What is it that stands between you and a perfectly realized restoration project? Furniture and decorative art restoration and repurposing can be creative and fulfilling endeavors or they can fall far short of expectations. Projects that are well-conceived, reasonably priced (falling somewhere between “he was so cheap!” and “I can’t believe how much I spent…”), and collaborative are almost always successful. In our work, we’ve found there are three main barriers to success to watch out for:
- “I Know a Guy”
- DIY TV
- Partners Only Get in the Way
- “I Know a Guy” – Actually, you used to know a guy. A guy who is most likely out of business now, due to the fact that he’s been under-pricing his work for decades. (This is sad but true – we’ve seen them come and go in just the 15 years we’ve been in Nashville.)
- 2. DIY TV – we’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. It’s television, folks. The land of smoke and mirrors. That handsome ex-model host has given you a punch list of the supplies and tools you’ll need and those all-important “step-by-step instructions.” How can you go wrong? Here’s how: you don’t know how, and it’s easier said than done. We would not discourage anyone from trying their hand at some project or other – as long as outcome, timeframe, and eventual completion are not vitally important.
- 3. Partners Only Get in the Way – There is one phrase that sends chills up and down our spines every time it’s uttered: “Let me talk to my partner…” To quote Homer Simpson… “DOH!!!” We’re not privy to the conversations that ensue – suffice it to say that balloons are popped, excitement wanes, and the job stops here.
While each of these scenarios can spell the end of a possibly outstanding restoration, they are not destined to be the kiss of death if you keep in mind some helpful strategies.
- Align your expectations regarding price, timeline, and quality with your desired outcome. Know what you’re willing to sacrifice and what is a must-have.
- Be realistic about what you can accomplish with your own two hands. Will you end up with a pile of parts in the garage, or a piece you can hand down to your children?
- Communicate early and often with your partner (and/or other key stakeholders). Failing that, don’t forget there’s a lot to be said for the gentle art of persuasion!
Good luck with your next completely unique, creative, and stunning restoration project!