Please provide us with the following information when submitting an inquiry, and someone from the Trefler’s team will help you determine the next steps.

Please describe your item(s) in as much detail as possible. Information such as dimensions, what materials the item is made of (i.e. wood, plaster, porcelain), and your item’s current condition are all very helpful for our experts to make an accurate estimate.

We suggest providing at least three .jpg images per item. These should include; one image of the entire object, and detailed views of the area(s) of damage and/or pieces. 

If you are submitting an inquiry for painting restoration, please provide an additional photograph of the back of the canvas.

Our team will review all inquiries and assess the best course of action to suit your needs.

We look forward to hearing from you.


3231Did you know?

Trefler’s Custom Upholstery Services ~

Did you know that Trefler’s offers custom upholstery services?

We re-upholster your favorite pieces and provide related services including upholstery restoration, cushion replacement, pillow fabrication & rebuilding of seats (webbing, springs & padding). Our upholsterers are industry experts with many years of experience in the field. Clients may source their own fabrics and trims, or, we have a wide range of fabrics, trims, gimps, decorative accents and price points available. We can do structural and finish work on your pieces, making us a one stop shop for your re-upholstery and restoration needs.

Call us at 617.965.3388 for more information.

3180Did you know?

Trefler’s Custom Framing Services ~

Our custom framing studio is made up of knowledgeable artisans with over 40 years of experience in the industry. We design and handcraft our picture frames using the finest skills and expertise. With a variety of options to choose from, our skilled framers will work closely with you to carefully choose the appropriate frame for your work of art. 
Using only museum quality materials, we provide full service archival custom framing. We use the finest UV-filtering and Museum Low Reflection glass

Regardless of the medium, we take pride in the preservation of your treasured artwork. We also offer antique frame restoration. We can fabricate missing pieces, reapply gold leaf where necessary, and stabilize the entire structure of your antique frames. 

In conjunction with our furniture department, we design and fabricate art display cases, statue pedestals, and art object mounts from a selection of raw hardwoods and high quality acrylic. 

Call us at 617.965.3388 for more information.

3170Did you know?

Trefler’s Offers Art Installation Services

Trefler’s staff regularly hangs artwork of all varieties (including paintings, prints, photographs, mirrors and 3-dimensional pieces) on many types of surfaces (drywall, horse hair plaster, wood) in almost any location. Our team has 15+ years of experience and can help you install a new piece or re-hang existing pieces to refresh the look of your space.  

Call us at 617.965.3388 for more information.

3147Looking for a creative gift idea?

Purchase a Trefler’s Gift Certificate!

Our gift certificates (available starting at $50) are the perfect idea for your friends, family, or colleagues.

Gift certificates can be applied to our restoration services, (excluding glass grinding).

Call Allison Cook at (617) 965-3388, extension 230 or email

3000From Trefler’s Custom Frame Shop: Closed Corner Frames

Trefler’s custom framing studio is proud to offer  a wide variety of framing solutions to suit almost any style, budget and environment. Moulding vendors such as Roma Moulding, Picture Woods and Larson Juhl provide finely crafted pre-finished moulding that can be used in framing projects to achieve any desired aesthetic from traditional to contemporary, rustic to minimal. 

One of the wonderful advantages of working with Trefler’s, is that our framers have the studio’s furniture fabrication facilities behind them to execute entirely custom frames and mouldings from scratch. In industry terms, these are called closed corner or finished corner frames.

What are closed finished corner and closed corner frames? 

Finished corner or closed corner frames are frames which are joined or assembled prior to being finished or painted. These types of frames do not utilize the prefabricated mouldings available from our selection of moulding vendors. Instead, these frames are entirely custom-made and offer a high quality result with several distinct benefits.

A seamless result

One of the more noticeable differences between closed corner frames and prefabricated  mouldings is the visibility of where the frame corner is joined. Because a prefab moulding is assembled after its surface finish is applied, the joint or seam connecting a corner will be visible. A closed corner frame in comparison is painted or finished after its assembled so the joint is better concealed under layers of finish, creating a seamless transition at each corner of the frame. The frame featured below is perfect example of the seamless result achievable in a closed corner frame. 

Unique details and thoughtful patterning

Because closed corner frames are entirely custom, they also allow for more unique patterning that is not possible to achieve when using a prefabricated moulding. A great example of this is the two frames displayed below. On the left, is a pre-fabricated moulding with uniform ornamentation, and on the right a bespoke finished corner frame that has hand-applied, cast decoration which has patterning that seamlessly aligns along its joined corners. Carving, detailing through cast comps, gesso and gilding are  a few examples of completed with a surface application of gilding with gold, silver or platinum leaf or through painting, staining. 

