From time to time I’d like to introduce you to some of my group of trusted professionals. Today, I’m interviewing Alan Karzen of Alan Karzen Restoration (www.karzenrestoration.com). Alan is in the business of restoring not only your fine antique dining table and chairs, but reupholstering and cabinet refinishing. I thought I’d ask him some of the questions that you might want answered.
Q. “Alan, what should people think about when determining whether or not to reupholster a piece of furniture?”
A. “Regarding upholstery, I can get a sense of the quality of the piece by asking a few questions. First, I ask how long ago it was purchased and what the item cost. This will often give me a clue as to whether or not it makes sense to reupholster. If it’s a piece that was an inexpensive purchase, it generally doesn’t make sense to reupholster it as the quality of the frame- the “bones” of the piece isn’t good and probably won’t last long enough to make the price of reupholstery worthwhile. Reupholstering is costly because it’s very labor intensive. We take a piece down to the frame, inspect it for damage, repair it, re-tie the coil springs, and add new padding and cushions. If an upholstered piece of furniture has a history- say it was handed down from Grandma or Grandpa, has a carved wood frame and good “bones”, it pays to reupholster it. I can even change the style somewhat by adding or deleting a skirt and changing leg styles as well as changing the finish on exposed wood.”
Thanks for a great interview and timely tips on reupholstering, Alan! Stay tuned for Part 2 of my interview next week where we’ll talk about refinishing wood furniture and cabinets.