Category Archives: Furniture

Clearing up the Confusion of Antique Refurbishing


As we may have mentioned in earlier post, my husband refurbishes antiques. We have found that the word refurbish often confuses people. Some assume it as a complete rebuild or refinishing of a precious antique destroying the original patina, while others assume refurbish means a light cleaning or doing nothing at all. In truth, it depends on the careful inspection of the antique. The following might help to explain the designations you will find on our price tags.

The first is a complete refurbish with some new materials which ends with a rebuilt antique, but can seriously diminish the value. You will rarely find us doing a complete refurbish. The exception was the desk at the left. It had fallen off the back of a truck doing 45 MPH. My husband took up the challenge and had to completely rebuild it, adding a new back and rebuilding the interior cubicles using new wood. He found replacement hinges, antiqued them and then refinished the new wood to match the old finish. By the way, you can see these examples in space B26

Second is a ‘soft’ restoration, where no new hardware is used, and only what is from the original construction goes back into its rebuild. We do this level of refurbishing on many of our steamer trunks, such as the example shown to the left, especially when we have a piece that has all of its hardware.  If we have to replace hardware, we search our resources for original hardware. If we can’t find original, we either repair the old piece or replace the piece with a duplicate new part. This kind of project is best used on pieces of value, where authenticity is important.

 

The third is a moderate restoration, where as much of the original hardware is re-used. Whenever possible, parts from the same period (or if we can, the original manufacturer) are installed. Failing that, he will replace with new hardware. He will spend hours on the internet researching to make sure he keeps the original look. This is often the hardest but most rewarding restoration and our preference when restoring cabinets, tables, desks and or other valued antiques. The 7 foot tall Pine Chimney Cabinet shown here is an example of this level of restoration.

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Bringing Back Style & Quality


The eclectic look in home decorating is trending. Repurposing, reusing, refurbishing is

Side Board 1920 - 1930
Side Board 1920 – 1930

in vogue. Thank Goodness. I never thought my house would ever get back in style. Actually one of the reasons why are in the antique and vintage linen and lace business is because we love quality. Hold a piece of 1890 – 1930 lace up to a piece of lace from the “mart” stores, you’ll see what I mean by this. Remember the 70’s?  Avocado walls, polyester and shag carpeting? I can do without the long shag, but the denser and shorter shag does make a great retro look for select rooms. How about the 80’s with the popcorn ceiling and the color “salmon?” What, you don’t remember salmon colored walls?  How about avocado?  We don’t use sideboards that much anymore and we don’t store blankets or linens in chest of drawers that much, because our homes and condos are getting smaller. We don’t have the room for too much furniture, but we still want the quality and style associated with that era. So, what can we do? One popular idea is to repurpose / retrofit a Victorian Chest of Drawers or Side Board into a remodeled bathroom sink and cabinet. My next decorating change will be to scrape the popcorn from my ceiling. However, thinking with my retro state of mind, if I don’t look up, it can wait for another year. Who knows, it might come back in style.