The staff of Meeting House Furniture Restoration possesses a broad range of skills, education, and expertise in conservation, wood working, and finishing.  The myriad of talents and experience is reflected in the diverse range of projects the shop undertakes.  These abilities include the conservation of wooden artifacts and fine art found in the collections of many local and regional museums, as well as extensive restoration of period furniture and decorative art at the Vermont State House.  The everyday family heirlooms they work on, however, are of greatest significance, "if the piece is important to the client, it is important to us."

Antique Restoration

A specialty of the workshop is the restoration and conservation of antique furniture and historic objects.  Whether it is a family heirloom or a part of a museum collection, care is taken to ensure that the historical integrity is preserved.  Utilizing both traditional and modern materials, the restoration performed will preserve the piece for the next generation or longer.  Our services include all repairs of furniture, finishing in both traditional and modern finishes, woven seating restoration in cane and rush, gilding conservation, and veneer restoration, carving and turning.

  
Sideboard restoration, originally built in Saint Albans in the 1840's by William H. Livingston, currently residing in the collection of the Vermont Historical Society. The restored sideboard was featured in the recently published book, "Rich and Tasty - Vermont Furniture to 1850".


   
Desk repair, before and after.
House Calls for On-Site Repairs and Evaluations

This Furniture Doctor makes house calls!  The meeting house technicians make onsite visits to your home or business to perform various restoration and furniture maintenance procedures including: touching up dings, mars, scratches and gouges; removal of white water or heat rings in finishes; cleaning and waxing furniture; polishing brass hardware; gluing on loose or replacement veneers or trim; and any other tasks you need performed.  No project is too odd or too daunting!
Transit Damage

For over thirty years the staff has handled any and all types of moving and transit damage for all furniture and decorative arts.  If damage occurs during a move, contact us.  We are independent of all moving companies and are often called on by local and national firms to repair items damaged in a move.  In most instances, staff will visit your home and many repairs can be made on site.  However, some damaged items may need to be taken back to the workshop if more extensive work is needed.  For moving damage, we do it all: fixing broken lamps, replacing shattered mirrors, repairing broken artwork frames, touching up scratches, rebuilding a badly damaged table, patching a punctured oil painting, stitching up a slashed leather sofa, or mending a broken marble table top.

 
Porcelain elephant shattered during transportation, before and after restoration.
Fire/Water Damage

We are well versed and experienced in the restoration of extremely damaged fire and water-damaged furniture.  Please note: Before allowing a piece of furniture to be discarded after a disaster, contact us immediately.  Often in the case of water damaged furniture, more damage occurs while the objects remain saturated with water or are improperly dried, than from the original deluge or fire. 


Fire damaged Italian desk, before and after restoration.
Custom Handmade Furniture

If you have in mind a special article of furniture for your home or office, but cannot find a source, contact our skilled team of artisans.  We will design and hand build a custom piece of furniture to your specifications in any style, dimension, wood, or finish you can conceive of.  Simple and clean in appearance, or embellished, carved and ornamented.  We can fill in a set of chairs, make a matching mate to an antique side table, or craft a coffee table using an image from page torn from a magazine as our guide.

We can modify pre-existing furniture or antiques to accommodate a different use, thus extending the utility of a beloved object.  Table heights can be raised or lowered.  Dressers re-worked to accept a sink and thus serve as a powder room vanity.  Your imagination is the only limit of what we can do for you.

 
Upholstered chair, custom-built by Meeting House Furniture Restoration.



Custom Upholstered Mahogany Kingsize Headboard made to client's design and specifications. 



Custom hand-made teak and glass coffee table with antique 18th century sterling silver-on-wood legs. The legs belonged to the client's great grandfather, and Indian Raja, who would visit his tea plantations riding atop an elephant. The silver legs were part of a portable bed that accompanied him,  so he could rest in comfort in the heat of the day.
Fine Art

One of our conservators is trained in Fine Art Restoration, and therefore can handle the patching of rips or punctures in most paint-on-canvas art.  Utilizing modern adhesives and practices, the damage stabilized, any pigment loss is in-painted.  all work performed is completely reversible and adheres to art conservation standards.  The gentle cleaning of artwork improves its visual impact, helps to communicate the artist's aesthetic intent, preserves it for future generations, through the removal of surface accretions such as soot from fireplaces, atomized cooking residue, tobacco smoke, and so on.  We can also fully restore the frames surrounding artwork, including repairing or reproducing loose or missing plaster ornamentation, and renewing gold leaf on gilded elements.

