Everything made has to be thrown away or restored at some point. If we have graduated from the throwaway society, as many of us would like to think, then we must restore things. The first step is buying quality items of solid materials which can be restored. Furniture, bicycles, clothing and most anything else can be fixed. But at what cost, you may ask. Well, that can vary greatly. It can often be at a lower cost than replacement in regards to wood, metal or ceramic objects. There are 2-part epoxy formulas that can reconstitute many fibrous or cellular materials (ceramic sculptures; wooden picture frames, plaster casts, etc.)
Speaking of antique furniture, buildings and objects, we much prefer conservation: doing any necessary repairs while saving the existing finish using a carefully matched patch. Many years ago I helped the Nickerson family restore their Caleb Nickerson homestead on Cape Cod. In that process, there were many details to the original paint scheme for the interior which required painstaking work to recreate. Nonetheless, the restoration came out quite good.
When we have no choice but to strip wood of an old finish and re-finish, then there’s a choice of new color and finish type. The customer typically knows where this piece will go and what it will be surrounded by. And, of course, I always make recommendations based on the time period of the piece, type of wood and personal taste.
“We hired Cygnet Painting to finish our Shingle style house on Chestnut Hill (MA). Lars matched existing wood in our music room on the new entertainment center cabinet. He refinished balusters in the staircase, patching and matching a broken finial.
When the house rehab was completed Lars then proceeded to restore our furniture and some antique sculpture from Asia: One Ming piece had parts missing which had to be filled and glazed to blend with the old surface.
A reproduction terracotta sculpture from China had several broken parts; he restored that with epoxy fillers and layers of paint. This was our second house with restoration done by Lars and his crew.”
“I had a leak in the wall of my villa north of Copenhagen. It had established itself over months, at least. In ’95 Lars opened it up, repaired the mortar between the bricks; the stucco on the exterior; plaster on the inside; then cork insulation and wallpaper – painted to match existing out of print – material. After that he fixed the damaged floor below.”