Furniture Consignment Gallery Blog

Caring for a Classic: Preserve, Don't Paint

Posted by Jay Frucci on Sat, June 10, 2017 @ 07: 42 AM



I was walking along a narrow canal that leads into the majestic and glacial Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Actually, I wasn't walking so much as I was being towed by my dog. Lost in thought, I was jarred back to reality by the distinctive growl of an engine.

That's the most distinctive sound of summer in my world: the low soulful thrum of a wooden boat reverberating across a lake at dusk. Even at a low idle, I could feel the vibration of that powerful engine under my feet. I turned, eager to catch a glimpse of a beautifully maintained gleaming wooden watercraft.

But what came gliding into view was anything but a classic. It was an antique mahogany boat, painted white.  

 "Oh, come on, man!" I grumbled, shaking my head.

Standing at the helm of the craft was the owner, who was perplexed. Nattily dressed in his nautical blues, he feigned looking around as if to say "Who, me?".  

"You painted it white," I hollered. "Really?"

He held a hand to his ear, suggesting he couldn't hear me, then shrugged and motored on. But I suspect he understood me completely.

Brown is down, I get it. These days, people seem to want everything covered in a crisp coat of white paint from kitchen cabinetry to cars. Home décor magazines suggest that old furniture will spring to new life when brushed with white paint.

And, I agree, some of those dark stained pieces do look fresher with some updating. You found some Queen Anne pieces from the 1980s at a yard sale? Go ahead, splash on the white.

But we've got to preserve the classics. Among them, I insist, is an antique wooden boat or a banded mahogany table or a tiger-eye maple Biedermeier. Let the trend pass by without destroying what's worth preserving.