Renowned Furniture: Under New Management

We’ve undergone some changes here at Renowned and are pleased to welcome the new owners, Aaron and Melissa.

Aaron brings with him vast experience in all facets of furniture and cabinetmaking, from antiques to shopfitting (and plenty in between!). We are happy to say that all of the craftsmen have stayed with us, so we are confident we can deliver the same quality and service you have come to expect from Renowned. So really, it’s just business as usual and as always we are still “part of the furniture”.

In other news, feels like it’s raining chairs in the factory at the moment. We’ve had enquiries on just about every kind of chair you can imagine – high chairs, cinema chairs and even a diner booth. Here’s just a few that we’re working on.

Renowned Comes to the Rescue of Flood-Damaged Furniture

Storms, not just minor storms but massive storms, are in the news lately. The first being Hurricane Harvey, which flooded Houston in Texas, USA and currently, Hurricane Irma, which is ravaging the Caribbean Island.

Closer to home in Brisbane, storms and flooding are part of the natural environment. There is always the potential for storms and the resulting flooding that the City Council has prepared a flood guide to save lives and property.

When a storm passes and the flood starts to recede, clean up begins. One of the common victims of flood water is furniture – both upholstered and wood pieces. In many instances, cleaning and drying are not enough to salvage them. This is where professional furniture restorers come in.

Renowned have had its share of jobs that involves resurrecting well-loved heirloom pieces from flood damage. We’ve had several of this type of job this year alone.

This mahogany buffet is proof that flood damage does not mean throw out all your solid timber furniture. It will return to its original size and shape with a little help from Renowned Furniture!

Flood can also come from another source – a burst mains pipe in your home. This happened to one of our clients, and this sewing machine and old cedar chest of drawers were the only two pieces to survive the accident. They were brought in, and it was another successful restoration job for Renowned.

The flood loss happened to this client two years ago, but the silverware case, buffet and side table are being restored for the third time. The first two restoration attempts were total failures. Third time’s the charm as we came to the rescue and fixed the repair sins of the previous restorers.

 

“A Job Well Done”

Anyone ever had a job go wrong? Not once, not twice but three times?

Hannah came to Renowned furniture on a recommendation. She’s heard that “The guys at Renowned are pretty fair dinkum”!

Well, we are, and sometimes it hurts. We quoted in excess of $5,500.00 to completely strip down, dismantle, rebuild and re-polish this solid Cedar dining suite.

Hannah’s comments during her deliberations were: “You guys are not the cheapest but I’ve heard good things and I am going with you”.

Restored dining suite

Great, we got another job, snatched from the grips of our competitors. Here’s a draft of some of the basic verbiage we send when we get an enquiry:

Renowned Furniture employ some of the finest master craftsmen in south east Queensland with several years’ experience in all facets of fine furniture making, French polishing and furniture restoration. Among our very long list of esteemed clients, socialites and business people, we can also proudly include many of the big insurance companies and insurance repair brokers that turn exclusively to Renowned Furniture and refer to us as “preferred suppliers”. Our award winning quality and finish is second to none. Furniture made or restored by Renowned will last a lifetime.

Our standard process for true, top quality furniture restoration involves a full strip down where we remove all old polish and marks, etc. Some old polishes will react with new polishes over time, which is good to know when considering the type of restoration you’d like done to your piece. We go through every joint and connection and ensure that all joints are sound. Some pieces of furniture that are more than about 60 years old will have ‘animal fat based timber adhesives’ in the joints and this will almost certainly have been compromised over time, so it’s important to be sure that the joints and connections are going to last another life.

The strip and first sand are followed by a 2 pack seal coat in clear to ‘embalm’ the timber. The next step is to sand again, apply tone and colour where required and sand again. The third step is to apply the first of the top/polish coats, then sand again and finally, the finish polish coat to your choice of lustre and gloss level from dead flat through to high sheen.

