Furniture Restoration And Your Family Legacy

After almost a half century as a southeast Michigan furniture restorer
, it still warms my heart when folks bring an old piece of furniture to our studio for evaluation. They wonder if we might do something with it. There once was a time when if the item presented was not worth the time, I would recommend against the restoration on a strict "cost, Benefit" basis, but as the years have passed I have begun to see, there is a kind of value that defies appraisal.

The furniture and other stuff we pass on to our kids and grandkids is more about a family tradition and carrying on pride in a way of life imparted by our family and loved ones than just a place to sit, or a cabinet for some dishes.
When I listen to what my clients say, it becomes clear, It's not really about the chair or table or whatever it seems to be on the surface. The little thing they brought along for me to see, what they are trying to grab onto is really more a legacy than any thing else. It's a way to preserve what is good about the past, to bring that forth in their home today.

Maybe they believe that there is a thing that lives in the chair, where as a kid they remember Grandpa sitting on the front porch, smoking his pipe and telling stories of how it was when his daddy raised him. It's a reminder of stories from a time before people had plumbing in the house, and shivering visits to the privy on a crisp fall night.

Not long ago, a client of ours named Barbara stopped by to drop off a family heirloom. One of my associates commented about the rocking chair, it was just laying there on the floor in pieces inside the door of our shop where barb left it just moments before. I think he said something like "why in the world, would anybody spend money on that?" On the face of it, it's a valid question. The chair wasn't very good. The cost of repair and refinishing probably was every bit or more what it would cost to buy another rocker, but there was more to it than that, he had completely missed the point as many in this hurry up world do. The chair belonged to Barb’s mom who used it to rock barb and her little brother when she herself, was a young mother, it was a gift to her from granny and eventually Barbs Mom had passed it to her, just before she passed away. I'm sure that Barb had a lot of chairs, and I'm sure she could have gone out and bought one even better for the money she was spending for the restoration, but knowing what we now know, that isn’t the point is it?

As time goes on, my hair thins, and I see more clearly the importance of leaving a legacy, as individuals, families and even just as a citizen . The " stuff " we have in and around our homes, while it is true that we can't take it with us, what we leave behind tells a story. The story of what we hold dear, the values we hold to to and the example we want to set for future generations.

Christmas turkey on granny’s refinished dining room set will always be better, and a book enjoyed in front of a fireplace while rocking in moms old rocker is somehow better .
So think about it, when taking personal inventory and planning what to do with heirlooms when they come your way, it's not only about cost benefit analysis and replacement cost.
When you decide to Restore the old rocking chair , or end table or dining set, hold this in your mind. These things we have are heavy laden vehicles that transport fond memories, important values and sometimes lifetimes worth of identity. I know if you plan your interior design projects with this in mind, you will reap the real benefit of a more beautiful and warm home with a back drop of all the things you hold dear, an opportunity to teach the next generation what is good and true and praiseworthy in life.