Most of my clients have inherited heirlooms from loved ones, and they find it challenging to let them go. How do experts in the field integrate a jewel into the new space we are designing? Put it up for auction? Give it away? Restore it?
For me, most passed-on furniture are not lost objects but an opportunity to restore something special and relive its history.
Recycle, Reuse, Revive
As you know, I am a fan of the old stuff – if good quality, that is.
That’s why I’m a good-quality hunter.
These days, it has become more and more challenging to find pieces that, with time, will become a true heirloom or an equity piece. We live in a time where everything has to be fast, and we are even applying it to our furniture…
Fast to buy, fast to make, fast to assemble, and fast to throw it away because it nothing has a long life.
Good pieces never die! We can upgrade them from time to time… as we do with art. This piano can and should be brought back for many more years of use with the help of restoration experts and the best artisans in town.
My client’s baby piano’s case.
This is a much-loved piece from one of my dear clients, is a gift from her grandmother who cherished for its thousands of memories… but the transition to a new house, from LA to Boca Raton Fl., meant that nothing matched, and the piano looked odd and …. yes, old.
What do we do? Let’s give it some love. Let’s curate it.
My passion for furniture makes me pieces as people. No, I’m not crazy, but I do have a name for each of my plants. Wild, right? But that’s another blog.
So I saw this piece with a lot of compassion. It was asking for help, begging for one more chance. I took it to my trusted finisher, who has already restored such pieces, to give it a new life.
We knew we wanted it to be lacquered in black. Why? Well, it is a royal finish going back many years in Japan. They would do many crafted pieces with this technique, perhaps as early as 7000 BCE – or even before in China from 4,500 BCE on. It was used by dynasty families for its extreme sophistication and value.
Ironically, the grand piano began to be produced in black lacquer because it was easier to manufacture, but it became the most requested finish of all. Most of us know of no other for pianos. So it was no brainer: it was the color we would use to “revive” the baby.
After the restoration process began (which took several weeks) and the piece had gone through an intense buffering process, the piano was taken to a specialist. He checked its interior and assessed the soundboard, bridge, hammer, and strings. He proceeded to tune it up, making sure it would sound like new.
Did you know that when some instruments are restored, you can ruin their ability to sound good again if you don’t take them to the right people to tune them up?
Guys, when it comes to restoring something, every detail counts. We have to study the piece to restore it as close as possible to its former state. If it’s an instrument, we have to heal it so it can sing in tune, right?
Mason & Risch in Toronto was reproducing a new emblem since the original was ruined, and we couldn’t save it.
The icing on the cake was when we put the emblem on the piano. I was so proud that I wanted to cry with happiness. It looked full of life and sounded like angels in heaven.
Now it was time to transport it.
Of course, our trusted shipping service took the utmost care, and it arrived in Boca safe and sound.
Now, it is one of the focal points of my client’s house, sitting next to the entrance and welcoming the guests. It fills the environment with beautiful memories. I love how natural light from the ocean interacts with the depth of the lacquer and brings different dimensions to the luxurious, shiny, “new” baby piano.
A unique and worthy work of art …