Where to Get Stuff Fixed
A handy go-to guide for the repair-impaired.
Featuring photography by Chris Ware Published April 17, 2007 at 07:59 PM
WHERE TO GET STUFF FIXED
Missing the fix-it gene? Relax. We’ve got your to-do list covered with this handy go-to guide for the repair-impaired.
If time really is standing still for you (i.e., your clock or watch isn’t working), head here. Mark Reichbach, originally trained at the Bulova Watch Company factory on
In a cozy shop in the old Bedford Hills train station, this master craftsman works on everything from 16th-century pocket watches to new Patek Philippe wristwatches. He even can duplicate parts to precision for old or rare timepieces. And if that’s not enough, he also has experience restoring fire-damaged clocks. “Old timepieces represent a connection to the past and are important pieces of history,” Reichbach says, recalling the time he repaired a very rare 1760s chronometer (a ship navigational instrument) that a man had inherited from his uncle. Though it would have brought him anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 at auction, the customer wouldn’t part with it.
Typical repairs include servicing mantel clocks (usually about $275), replacing watch batteries ($10 and up), cleaning table clocks ($150 and up), and grandfather clocks ($650). Overhauling a clock or watch usually takes two weeks; estimates are provided. Can’t bring that big grandfather clock to the shop? Mark’s Time charges $125 for house calls.
SUBURBAN SUPER-ON-CALL: HOME REPAIR SERVICE
Team Service and Maintenance, LLC
Missing the handy-around-the-house gene? Robert Schwarz is the answer to a hapless homeowner’s prayers. “I do all the stuff that the husbands can’t or don’t have the time to do, and what most contractors won’t touch,” he says. “I do a lot of different things; no job is too small for me.”
Need a heavy mirror hung? An out-of-reach light bulb changed? A bathroom faucet replaced? Door knobs replaced? Call Schwarz. A recent challenge? Fixing a Murphy bed that wouldn’t close; even its manufacturer had given up on repairing it. After a 20-minute adjustment to the hydraulic mechanism, the Murphy bed was safely ensconced in its berth.
Schwarz also is a wiz at wireless remote-control home automation. (He worked as an electrical contractor for more than 20 years and installed and repaired computer networks.) For one homeowner who wanted to have his hot tub heated and waiting for him when he arrived home, Schwarz set up a remote activation of the hot tub’s heating system, which allowed the homeowner to turn it on over the phone via a wireless remote control. Price: $350. He’s done similar work to allow traveling homeowners to heat pipes during cold snaps or turn on lights remotely.
He charges $75 to $85 per hour or flat fees for larger jobs, with free estimates provided for the latter.
Home Service Shop
This group of fix-it gurus is ready, willing, and able to tackle all those repair jobs that crop up with frightening regularity, including any electrical and plumbing problems (except running new wire and pipes). These guys will fix, mount, hang, and replace. Typical jobs include gutter cleaning in the fall, indoor painting in the winter, outdoor gardening and maintenance in the spring, and deck sealing in the summer.
Home Service Shop will get those closet doors back on track, install baby-proofing cabinet locks, hang up that new coat rack, and paint and custom-build cabinets. The company charges $115 for the first hour and $90 for subsequent ones, with a one-hour minimum. Customers can purchase days in advance per year for additional savings (two to three days: $640 each; four to five days: $585 each; and six or more days: $540 each).
LET THERE BE LIGHT (AGAIN): LIGHTING REPAIR
Powell Accessories, Ltd.
Antiques dealers, chi chi designers, smart homeowners, and even one former US president have relied on this third-generation, family-owned business to bring lighting fixtures—old and new—back to light. Founded in 1950 as a full-service decorating business by current owner Brian Powell’s grandmother (his 81-year-old father and 73-year-old mother still work in the shop), over the years it’s morphed into a lighting shop specializing in selling, reconditioning, and repairing new, period, and vintage fixtures.
Because many modern lighting shops are retail-only establishments and don’t offer repairs, Powell Accessories fulfills an important fix-it niche, performing all kinds of lighting repairs from updating wiring to fixing and re-pinning chandelier crystals. Its specialty: antique lighting fixtures. “People seem to have a greater appreciation for the craftsmanship of long ago,” Powell says. “They’ll bring in things that look like they belong on a roadside that they’ve spent lots of money on, and ask us to make them work.” Recent projects include repairing a damaged Tiffany piece from the 1920s purchased at an estate sale and converting from European to domestic 220-voltage lamps imported for sale by a large giftware company.
