Is Restoring Antique Furniture a Good Idea?
Some people love nothing more than revamping their home's interior every time the latest designer furniture becomes available while others prefer to decorate their property with timelessly stylish antiques. Indeed, antiques can add a sense of traditional luxury to any home, but they can also look old, worn and tattered if badly maintained.
The good news is that it's often possible to restore antique furniture to its former condition, but is it always a good idea to do so? You might wonder whether restoring your antiques would decrease their value or compromise their authenticity even though it seems logical that fixing items should make them more valuable.
Here at Kendals, we offer expert advice to people who want to know the answer to the enquiry in question, but we're also trusted furniture restorers that can return your antiques to their former glory. Our antique furniture restoration professionals will recommend the most appropriate course of action to take regarding your tattered furniture, which is why we're the go-to antique restorers in Letchworth Garden City.
To Restore or Not to Restore
Our experts will happily advise you on whether to rejuvenate your antiques or leave them in their current condition by taking these factors into consideration:
· Is Your Antique a Masterpiece?
If your antique furniture item is rare, out of the ordinary or a classic example of fine craftsmanship, we may suggest avoiding restoration if there's a chance it could decrease your item's value. Many collectors aren't interested in antiques that barely resemble their original form and would rather buy a rare gem in its current condition, warts and all.
· Who Made the Furniture?
We may discover that your antique furniture was crafted by a notable manufacturer or craftsmen, in which case restoring it might be a bad idea. Search your antique furniture for marks, signs or emblems that could give away its origins.
· Is Restoration Really Required?
Most antique restoration specialists would agree that you should always choose the least invasive method for making furniture usable again. Perhaps all your antique needs is a light cleaning and a few missing handle replacements to make it look stylish in your home.
· What Do You Intend to Do with Your Antique Furniture?
There might not be much point in restoring an antique that's going to be stored in your cellar regardless of its appearance. If you just want to add furniture to your antique collection rather than actually use it, you might want to avoid putting its value at risk by restoring it.
You Can Count on Us for Honest Furniture Repair Advice
At Kendals, we haven't earned a reputation for excellence by simply trying to push every antique collector we encounter into restoring their items. We've built a sterling reputation based on honesty and reliability, meaning you can trust any recommendations our furniture restorers offer.
Contact us today on 01462 682000 to speak to a trusted antique furniture expert, or bring your prized possessions to our location at 5 Oakfield Corner, Works Road, Letchworth, Garden City, SG6 1FB for a personal inspection.
Antique Furniture ‘Marriages’ and How to Spot Them
In the world of antique restorations, one of the most important issues to watch for is a ‘marriage’, which means that two different pieces of furniture have been joined together in something of an unholy union. Married antiques are worth significantly less than the original, and an amateur collector could easily be duped into spending more for a married piece than it’s actually worth.
While some unscrupulous antique dealers would no doubt try to pass off a married piece as an original – even going so far as to marry two pieces with the hopes that the buyer doesn’t notice – it’s often not as nefarious as this. In fact, the way in which European furniture was manufactured in the 17th, 18th and 19th century lent itself to furniture marriages. As you’ll see in the next section, it was all part of the design.
Why Married Antique Furniture Exists
In the Old World, transporting large pieces of furniture was difficult, to say the least. Pieces had to be transported in carts, and they had to be light enough that a small team could lift and arrange them. With this in mind, it was best to manufacture furniture in pieces so that it could be easily transported and then assembled on site.
Of course, furniture that can be easily assembled is just as easy to disassemble. This meant that the end user could easily replace a broken or worn-out part of a piece of furniture without having to buy a new one. For example, if the table top had splintered, they could simply keep the base and put a new top on. The combination of old and new became a newly married piece of furniture.
How to Spot Married Antique Furniture
Married furniture may be functional, but its hodgepodge nature makes it inauthentic and therefore of little value to a collector. With that in mind, you have to be careful when shopping around for antiques.
As furniture restorers, we regularly see antiques brought in that are actually married pieces. With a bit of practice, these marriages are easy to spot. Here are some signs to look for:
· Unusual proportions – Size the piece up. Does one component seem to overwhelm the rest? If so, you may be looking at a marriage.
· Clashing styles – An antique that features an unlikely marriage of design styles is probably just that: a marriage.
· Unmatched wood – A single piece of wood furniture is usually made from the same type of wood. At minimum, all wood components should be the same age. If part of the piece looks younger, it almost certainly is.
· Mismatched hardware – Mismatched hinges, doorknobs, drawer pulls and other hardware are a dead giveaway.
· Uneven finish – If the finish of one part of the piece looks different to another, you may have two married pieces that have been finished at two different times.
If you have an antique and aren’t sure whether it’s married, bring it by Kendals in Letchworth, Garden City. You’ll find us at 5 Oakfield Corner, Works Road. And if you need directions, give us a call on 01462 682000.