As many of you know by now, we’ve been in the antique restoration game for nearly 40 years. In that time we’ve developed not only a formidable bag of tricks with applied techniques, but also quite a set of opinions about the dos and dont’s and the whys and wherefores of restoration. There follows a series of three posts on Restoration Realities. Part One: Why Restore Instead of Buy?, Part Two: Why Not Buy from the Discount Stores?, and Part Three: Why Can’t I DIY?…
Part One: Why Restore Instead of Buy? It’s the Green Thing to Do!
Two words: carbon footprint. Carbon footprint is the total amount of carbon dioxide and other GHG (greenhouse gases) that a product, individual, or organization emits over its full lifecycle. Just as when you marry you are opening your life to not only your spouse but said spouse’s entire, possibly dysfunctional family; when you buy a piece of furniture from a discount furniture store you are buying its accumulated carbon footprint. To put it simply, you are the last stop in a chain that looks something like this:
The carbon footprint of the company that designed it + the factory in which it was manufactured + the ship, truck, and/or train that transported it to the distribution center + the truck and/or train that transported it from the distribution center to the showroom + the delivery van that transported it from the showroom to your door.
Now let’s say you decide to restore a particular piece you already own. Yes, that piece has its own carbon footprint, but chances are it didn’t travel quite as far to get to its final destination, and if it’s really old, it might have gotten from here to there by horse-drawn vehicle!