Restoration Gallery

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
This month is all about "make-overs" so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my hutch project. This is what you should know: 1) I acquired it for free. It is ok quality but not amazing quality as furniture goes. 2) It was very 70's (not in a good way) with its spot and dot finish. 3) I could have re-done it myself but knew it would probably take me years to get to it.

For these reasons, I opted to have the Furniture Doctors do a tinted lacquer top coat. This is one of the most economical transformations because there is no labor to strip it, but it does come with some risk. Since this hutch was given to me, I didn't know the history of products used on it. Not stripping it meant I knowingly took the risk that there could be reactions with the finish. As it turns out, there was some bleed through on one area of the inside, but it's a dark corner so you never see it. 

Knowing color can make or break a transformation, it took me a long time to make a decision. I tried not to take too long to decide though out of courtesy to my coworkers and because I knew it could push back my done date. Though the color didn't turn out exactly as I originally envisioned (color can be sooo hard), I've come to love it. I added the fabric panels after taking it home and now use it as a wardrobe/dresser.
This Spanish style hutch came to us in pieces. We didn't record the story of why it was in pieces, and that doesn't really matter. What does matter is that we were able to reassemble and refinish it to be a really cool piece of furniture again. We're sure this is a great statement piece in the customer's home.
It's always exciting to have a well-known design come through the shop. These Hans Wegner wishbone chairs are quintessential Danish Midcentury Modern. It's amazing to have the complete dining set. (We also refinished the dining table but missed snapping a photo.)

The original owner of the set, a doctor from Spokane bought the set from Dania Furniture in 1949/1950 after coming back from WWII. The current owner bought it 20yrs ago from the doctor (and even has the original sales receipt). At the time the set cost about $4000 and was the first Hans Wegner dining set in this style that Dania sold in Spokane. 

If you'd like to read more on Hans Wegner (we've also had a few of his Papa Bear chairs come through) here is some more information:
It wasn't immediately obvious that this dresser had beautiful mahogany veneer under its years of age. Recognizing the pillar and scroll style commonly found in the Federal period of furniture, it shouldn't have been surprising.

We removed the finish, leveled and reglued the cabinet and repaired the veneer before refinishing the dresser to bring out the beauty of the mahogany. We hope the owner was thrilled with their beautiful "new" dresser.
This kitchen queen was dirty and painted green when it came in. It wouldn't have taken much to make it look vastly different, but it received a full workover. Once all the layers of paint were removed, we reglued the frame, realigned all the doors, and made sure the drawers operated smoothly. ith all the paint removed the character of the wood took stage. Because it was made out of multiple types of wood, this kitchen queen had probably lived most of it's life painted.
This cute rocking chair had seen better days. Luckily the customer still had most of the pieces. We were able to reglue the arms, legs, rockers, back, and repair the broken area. All 4 sections of the back were re-caned. We refinished it in a new lacquer finish and reupholstered the seat.
This little table underwent a huge transformation. The only areas that didn't change were the fingerprints left behind by the family refinisher, which we masked off to preserve the story and history. 

The customer brought in a Hitchcock style chair for us to match the table finish. This included a black tinted lacquer base with gold accents. We also created a new large leaf and installed new runners to support the leaf. It sounds like the table will now witness many more family dinners.
We're showing you this major table transformation to say...our refinishing schedule is currently out until the Fall. IF you're hoping to have a dining set redone in time for Thanksgiving, bring it in NOW. There are probably only a few short weeks left before our schedule is out past Thanksgiving.

Not all tables come to us in this rough of shape, requiring major reglue and veneer replacement, but all dining tables take weeks to bring back to life. Most start by having the finish removed, there's usually at least SOME structural repair, and then the refinishing process starts. Our lacquer finish requires multiple coats and lengthy dry times followed by a 30 day cure time.
This family rocking chair had a large split in the seat. Luckily the customer knew to bring it to us before any of the joints broke. We were able to repair the seat and reglue the loose joints in the back, arms and base. We also provided it with a fresh new finish.
This cute little lamp table went through quite the transformation. We can take credit for removing the hazy old flaking finish BUT we can't take credit for the vibrant wood color. The colors of wood on this piece were dyed all the way through, so our stripping process did not remove the color. Our more translucent lacquer finish highlights the pre-existing beauty. 

We DID re-apply the gold carving highlights, fill some seams and resecure the top.
You might remember the process preview we showed a while back of this chest. We mentioned it had a good story to go along with it...well here it is: This cedar chest was our client's mothers. She passed away when he was born. The children didn’t know this existed. They just discovered it in a dusty barn when cleaning out their father’s belongings. In the cedar chest, they discovered unknown family mementos that were still preserved!

This story warms our hearts. It's exactly why we do what we do; fill the damaged veneer, custom color touch up the repair areas and refinish it in a new lacquer finish.
This chest is not only interesting because of its detailed carvings but also because of its wood. Camphor wood is often used for medicinal properties, and as our woodworkers noticed, releases a unique cinnamon like scent when sanded. We did not recieve the details of this chest from the owners, but based on the article, wonder if this is a genuine captain's sea chest.

You can read more interesting details on camphor wood here:

We fixed the splits in the chest's wood and refinished it.
This serpentine dresser is another great example of how color can completely change the look of something. Combining some stained wood with a solid color is very popular right now. The choice of white color with new hardware really made this dresser go from your average antique to on-trend farmhouse. Also, the use of lacquer instead of chalk paint will keep it looking sharp for years to come.

We also repaired the harp to support the mirror and replaced some missing drawer pieces.
This hall tree doesn't have generations of family history. 40 years ago it was purchased in an antique store in Louisiana. The unique style alone warranted a full restoration. We modified the hall tree to fit in their new home. We also repaired some loose joints and areas where the frame was separating around the mirror before refinishing all of the wood and brushing & coating the hardware.
This time of year we start thinking about traditions. It's not uncommon for furniture to be the center of a family tradition, whether it's sitting in the same rocker every Christmas to read a Christmas classic or fixing a piece of furniture up to give as a gift. 

We're not sure if this rocker was redone as a gift but it would have made a great one! It literally came to us in pieces. We reglued it back together and gave it a new finish. We can now imagine it witnessing many more family traditions next to a cozy fire.

If you're curious about the history of face chairs (we were), here is an interesting read:
It's doubtful many people get as excited about a really run down piece of furniture as we do. It was obvious as we unloaded this chest that it had encountered some water through its life. However, the beauty of the marquetry still shined through.

Our customer had been telling his wife for ages that he'd fix up her grandfather's chest of drawers. Realizing he would never find the time to do it himself. he brought it to us to make good on his promise and surprise her.

We refinished this chest of drawers, replaced the veneer on the horizontal surfaces, repaired some of the drawers and found new complimentary legs to go on the base.
Load more