional sofa.
It’s a lot of boxes, no question – this is what my sofa looked like in my home office. (Big ups to my building manager, who delivered it up to my apartment thanks to a poorly timed elevator outage when the sofa first arrived.) But it makes it very doable to move each piece on your own.
Yes, you read that right: the weave on the fabric is apparently ultra tight, and so can’t be pulled by my 16-year-old feline’s irresistible desire to scratch the hell out of this sofa, like she did to my last one. I can have nice things and live with a cat, too. (It’s also stain resistant—which, yes, I’ve “tested” a few times, by which I mean I sat on a piece of chocolate and discovered it melted into the cushions after the fact. And the chocolate stain came out with a wet rag, almost immediately.) And even better—the fabric itself is chemical-free, so no weird Scotchguard odours.
The sofa just feels solid, and it’s well built from galvanized steel latches and a baltic birch wood frame—the latter sourced from responsibly managed forests. Also, there’s zero off-gassing PFCs from the fabric or the foam and fibre cushions.
The sewing is precise on the sofa: the cushion seams are tight, with zero wobble or wave that you often see on less-expensive designs.
I’ve built many, many pieces of furniture in my now 50 years. I consider myself a pretty decent interpreter of Ikea’s instruction manuals (though I had a near-tears experience this past Christmas trying to build a desk for my nephew, but that’s another story). But the Burrow build is much easier. I was impressed with the smart industrial design of the sofa: the pieces clip into each other very solidly, and after several months of testing, I haven’t seen or felt them wiggle or budge. At all.
Building the sofa is definitely a two-person job—at one point the sofa is flipped on its back to click together its various components, and in another, you tip it off the ground slightly to add in the sectional piece. But my downstairs neighbour was in for the job, and she too was thrilled at how quickly we got it together—in less than an hour.
The Nomad series is also designed to be modular, so if I decide to add another section to my sofa—and I think I will—I can order that, ship it separately, and add it in without any fuss.
Straight out of the box, it was firmer than I was used to—it felt more like a formal living room-style sofa than the Netflix-and-popcorn vibe of my previous couch, which we’ll call Big Red and which, to be fair, was 12 years old and very broken in. But three months in, it’s opened up a bit, while still feeling like it’s designed to last (and not show the exact spot where I spend most of my hours sitting, as Big Red did.)
Burrow’s line of sofas is at a higher price point than some of the other online competitors—the version I have runs $2,940. But the sustainable materials and well-designed construction seem to support that higher price point. I’ve been happy with it—as were the friends who piled in on it for a recent birthday weekend.
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