On the mend
Is your favorite furniture looking a little worse for
wear? Tama Miyake shows you who can help.
It happens all the time: That chest Aunt Mabel said you had to have suffers
a crack down the center, the movers take a bite out of your favorite dining
table, or the cat decides the sofa makes for
a great scratching post. In a city that changes fashions faster than
the government can reshuffle its Cabinet, you'd be forgiven for tossing
those old and broken wares onto the street in favor of something new.
Indeed, Japan is famous for its fickleness. "As you know, Japanese
society is very materialistic. You see TVs, chests, and so on dumped on
street corners," says Takahiro Kobayashi, a Tokyo office worker whose
family collects antiques and custom-made furniture.Ê"People
are not willing to spend money on repairs, which are usually expensive,
like many other things in Japan.ÊThey'd rather get a new replacement
for a fraction more, or even less in some cases, than the cost of repairs."
Such long-held beliefs, combined with Tokyo's cramped living spaces,
have limited the market for the antique furniture and heirlooms so loved
in the West. But amid the bargain hunters are a number of consumers, both
Japanese and foreign, who would rather spend the extra money to salvage
furniture with sentimental value. There are also those who prefer to purchase
high-quality, handcrafted antiques and restore them as necessary.
"The furniture itself was not that expensive, but we brought them
back from Spain and wanted to have them repaired," says Eliza Kumamoto,
whose family paid more than ¥60,000 to have a set of wooden dining
chairs reupholstered. "My mother thinks that many Japanese think
that it is cheaper to get new ones.ÊBut nowadays, more people like
to buy good furniture and keep it for a long time."
Aiding this trend are a number of furniture restoration companies that
specialize in the care and maintenance of antiques in addition to providing
basic repair services. Keiji Yamazaki, owner of Restore Repair Service
in Shinjuku, has built his eight-year-old business on serving this slice
of the furniture market. Unlike most furniture repair services, which
operate in conjunction with a retailer or custom manufacturer, Restore
focuses solely on maintenance and restoration. "We can restore any
kind of furniture, from any age, even modern," says Yamazaki.
Whether you're looking for a simple repair job or an extensive restoration,
Yamazaki says there are several factors to consider before hiring a furniture
doctor. Among the most important are the cost, both financial and time-wise,
the materials involved and the craftsmanship required. While most quotes
are provided free of charge, some companies require the furniture be brought
to them. If the piece is too large to transport, you will need to consult
with a company that will come directly to you and conduct repairs at your
Antiques also need to be handled with utmost care, seeing as any changes
can adversely impact the value of the piece. Consistency with the original
materials, tools and craftsmanship are essential to maintaining any antique's
usefulness and value for generations to come.
In the end, the decision to repair, restore or recycle is purely personal.
But there are many workshops and studios throughout the city that can
help you make the right choice. The following are just a few local companies
specializing in everything from refinishing woodwork to reupholstering
With 20 skilled craftsmen trained in woodworking, painting, polishing
and more, Restore specializes in restoring and maintaining antiques. It
can also repair all types of furniture, either in the studio or at clients'
homes. Restore uses only original tools, fittings and materials, many
of which are imported from Europe. English service available. Quotations
6-25-11 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Tel: 03-3344-0021. www.restore.co.jp
Part of an extensive interiors shop/café, The Globe's workshop
offers repair services and produces custom-made furniture. While specializing
in English antiques, The Globe also considers unique pieces on a case-by-case
basis. Quotations are free when you bring the furniture to the store.
2-7-8 Ikejiri, Setagaya-ku. Tel: 03-5430-3550. http://village.infoweb.ne.jp/~irimall/globe/
Daniel's "furniture hospital" operates on the philosophy
that the longer you use furniture, the better it becomes. With specialists
in furniture construction, restructuring and embellishing, Daniel uses
the most up-to-date maintenance and repair techniques. The company also
makes handmade furniture. Quotations are free when you bring the furniture
to the store. English service available.
3-126 Motomachi, Naka-ku, Yokohama-shi. Tel: 0120-497-660. www.daniel.co.jp
Painting and woodworking specialists Nishiyaki Kougei refinish cabinets,
restore damaged antiques and apply protective coatings to unfinished or
damaged antiques. They can also strip existing paint and apply different
colors or finishes, based on samples or special requests. Call the number
below for quotation information.
