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Brothers Glenn and Tom Johnson are the two-man team behind A-ABACE SERVICES, which came highly recommended to us by a woman whose white sofa was returned to near-new condition for only $85 (after she was quoted prices at twice that amount). The team out of Logan Square uses a green, dry-foam cleaning solution on both upholstery and carpets. It has a citrus base and usually dries in two hours or less. A mother-and-daughter team, GOOD GUYS CARPET CLEANING in River North uses a green, circular, dry-foam process to clean upholstery and carpets; the owner, Carolyn Cox, says the average price per square foot is about 25 cents. The two-man operation GALAXY’S FINEST CARPET also takes care of carpet and upholstery; upholstery prices are $40 for a chair, $60 for a loveseat, and $75 for a couch. Carpet prices are per room rather than by square foot ($35 per room with a two-room minimum).


Chairs must be repaired using their original caning method: The more labor-intensive and more expensive hand caning, usually found on older or higher-end pieces, involves weaving the cane through the holes in the seat. Machine-caned pieces come in sheets that are pushed into the seat groove to keep its shape. Jeff Kleinschmidt, the owner of furniture and upholstery shop ELITE FURNITURE SERVICE (McHenry), says he receives one or two caning projects per month and can repair both hand- and machine-caned chairs. Hand-caning projects are charged per hole; machine-caned repairs are roughly $125. Twenty years ago, SHERYL DICICCO (Woodstock) learned chair caning from her mother-in-law so she could work from home when her children were small, and she has kept up with the trade. She can do rush orders on repairs. In Edgewater, WEBER FURNITURE SERVICE repairs hand- and machine-caned chairs and can also handle Shaker-style and splint-style chairs. LEO’S FURNITURE AND UPHOLSTERY in Jefferson Park and ACKERMAN’S REFINISHING AND UPHOLSTERY (Streamwood) average a turnaround time of two to four weeks for caning jobs.


FATHER TIME ANTIQUES has been in business for 31 years and is the largest repair shop for clocks and watches in the Midwest. The shop repairs and restores antique and vintage watches, pocket watches, and clocks. The Lake View shop will arrange house calls for large grandfather clocks, usually removing the mechanics to repair in-store, but can also repair a broken casing on-site. JERALD CHAPLICK specializes in restoring clocks from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Chaplick completed a seven-year apprenticeship, part of which included training at the British Horological Institute. He now restores fine timepieces, music boxes, and barometers, cleaning and restoring movements, casings, lacquer, porcelain, and gold leaf work. By appointment only.

TIME DIMENSIONS WATCH & CLOCK REPAIR SERVICE (Forest Park) focuses on repairs of clocks and watches. The owner, Lloyd Posavec, repairs timepieces from antique grandfather to basic cuckoo clocks and the new battery-operated variety. TICK TOCK CLOCK REPAIRS & SALES (Palatine) specializes only in clocks, especially antiques. TIME KEEPERS repairs antique and modern clocks, as well as watches. CHICAGO CLOCK COMPANY (Chicago, Clarendon Hills, Orland Park, and Palatine) offers in-home service for large clocks, and every shop has a complete repair department.


Stan Bernacki, the owner of BERNACKI AND ASSOCIATES, is known for his conservation work, both on period and modern furniture and upholstery. The Ukrainian Village shop can return furniture to structural soundness, replace missing parts, repair veneers, and retool old leather finishes. The shop also repairs gold and silver leafing, reupholsters fine and antique pieces that use hand-tied springs, and re-creates fine details such as French stitching.

JJ KOOLHAUS (Oak Park) stresses European techniques in its wood and furniture restoration, focusing mostly on historic pieces. The company has expertise in Arts and Crafts pieces, European Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. The co-owner, James Bushouse, says he can also create knockoffs of period designs, as well as restyle old pieces. “We can replicate on a budget,” he says. “We do a lot of work where a customer has, for example, a Biedermeier armoire but wants to put a flat-screen television in it instead.” Other firms with an expertise in antique restoration are RECHERCHÉ (Skokie; see profile); MARSHALL KORAL PRO FURNITURE SERVICE (Glenview), which refinishes and restores American and European antiques; the CHICAGO CONSERVATION CENTER in River North, which focuses on antique and fine furniture from the 12th to 21st centuries; and EZEKIEL’S RESTORATION (South Holland), a firm that specializes in wood furniture.

Jayson Home & Garden trusts LIBERTY FURNITURE REFINISHING (Glenview) for its furniture and antique repairs; the business can also mold replacement parts and mend broken pieces on wood furniture. ELITE FURNITURE SERVICE (McHenry) has been serving the far north suburbs for 14 years. WEBER FURNITURE SERVICE reupholsters and carries many fabrics also found at the Merchandise Mart. Customers—including the West Town modern furniture shop Post 27, the Andersonville antiques store Scout, and Wright Auction House—trust FURNITURE REVIVAL for its expertise in midcentury styles. Dan Snyder, the co-owner, says the majority of the work is refinishing, stripping, sanding, repainting, or color matching. The West Loop shop also can make dated furniture appear more modern. “We can take something that isn’t midcentury and make it so with new drawer hardware and sleeker lines,” Snyder says.

