A&D Kirilov Antiques Restorers


Go to content

Starting your antique odyssey

Antique furniture

STARTING YOUR ANTIQUE ODYSSEY

Albena discovers that when buying antique furniture whether for investment or love you should always buy the best you can afford from a reputable dealer. Also buy pieces you can live with and enjoy, this way you are bound to love your treasures from the past.

THE END OF AN ERA: Since the development of early technology the rise of the Machine age in the late 1800 something precious has been taken away from our lives. The family tradition of fine craftsmen, generations of family secrets in constructing and refinishing, the loving touch of an artists hand swept across gleaming wood surface, the excitement of creation from start to finish of an everyday object. It maybe the nostalgic tune in our dynamic fast forward reality that brings the need of feeling close to something solid, loved and timeless. The presence of an antique furniture piece in our modern home brings all that with the stories and memories it shares.
Insert Photo Inlay medallion
The World trend in value Of Antiques Is on the Rise: Antique furniture's popularity and desirability is on an upward curve and the supply of quality pieces is limited. Antique furniture is irreplaceable and will almost always appreciate in value because of it's unique presence and historical connection.
Antique & Collectable: You must have a discerning eye while shopping for antiques because even if a piece looks old does not mean it is an antique. On the other side, an item can be newer than 100 years old and will be very collectible if it is in high demand, thus it will have a high value.

Identifying Antique Furniture
Wood type - rosewood, mahogany, walnut, oak - the quality, colouration and grain of the timbers used in construction of antique furniture is detrimental to the value. The originality of hardware and structural details, integrity and artistry of the craftsman are also important. Visual appeal of proportion, balance, detail and patination is something to look for in each piece you examine. Don't forget fine pieces started their life as expensive and unique examples of craftsmanship, so that feeling should be present in them till today.
Here are a few tips to follow while examining a piece:
Insert photo open drawer chest of drawers
" SIZE COUNTS: Measure the piece you are interested to buy due to wood shrinkage which is an average of 4mm per 40 cm it will not be perfectly round or for that matter the same width throughout.
" Detect surface cracks by moving a light over the surface. These surface cracks come with age and do not detract from the value of the piece.
" Look underneath for the inevitable warping and buckling of wood.
" Look for wood that is discoloured: uneven exposure to light or stored away leaves for a table will show distinct differences in colouring.
" Wood beneath the hardware area should show even greater contrasts in colour.
" CHECK THE SCREWS: Early screws made before 1840 had flat, un-tapered heads.
" Look for signs of normal wear and tear and the build up of dust and grime in the furniture's corners and crevices.
" Look at the frame under the upholstery for sets of nail holes from previous upholstery. An aged piece may have seen several changes in fabric.
" Glass warps with age so use a pocket level
" Differences indicate replaced parts: Look closely at the various pieces of wood used in the furniture - particularly the edges and feet.
" Distinguish between the older plank-style construction and the more modern tongue-and-groove construction.
" Inspect for old or filled nails and screw holes that would have been made when the piece was originally built.
" Original handles and hinges: Look inside for old screw holes this may indicate that handles or hinges have been replaced.
Insert Photo Drawer with Handle
" Dovetail joints: New dovetails are either machine-made or much narrower than the wide, up to 12mm dovetails of the 1800s.
Insert photo Dovetail Joint
" Compare the dovetail joints : Perfect matching could mean the furniture is more modern than described. Huge differences would demonstrate that pieces have been replaced.
" Check out the surfaces. Small pinholes filled with wax indicate previous treated insect infestation. Beware of fresh, new looking ones with fine white dust seeping through - the insects are still active. Have the piece professionally treated before you bring it home.
" Carvings should be defined, standing "proud" from the surface and in line with the style of the piece

Research Antique Furniture
Once you have decided you may have an interest in antique furniture, feed that interest. Visit all types of antiques shops and auction houses. Listen carefully to other people as they discuss a particular piece. Don't' just glance at furniture - watch as experienced people turn it over, feel it and examine it. The more you LOOK and LISTEN, the more you learn.