Custom Finishes: the nuances of color

Another compelling feature of closed corner frames are that their color and finish are also entirely custom crafted. Trefler’s color specialists bring decades of experience in custom finishes and faux decorative painting to develop the perfect accent to any artwork. Their expertly trained eyes pick up on nuances in color that will  highlight desired tones and colors of a piece. 

Other considerations

Closed corner frames offer a  bespoke answer to any framing project. They provide the opportunity to create a one of a kind, tailored frame for your artworks. That being said, there are other considerations when deciding between a pre-fabricated moulding and an entirely custom frame: time and budget. Being entirely custom, closed corner frames do take more time and typically cost more than a standard, prefabricated frame, so for some projects and budgets they don’t always make sense, nor are they necessary to achieve a desired result. Our framing studio works with the best producers of pre-fabricated moldings to ensure that our client’s needs and expectations are always exceeded. 

Interested in learning more about Trefler’s frame studio? Get started today! 



298321 Easy Home Improvement Projects to Refresh Your Home
This Blog Post was originally published on May 10, 2021 by Emily Huddleston on RedFin. To view it there or to visit Redfin, click the link here.

Looking for DIY home improvement projects to spruce up your space? Well, you’re in luck. We tapped some of the top DIY home improvement experts across North America, from Toronto, ON to Atlanta, GA, and asked them to share some of their favorite projects and renovations. From quick fixes such as adding greenery or switching up the lighting, to slightly bigger tasks, such as painting a dresser or creating a statement wall, there are plenty of easy ways to refresh your home. 

So whether you’re trying to sell your house or simply want to upgrade your space, these easy home improvement ideas can help you get started!

1. Paint wood cabinets with chalk paint. The most budget-friendly way to update a kitchen or bathroom and refresh your home is to paint the cabinets with chalk paint. It is super easy to do and makes a huge impact on a high traffic space for very little money. – Bricks ‘n Blooms

2. Change the light fixtures. Switching out the lights can make a big impact without breaking the bank and devoting a lot of time. There’s a multitude of beautiful, inexpensive lighting options out there to choose from. And swapping out a fixture takes only a couple of hours, max. – Two Twenty One

3. Refresh your pantry with shallow shelving. For an easy pantry makeover, use shallow shelving installed from the floor to the ceiling (so long as it’s not beyond reach) instead of the standard 12-18” deep shelves in a pantry. This will prevent pantry items from being hidden and forgotten behind other items. Make the shelves adjustable for even more customization and organization. – Reinvented Delaware

4. Add character to a room with built-in bookshelves. Our favorite home improvement project to refresh a space or room is a DIY built-in bookcase filled with colorful books & accessories. The double-sided built-in bookshelf with a hidden bookcase door we built transformed our space. – Hello Small World

5. Spice up a room with a luxurious stenciled wall design. Modern stencils are easier to use than ever and can produce a finish that rivals even the most expensive wallpapers. For a more subtle update, try the same paint in two different sheens to give a sophisticated layered look. – The Copper Elm

6. Beautify your laundry room. I use my laundry room every day, and while it may not be a show stopper like kitchen or bathroom changes can be, I am happy when I look in here and it makes it less frustrating to laundry all the time. Making the space cheerful and having it work for me at the same time was the real win. – Jessica Rayome

7. Work with what you have to refresh your home. Outdated cabinets? Give them a fresh coat of paint and add new hardware for an updated look. Ugly linoleum or tile floors? Use paint to create a stencil pattern and add more years of life. Stained Formica countertops? Purchase an epoxy countertop kit and give them a marble or granite look for a fraction of the cost of replacing. – This Full Life 5

8. Update a room with your favorite art pieces. For each room in your new home, pick one favorite framed piece of art and hang complimentary pieces according to how you want that room to feel. Experiment with asymmetrical hanging designs to create a more dynamic and interesting look and feel to your space. Also, consider restoring treasured works of art and updating framing for preservation. – Trefler’s

9. Transform a room with simple wall molding and paint. You can elevate your space by installing a unique wall treatment, like board and batten, shiplap, or wainscotting. Then, pull it all together with a fresh coat of paint to modernize it with a color that fits the color palette for your home. – Sarah Symonds, Grace In My Space

10. Paint a piece of furniture. Painting furniture is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to change up the look of your space and refresh your home. – Three Coats of Charm

