In business with . . . Justin Neales
PUBLISHED: 09:46 20 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:43 20 February 2013
Justin Neales restores and sells antiques at his showroom in the market town of Alcester. He gives us an insight into his business
Justin Neales restores and sells antiques at his showroom in the market town of Alcester. He gives us an insight into his business.
Tell us about your business
I sell high quality antiques as well as offering full restoration service.
How long have you been in this business and how did you get into it?
I established the business in 1987. I discovered a love of antiques when I was working in an auction house in Bristol. I trained as a furniture restorer at college iin Kent before moving up here to work for a local dealer. After a short while I decided to set up my own business.
What is your typical working day?
I start the day in the workshop behind the shop assessing the priorities and current projects, before me and the team begin the restoration work. Sometimes this means taking a valuable piece of furniture into many small pieces, and painstakingly restoring and putting it back together, What most of us would think of as a piece of junk can often be lovingly restored into a beautiful and valuable piece of art. I specialise in very delicate work such as replacing veneer and inlay.
I also visit my clients' homes to assess the work required on their furniture and to provide quotation. Most of my customers are within 50 miles of the shop but a few are in London.
What do you most enjoy about being in this type of business?
The pleasure of seeing a client reunited with their lovingly restored furniture, the satisfaction from creating something wonderful from what, to many, appears impossible,
How do you manage your work / life balance?
I spend my weekends outdoors - cycling and hiking.
Do you have any advice for people looking for antiques?
If you're wanting a perfect piece, its rare to find this at auction, as the furniture will often need some repair and restoration. Even what looks like minor work can turn out to be expensive, in which case you may well have been better off purchasing from a reputable dealer.
If you do see something you like at auction, it might be worth getting a quote on the restoration before committing yourself. Ask a furniture restorer to show you samples of work. That way you can see the kind of craftsmanship they produce and select the appropriate finish.
What are the latest trends?
The cleaner lines of Georgian and Edwardian pieces are becoming more popular than the 'fussier' Victorian furniture. This seems to be particularly the case amongst the younger buyers who are often mixing one or two high quality pieces with contemporary or reproduction furniture.
One clever way to easily combine the antique and contemporary is with soft furnishings. Choose a classic chair or sofa, and team it with a designer fabric for the upholstery. That way you get the best of both worlds, and with the improvement in cushion fillings, you don't have to forgo comfort.
Justin Neales Antiques and Interiors
3 Evesham Street
Tel: 01789 766699