I was twenty years old and nervous as I stumbled up Mrs. Robin’s walkway.
I rang the bell at the huge Victorian doorway that was attached to a huge Victorian house that was clearly a vestige of Morristown’s bygone days. Little did I know that this was to be a defining day in one man’s quest to find antique nirvana.
Mrs. Robin seemed surprised to see me and quite frankly, disappointed. She quickly showed me some carved corbels in her dining room that were in need of restoration and harshly said, “You’re not old enough to do this kind of work, I need an old-world craftsman.” God, I was devastated. I was good at what I did and I learned quickly, but the comment hurt and I really didn’t understand what she meant.
The years came and went, and with them, countless pieces of furniture restored, countless pieces of furniture repaired, and countless antiques brought back to life. In a practical sense, I was fortunate to have learned many aspects of the trade, such as carving, inlay and marquetry, and wood turnings, and I learned how to build furniture reproductions.
Slowly my knowledge and skills improved and I began to train others in the various aspects of custom furniture design, furniture repair, and antique restoration and preservation. I kept my eye on the goal of building a furniture and woodworking business that was based on expertise and integrity, and which could offer our customers something they could not get anywhere else.
With the help of my brother and partner Eric, we worked hard at forging a company that would be known and respected. We didn’t want to be known just as something that popped-up on the internet, or just another couple of cute guys covered with sawdust. We wanted to be mentioned at cocktail parties, mahjong games, and to be the subject of pillow-talk at 2AM .
Eric and I have been working together for 30 years and feel a sense of comfort in where the journey has brought us.
As far as Mrs. Robin goes, “Thank you, mam ” Unbeknownst to her, her harsh words seemed to light the fire in my belly and brought two brothers together to embark on an adventure building a unique and meaningful woodworking and restoration business.
By the way the corbels came out great!