At Your Service: All the Fixin’s

Chipped bowl? Tarnished teapot? Lackluster lighting? Don’t fret

Chipped bowl? Tarnished teapot? Lackluster lighting? Don’t fret — we’ve scoured the area to find experts who can make your home treasures shine again. When you need something cleaned, polished, repaired or restored, help is not far away. These local pros can breathe new life into your cherished things, and maybe even resuscitate pieces you thought were trash-ready. From salvaging a century-old painting to rewiring a dining room chandelier, if it’s broke, here’s where to fix it.

Heavy Metals
If your metals are looking less than polished, take a trip to Colonial Metal in West Chester, where brass, silver, pewter and copper shine their brightest. Although the shop’s most frequent request is for refinishing — cleaning, polishing and lacquering everything from lamp bases to door hinges to give them that just-like-new gleam — customers also drop by for restoration and custom work, metal plating and sculpture conservation. Front door sets — doorknockers, kick plates, exterior lanterns — are popular items to spiff up, says owner Ned Foulkrod. If you prefer a weathered patina or want to preserve an antique, Colonial can produce muted brushed, satin and antique finishes. “We get pieces that are from the 17th century to the mid-20th century — pieces from across the ages,” says Foulkrod. And if one of those pieces happens to be dented, misshapen or missing, no worries. Silversmiths on staff can repair or replace flatware, reshape bowls and reproduce one-of-a-kind brass drawer pulls on a vintage armoire from a cast copy of an original.

Prices vary with the size and condition of the piece, as well as the complexity of the job. An average is $35-$45 to refinish a doorknocker and up to $1,200 for a full restoration of a brass bed.

Rug Relief
Whether damaged by age, pets, foot traffic, sun exposure, furniture or everyday wear and tear, rugs sometimes need a little TLC. To take care of your reweaving, refringing and general rug restoring needs, call Knots & Weaves Decorative Rugs in Malvern.

Common problems are rips or tears, low pile and selvage — that’s the hand-knotted binding on the length of the rug — coming loose. “We touch it up, even up ends, replace fringe, wash,” says salesperson Adam Corson, “and we have organic ways of treating animal accidents that aren’t detrimental to the rugs.”

Bring in your underfoot treasure or use the store’s pick-up and delivery service. Prices start at $20 per linear foot for light repairs, and can go up to the thousands for a full, museum-quality restoration. They can restore a 1-by-1-foot fragment to a 20-by-40-foot rug, says Corson. Now that’s what we call red-carpet treatment.

Art Rx
Does the painting above your mantle look more ready for a yard sale than an art museum? Even if your artwork doesn’t include Rembrandts and Picassos, a museum-quality restoration is possible at the Pennsylvania Art Conservatory in Philadelphia and Berwyn. “It’s sort of like a day spa for artwork,” says Kate Deckman, assistant director of the Conservatory’s Berwyn location.

Treat your paintings, photographs and frames to a free estimate to see whether you need a touch-up or more intensive work. Services include surface cleaning to remove dust and dirt; varnish removal and replacement for discolored paintings; deacidification; restretching; and repairs of ripped or punctured canvases, and crazed, cracked and flaking paint.

“Frequently, people come in not knowing what they’ve got in their attic and leave with a really nice painting,” says Deckman. Prices range from a few hundred dollars to the thousands.

Bright Ideas
Whether you need a hard-to-find replacement bulb or a full-on rewiring and restoration, The Classic Lighting Emporium in Philadelphia has you covered with thousands upon thousands of parts, crystals, bulbs and shades.

One of the few places in Philadelphia that stocks original 19th-century parts salvaged from across the country, Classic is your best bet for antique fixtures.

“We can try to match it or replace it or repair it,” says manager Anthony Galasso. The shop also does complete restorations, including rewiring, refinishing and repairing. To see a sample of Classic’s handiwork, just stop by the Old Original Bookbinder’s restaurant in Philadelphia. Hanging in the dining room is a brilliantly restored 19th-century brass and crystal chandelier.

You can bring almost any kind of fixture — sconces, chandeliers, floor and table lamps, globes, prisms, even outdoor lights — for a free, on-the-spot estimate. A typical rewiring job costs about $30 per bulb; a 10-arm chandelier would cost $300 for the wiring and about $250 for the cleanup and restoration. And expect to be in the dark for only a short while: Full in-house restoration services have a 1-2 week turnaround time.

Sweet Reflections
If the only thing your mirror is reflecting lately is its age, it may be time to visit Philadelphia’s Gordon & Sons, a family-owned company that has been working with glass for 85 years.

Owners Howard Berman and Barbara Kind Berman resilver mirrors that have gotten cloudy (often because they’ve been cleaned with products that contain ammonia), replace glass and perform etching on any of their custom-made shower doors, tabletops and other glass surfaces.

But they don’t claim to work miracles. “You can’t fix broken glass,” says Barbara. “In most cases, it’s a question of replacing it.” They have worked with vases, Tiffany lamps and recently, even replaced the glass top of a kidney-shaped coffee table.

The Bermans pride themselves on prompt, personal service. “We stand behind our work,” says Barbara. And, unlike chain stores, “You’re not dealing with a huge customer service department,” she says. “I am the customer service.” Prices vary per project.

Jack of All Trades
Honeys everywhere, rejoice. We’ve found someone to tackle the infamous “Honey Do” list. Gene’s Electrical Handyman Service in Bensalem takes care of those odd jobs you’ve been putting off, like assembling the playhouse you bought your kids last summer, or untangling that confusing mass of wires behind your entertainment center.

Owners Gene and Linda Oppenheim have been tackling home projects in Bucks County and South Jersey for 35 years: wiring extra phone jacks, installing storm doors, painting crown molding, light carpentry, deck repairs and more. No job is too small, and Gene, a former electrical contractor, specializes in “anything that has wires on it.”

Convenient hours mean someone is always on hand for occasional late-night emergencies. “We always answer our phone,” says Linda. “People can call us after
5 p.m. — they can call us anytime.”

Gene’s also works with several local associates that specialize in other trades, including tiling and plumbing, further broadening their list of services.

The only thing better than turning your “Honey Do” list into a “Honey Done” list? Receiving a personal thank-you note in the mail from the Oppenheims. After all, Linda says, “Little things mean a lot.”

Smoky Woes
If the last time you thought about your chimney was when you were anxiously awaiting Santa Claus’ arrival, it’s probably time to give your smokestack another look. Who to call?

Try Media-based D.J. Cross Chim Chimney Sweeps, a full-service chimney company that provides restorations, cleanings, inspections and consultations for woodstove, fireplace, oil and gas chimneys throughout the Main Line, Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties.

“We pride ourselves on the schooling and education we provide our staff,” says Jayne Cross, who co-owns the company with her husband, Dan. D.J. Cross employs chimney technicians who are certified through CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) and certified inspectors in F.I.R.E Service (Fireplace Investigation, Research & Education Service), as well as air-quality specialists certified through NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association) and CDET (CSIA Dryer Exhaust Technician).

D.J. Cross offers many different services, including stainless-steel chimney relining, chimney cap installation (to keep out rain, birds and animals), chimney and fireplace cleaning, yearly service, exterior repointing (repairing the mortar between bricks), and air duct and dryer vent cleaning.

A fireplace or furnace flue cleaning and a dryer vent cleaning each start at $179, and air duct cleaning starts at $475. An all-day job can go up to $1,000. The price of exterior repairs varies from job to job, based on the extent of the damage. Now that lights our fire.