11. Update your laminate cabinets to refresh your home. Creating a home you love doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a can of spray paint and some shelf brackets, this homeowner turned a builder-grade laminate cabinet into a beautiful coastal farmhouse-style cabinet. – K’s Olympic Nest

12. Personalize your home office. With the shift to working from home, my tip is to personalize the home office in a fun, easy, and affordable way. For example, you can update an old filing cabinet to suit your style by painting it and adding a set of cool legs. – BB Frösch

13. Add a touch of greenery to transform any room. Tall, willowy trees fit empty corners perfectly, while potted plants in between pieces bring softness to the hard angles of a room. To warm up the cold feel of glass and metal, use a small topiary or bonsai plant to add organic lines to an often rigid, contemporary style. It’s time to bring your room to life, one sprig of rich greenery at a time. – Furniture of America

14. Create stylish organization through built-in storage. Building a closet organization system with drawers and shelving will make the closet look clutter-free and well organized. Adding window seats with storage, either drawers or cubbies with stylish storage bins can help remove clutter in bedrooms, dining rooms, or living rooms. In addition, there are many tutorials available online for how to create DIY built-in storage systems to fit your needs. – Pinspired to DIY

15. Refresh hallway doors on a budget. Many older homes have core hollow doors which can be expensive to replace. Instead of purchasing all new doors, you can use picture frame molding, a miter box (or miter saw), and liquid nails to create the look of a paneled door. Add a fresh coat of paint and you have “new” doors for under $20. – Grace and Maura

16. Think outside the box when it comes to painting. When you’re looking to refresh your home, don’t just paint a wall one color – instead color block or stencil it. Also, don’t just paint walls – instead paint fixtures, counters, or even your fireplace with spray paint or regular paint. There are so many wonderful paint products out there that will help you level up your room’s vibe and style in a cost-effective way. – My Homier Home

17. Rethink your outdoor space. Outdoor space is often an untapped resource in a home. With pea gravel as a base, we transformed a weedy, muddy spot next to our back patio into an awesome hangout. If your home is feeling tight, think beyond its walls and look to the great outdoors. – Modern Chemistry at Home

18. Create a statement wall. A statement wall can instantly update or change the entire vibe of a room, and a bonus is that It’s an easy, inexpensive DIY that you can complete in a weekend using paint, wallpaper, wood, or even leftover shims. – A Life Unfolding

19. Make affordable, but impactful updates in your kitchen. I recently redid our kitchen for under $1000 and it made the space feel brand new. The cabinets were brown, laminate countertops, white appliances, and an electric range with an old sink. We switched out the sink and the range to electric, painted the cabinets, and then did a DIY faux marble finish on the countertops. It completely changed the space to make it look brand new on a budget. – A Yellow Peach

20. Change out your wall decor to refresh your home. Fiber-based art is great for softening a space and metal pieces can lend to an industrial feel. Even if you are simply shifting your favorite pieces into different rooms, switching up your decor can make a space feel new. – Danielle Kaminski

21. Switch out builder-grade wire shelving in a linen closet. Nobody likes the look of the wire shelving that comes standard in most houses.  So, we built wooden covers to fit over the existing shelves that look like real wood floating shelves. This doesn’t add much weight to the shelves, makes them look better and more functional with the flat surface, and was inexpensive because we used plywood. – Newbuild Newlyweds



2961Decorative screens: a different kind of screen time

The word screen has no doubt been usurped in the digital age. Its original meaning however, is the subject of this week’s blog. 

Throughout history, folding screens have served both decorative and functional purposes. Multi-paneled partitions were once commonplace in domestic environments. They provided shelter from the elements, protection  from chilly drafts and protection from sunlight or heat.

The earliest examples of folding screens are attributed to the Han dynasty in ancient China. Dating as early as the 4th century BC, folding screens were born out of the need to create separation in the one-room dwellings of the period. The earliest examples crafted from wood, were decorated with scenes depicting nature. Mythical allegories were later applied, creating free-standing artworks that served as backdrops for everyday life. 

One of the most celebrated examples of decorative screens are Chinese Coromandel Screens which were made using various lacquer techniques.  Some screens had up to 30 layers of lacquer to create stunning, richly ornate scenes. After being popularized in Asia, the decorative folding screen was adopted in Europe at the arrival of the 17th Century. The folding screen served both functional and decorative purposes and became a common element in home decor. The decorative folding screen garnered the attention of notable style icons like Coco Chanel, who, at one point, had over 32 in her possession. 

