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  By The Eureka Reporter Published: Oct 17 2006, 6:36 PM · Updated: Oct 17 2006, 6:37 Local News

  • Vicky Lynn Foster’s great-great-grandfather, Merrit Foster, was a stage driver at the Lewiston Hotel in Trinity in the late 1800s. Foster’s family owned the hotel for generations. Like many who have a rich family heritage, and appreciate where they come from, Foster cherishes her possessions – many of which have been handed down through her family, or were part of the hotel. “My kids grew up with this furniture – 30 years at the Lewiston Hotel,” Foster said from her Eureka home. “When I sold the hotel, the couch and chairs stayed there. The new owners were selling it, and my husband at the time bought it for me as an anniversary gift. ”Foster has a great appreciation for the things of her past. She said that she was raised to appreciate family and she’s instilling those same values in her kids, and now grandkids. “My granddaughter, Leslie, was playing with my great-great-grandfather’s toys, and I said to her, ‘When you get older and are married, your kids will play with these toys, and their kids will play with them, too.’”The set had been upholstered in a red velvet fabric and was showing some wear. Foster decided to have it covered in leather so it would last longer. While there are many fine furniture upholstery and repair shops in Humboldt County, Foster found Matt Jaques and his business Jaques Upholstery/Jaques-of-All-Trades in the phone book. Matt has been working on furniture for 24 years, beginning in high school in Oregon. He said he’s had shops in several states, but has now established Jaques Upholstery here in Humboldt County. “I started out doing restaurant booth repairs,” Jaques said from one of his two workshops (one in Eureka and the other in Rio Dell). “I picked up sewing and expanded to re-covering furniture. Throughout the years, I’ve learned the techniques to work with all sorts of furniture, including the old-style methods required for antiques. ”Jaques believes that the older furniture is built far better than what the discount furniture stores sell today. “The discount furniture stores carry furniture that’s put together with lesser materials than what’s found in some of the older furniture, ” Jaques continued. “Even in some of the high-end stores, you can’t find the quality that’s in the older furniture. The framing, for one thing, isn’t as sturdy. ”For instance, Jaques said that some manufactures today use cardboard, particle board and poor quality foam in the making of furniture. “Foam is a fuel-based product, and prices have gone up. This means that manufacturers will use a lesser grade to save money. A good foam would be a 3.0 density, whereas some of the less expensive furniture manufacturers use 2.1 or less. It doesn’t last, and breaks down quickly. ”In taking apart Foster’s couch and chairs, Jaques explained the differences in materials. “This set was made in the 1920s. The springs were still good. They used springs because they didn’t have materials like foam. The springs were covered with a fabric and had horsehair in the lining to make it firm. ”Jaques said that horsehair was commonly used because it was sturdy and lasted. He did end up adding to the cushioning of the springs with a good-quality, dense foam. He also said that the fabric used at that time for lining was more than likely hemp or jute, and that today, discount furniture makers use poly-based, cotton, or weaker fabrics that break down over time. “Certainly the mentality today is of buying something new and throwing out the old. If pieces like these have family history, then they are important to save. The way older furniture is made, the quality of it is important, too." “This furniture means the world to me,” Foster added. “I’d tell anyone, absolutely, to have your older pieces upholstered and keep them in the family."

Handyman Article - Eureka Reporter

The Handyman’s top 5 do-it-yourself ways to add value to your home

1. Change your window frames.

Window frames show their age and are often overlooked by home do-it-yourselfers — new timber skirting can update the look of your home. Remove existing skirting surrounding each frame using a hammer.

Use a tape measure to determine exactly how much timber you will need on each window frame; purchase this from your local hardwarestore.

Saw each skirting board to the appropriate length using a 45 degree cut. The skirting can be attached by hammering it in place with 2-inch nails, wood glue or screws.

If the window frame is in a awkward spot, a hammer with a curved handle will allow access to hard-to-reach spaces. Approximate cost: Under $50 per window.

2. Paint or replace your front door.

The entrance of a house can really influence someone’s perception.

When people approach a particularly nice front door, they really do notice it. If your current door is out-of-date or weathered, you can do one of two things.

Renovate: Sand the existing door and give it a fresh coat of paint using a nice, bright color. This will create a warm, welcoming feeling.

Replace: Remove the door and get its dimensions with a tape measure. Take these to a hardware store to ensure you get the same sized door (under $100).

Have a friend hold the door in place while you screw the new door in place using a screwdriver. Note: Installing a new lock can be tricky so it’s best to hire a locksmith.

3. Improve the entrance area to your home.

The entrance to your home should be eye-catching — for the right reasons!

Ensure it is clean and accessible. Try lining the walkway to your front door with new shrubs or pot plants, or if you’re really game, pave a concrete walkway.

4. Wash away grime and mold.

We wash our cars regularly, so why not our homes?

A high-pressure water cleaner from a hardware store won’t cost much to rent for a day. Attach it to your existing garden hose and the high-pressure cleaner will remove mold, cobwebs and dirt off timber, concrete and paving. You will be amazed at the improvement.

5. Cover up stained pavement or driveway.

Unsightly oil stains or tire marks are easily covered up with a concrete color or stain available from any hardware store.

Thoroughly clean the surface you want to color — a high-pressure water cleaner is perfect for this.

Follow the instructions on the product carefully and use the recommended safety gear and protective clothing.

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