At French Metro Antiques we strive to lovingly maintain, restore or, when necessary, replace what the artisan craftsman created. We intend to stay true to the work of the master.
Caring for French antique furniture requires respect. When you own anything made over one hundred years ago, you are often working with "one-of-a-kind." Each piece of furniture has a history. The influence of king, court and style of that period was a matter of pleasing the patron that commissioned the work. Naturally, Paris and Parisian style had a tremendous bearing on what the far flung nobility and gentry in the provinces took back to their own regions and their own courts. Regional styles would often reflect elements of the period while staying true to the origins of the traditional regional motif.
The court was the seat of money and power. Wherever the king went, the court would follow. Therefore, being "in fashion" became an odd mix of cultural exchange and lavish one-upmanship and a call to competitive artistic excellence. Function and form were elevated into an art form that trickled down to all levels of French society. Our goal at French Metro Antiques is to respect and preserve the handwork of these skilled craftsmen.
Like all things of any age, the older the antique, the more that time and the subtle curing of the wood itself become factors. Changes in humidity and the "weather tightness" of the American home require that you introduce moisture at certain times of the year. Wood will naturally expand and contract with the seasons, but central heating and air conditioning tend to dry out panels and joints. So beware of radical extremes in dryness, heat and humidity as negative factors in the preservation of your antique furniture.
The French used varnish, French polishes and waxes to bring up highlights and protect wood surfaces against water, wear and tear. Varnishes and more modern hard shell finishes offer the most water resistance, but they also yellow over time and look more "plastic" in the bargain. We prefer and recommend wax finishes as a more natural solution. Nothing compares to a hand rubbed wax finish for warmth and ease of maintenance. In our shop we use DuGay wax products almost exclusively. DuGay's selection of tinted waxes ranges from clear to extremely dark chocolate brown. We carry a variety of DuGay waxes for sale in our shop. Feel free to contact us for advice regarding the care of your French antique furniture.