One of the most frequent questions we get asked when someone is considering furniture restoration is: “Is it worth it?” Our typical answer is that your furniture has two values associated with it: the market value and the sentimental value. We can confidently inform you if the cost to restore your piece of furniture will exceed its market value, and that you are better off purchasing a replacement. What we are unable to advise you on is whether that item holds sentimental value; did you inherit it from a loved one? Did your children grow up around that table? Did your mother brush your hair in front of that vanity mirror? What is the value of an item you cannot replace?
We had the recent pleasure of restoring an antique Bermuda Cedar Writing Desk that satisfied both values. It can demand its market value in a private sale, however it is unlikely to be sold because it is a family heirloom. This project required us to disassemble and reassemble the desk top, clean the base joints and reattach the base blocks, ease the drawers, and replace the leather top prior to refinishing the entire desk. In short, a full restoration! The leather top is a genuine hide with gilded tooling, and we had to ensure that animal hide glue was used as the adhesive in order to preserve authentic methodology. When it comes to restoring furniture, retaining market value can only be realized if proven and correct techniques are adhered to.
Next time you take stock of what you own and need to decide on its future life,
ask yourself: “What is it worth to me?”