For re-upholstering, we replace all the internals required to ensure longevity and warranty of new fabrics, so webbing, foam, wadding, gimp and antique nails are all replaced where required as part of the process. Please visit www.warwick.com.au and see if there’s anything there in their vast listings that suits, or alternatively, visit their showroom where the very friendly and helpful staff can assist.

We are happy to quote for a lower level of restoration, though this really needs to be done in direct consultation with you to be sure we are both in agreement and have a full understanding of the work being carried out.

Well, the worst things that happened with the dining suite project were:

1. The cedar had some kind of (unknown) oil or chemical embedded in the timber making the re-polish a nightmare. We actually redid the polishing 3 times.
2. A mistake was made with the fabric supplier when someone (who shall remain nameless) ordered the wrong fabric, so at the 11th hour when we were ready to return deliver and were conducting final checks, we found the error and had to delay with the client yet again.
3. After re- re-upholstering we were ready to send the suite and one of the chairs was damaged in all the double handling. They say these things come in threes, don’t they?

Now the good stuff:

Hannah told the boys how amazed she was and further went on to call me and write as well.

“We are just so thrilled with what you and the guys have done with our suite. The delays were so well worth it in the end and while I know you guys had some issues, we were never asked to pay any additional money. 1000 thanks for a job well done. Old fashioned service in a modern world! You will go far.” 🙂

 

A Hectic Life!

Well, hello dear readers!

We’ve suddenly been receiving random drop ins from many of our suppliers. All with long faces, all with tales of woe about how terribly quiet it’s been lately, all with new specials on consumables, and so on.

We’re unable to keep up with demand and adding to our busy life is one other clanger! I have been head hunted back into a corporate role in the tech industry where my roots lay. So, I bid you all farewell in two weeks’ time and have asked my amazing admin manager (and wife) to take over the newsletter here. Naturally, the boys will also start to contribute, so hopefully it starts to seem fresher and a little different.

One of the best barometers I like to use for how busy things are in local business is chatting to our Courier driver who services all regions nearby and he has also stated that life is terribly slow.

Here’s just a few samples of what we’ve been up to in the past few weeks!

Here, we have some beauties! First (from left) is a sliding ottoman made from solid spotted gum. Next is a simply stunning example of Boar war South African history – a split chest drawer set with some of the finest craftsmanship we’ve seen from that era and region! We think it’s made from a rare exotic called Babinga timber from West Africa. Next is an odd ball (modified) solid Qld silky oak table in for an insurance restoration and the last is another look at the Boar war relic.

First up is a Chinese relic from a bygone era (unfortunately damaged during a home break-in). I know the neighbourhood where this happened (my neighbourhood!) and a vigilant neighbourhood watch gang busted the perpetrators! Then more of the lovely Silky oak lounge suite in for resto and last is a family heirloom – a solid oak roll top desk.

Fine Furniture Restoration: The Projects We Remember

Restoration projects

A lot of projects go through our workshop each year & there are times they’re just a blur to our master craftsmen.

We appreciate that our customers feel an amount of sentimentality, even love, for their furniture that’s why they come to us to bring them back to life instead of simply trading the old with the new.

No matter how many chairs, tables and other pieces of furniture come our way, we remember them all – some more than others. We remember their specific story, the challenges that went with completing each piece, and the little notes of thanks we get from their owners.

So, here are some projects that made a mark with us, here at Renowned:

This project was part restoration, part rebuilding – 6 dining chairs. All 6 were restored, but 2 had broken back rests, so we hand crafted and replaced them.

These chairs have some of the most amazing grain character we have ever seen. The owners were debating whether to just buy new ones, but since the chairs have been in the family for so long, sentimentality won!

Restored dining chairs

 

“We don’t see pieces like this often.” was what we first thought when this dining table was rolled in. It’s a fine example of mid-century craftsmanship and design and our Captain’s Choice Award.

With each restoration job we do, a feeling of newness and fond memories resurface – this is why we make sure we can say each piece of furniture we work on is “a job well done” – and we remember.