In addition to making lamps “out of just about anything,” Powell also refits lamps with new shades, hand-sews repairs to old silk lamp shades, and custom makes lamp shades out of a customer’s fabrics.
Repair costs are $75 per hour for labor plus parts, with a typical turnaround of two weeks.
Grand Concourse Antiques
A love of antiques comes naturally to Pamela Goldman, inspired by her “junk dealer” grandfather. Her two-level shop is chock-full of vintage chandeliers, sconces, and lamps, with the overflow stored in her 4,000-square-foot warehouse. But Goldman doesn’t just sell lamps, she’s happy to fix them too. She cleans, electrifies, and replaces antique crystals, gotten from her huge inventory.
To repair a plain one-arm sconce would be about $25, a three-foot-by-two–foot
A PROFESSIONAL BRUSH-OFF: ARTWORK RESTORATION
Miro Art Inc.
704-A Locust St, Mount Vernon
Trained in art conservation in his native Krakow, Roman Kujawa has worked on conservation and restoring art treasures in European museums, palaces, and churches. Here in the states, his projects have included restoring the 18th-century ceiling and 365 gilded leaves on the crown molding of the Blue Room in the White House. (Full disclosure: Kujawa is married to
Kujawa recently spent six months restoring a 150-year-old five-floor Madison Avenue townhouse. The tab: $150,000. Other recent work includes restoration of an 18th-century English game table featuring inlaid burl wood (about $2,500), and the conservation of a 12-panelled, hand-painted, silk Chinese screen from the early 19th- century (about $4,000). Kujawa is widely regarded for his decorative and faux painting skills as well.
62 Highland Ave, New Rochelle
A former portrait painter for the king in his native Thailand and designer of fabrics and wall coverings for Paloma Picasso and Ralph Lauren, this artist’s restoration of old and antique oil paintings, wall murals, and frames is itself a work of art. He charges $40 per hour.
TECHIE EXPERTS: COMPUTER REPAIR
(914) 693-4052; www.rsacomputer.com
A latte has spilled on your laptop, your PC is suffering from a profusion of pop-ups, or your desktop has up and died. You could hang out for hours on the “help” line or bribe your 11-year-old nephew to have a look. A better plan: retain the services of RSA Services. In business since 1983, RSA’s five technicians can repair just about any type of computer problem. One client was so emotionally attached to an old laptop that RSA Computer technicians transferred the laptop’s existing data to a brand-new internal system but kept the same outer chassis.
RSA fixes hard-drive failures, broken keyboards and broken LCDs, and can recover lost data. “It becomes a personal challenge,” says technician Larry Robreno, “like man versus machine.” For clients switching from a Windows-format PC to a Mac, RSA will convert and transfer address books, Quicken financial data, documents, and e-mails onto the new machine.
RSA charges $80 per hour for in-shop repairs, and an additional $100 to make a house call. Virus and spyware removal and data recovery usually take anywhere from two to four hours.
IN FOCUS: CAMERA REPAIR
Specialty Photographic Repair Services
Professional shutterbugs and amateur enthusiasts tout this 23-year-old, 1,000-square-foot shop, an authorized service center for scores of camera brands, including Nikon, Canon, Minolta, Pentax, Leica, and
While fixing digital cameras is an increasingly big part of its business, Specialty’s, well, specialty is reviving antique equipment, like Hasselblads dating back to the ’50s, and Nikons and Canons from the ’60s. Got a prized antique Brownie that’s missing a lens or a broken ’70s era Kodak Pocket Instamatic that you just can’t bear to give up? Try Specialty. A photographer who owns $25,000 worth of professional camera equipment that he left outside overnight in the pouring rain did. Twenty-five labor hours (and a $4,500 tab) later, Specialty restored it all to working order. As it did the $10,000 worth of professional digital equipment left on a beach and then run over by a car. The tab this time: $500.
Specialty charges $65 per hour, with flat rates offered for complicated jobs. Repairing a dropped digital camera typically costs $100 to $150, and takes 10 days to a couple of weeks, although, if all the parts are in stock, it can be done in a day.
KNOTTY PROBLEMS: RUG RESTORATIONS
Owner Selcuk Aktas and his team of weavers at The Golden Horn Rugs in
Christie’s Auction House often has Aktas evaluate and estimate how much it will cost to fix a rug before a sale. “He is very fair,” says Elisabeth Parker, the head of the rugs and carpets department at Christie’s. “We recommend The Golden Horn to all our clients.”
