The Fabric of a Family: Generations of quality come together in two businesses that share a roof, a family, and a dedication to doing it right
From a feature in CH2/BH2 Magazine
There’s a particular standard that the Setola family has held itself to for generations. It’s an unyielding pursuit of perfection that has been woven, thread by thread, into countless sentimental heirlooms and everyday furniture. To understand this thread, you need to follow it through generations of craftsmanship and into the dual showroom of Just Cushions and Hilton Head Furniture Co., housed on 45 New Orleans Road.
When the business started in 1994 under the skilled hand of Larry Setola Sr., the name and nature of the business was Just Cushions. The third in a family line that had been working with needle and thread for decades, he brought his mastery to bear on thousands of pieces of furniture in the Lowcountry over the years. While the business has since expanded, with Larry Setola Jr. adding Hilton Head Furniture Co. to the offerings on hand, Larry Sr. is still working his wizardry just as he has for more than 40 years.
You might think that in our “buy it cheap, dispose of it after it breaks” culture, re-upholstery would be a dying art. You would be wrong. “We’ve added more staff to the upholstery side of our business due to demand,” Setola Jr. said. “When we have a piece of furniture to work on, we only have it for a week, but we are sure to take all of the necessary steps: retying springs, re-padding, whatever it takes to get it looking and sitting like new.”
Overseeing this side of the operation, Larry Sr. has been relentless in providing the utmost in quality. “We are a progressive family owned and operated business that is growing all while maintaining our core principles of outstanding customer service, quality, and longevity,” he said.
Recently, the furniture market became inundated with cheap materials and innerworkings, the Setola family was among the first to take notice. “When searching for our line of furniture, we noticed that manufacturers aren’t even using genuine hardwoods or proper frame construction anymore,” Setola Jr. said.
There’s a true passion for premier materials and craftsmanship that almost seems built into the Setola DNA. Perhaps some generational memory persists, carried on from a time when things were just built better. In the newest generations of Setolas, it manifests itself as a passion for things that the average person might not even consider. You might not know what eight-way hand-tied spring construction is, but you’ll know it when you sit on it.
“That’s the old school way, literally handwoven twine tied eight separate ways into the coil spring. It’s a rare skill that has to be taught by someone who knows what they’re doing,” Setola Jr. said. “Even the premier, high-end furniture lines are outsourcing materials and construction overseas. They’re using lesser quality components that will not last over time.”
Just Cushions / Hilton Head Furniture Co. Staff….Top Row: Andy Dante, Larry Setola Jr., Larry Setola Sr., Victor Oregon, Kevin Borda. Bottom Row: Gulianna Setola, Paulie, Judy Pugatch, Sally O’Connor, Christine Setola
Larry Jr. and Gulianna Setola with their pup Paulie in the Just Cushions showroom located on New Orleans Road
It was this foundation of generational knowledge and a higher standard that led Setola Jr. to launch Hilton Head Furniture Co., spring boarding off Just Cushions to provide a natural extension to the family brand.
Rather than relying on the cheaply made lines that have flooded the market, the younger Setola pursued his furniture line with an unyielding resolve to find the very best at a great value. And among the vast timberlands of North Carolina, they found it.
“We are exclusive to this particular North Carolina manufacturer which is also a fourth-generation family business. It took us over a year to find a homegrown USA manufacturer, that builds furniture to our standards and expectations,” he said. “We hold ourselves to being the best in the industry, and they were the furniture builders who checked all the boxes as they construct furniture for quality and longevity.”
Crafted from American hardwood timber milled just one mile from the factory, the furniture on display at Hilton Head Furniture Co. represents the lost art of superior furniture. And yes, it all has eight-way hand-tied springs and real American hardwood frames.
“A really good indication of furniture’s quality is its weight,” said Larry, Jr., adding with a laugh, “And I’ll tell you what, our furniture is heavy.”
It’s also nearly infinitely customizable. Thanks to the upholstery expertise that has always made Just Cushions the Lowcountry’s go-to for breathing new life into existing furniture, Hilton Head Furniture Co. can take any fabric imaginable, pair it with a dizzying selection of frameworks, style and sizes to create a look that is truly your own. And since each piece is built from four generations of craftsmanship and American hardwood amongst other quality components, each piece will last a lifetime.
Sally O’Connor stands among hundreds of fabric options available for custom furniture and drapes.
One of the many vignettes on display in the Furniture Showroom at Just Cushions
“People should want to purchase something that they won’t have to revisit in a few years. If you do it right, you only have to do it once,” Setola Jr. said.
It should come as no surprise that bringing back the lost art of doing it right has proven immensely popular, especially over the last year as new residents have flocked to the island seeking beachside living in a home they can truly make their own. “Due to the influx of new transplants, we understand the importance of continuing to prove ourselves every day as we have for the last 27 years,” Setola Jr. said.
Operating in unison, Just Cushions and Hilton Head Furniture offer a complete one-stop shop for your home. Whether you need window treatments, cushions, reupholstery, décor, or new furniture, you will know you are in the right place. While making your vision a reality, be sure to take advantage of the complimentary design expertise provided to ensure perfection.
It’s like a runaway train. The tracks of this train stretch back through generations, laid on a foundation of craftsmanship. Wherever it goes next, you can be sure that foundation will remain its strength.