During quarantine, I became obsessed with Restoration Hardware’s Cloud Sofa. It was the right balance of fluffy unfussiness and exaggerated curves. It looked just right in both a modern farmhouse and an aesthetic TikTok queen’s minimalist abode. Basically, my two life goals.

It also starts at $5,195 for the base model.

It might have been Kendall Jenner’s home tour that pushed the RH Cloud sofa into TikTok fame, but my search for a good dupe forced it into my algorithm. The internet is ripe with research on more affordable replicas of the Cloud—surfacing Bob’s Discount Furniture’s Dream Sofa and City Furniture’s Nixon Sectional. So it was by chance that I stumbled across Albany Park and its spectacular Kova sofa collection just before Black Friday.

Albany Park fully launched in February 2020 as the Houston-based, direct-to-consumer counterpart to Edloe Finch, a 5-year-old furniture wholesaler that supplies midcentury modern furnishings to the likes of Amazon and Wayfair. Both companies are founded and helmed by former NFL linebacker Darryl Sharpton and his wife, Jessica.

[Photo: courtesy Albany Park]

Sharpton’s relationship with sofa sales goes back to a college side hustle—flipping “very ugly microfiber brown sectionals” on Craigslist, with his university apartment serving as a makeshift showroom. “It’s when I realized sofas are the cornerstone of a home,” he explains. “From [college], I started playing pro-football, but in the back of my mind, I was always anxious to get back to selling sofas.”

After several years monitoring customer feedback and trends with their wholesale business, the Sharptons decided to branch into the direct-to-consumer business.

“We had this dream scenarion: What if we only sold our best-selling sofas? And what if they could arrive at your house in easy-to-move boxes?” Sharpton continued. “Then I took all of those what ifs and created a brand. We’re trimming the fat and taking what we learned from what sells and doesn’t sell and our customers’ frustrations.”

Albany Park offers three modular models: the MCM-inspired Albany and Park, and then the sofa of my dreams: the Kova, a deep-seated couch with pillow-like cushions made from a feather-fiber blend. Customers can pick from a selection of family-proof fabrics—the Sharptons test-drive the AP models with their three young children at home—and layouts, ranging from a classic 84″ two-seater sofa to the over-the-top 158″x 79″ Grand Pit.

[Photo: courtesy Albany Park]

I’m a fan of go-big-or-go-home, but I also live in a city apartment. Naturally, my partner and I settled on the $4,700 Kova Pit, the leaner of the two Pit models, in Olive Velvet. Because we have self-control. It’s not a cheap sofa by any means—the Black Friday promo code dropped it just under $3,000—but considering comparable RH components would ring in just under $7K, the difference felt significant. (Also worth noting: delivery is free.)

Sharpton says the original plan was to get models out to customers within 3 to 5 days, but launching the business amid the pandemic furniture sales boom with lingering supply chain challenges, some items can take from several weeks up to a few months. I was pinged to schedule my sofa, purchased at the end of November, for delivery in mid-January. By the time it reached the last leg, I picked a time for drop-off, and a team of three delivery guys quickly brought each boxed section of the six-piece Pit into my entryway. It took less than an hour to set up—the biggest tasks are screwing in wooden knob-shaped legs, linking the lightweight sectional pieces together, and fluffing the pillow-top cushions—and almost all of the minimal packaging included was curb-recyclable.

[Photo: courtesy Albany Park]

Other colors and styles have much quicker turnaround times. The Kova Pit in a tweedy gray fabric is listed to ship out three days from the day I’m writing this. For Sharpton, the eventual dream is to make the process even speedier and more seamless. “The end goal for me, for the brand, is for customers to order a sofa in most metro areas, and get that sofa in as little as one day,” he says. In the short-term, he expects shipping times to normalize to between 3 to 5 days for in-stock items once supply chains are more stable.Sharpton informed me that the luxurious green velvet on my Kova is commercial grade. It’s thick, plush, and even my cat, who has an innate desire to destroy all things I love, has yet to scratch it. And even if she did, I think it’s industrious enough to put up a good fight. I can’t seem to think of a complaint, other than the fact that the Kova Pit takes up approximately 60% of our living room and is not exactly the most conducive for having company over. It’s essentially a big bed. But who needs friends when you have a Kova Pit?

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