Today, decorative folding screens might not be the answer to heating and cooling needs, but partitions still can serve ato divide space. The resurgence of one room living, whether it be in smaller, studio style apartments, or larger open-plan living and dining areas common to contemporary homes, the partition can create an enclave. Amidst a pandemic that has forced us to retreat into our homes, one room living is not always ideal, particularly when Zoom meetings necessitate privacy and a more professional backdrop than say the pile of laundry you need to attend to. 

At Trefler’s studio, the rise in popularity of decorative screens over the last year has been undeniable. Client’s seeking out a practical way to carve out a “private space” within their home for taking FaceTime and Zoom calls, have found a solution in decorative screens. Restoration work has been underway treating antique and vintage canvas, lacquer and paper screens. Some of the more ornate iterations include beautiful inlay of mother of pearl, and some with  stones in three dimensional relief. These freestanding works of art have brought a much welcomed change of scenery to the homes of many of our clients at a time when a bare wall just simply doesn’t work. 

Interested in restoring a decorative folding screen in your possession? Our specialists can treat, refinish and stabilize decorative screens to make them fully functional and beautiful once again. Submit an inquiry today. 



2873Pondering pigments

An introduction to the fascinating world of pigments

The restoration and conservation work undertaken at Trefler’s studio requires a unique array of tools and materials to tackle the varied objects that come to us.  While each department tends to lean more heavily on its own specialized tools, there is one incredibly versatile material that all of Trefler’s artists rely on daily. This material is the pigment. 

From decorative arts, to painting, to works on paper and furniture; pigments allow our experts to do a myriad of things. Our artists are able to camouflage breaks and cracks in porcelain, in-paint missing portions of paintings and even craft the perfect custom finish on furniture refinishing using pigments.  No matter what needs fixing, pigments are key to almost every project. 

Laura Sheehan-McDonald, Trefler’s Vice President and  expert in color matching and decorative painting, explains that she relies on this invaluable asset daily at her work bench. For the last fifty years, the vast pigment collection at Trefler’s has evolved and today continues to grow to include some of the more common hues and some very rare and difficult to come by. 

Pigments are invaluable, but what actually are they?

A pigment is essentially a dry solute which is dissolved in water to create a substance like paint, stain, or dye. Dyes are often comprised of organic compounds like dried herbs or vegetable coloring, (think of Turmeric), whereas pigments are often created by dissolving inorganic compounds like minerals into water or another liquid carrier.

What are some examples of pigments? 

Throughout history, pigments have been developed from a wide variety of sources, some more creative than others. Royal Blue for example, was once the product of lapis lazuli, and vermilion, widely used in paintings by old masters such as Titian, was derived from a mercury compound. While many pigments were the product of experimentation of more commonplace minerals and inorganic compounds, others came from a variety of creative, and often quite unusual sources. 

One particular shade of yellow, known as Indian yellow, was made from the urine of cows exclusively fed a diet of mangoes. The production of this particular pigment was later deemed animal cruelty, and subsequently banned in Europe.

Because of people’s curiosity and attraction to creating art and objects with vibrant color, pigments have enjoyed use across almost every trade imaginable. The arts, fashion, consumer goods, technology, engineering, and even industrial food production have been directly shaped by development and application of pigments. 

2927Backwards and forwards: a brief history of the rocking chair

What do Pablo Picasso, John F Kennedy and Mark Twain have in common?

This isn’t a riddle, or the beginning of a joke. What is the commonality between these three prominent and yet very different public figures? It was a shared affinity for the rocking chair.

To John F Kennedy, the rocking chair was a prescriptive suggestion from his doctor, to aid in chronic back pain. In fact, during his presidency, he would come to outfit the White House with 14 rocking chairs in total. Below: A photograph taken on Oct. 6, 1961. President John F. Kennedy, left, sits in his rocker in the White House in Washington, as he talks with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko about the Berlin situation. His rocker of choice was a cushioned shaker style rocking chair. 

The photographs below depict Picasso’s similar affection for his European version of the rocker. The portrait entitled, “Jacqueline sitting in a Rocking Chair” from 1954 is one of many an homage to his beloved chair.  

The reclining and leisurely nature of the rocking chair can be seen as indicative of Twain’s larger perspective of life. He once told The New York Time’s “no sir, not a day’s work in all my life. What I have done I have done, because it has been play. If it has been work I shouldn’t have done it.” 

Whatever the reason, whether to achieve physical comfort, fuel creative pursuits, or to provide a worthy seat for leisurely activities, each individual made sure that this particular type of chair had an open seat available to them wherever it was that they called home.  