In addition to reupholstery, the family-owned ELI-WYN UPHOLSTERY can fabricate furniture to mimic a photograph and restyle existing furniture. The West Loop shop also offers pickup and delivery for a fee. In Norwood Park, LEO’S FURNITURE AND UPHOLSTERY has thousands of fabrics in stock. Free pickup and delivery are available in the area. Our expert sources also recommend SUPERIOR CUSTOM FURNITURE REPAIR AND RESTORATION in Austin, which restores, reupholsters, and refinishes furniture and does house calls for torn upholstery and repairs, such as nicked tables. In the South Loop, COVERS UNLIMITED frequently works with interior designers and offers reupholstery, refinishing, and furniture repair. Ukrainian Village’s OAKLEY INTERIORS, JOHN’S UPHOLSTERY in Edgebrook, and ACKERMAN’S REFINISHING AND UPHOLSTERY (Streamwood) also came highly recommended. The family-run ROMANN CUSTOM UPHOLSTERY in Portage Park is the shop behind the upholstery at Blackbird restaurant, and it can upholster, restore, and repair new and antique furniture.


Leather furniture, even the most scuffed and faded, can be made to look new again. The North Shore company COLOR GLO QUALITY LEATHER RESTORATION (Hawthorne Woods) repairs and restores leather, from fixing tears, scuffs, burns, and pet damage to cleaning, conditioning, and restoring color to sun-faded leather. The firm can also repair vinyl. THE LEATHER SOLUTION can repair extensive damage, including holes and cuts, and can also re-create missing cushions. The Dunning location of this nationally franchised business can also fix framework and mechanisms and restore faded colors. In-home consultations are free.


Jayson Home & Garden relies on A LAMP AND FIXTURE SHOPPE for its rewiring needs and also to convert raw pieces of wood, ceramic, or glass into table lamps. The owner, Paul Simmon, has been in the business for 36 years, and his Avondale shop can perform major repairs on fixtures, including chandeliers. “We also do a lot of minor repairs right at the bench, and it’s done right away and out the door they go,” he says.

In River North, NEW METAL CRAFTS has extensive experience in repairing the metal components of light fixtures. “Basically we’re metalworkers who can also do electrical work,” says Jim Neumann, the owner, whose father opened the business in 1933. You must drop off the fixture for an estimate. Neumann notes that his staff does not repair glass, except for loose crystal parts from pendants, chains, or chandeliers, which they can usually replace. CAVALIER ANTIQUE LIGHTING in Lake View rewires, remetals, and refinishes patinas on light fixtures such as sconces, chandeliers, floor lamps, and newel posts and does a steady business in converting European lamps to be compatible with American wiring. AL BAR-WILMETTE PLATERS (Wilmette) has added rewiring and restoring lamps to its roster of services. Have a broken glass shade? THE BELLOWS SHOPPE (Winnetka) has thousands of old glass shades to replace broken ones.


OSCAR ISBERIAN RUGS (Chicago, Evanston, and Highland Park) has been cleaning, repairing, and restoring Oriental rugs since 1920. The most common repair is frayed edges, says Brian Rojanasumaphong. “Think of it as a snagged sweater,” he says. “It starts to unravel. We can rewrap the edges, but we can also replace the edges.” Rugs can be brought into any of the three locations for cleaning. CASPIAN ORIENTAL RUGS offers hand-cleaning services with natural soaps that do not damage natural fibers. (The River North shop also has an emergency cleaning service hotline at 312-664-7577.) RUGPORT (Palatine) hand cleans Oriental rugs and offers extensive repair and restoration services, with a craftsman on-site who has been working on rugs for 40 years. Pickup and delivery services are available. MINASIAN (Evanston) also offers cleaning, repairing fringes and sides, and reweaving in the case of extensive damage.


THE BELLOWS SHOPPE (Winnetka) sandblasts and paints radiators and offers pickup and delivery services. The owner, Steven Schmid, says he can match a color sample with a waterproof epoxy paint. The average price for a two-by-four-foot radiator is about $125 to $150. ALPHA PAINTWORKS in Edgebrook offers pickup and delivery services and can sandblast, prime, and paint radiators. ACE SANDBLAST COMPANY sandblasts, primes, and paints radiators, but customers must bring the radiators to the Irving Park shop and provide the paint. Ace charges by the fin, or section: $7 per fin for sandblasting; $3.50 per fin for priming; and $3.50 per fin to paint and finish.


Illustration: Charles Wilkin

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