Thursday, January 29, 2009



How do you restore an American Antique?
Put a velvet rope around it!!!

My looney friend Zack introduced me the concept of palimpsest a decade or so ago as we were looking at what is left of the old raised train tracks going through the meat packing district in NYC.   It has become a consistent source of interest for me.  I love the idea because it is like a still picture that contains a whole movie.  A sort of transdimensional section of time embodied in the physical traits of an object or place.  

When I used to do antique conservation we would sometimes add piece of wood to an old piece of furniture.  I would take great pains to match the wood grain and create an invisible seam so that the finishers could then beat it up appropriately to match the old patina.  As a matter of fact, during the 1980's there was a movement to dip and strip antiques and refinish them to try to achieve the look the piece might have had when it first left Duncan Phyfe's shop back in 1845. 

Suddenly everyone came to their senses and realized that all of the character and history of these important antiques were in the bumps and dings.  They would send the pieces to us at Carlton House Restoration and we would spend many expensive hours essentially faking 200 years of history into 40 hours.  

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