Dark wood furniture, the scent of pipe smoke and the feel of thick oriental carpets on my bare feet are some of the memories I have of the home of my grandparents. They lived in an old, brick house in Indianapolis, and we used to visit them often when I was a child. There were many firsts in that house: I discovered my lifelong love of National Geographic magazine, enjoyed the companionship of a family dog and fell down my first flight of stairs.
So, when my father asked if I would like to have my grandmother’s old desk I didn’t hesitate to hook up the trailer and pick it up during Christmas break. It had a few missing pieces of hardware, dings and cracks, so before I even unloaded it from the trailer I took it over to Miller Restorations for an estimate. There, Kevin went over it with a fine eye, quickly naming the wood buried underneath various coats of old varnish (mahogany) and figuring out the desk’s age through fine details of its construction (1940s).
After about six weeks, the desk returned beautifully finished, with authentic matching hardware. The top of the desk feels like glass now, sanded so smoothly, but with the characteristic mahogany grain and swirling rich red colors showing through. This old desk has traveled quite far in its lifetime—Indianapolis to Michigan to Washington, D.C., to Ohio to South Carolina—and now calls Virginia home. I’m glad I could help bring it back to its former glory, and I think my grandmother would approve.