Pricing is per project with a $100 minimum. “The older the rug, the more time is required,” Aktas says. “A foot-long hole in a wool rug might take a week to repair; the same hole in a silk rug could take three months.”
If a rug requires more than a month to repair, Aktas gives customers the option of shipping the rug back to his team in
HEAVY METAL: METALWORK REPAIR
Cliff Startup brings to his craft—fabricating and repairing architectural metablwork—35 years of hands-on experience and a family legacy (his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were blacksmiths, the latter for
Startup does all the work—by hand—in his on-site machine shop, where he runs a small school teaching metalwork repair and welding. Gardening maven Barbara Israel of Katonah is a fan. “People like him who do hand work are very rare these days,” she says. “He does a wonderful job.”
Startup, whose work has been featured in Architectural Digest and on TV’s A&E channel, also designs and fabricates metal furniture and fixtures; he fabricated a wrought-iron table for Tommy Hilfiger, a few stainless steel-and-glass display fixtures for Oscar de la Renta boutiques, spa tubs of stainless steel, and even a bar in the shape of a samurai sword for a Manhattan eatery.
He bills $90 an hour for repair work and, yes, he makes house calls.
Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
CARLAN CLEANERS OF WESTCHESTER
Ossining (914) 762-1454
Carl McKenzie has been keeping the carpets, rugs, and upholstery of Westchester clean since 1990. Lynn Del Savio of Katonah has been using his service every six to 12 months for the past seven years. “He does a fabulous job,” Del Savio declares.
Karen Streisfeld-Leitner of Croton-on-Hudson, too, is pleased with McKenzie’s work. “I had inherited a very good sofa from my father, but it was horribly stained. The cleaner that my father hired said it was ‘impossible’ to get the stains out, so when I hired Carl to clean my carpets and the sofa, I told him not to bother with the stain, just get the cat hairs and dander out. I figured I would reupholster it. When I returned home, I was amazed to see a beautifully cleaned sofa. And, although Carl’s co-worker spent three hours on the sofa alone, they didn’t charge me a dime extra.”
McKenzie charges by the square foot: $.48 for carpeting (so a 10-by-10 foot room would cost $48), rugs are $1 a square foot and upholstery $17 a linear foot. For a large home with multiple children and pets, it might run as high as $2,000 for a full day to clean all the wall-to-wall carpets, rugs, and furniture.
CURRY AND HOVIS
34 Westchester Ave, Pound Ridge
John Curry has been restoring 18th-century furniture since the early 1980s. His shop, just down the road from Scotts Corner, has the great smell of old wood, varnish, and sawdust. “We won’t change a piece,” Curry stresses. “We fix it.” (Curry’s plea to homeowners: don’t use Elmer’s to fix anything valuable!)
Curry and four woodworkers and finishers spend their days re-gluing, French polishing [rubbing shellac on by hand], waxing, and patching veneers. “A typical project for us would be to patch a chest that is missing pieces of decorative veneer, then clean it and French polish the piece,” he says. Curry also does traditional water gilding and patches gilt rococo mirrors and other decorative objects.
Adept at 18th-century construction and decoration techniques, Curry and his team custom-reproduce 18th-century furniture as well.
Kathy Abbott, an interior designer in Katonah, uses Curry’s services for all her antiques restoration needs. “I buy a lot of antiques for my clients and I trust him to always restore a piece with its integrity intact,” she says.
Re-gluing a chair typically costs around $300, while a total restoration of a historically important, elaborate secretary could cost $20,000. Most projects take a month or two.
6 S Washington St, Tarrytown
Eric Clingen calls his shop “a walk-in clinic for damaged furniture.” Clingen repairs and restores antique and vintage furniture—from tables and chairs to dressers and coat racks. He has done restoration work at Lyndhurst, Kykuit, and Philipsburgh Manor.
“The key is to try and keep as much of the original material as possible,” he says. And adds: “When I make a repair, I’m fairly certain I won’t see it again.”
Clingen charges around $65 an hour for work in his shop; $80 an hour for house calls.
R.D. Carone & Co.
380 Adams St, Bedford Hills
Rick Carone repairs antique furniture. “My credo is to deal with signs of abuse, not use,” he says. “We keep anything that is a part of a piece’s history, while getting rid of burn or water marks and discoloration.” He fixes joints that have come loose, repairs chipped veneers, and restores finishes. “Furniture is functional art,” he says, “and my job is to protect the investment in the piece.
Prices range from $60 to $140 an hour, depending on the complexity of the job and the expertise of the craftsman.