We do strongly advise that if there is any concern that the value of the artwork might be compromised by the proposed conservation procedures, then it is highly recommended to engage a certified art appraiser to verify that our work will not jeopardize its worth.


Conservator Jonathan Schechtman cleans the 20' by 10' oil painting entitled " The First Vermont Brigade at the Battle of Cedar Creek" on site at the Vermont State House. Painted by Vermont artist Julian Scott, it was completed in 1874. Scott was a drummer boy in the Civil War.


    
Oil on canvas tear repair.

Metal Hardware Repair, Brass Polishing, and Metal Plating

      
Brass Andiron, before and after restoration.



Scorched fire damaged hardware as found, in process of restoration, and restored.

Pianos, Music Boxes, and Clock Cases

Pianos last for generations but after a few decades of use and exposure to sunlight, they can show their age.  We are experienced with touching up or totally refinishing the cases of the fine upright and grand pianos.  In the past, we have improved the appearance of many fine instruments crafted by Baldwin, Bechstein, Bosendorfer, Mason Hamlin, Steinway & Sons, and Yamaha, to name a few.  In fact, we restored First Lady Grace Coolidge's grand piano, the first Steinway to be transported by airplane, and it is on display at the President Coolidge Historic Site.  While the refinishing of a piano case is labor intensive and costly, the result often dramatically increases the instrument's value.  If the piano's finish sustained only a few nicks or dings or is in need of a rub out to rejuvenate a tired existing finish, we can gladly address that in one's home, thus avoiding the expense incurred in the moving of the piano.

We have also restored the exteriors of banjo clocks, steeple clocks, and numerous 18th century tall case clocks.  Splits, lifting veneers, or reproducing missing inlay, finials or intricate fretwork are all part of the process, as well as renewing original hand-rubbed French Polish finishes.

Over the last two decades, our staff has restored small table music boxes, and grand console music boxes for collectors alike.


    
Piano Restoration, before and after.


  

Music box, before and after restoration.
Cabinet Restoration

The skilled artisans at the Meeting House are experienced and equipped to perform the restoration of free-standing and built-in cabinetry, regardless of the type of damage.  Whether worn from years of use or damaged from water or fire, we can restore all aspects of the cabinet: the face, the box, and even repair or replicate damaged doors, in order to restore a kitchen back to pristine condition.

Commercial Projects

A large percentage of the jobs performed by the Meeting House are for private clients. However, we have also worked with large commercial institutions as well as local and state governments. For example, we restored all the representatives desks, the two Senators' 15-seat settees, and other furniture in the Vermont State House Legislative Hall.



The above image shows the view from the gallery of the Vermont State House Legislative Hall showing completed restoration projects performed by Meeting House Furniture Restoration:  The 150 curved and straight walnut Legislators' desks, the pair of 15-seat Senators' Settees on the dais, the Clerk's Desk, the Conference Table, and 2 Rococco Settes in the center of the Hall.

For their work, the skilled artisans at the Meeting House were recognized for their high level of craftsmanship exhibited in their restoration of the Vermont State House Furniture by lawmakers and dignitaries at the annual meeting of the Friends' of the State House on October 26, 2001.

Pictured from left to right are project architect John Mesick, former Vermont Governor and Presidential candidate Howard Dean, the staff of Meeting House in 2001 (Bruce Fifield, Jonathan Schechtman, Wayne Saunders, Fred Tipton) and State House Curator David Schutz (far right, rear.)

Other Miscellaneous Projects

We have taken on variety of other interesting projects, beyond the scope of run-of-the-mill restorers: Steamer Trunks, Hobby Horses.

  
Irish trunk Restoration, before and after.


 
Water-Damaged 19th. Cent. English Hobby Horse in Process of Restoration, and after restoration, with reproduction saddle and tack, and replacement mane and tail.




Custom made shadow box to hold Heirloom Militaria