Find a reasonably priced piece and BUY IT! This definitely helps feed one's interest. People are often reluctant to become involved in a purchase, but this is the best way to build interest and accelerate the learning process for the next purchase.

Begin The Journey:

" Antique Auctions - are one of the most exciting ways to learn and buy antiques. Here you will find almost every type and period of antique furniture. If you attend previews regularly and read catalogues carefully, you will soon acquire a sound knowledge and a feel for values.
" Antique Shops - are among the easiest of places in which to begin learning about and buying antique furniture. The ideal Antique shop should not only be reputable, it should also have a welcoming atmosphere in which you do not feel intimidated or pressurized to buy. It is worth returning to a dealer who is both knowledgeable and trustworthy, because as you build up a rapport with him, he will probably be able to help you in a variety of ways procuring your future collection. Above all, a friendly dealer is one of the best ways of learning, from the inside about the fascinating world of antiques.
" Antique Fairs - If you are a keen collector such events can offer a golden opportunity to meet leading authorities and reputable dealers from around the country and abroad. Meeting fellow collectors and attending talks will be of great benefit for accumulating knowledge in your field of interest.
" Antique Restorers - there are few people in the industry with greater insight of the construction, workings and finishes of antique furniture pieces. The experience in examining joints, structural flows or advantages, timber and veneer quality and thickness is a wealth of insider's expertise one can learn from. A visit to a reputable restores workshop will be an enlightening experience and a visual journey in to the anatomy of antique furniture pieces.
" Antique Book Stores - "knowledge is power" Buying and studying as many books as possible, focusing on your interest is a great investment. Applying your knowledge while examining furniture pieces or discussing with experts or fellow collectors will build up confidence and understanding of your subject of interest.
Insert photo Gilded chair and table

AN EVER CHANGING PLANET SADLY ALLOWS FOR A SOUND INVESTMENT:

With our planet suffering the challenges of our technological evolution resulting in polution, climate change and generations of irresponsible behaviour we often forget the mighty forests from where our furniture started its life. Most of the trees harvested for their precious timber in the past, today are endangered and under strict felling and export regulations. The exotic Brazilian rosewood, Cuban and Honduras mahogany and the greatest European pride - the French and Turkish walnut are no longer available for furniture manufacturing.

Buying a solid or exoticly veneered antique piece of furniture is a sound and responsible investment . The love, dedication and esthethic design of generations of gifted craftsmen is a priceless gift we can still bring to our homes to use, appreciate and look after for the future generations. The records of antique furniture sales show steady appreciation of 30% in the past year and significant demand growth is noted. Bying a precious piece that has survived the test of time is a source of pride, prestige and great responsibility.

Remember, condition is the most important aspect in determining value and guaranteeing your investment. Contact a reputable restorer to evaluate and maintain your furniture collection. Discuss in detail the methods and approach used during the restoration process. Very often a timely attention from a professional will save you extensive fees in the future and ensure the timeless appeal of your furniture.

Thinking out of the Box
From years of experience as a restorer and working in antique shop I find our antique furniture clients buying for different reasons, often a combination of investment and practical use. Not underestimating the exceptional decorative quality of fine furniture, the integration of aesthetics and functionality is the ideal balance in introducing precious antique pieces in your home.
In todays modern world, with the younger generation collector we find that they are not limiting themselves with the old traditional use of a piece, bringing antique pieces to life in their homes, reinventing their use into more practical modern aplications, bringing joy in creativity and discovery of possibilityes: Where The linenpress transforms in to a TV cabinet with a generous CD storage space, The music cabinet holds folded bathroom towels, The china display cabinet becomes a drinks cabinet with enough space for the glassware, a glazed bookcabinet finds it's way to the kitchen to work as a pantry closet. There are so many new ways to use the old pieces….

You should now be ready to start your adventourous journey into the world of collecting: let your odyssey begin…….








Back to content | Back to main menu