Welcome to our Newest Member!

Renowned Furniture are growing!

We have the pleasure to welcome our newest team member, Lachlan, who’s come on board as a first-year apprentice furniture maker/craftsman.

With the work flow continuing to grow and the word spreading that Renowned are among the finest custom furniture men in south east Queensland, we are enjoying a sold order book, plenty of fill in work such as fine furniture restoration, and some solid growth from our big corporate clients.

In fact, the largest of our corporate clients involved nationally in high-end corporate fit outs has recently warned us to “fasten our seat belts” as they have firm orders for the completion of no less than 10 new and refurbished office spaces, with at least five of these requiring big involvement from Renowned Furniture to supply boardroom furniture, CEO’s office furniture, etc. All custom made, all high-end!

We had Lachie on for a 3-month period where he was released from school duties on day a week and could attend the workplace here, and between both parties, we decided that something a little more permanent would work out nicely for us all.

Having had a passion for timber work and including manual arts into his school curriculum, Lachie has proved to be a valuable addition to the team here at Renowned Furniture.

“He pretty much hit the ground running”, one of the master craftsmen said. Our guys are impressed with his “self-starter”and “thinks for himself” qualities, and often, it’s the little things that go a long way. So, good luck Lachie and welcome!

Interesting Time Ahead for Renowned Furniture!

It seems we might have reached a level where we are beginning to come into the view of some industry colleagues working within a similar space as Renowned Furniture. We were recently approached with a question: Are you interested in selling your business?

Following some early questioning, we realised that it was a genuine request, and so we opened up some discussion.

Don’t panic! We’re not going anywhere. The team is toiling away with a wide range of projects at present. By the way, what’s with the new rush on CD/DVD racks and holders? They must have reached ‘retro’ status or something because we’re currently getting quite a few enquiries for them in many and varied shapes and forms. We are now into some of that, well, “you simply can’t find” pieces. Anyway, I digress!

Back to the story, the discussions centred around a purchase of the business running as it is and we have to say that there is some merit in considering, in the very least, some kind of partnering with another ‘like-minded’ person or group, so that the growth and coverage we are dealing with could be more evenly covered in a controlled manner.

 

We have some great team members; have just signed up a new apprentice and are staring at a great start to the new financial year with jobs on the books and at least two very large projects ($2M plus each) that we are growing quietly confident of winning. Well, at least one of them anyway!

We wish all our readers well and hope we can rely on the same kind of support for the 17/18 financial year that we have appreciated and enjoyed for the past 12 months.

It’s Official! We’re Stand Alone, Massively Reduced Carbon Footprint

Well, we finally did it! Renowned now generates enough of its own power to not require any from the grid.

These pictures are a look at the large, 3-phase inverter and one of the banks of solar panels. Even performing very well during a rainy day given the reduced light. Because a factory like this does not use very much power after hours (when the sun’s down) we are well poised to add battery storage and never need to call for external power ever again.

We scoped the system up to be strong enough to withstand our peak loads. For example, when our 2 massive compressors are on start-up, the large, 3-phase dust extractor system is running and any number of panel saws, routers, sanders and air conditioners are running. This, together with all the lighting, office equipment, fridges and so on, is all complement of the sun!

Our return on investment sits at about 3.5 years and the warranty of the components is 20 years for the panels to continue to output at least 85% of their rated output as well as the German-made, 3-phase inverter that carries a 10-year guarantee.

We are proud of the ‘green tinge’ that this small initiative adds to our products and services, and we will be mentioning this in all our future proposals with zeal.

We’re saving so much money, my wife and I decided we should sample the fare at a fine restaurant in Tokyo (one of the finest chefs in the world!) on our way home from visiting our daughter in the UK.

Thanks to all our clients for their loyalty, and we can assure you of a well recharged management team ready to continue providing you the “wow factor’ to all your fine furniture needs.