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  • Chestnut Grove Design

Victoria University Antique Buffet Refinishing

Chestnut Grove founder and Lead Designer Francesco Giampietro has a passion for antiques that began many years ago while living in Italy. While there he studied antique craftsmanship when he spent time at his uncles prestigious antique shop. The quality of the work, materials used and the level of creativity led Francesco to study how antique furniture was built in the past. Francesco encourages every artisan at Chestnut Grove to explore the history of the piece being refinished before any restorative work is completed.

A solid wood sideboard or buffet, that was originally located in Victoria University, at University of Toronto, needed the touch of a skilled artisan to restore it to a like-new appearance. The buffet dates back to the early 20th century. It was used in Burwash Hall, a large dining area for the students and teachers, as a storage space for servers to keep napkins or dishes.

The tiger oak finish was rough, cracked and faded from years of use. Francesco found this treasured piece from a client who acquired it from Victoria University. The restoration involves researching the history of the piece, to determine which species of wood it is and what hardware was used to originally construct the buffet. The entire piece was disassembled and then put back together one portion at a time, making sure to not damage any of the original pieces. The cabinet, including the interior, is colour matched to its classic amber shellac finish. Then an enhancing glaze is applied and each piece is toned back to the antique hue it had when first created.

Chestnut Grove encourages you to send in a photo of a cherished antique that you are interested in having restored to

Damage can become apparent in antique furniture that is left to the elements in a storage locker or attic. The artisan’s at Chestnut Grove will strive to bring the luster of the wood back to life through careful consideration as to how it was originally made.

Below Photo (Taken October 15th, 1941): Victoria University Archives (Toronto), Photographer, Pringle and Booth, Toronto - Sideboard is located against right-hand wall.

Victoria University, Burwash Hall circa 1941

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