An American Invention

So who can lay claim to the invention of the rocking chair? The rocking chair has its roots in Europe. The earliest examples of rocking rails have been found in ancient Roman ruins, employed in cradles to sooth young infants. Other examples were found in Germany and England, likely later brought to America by early settlers like the Shakers, Quakers and Amish. 

The first record of an American rocker can be found in a bill of sale dating from 1742, from a cabinet maker in colonial Philadelphia. Sold for just six shillings, or what would be the equivalent of 40 dollars in present day, it was described as “one Nurse chair with rockers.” 

Later, in the 19th Century, this novelty of adding rocking rails to chairs saw an uptick in popularity wider than in use in merely “nursing” chairs for new mothers. It would soon become a popular furniture type for the infirm and even recreational pursuits. 

On a visit to America during the 1830s, Harriet Martineau, an English writer remarked on the rising popularity of the rocking chair. “How this lazy and ungraceful indulgence ever became general, I cannot imagine, but the nation seems wedded to it.” Growing in popularity over the duration of the the 19th Century, the rocking chair was realized in various aesthetic styles, ranging from the shaker style, ladder back rocker, to the soon to be ubiquitous “Boston Rocker,” which featured a curved seat, high back and rails. 

And while it was primarily a fixture of American culture during this period, European furniture manufacturers also began to take note of the growing trend. Perhaps one of the most iconic and widely produced versions to date, was Thonet’s Bentwood Rocker featured below (and the preferred style of Picasso). 

The lightweight, mass-produced rocking chair was a product born from technological advances in bending wood: a technique that would be explored and adopted by other design pioneers later. Through heating wood with water vapor, Thonet achieved his Rocking Chair No. 1. Invented in 1860, this design is still a fixture in museum collections worldwide today, celebrated for its uniquely important place in the annals of design history. 

And so the rocking chair; an idea born in Europe, reinvented in America and then brought back to the continent from which it came, was to become a mainstay of not only American homes, but homes  worldwide. 

And although it has found itself elsewhere in the world, it still remains an icon of American sensibilities; a symbol of ingenuity and reinvention; born from a pragmatic desire to move things forward (and backward), albeit perhaps not in the most stylish manner.

“The American rocker was an inelegant marriage of convenience as far as design was concerned,“ argues Witold Rybczynski, design critic and author of “Now I Sit Me Down” an anthology of the history of chairs. “It would take the great Viennese chair maker Michael Thonet to turn the rocking chair into a work of art.“

Despite its somewhat aesthetically displeasing original design, it is a furniture type that has remained beloved for its ability to provide comfort and ease to the bodies and spirits of so many, very different sitters. “The American rocker is almost three hundred years old and still going strong,” urges Rybczynski, “everyone loves a rocker.” 


2908Mending and the Art of Kintsugi

Most of the treatments executed in Trefler’s decorative arts department are carried out with one particular ambition in mind; to create a flawless repair that will disguise evidence left behind from accidents. 

Chips, cracks, breaks, nicks; each of these types of damage are meticulously treated and concealed, giving the illusion that a teacup never lost its handle, and a vase never suffered its fateful fall off the fireplace mantel. 

Broken urns, cracked english porcelain and smashed “World’s best Mom” mugs all emerge from the worktables of the studio intact and structurally sound; often amazing our clients who had no idea their piece could be so beautifully repaired. 

Bowl, Korea, Joseon period, beginning of 17th century. Courtesy of Freer | Sackler, Smithsonian.

And while our specialists take immense pride in their ability to virtually erase all signs of damage that an object has suffered, there is another, very different approach to repair that is sometimes requested by our clients; it’s called kintsugi. 

Kintsugi or kintsukori is a traditional Japanese technique that at its core aims to celebrate, highlight, and derive value in the process of mending broken, decorative art objects. 

The Japanese characters that make up the word for kintsugi, literally translate to golden, repair or succession, and skill, and the technique essentially does just that. 

Instead of camouflaging breaks, the art of kintsugi employs the use of precious metals like liquid gold or silver leaf as the binding agent that mends breaks. It also creates a visually stunning result. This approach not only highlights the damage left behind, but it also adds value to an object because of the inherent cost of precious materials that the technique calls for. 

The art of kinstugi relays an important message; not all scars need to be concealed. With the right approach, skill, and precious materials; mending something that’s suffered damage can yield a result that is infinitely more beautiful, unique and valuable than what was there before. 

If you are interested in learning more about Trefler’s Decorative Arts Department specialties, visit our services pages by clicking the button below.