2-5-4 Miyoshi, Koto-ku. Tel: 03-3641-0638. http://tosou.nishizaki.co.jp
Photo Courtesy of estore
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Club Boy Beau
Dr. Allen Leroy Robinson
Hair Dressers Archecal 03-0449-6106
Hayato New York 03-3498-9113
Japan Electrolysis Clinic (Ginza)
Over Studio Shiki
My Boo Nail Salon 03-5428-1121
Neal's Yard Natural Therapy Center
Roksen Bar Cosmetic 03-5658-7675
Takagi Skin Clinic
Tokyo Skin Clinic
Toni&Guy Japan 03-3797-5790
Watanabe Hair Dressing 03-3405-1188
Who Ga 03-5570-1773
Shibuya’s Zenmall (29-4 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku; 03-3770-1641), known for offering large clothing for men, is holding a two-day Early Bird Pre-Summer Sale. The sale will take place on the mornings of April 12 (Sat) and 13 (Sun) for three hours (9am-noon) each day. During these times, nearly everything will be marked 20-80 percent off. Some of the bargains include suits with a spare pair of pants for \9,800 (sizes 3-8L), and summer casual jackets for \8,000 (3-6L). Imported designer suits by makers like Calvin Klein and Boss are also marked down to \39,000 and \59,000, respectively. Those who spend over \10,000 can take part in the Cash Grabbing Contest, where shoppers can dig into a box full of cash. Spend over \30,000 for two chances to grab, and \50,000 for three. Don't miss this rare opportunity, as it could be one of the few chances for those looking to buy large sizes in Japan, especially at affordable prices.
529: Trend spotting
Trina O'Hara takes us on a tour of international furniture fairs to find
the top Japanese designers at work today.
521: Child's play
Trina O'Hara checks out the design celebrities hatching playful furniture
and accessories for kids.
517: Personal Effects
In celebration of the centennial of his birth, Trina O'Hara looks at the
life and enduring legacy of Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi.
513: Seeing the light
Trina O'Hara ponders the latest interior design trend and finds the answer
505: Lights of fancy
Trina O'Hara checks out the contemporary chandeliers and whimsical lighting
sculptures fast becoming fine art across the city.
501: Natural causes
493: Living rooms
Inspired by the diverse lifestyles of this teeming metropolis, design experts
Kyoko Asakura and Jaume J. Nasple-Baulenas have compiled an intriguing look
inside the city's private homes. Tama Miyake Lung talks to the authors of Tokyo
489: Living in the past
Art editor John McGee reveals three Tokyo stores that specialize in finding
the best of what's old in Japanese antiques.
485: Monochrome marvels
Black and white are back in fashion and making their mark in the interior
design scene. Martin Webb reports on how to get the look for less.
481: Cut and paste
Scrapbooking has swept America, where it's big business, and now it's catching
on in Japan. Chris Betros attends a "cropalong."
477: Moss cause
A sprinkling of moss can transform any windowsill into a miniature Zen temple.
Hanna Kite offers some tips for bringing a little tranquility home.
469: Ikebana for idiots
With a plethora of rules and schools, Ikebana can be intimidating, not to
mention time-consuming. But who says busy people have to miss out on this ancient
art form? Georgia Jacobs gives you the basics on no-fuss flower-arrangement.
466: A dyeing breed
Winning fans from New York to Tokyo, designer Akiyoshi Yaezawa is putting
a traditional stamp on modern accessories using a 17th-century hand-dyeing and
painting process. Krista Wilson reports.
457: Party of five
Matt Wilce lays out five luscious looks for New Year.
449: Thought out
Designers create spaces but they also like to inhabit them. SuperDeluxe offers
a place to drink and think for the design communityand of course their
445: Design on Tokyo
A trio of interior design events is on its way to bring style into our Tokyo
439: Setting pretty
Matt Wilce lays the table with styles for summer.
435: Tropical haven
Asian furnishings are finding their way to flats across the city
431: Wed white and blue
Treasures of traditional Japanese design, blue and white are the perfect foil
for Tokyo's sweltering summers
427: Have a ball
Who says you need tickets to catch a piece of World Cup action?
423: Collection point
Nishi-Ogikubo's 65 pre-loved furniture stores make up Tokyo's great antique
419: Flower power
Bring your gloomy flat back to life with seasonal flowers.
415: On the mend
Tokyo's fix-it men can have your furniture back in form
411: Phone home
Panasonic unveils the e-lifestyle of the near future
407: Launch Pad
Sputnik Pad lands in Jingumae
Ideé is one of Tokyos most established interiors stores
The days of sitting on the tatami floor are over
Tokyo's embraces ultra-modern design
Put feng shui to work at work
The ancient Chinese art of feng shui
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