TSM Furniture Refinisher
2986 Navaho St, Yorktown Heights
John Scavelli can fix a broken table leg or refinish an entire bedroom set; the only thing he doesn’t do is upholstery. “He is very talented,” says Cam Detjen, of Carmel, New York, who had Scavelli repair and refinish a cabinet, game table, and arm chair. “He really seems to enjoy working on your furniture as much as you enjoy possessing it.”
The most interesting project he ever worked on was George Washington’s dining room table. “The family had passed it down through the generations and brought it to me,” he says. “It was missing pieces of veneer and molding, but, luckily, the family had saved all the little pieces in a box. I had to fit them all together, kind of like a jig saw puzzle.” He’s also restored 100-year-old oak chairs from the rectory at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and did work for Liza Minnelli and Itzhak Perlman.
He does everything himself, charging by the project. To re-glue a leg costs between $50 and $100; to refinish a table from $100 to $125 per linear foot.
350 North Ave, New Rochelle
“Damiano Finishers are experts,” says interior designer Gregory Allan Cramer of New Rochelle. “I send all my refinishing work to them.”
Damiano is a two-man shop, in business since 1978. “We do everything as if the furniture was for our own home,” says co-owner Robert Raab. “When we repair something, it never comes back.” They will even fix things they don’t think are worth fixing. “A woman brought in an old tool box that her grandfather had made,” Raab says. “I didn’t really want to take it on because I thought she was just throwing away her money. But she burst into tears when she came back to pick it up, saying it looked just like she remembered.”
Projects range in price from around $300 to refinish a small end table to $6,000 to $7,000 to refinish an entire dining room set.
IT’S A LOCK
28 Cedar St, Yonkers
Locksmith Charlie Sadda and his team of four employees repair any broken or balky lock. “We want satisfied customers,” he says. “We want to be around for years.” He charges $100 to $150 an hour.
LAY IT ON
MAUCIERI TILE & MARBLE
23 St Charles St, Thornwood
Fussy homeowners and local tile stores give two thumbs up to tile pro Nicholas Maucieri, who brings more than 26 years of experience to his craft. Maucieri, who has done work in actor Chazz Palminteri’s Bedford home, receives rave reviews from Roger Dean, co-owner of Rye Ridge Tile Home Collection in Port Chester—“His workmanship is excellent, and he is particularly skilled in mixing different types of surfaces, like tile, glass, and stone”—and Susan Gasch, owner of Terra Tile & Marble in Briarcliff Manor, who says, “He is extremely attentive to detail.” And while Maucieri recently tiled an Olympic-sized indoor pool, his projects are typically smaller: kitchens, baths, and foyers, with charges between $8 and $20 per square foot.
57 W. Sidney Ave, Mount Vernon
If it’s made of tile, granite, or marble, Frank Taddeo can reset, replace, and repair it. “Frank is a true old-school craftsman, the kind you rarely see anymore, and he also has great new ideas and his work is exquisite,” says Julie Pipolo, a co-owner of Mulino’s restaurant in White Plains and medical esthetician at Static Salon in White Plains, who recently brought Taddeo in to redo her bathroom. “If he says he can do it, it gets done,” she says.
For small jobs, Taddeo charges by the project; to replace and reset a couple broken tiles would run around $50. Costs to remove and replace tiles in an average-size bathroom begin at $600, depending on how much has to be done.
Home Gym Repair
If your stalled stationary bike has left you spinning your wheels, consider calling Dave Steinberg. “I know the machines and what clients need,” the former Precor exercise equipment employee says. Besides fixing your elliptical trainer or Stairmaster, he will do preventative maintenance. Steinberg typically charges $100 an hour.
422 Rte 52, Carmel
10 Silver Spring Ln, Ridgefield, CT
“There is only one man in my life,” declares Marcia Clark of Putnam Valley, referring to Jim Ward, owner of Mr. Appliance. “I have a Fisher-Paykel washing machine, which, it seems, no one knows how to fix. When it broke, I found Jim and he not only came out on a Saturday morning in a terrible storm, but he fixed the machine and he was nice.”
“We understand that it’s a hardship to be without an appliance, so we try to respond to customers within twenty-four hours,” Ward says. He and his five employees repair any type and any brand of household appliance. The most common problem? Clogged dryer vents. “The vent to the outdoors should be cleaned every year,” Ward says. “Once the self-closing flap gets dirty, it doesn’t stay closed and the warmth attracts birds, bees, mice. I’ve found all kinds of nests in vents.” The company charges an $89.95 service charge for the call, which is incorporated into the repair cost, based on the Flat Rate National Blue Book rates.