Thursday, September 9, 2010

A very lovely lady I know came into our shop the other day and told me she's been following my blog, but asked if I would please post some examples of antiques before and after restoration so that she could see what they looked like. Interestingly there's a really important thing antique buyers need to remember when buying and one that I'm still trying to get my head around and that's the massive affect that dirt has on the look of a piece.

(This is a table we recently restored)

I know there'll be some of you rolling your eyes right now. How obvious yes? Well it's not actually. It's really, really easy to mistake an amazing quality piece of furniture for a piece of junk, simply because they're covered in dirt. The black and white striped Louis XV chairs that I blogged about several months ago are a great example. They sat dirty and unnoticed for years until one day we decided to do them up and re-upholster. Next day they walked out the door.

A lot of people think that when they sweep their eyes across the room that they're seeing everything that's there. In fact they're probably not even seeing a quarter of it and I include myself in this. One of the MANY lessons I have learned from my father on buying trips is to enter the room, pick a wall and start on the wall, and there's been hell to pay if I don't.

Look at every single thing on that wall, do not be distracted by something shiny in the next aisle, keep focused. I of course thought he was being a massive pain in the behind until now when I'm in friendly competition with him to find stock. If I'm not concentrating on what's in front of me it, or should I say he (or another dealer) can cost me several thousand dollars. The same is the case for people coming into our shop. How many times do people walk in and say, 'oh I've never seen that before I love that - is it new'. It's been sitting there for 6 months!

Anyway, one of those mistakes happened recently when I let 200 years of dirt blind me to what was in front of me. The following is a very high quality piece with amazing detail and a beautiful antique. (Whether it's your taste or not.) I walked straight past this piece, didn't look twice and believed that what I saw was what it was. I saw it disassembled out the back of the shop with my father's head bent over it - and I as usual wondered why he was bothering with the thing. Well as seems to be commonly the case at the moment I swallowed my words. Under 200 years of dirt was this.

Bit of a difference?

Below are a several antiques that we have restored recently. You can view any of them on the website by clicking on them, but to get an idea of what can lie under centuries of rubbish, take a look at these!



Before... A Pair of 19th Century French Side Tables


Before.... A Pair of 19th Century French Louis XVI Side Chairs


Before... 5 19th Century Coach Lamps