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Pennsylvania furniture restorer expands operations

Furniture craftsmen at Rose Valley Restorations have moved from a cramped 18thcentury carriage house to a 3,000-sq.-ft. facility in the heart of West Chester, Pa.

The official restorer of the Chester County and Delaware Antique Shows, Rose Valley Restorations is owned and operated by John Hutchinson, 40, who opened shop in 1997 in Prescott Alley in the historic West Chester borough. The move to expand was brought on by an increased demand for Rose Valley Restorations services and the growth of the company's high-end custom furniture operation.

"We were tripping over each other," says Hutchinson, who with two employees, restores an average of 20 pieces a month. "We were very limited by our old space, as each piece had to be moved to a different station through the restoration process. Now a piece will stay at one station from start to finish, which will allow for greater efficiency and productivity."

Rose Valley Restorations specializes in 18th century and early 19th century American furniture, but is one of the only companies in the Philadelphia area that also specializes in the restoration of European furniture from the Renaissance to Art Deco. Rose Valley Restorations' services include intarsia, intaglio, inlay and carving; all manner of veneer work; all aspects of color, paint and gilding; and turnings, architectural elements, and on-site restorations. The shop is highly specialized in finish and patina work. Skilled with all manner of European and American shellac, wax and oil finishes, its preparation of its 16th century waxes and oils are a highly guarded secret.

The company's move to its new expanded location - the site of Exton Machine, a former light manufacturing facility in the borough of West Chester - features a 1,500-sq.-ft. workshop, a finish room and a gallery space to showcase works for sale. The move will enable the addition of new services, help keep costs down for customers, as the need to sub out work will be eliminated and expand Rose Valley Restorations' custom furniture, and color and finish work.

"One of my biggest goals for RVR is to establish ourselves as the East Coast specialist of color and finish," says Hutchinson, whose clientele include private collectors, museums, antique dealers and numerous institutions from Maine to Georgia.

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