A Gift for Mom

Michael found us via the web through our posts and blogs. He saw Jim’s Tallboy work and decided Renowned were the right guys to do the very delicate restoration of his grandmother’s antique mahogany desk for his mum’s 50th birthday surprise. Every mum deserves a son like Michael. Along with his siblings, they are all pitching in to cover the cost of the restoration. Here’s a couple of before pictures & during pictures now stripped ready for polishing.

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desk door missing some carvings

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worn top leather and gilding

Michaels mums desk RF2

Michael’s mum’s desk before

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desk in progress

 “Watch this space”! We’re still hunting high and low for replacement handles, locks etc…


Well, Michael’s mum’s desk is almost complete (still awaiting 2 new door lock surrounds from England) and we could not wait to get her launched onto our media sites. Solid mahogany, new burgundy leather with gold gilding and black pressed scroll patterns applied.

almost complete RF
All the brass has been repolished and all the workings such as hinges, drawer runners etc have been re-machined re-waxed and it is functioning I suspect better than it has ever functioned before. We have sent this picture to Michael, and he is very impressed.


And here, the final touch was to fit the door locks and pedestals.


Also, when Michael came to collect it he said: “Wow, it looks so much better in the flesh rather than the update pictures that you had been sending me”

We then said: “Well we hope your mum is as blown away as you are” Michael then said: “Oh! I actually can’t wait to show the rest of my siblings first to see their reaction!, we’re all outing in for this for mum for her 50th”

Life Comes to Newness- A sweet surprise

You might remember our story “Life Comes to Newness”. Well the owner, Jim contacted Renowned Furniture and asked that the piece be delivered to the Pineapple Hotel in Brisbane at 10:30 on a Sunday ready for his wife’s 50th birthday celebration.

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This tallboy was the surprise

We did that and Jim then kindly asked if I could return at 2:00 pm to watch the presentation of the tallboy to his wife so that he could introduce his wife to the company that did the restoration. I accepted the invitation. You might remember that it was Jim’s wife’s’ great grandfather that actually felled the trees and milled the timber and built the tallboy originally for his wife back in the 1870’s. Needless to say, the piece was very precious to Jim’s wife, Louise.

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The picture here says it all

Louise was over the moon and never ever thought that she’d get to see the piece returned back to its original glory as it was. The meeting with Louise after the surprise presentation was an honour and we reflected on another few things worth mentioning.

Louise & Jim went through the floods of 2011 only weeks after Jim had been made redundant from his job of several years and then got told by his insurance company that their policy that had been paid for 20 years did not cover this kind of flood. (Don’t get me started on that topic!) So their struggle began after the waters subsided and the volunteer army came in to help. Here’s the big statement that I have wanted to make for many years now and Louise reminded me of it when telling me of her anguish during that clean up. The volunteer army although well intended, like so many people do not understand the characteristics of genuine solid timber furniture. As quickly as the army of volunteers threw out parts of her tallboy, she was running to skip bins to rescue them. When solid timber furniture gets wet, yes, it swells but when it dries out it returns to its original size meaning it does not need to be thrown out after a flood, just restored. If we go back through history and try to imagine what we would have lost if every time there was a flood, we threw out all the furniture, there would be no antiques! The only furniture that needs throwing out after a flood probably would have needed throwing out soon enough anyway, flood or no flood! MDF/Craftwood/plywood/chipboard/particle board/”solidcore”/veneer board, call it what you like but this is the kind of furniture that will not make it through a flood and while it has its place and some of it has been around for many years, it’s not solid timber furniture and after it deforms and swells, it’s mostly unrepairable.

The tallboy restoration was like so many that we do here at Renowned Furniture. It’s not just about the piece, there’s always an amazing human story to go with it so much so that I think I could write a book but most importantly, this job is one that provides satisfaction and soul food almost every day.

Everything Emptying Into White

You might remember Margie’s chiffonier? And her Bali table? (Here’s the link )

It was dark and unwanted by her and her family as it was even though it carries great sentimental value. So we followed the client instruction and did some repairs and sprayed it high gloss white. (It killed our master craftsmen having to do this!)

