Fix (Or Clean) Anything: Home Furnishings

The items in our homes, like furniture and rugs, often need special care. These experts know just how to keep your house a home.

Thomas and Karen Farruggio.
Thomas and Karen Farruggio in the busy Belmar workshop where they restore beautiful-crafted antique furniture. “I specialize in fancy veneers,” Thomas says.
Photo by Michel Arnaud

Artisans of the Valley, Pennington
Father-and-son team Stanley and Eric Saperstein are master woodcrafters who learned furniture making and carving through the traditional apprentice system. Together they create custom hand-crafted, museum-quality pieces on commission—modern and period—and do antique restoration, conservation, preservation and repair work. Besides furniture, they make and restore walking sticks and canes; they recently were called upon to make a specialty cane for Richard Gere’s character in the upcoming film Fanny. Among their museum/historical affiliations are Howell Living History Farm and Monmouth Battlefield State Park. Stanley was retained to restore the helmsman’s wheels on the battleship New Jersey. 609-637-0450.

Barefoot Cabinetry, Midland Park
Eddie Hulse claims he can fix or refurbish anything, from broken antique furniture legs to loose cabinet doors to antique stringed instruments. One recent restoration: a chest of drawers brought from Germany by Holocaust survivors. “We hear a lot of neat family stories,” says Hulse, who works with his sons, Andy and Steve. Most projects are handled in the shop, but the team makes house calls in North Jersey. All jobs are handled with care. “I’m picky and I want it to be right,” says Hulse. 201-835-8353.

Bedrosian Companies, Seven New Jersey Locations
Got a rug that’s looking sickly? Bedrosian’s expert techicians still make house calls. Specialists in cleaning and restoring fine carpets and rugs, they use Bedrosian’s eco-friendly, truck-powered hot-water extraction system to clean in a customer’s home. They also offer at-home upholstery cleaning. Within the company’s state-of-the-art facilities, Bedrosian technicians hand wash, reweave and mend any area rug, including wool, silk, needlepoint, hooked and kilim styles. 908-464-1480.

Cane and Able, Belford
Paul Chaballa got into chair caning, restoration and repair 15 years ago when his wife, Janet, found a beat-up specimen in her father’s basement. These days, he specializes in woven and pressed cane, fiber rush, natural rush, Shaker tape and splint weaving. He also does chair repair, parts replacements and duplication, stripping and refinishing. Chaballa works for individuals, as well as for museums and antique dealers in Monmouth County. Janet and the couple’s two daughters pitch in as needed. 732-495-3204.

JH Conklin & Company, Pennsville
Third-generation furniture maker/restorer Jim Conklin has reinvented the family tradition by repurposing older pieces. Tapping into the upcycled furniture movement, he combines reupholstery with frame repair and refinishing, creating modern-looking pieces with historic bones. With 800 shades of pigmented lacquer, he can match a refinished frame to any fabric or color scheme. Not all pieces are candidates for such updating. Conklin declined to work on what turned out to be an 1810 Belgian coronation chair. “I told them to get it appraised first,” he says, “and they were very thankful I did.” 856-339-9766.

Farruggio Antique Furniture Restoration, Belmar
Thomas Farruggio learned his craft working alongside his father, a skilled craftsman who arrived in the United States from Italy with only his woodworking tools. Farruggio now uses those tools to restore fine antiques, many damaged by Superstorm Sandy. “We were busy before Sandy, but now we have entire homes of furniture,” he says. Farruggio, who specializes in fancy veneers and custom-crafted furniture, works alongside his wife, Karen, who helps strip and glue. “We’ve never advertised,” she says. “We are always word of mouth.” 732-681-2211.

Griffin’s Refinishing, Farmingdale
Kevin Griffin slowly and meticulously restores antique furniture in his cavernous warehouse. “I’m stumped on a regular basis,” he admits, “but I’ll do the research and get it right.” In 35 years in business, he has worked on turn-of-the-century dining chairs with worn cane seats; 100-year-old Victorian sofas; exquisite yet water-damaged Duncan Phyfe tables; and many less remarkable pieces. “I’m helping repair memories,” he says. “Most of these pieces have been in families for generations.” 732-938-2120.

Olek Lejbzon Co., Newark
Does your Eames chair need work? Olek’s 40-plus cabinetmakers, upholsterers, artists and craftspeople have specialized since 1950 in conserving, refinishing and repairing modern and antique furniture. They are adept at intricate decorative repairs such as gilding, Oriental lacquer and japanning. Based in a 70,000-square-foot space, the company takes pride in completing large, difficult assignments, and can work around the clock, either on-site or in their workshop. The company also does historic restorations, including the fabrication and installation of architectural millwork, ornamental metalwork and sculpture. Among its clients: Lincoln Center, the Dakota in New York and the Presbyterian Church in Flemington. Free phone estimates. 212-243-3363.

Maxwell’s Furniture Restoration, Mountainside
This family-owned business was established in 1895 by German immigrant Abram Ryman Maxwell. Today, Maxwell’s offers antique furniture restoration, repair, refinishing and appraisals, as well as upholstery refurbishing and interior design. Fourth-generation part-owner Donald John Maxwell says the company has done work for “most historic sites in northern New Jersey.” Projects range from family heirlooms to dining room chairs that simply need tightening. All employees—including Donald’s children, Donald Lawrence and Kaitlyn—are master craftspeople. Maxwell’s also has a warehouse of refurbished antiques for sale. 908-232-0226.

Metropolitan Window Fashions, North Plainfield and Paramus
This 80-year-old business is the designated repair center in North Jersey for Hunter Douglas shades and blinds. They’ll take on other brands too, including vintage Venetians. “We can repair anything with a cord,” says owner Bruce Heyman. Metropolitan’s North Plainfield companion business, Fabricland, provides expert repairs on all makes of sewing machines, even antique treadle machines. “We see 50-year-old and 80-year-old machines on a regular basis,” says Heyman. 908-755-4700.

On Site Furniture Repair, Succasunna
Third-generation owner Rob Guido carries on the family tradition of in-home repairs, mostly in North Jersey. Services include fabric repair or replacement; cabinet cleaning and touch-ups; furniture-frame repair; wood furniture touch-ups and cleaning; custom reupholstery; cushion replacement; zipper and spring repairs; and more. The shop also makes custom table pads to order. 973-252-1300.

Pillatt and Associates, Audubon
Richard Pillatt has been restoring antique furniture for more than 40 years. He repairs breaks and cracks, carves spindles and trim, replaces glass and hardware, and refinishes worn or damaged surfaces. Thanks to his inventory of antique hardware and locks, Pillatt has the ability to open long-locked chests and rebuild them so the locks work again. A specialist in 18th- and 19th-century English pieces (who also works on pieces from other countries), Pillatt eschews computers and only reluctantly owns a cell phone. “I’m a person of candles and fireplaces,” says the former president of the Camden County Historical Society. 856-858-1811.

The Wicker Tree, Summit
Specializing in wicker and rattan repair, the Wicker Tree also handles caning and rushing and can strip and refinish any and all furniture. They even sandblast damaged wrought-iron and cast-aluminum pieces. The shop also offers new indoor and outdoor wicker furniture, including custom upholstery from the Sunbrella line of outdoor fabrics. 908-273-4030.

Click here to read the rest of our fix-it stories.

Click here to leave a comment
Click to enlarge images
Read more Jersey Living articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.