Antiques can be intimidating to restore. You don’t want to do more harm than good and it can feel as though your family heirlooms and other antique items are fragile. We ran across an article in the Daily Herald titled Learn how to restore and maintain your antiques that gives some great tips for beginners.
Carley Lintz writes, “Do you have an heirloom table you’ve always wanted to restore? Or a flea- market-find that needs some TLC? Before you reach for that can of shellac, you might want take a page out of expert furniture restorer Christophe Pourny’s book, “The Furniture Bible”.
Growing up in his parents’ antique store in southern France, Pourny’s love and appreciation for antiques practically began at birth. Since moving to New York 20 years ago, he has collaborated with countless celebrities and interior designers and worked on restoration projects at City Hall and Gracie Mansion.
‘The Furniture Bible” is a guide for anyone who wants to bring new life to old furniture with do-it-yourself restoration. Recently, Pourny sat down to give us the inside scoop on “The Furniture Bible,” common restoration mistakes and how to incorporate antiques into your home décor.
Q. What is your advice for first-time restorers? Are there any common mistakes they should try to avoid?
A. Usually people either want to do too much or they don’t want to do anything. Doing too much is like, “I’m going to take this piece, strip it down to a raw piece of furniture and start everything over.” That’s the wrong thing to do because antiques typically have a very forgiving finish that can just be cleaned and upgraded.
Or people decide to do absolutely nothing for years because they think you’re not supposed to touch antiques. Antiques have to be taken care of. If they’re still with us it’s because people took of care of them, maintained them. So it’s one extreme or the other.
Q. So what are some best practices for antique furniture preservation so it lasts for years to come?
A. It’s mostly common sense. Light, humidity, heat and chemicals are usually the things you want to keep away from your antiques. With chemicals that means don’t put anything on antiques that were not made at the time the piece was made — that includes Pledge, spray dust cleaners and all the varnishes. There’s no need to use those things. You can just dry dust a piece of furniture and that’s totally fine.”
As you work to restore and display your antiques, remember that the right draperies can help them look more at home. The velvet draperies available from Half Price Drapes are high quality options that work well with older homes and older antiques. Sheer curtains can also be a great option to lighten up a space that’s heavy with antique wood.