Fix (Or Clean) Anything: Architectural

If you're looking to repair your copper weather vanes, stained glass windows or barn, this list is for you.

A stained glass window at Studio J's in Paterson.
At Studio J's Paterson workshop, restoration of stained glass, including this ornate window, ascends to the level of art.
Photo by Michel Arnaud

Stephen D. Bradway Coppersmith, Rio Grande
In a career of more than 30 years, Steve Bradway has reconditioned copper roofs, weather vanes and ornate cupolas, but these days, smaller pieces are his bread and butter. “I don’t really climb roofs anymore,” he says, “but I do a lot of antique restoration on lighting fixtures and other household items. Anything of sentimental value.” Bradway will even restore old copper cookware—a process called retinning that removes dents and warps. He also works in brass, stainless steel and aluminum. 609-465-5051.

Bregenzer Bros Inc., Hopewell
This award-winning firm—operated by a third generation of Bregenzers—specializes in installation, restoration, custom replacement and maintenance of high-end slate and copper roofing (including zinc/tin-coated copper roofing). Long-term clients include Princeton University, the Lawrenceville School and Morven Museum & Garden, but the firm also has private clients. They also perform custom detailing of copper gutters and leader heads, and restore chimneys. 609-466-1296.

Femenella & Associates Inc., Branchburg
A stained-glass conservation firm that specializes in restoring historic works, Femenella & Associates has taken on many challenging museum and church projects, but also serves private clients. The firm was founded in 1993 by Arthur Femenella Sr., who had been perfecting his craft for nearly 25 years at various New York studios. Today, he is a sought-after consultant, author and lecturer. His firm has handled many significant projects, including works by Tiffany and Frank Lloyd Wright. 908-722-6526.

J&R Lamb Studios, Midland Park
Founded in 1857, Lamb Studios claims to be the country’s oldest, continuously run decorative-arts company specializing in stained-glass window design, restoration and repair. Founding brothers Joseph and Richard Lamb and their successors have been responsible for many important works, including windows at countless churches nationwide. Artist Donald Samick purchased the studio in 1970 and carries on the tradition of quality work, personally overseeing every project. 201-891-8585.

Knapp Masonry, Gloucester City
A specialist in exterior restorations, Knapp offers brick and stone repointing and replacement, plaster recasting, mortar replacement, stone-wall restoration, and stabilization of deteriorating structures. Co-owner Vern Knapp says his company has worked on historic structures, including Philadelphia’s Independence Hall and the Trenton Battle Monument, as well as high-end residential properties of all vintages. It’s surprisingly exacting work. “If the repointing was done wrong, we have to go in and cut that section out, then find bricks that will match,” Knapp says. 856-783-5374.

Metal MastersRestoration, Frenchtown
James Sherron restores anything metal: door hardware, outdoor and indoor lamps and fixtures, even the occasional locomotive headlight. Sherron meticulously draws and photographs every piece prior to disassembly. Whether working in fine silver or heavy iron—and every metal in between—he painstakingly cleans every piece and returns it to its original state. “This has been my world for 50 years,” he says. “We get a lot of sentimentality here.” 908-996-2555.

New Jersey Barn Company, Ringoes
Chances are you’ve been inside one of the more than 150 venerable structures saved from almost certain destruction by New Jersey Barn. Among them: the visitor center of Howell Living History Farm in Titusville. Founded in 1980 by Alex Greenwood and Elric Enders, New Jersey Barn buys, disassembles and warehouses historic lumber, then works with clients on new sites, adapting the barns—many dating to the 1700s—for modern use as private homes, offices, restaurants, schools and museums—and sometimes even as barns. 908-782-8896.

New Jersey Hardwoods, Plainfield
The craftsmen at New Jersey Hardwoods can replicate any style of architectural millwork—from pre-Civil War baseboards to ornamental ceiling and picture-frame wall moldings. They install new work or repair old. The shop also replicates historic doors and cabinets of any style. Browse the website project gallery for images of custom installations, including kitchens, libraries and home theaters. Design services available. 908-754-0900.

NJ Gates, Hoboken
Family-owned, this is a full-service gate and fence company specializing in wrought iron repairs. Whether it’s a functional gate or strictly ornamental, the company’s blacksmiths carefully bring the wrought iron back to its desired state. They also work in aluminum and can repair weathered and damaged wood, chain link and vinyl fencing. The company takes on jobs throughout the state, including design and installation of custom gates, railings and fences. 201-855-6257.

Recycling The Past, Barnegat Township
This super-cool retailer is lost in time. Rather than actually fixing anything, the experts here salvage virtually everything. Pieces are acquired from estate sales, industrial buildings, churches, schools and historic structures, then cleaned for resale. Shoppers can find everything from cast-iron pedestal sinks to terra cotta garden urns to solid mahogany front doors. Recycling the Past also creates one-of-a-kind pieces from found materials, such as decorative mirrors. 609-660-9790.

Studio J, Paterson
Judy and John Leong share a passion for stained glass. Their studio creates original works, but also restores hundreds of windows each year in private residences and houses of worship. Extensive restoration and repair requires removal and reinstallation. John evaluates the work, Judy handles the design, and expert craftsman Greg Forgotson, a 20-year veteran of the studio, does the work. The biggest challenge is to make an old window look new without compromising its authenticity. “We’ll take apart the entire window and remake it using new lead and solder,” says Judy. 973-569-0200.

V&J Construction, Kenilworth
Brothers and second-generation plaster artisans Bob and Ray Vetter partnered with Jim Latczynski to create V&J Construction, which specializes in all sorts of traditional plaster applications. “We do two-coat veneer plaster, custom Venetian plaster,” says Bob. “We do patch and repair work and replicate plaster moldings.” They can restore old plaster from virtually any era. Notable projects include the Monmouth County homes of Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen. “I’m sort of a rock-star plasterer,” jokes Bob. 908-245-3001.


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