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What our client does not know is that being the purists we are, we sprayed a protective seal coat under the white (at our cost) to protect the beautiful cedar underneath. We all know that one day soon, these stunning and timeless antiques will come back into fashion and the gen-X’s of this world will not be able to get enough of them.

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So instead of having to strip off/bake/dip/sand etc. the burnt orange or olive estapol like we did in the’80’s & ’90’s, they’ll just have to apply some organic paint striper and hose it clean.

But for now, in the words of Cat Stevens: “Everything’s emptying into white”.


I have to say that the project that Margie is on is very interesting and if you watch this space, there will be some stunning pictures of her project when it’s done. White floors, walls, ceiling, bench tops, furniture and I think it’s going to look stunning.


A Timber Tribute to a Forefather

Jayne‘s great grandfather built a ‘humpy’ in the bush back in the 1800’s as a far north Queensland pioneer.

He felled the trees, milled the timber and built the hut. Luckily his grandchildren had the foresight to salvage some of the timber when the humble dwelling was demolished some years back.

Jayne & her parents (David & Hilda) have been waiting to find the perfect idea to pay their forefather a suitable tribute. And here’s
just some of the work we’ve done for them using this well-aged, genuine north Queensland rain forest cedar.

David & Hilda had a beautiful chest of drawers made.
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Daughter Jayne had a hat rack and hall table made.

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It’s such an honour to be working with such rare and precious timber. Good for the soul!

Another “Before and After” Story

Margie simply loved her grandmother’s chiffonier and could not part with it BUT… The colour simply could not go in her newly renovated northern suburbs town house.

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While the guys here were cringing, we do try and move with the times…knowing full well that perhaps one day Margie’s daughter might return and ask for the solid cedar masterpiece to be returned to its former glory but for now, it is well preserved.

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Life Comes to Newness

This battered tallboy has some history. Originally built by Jack’s wife grandfather more than 80 years ago from trees felled by him at the time. This piece has recently gone through vermin attack and a major flood.


New drawer has been made where one was lost (Floated away in the floods of 2011).

Bobbin twist uprights have been restored, new legs turned and some replacement drawer handles have been turned to match the existing ones too.

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And here’s the finished product. Restored to its glory.

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A Picture Story

New Project: Mel’s Antique chair. One of the most unique features of antique chairs is the many hours of work spent on their creation. Antique chairs were specially handcrafted, increasing their style appeal & longevity.

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Ravaged base and chipped mahogany legs and damaged joints

2 before RF3

This 1800’s circa chair has been in Mel’s family for only a few years but she intends turning them into heirlooms.

3 before RF

While some restoration projects may just need a few simple fixes, others could wind up costing more and are time-consuming.

4 old covers off RF

The first real step in any restoration process is to disassemble the chair.

This step must be done gently as possible as to avoid any unnecessary stress or damage.

5 damaged RF2

After disassembly, it is necessary to collect any pieces and replace anything rotted or damaged.

6 disassembled RF

Reassembling the pieces using any nails or screws that were saved wherever possible to retain the originality of the chair. Glue and reattach the pieces together.

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Renowned always makes sure to go over every piece carefully to keep its value & character.

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Like most antiques a well-kept chair will increase in value as years pass.

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Our very own Brian adding some finishing touches and coating!


As long as these chairs are treated with the care they deserve, maintenance will not be a problem. We’re almost done with this one!

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And here’s the finished product!

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Lovely, isn’t it?

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Beautiful Doors

We have these beautiful old doors that currently reside in a $5M home on the river in Brisbane. The home was recently sold and is being lovingly restored by a new owner.

Beautiful-Doors RF

These doors however have a much richer history: They were originally rescued from a demolition in the city of Brisbane where an old bank was being torn down. The timber is of original Queensland silky oak 50 mm thick and 3 meters tall, and each pane of glass had been hand cut and beveled… just priceless!

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We are half way through the restoration… stay tuned!