After this particularly harsh New York winter, which saw my home heated to inferno-like levels, I headed to hardware emporium Gracious Home in search of a remedy for dry, cracked wood and leather surfaces.
I explained my situation: a 19th-century French farm table literally splitting after six months spent next to a scorching radiator. Without missing a beat, the clerk suggested Christophe Pourny’s Furniture Tonic ($18). I have since become a huge fan of this Brooklyn-based furniture restorer’s product line that includes serums, creams and pastes – all designed to nourish various woods, leather and stone, and restore their original lustre, grain and hue.
Pourny’s CV is certainly impressive. Raised in the south of France, he spent years in his parents’ antiques store – and later at his uncle Pierre Madel’s shop in Paris’s Rue Jacob – learning about everything from straw marquetry to intricate wall panelling and custom reproductions. In addition to working with such noted designers as Jamie Drake and Robert Stern, Pourny is also an official restorer for the City of New York, and was recently enlisted to repair George Washington’s writing desk for City Hall, among other high-profile projects. In short, he knows antique furniture and fine finishes. It will come as no surprise, then, to learn that his product range is among the best I’ve tried.
All of Pourny’s lightly scented formulations are made from North American seeds and French essential oils, and all are free of harsh chemicals and preservatives. I started with the basic Furniture Tonic that is infused with walnut and linseed oils, and it worked wonders moisturising the aforementioned farm table. This tonic is made in small batches and can be ordered in natural, lavender, rosemary, cedar, sandalwood and bergamot varieties, and each is beautifully bottled with a chic label.
I have since moved on to the larger Furniture Care Kit ($115) that, alongside the tonic, includes Color Reviver (excellent for reviving surfaces after sun damage) and Leather Serum & Paste that, in addition to conditioning upholstery, also brings shoes, handbags and belts back to life. Small tins of beeswax-infused Paste Wax add another natural way to safely polish delicate surfaces. All of these come smartly packaged in a wooden box – now available for global delivery.