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Inside the Studio

  • By Taylor Combs
  • Photos by Mike Krautter

Combining expertise in antiques restorations and all-natural furniture-care products, the Christophe Pourny Studio is bringing old-world artistry back to Brooklyn.

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Studio Signature
Studio Signature

Studio Signature

Once inside the doors of the Christophe Pourny Studio, you are greeted by the smells of beeswax, linseed and walnut oil, wood, and other essential oils. These are the scents of old-world formulas and antique furniture, and this is where the two come together in the hands of an artisan. Left: A work apron designed by Christophe's sister. Right: Christophe in his office. 

Meet the Makers

Working primarily with interior designers and a loyal clientele from around the world, Christophe Pourny specializes in antiques restorations, period finishes, and custom reproductions -- all techniques Christophe learned while growing up in the South of France. The love of furniture and artisanal techniques is truly second nature to Christophe, whose parents owned an antiques store and his uncle, a shop on the Rue Jacob in Paris. 

Partner Jason Jobson joined the studio after years working on international fashion brands; the Christophe Pourny Studio maintains a deep focus on its clients -- whether the team is restoring a treasured antique or simply seeking out furniture polish made by a master craftsman.

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Little Helper

Antique pieces that come into the studio are meticulously cared for and revived –– a process that can take months. As readers of the recent Pultizer Prize-winning novel "The Goldfinch," we couldn't resist asking Christophe a few questions about authenticating antiques. "I think most people don't want to know [if their piece is a fake]," Christophe says. "In the U.S., people are much more interested in how it looks." Above: A penguin statue picked up at a trade show stands guard over various finish and wood samples in the duo's office. 

Table Topics

"No two restorations are alike,” says Christophe. True antiques can be altered and the finish can be changed; however, a good restoration should last a lifetime with only periodic touch-ups due to wear and tear. In the piece pictured, the table had to be completely repaired after arriving at the studio in fragments. The Christophe Pourny team reinforced all the joints and was refinishing the table during our studio visit -- a testament to the full range of their work.  

Finish Line

"What I love to do is special finishes," Christophe says. From his perspective, sometimes the simplest idea can be the most luxurious: a simple connection between the wood and the finish. An example of this concept is a Ceruse finish in which pigment is worked into the existing wood grain making it more visible and powerful.  With an encyclopedic knowledge of woods and finishes, Christophe can work in any medium; however, ebony and walnut woods are particular favorites -- one for its simplicity and beauty and the other for its versatility. Above: A window, surrounded by samples of wood finishes and frames, offers a peek into the studio workspace from the offices. 

Made by Hand
Made by Hand

Made by Hand

One of the techniques that the studio specializes in is straw marquetry, a furniture finish similar to wood veneer, made using strips of flattened straw. Each piece of organic rye straw is grown in France, specifically for marquetry. It can take up to six weeks to prep 25 pounds of straw for use. Each piece must be split, flattened by hand, and then ironed before it can be applied. Left: Straw marquetry picture frames. Right: Sheroldy Hernandez, on the Christophe Pourny team, works in the studio to carefully prepare the straw for an upcoming project abroad.  

Polished Accolades

While the studio offers its services to countless interior-design clients all over the world, Christophe does have other official duties here in New York. As the official restorer to the City of New York, Christophe Pourny’s projects have included repair work on George Washington’s writing desk, now residing in a formal room at City Hall, the restoration of Gracie Mansion, and the Holy See Mission to the United Nations.  

Perfect Pairing

In 2009, after a popular segment on "The Martha Stewart Show," Christophe and his partner, Jason Jobson, started selling the all-natural furniture tonic they used in the studio. Due to popular demand, their product line has expanded to include leather-care products; a suite of furniture oils, serums, and tonics; and cutting-board tonic. Above: Fragrant beeswax and carnuba wax go into the furniture paste. 

Packaged with Care
Packaged with Care

Packaged with Care

All Christophe Pourny products are mixed in small batches and bottled and labeled by hand in the studio. Extra attention goes into every detail. Even the wooden crates used to package their product sets are created by a company that has been making cheese crates for more than 100 years. The sturdy box makes for a beautiful presentation. 

 

Gold-Standard Ingredients

When shipping orders, Jason and the team at Christophe Pourny set up an assembly line of products, labels, and boxes. The collection is proudly made of all-natural, nontoxic, food-safe ingredients. Upon request, the furniture tonics can even be scented with essential oils for an extra-special touch. The Cutting Board tonic is made with naturally cleansing and fragrant ingredients such as rosemary oil. Useful and beautiful, these are the supplies that add to the pleasure of owning and preserving something unique -- whether it is a family heirloom or a pair of fine leather shoes. 

You can discover and shop the Christophe Pourny Collection in the Martha Stewart American Made Market

Turning Over a New Leaf
Turning Over a New Leaf

Turning Over a New Leaf

Left: A cabinet in the studio highlights the full Christophe Pourny collection. Right: Jason and Christophe at the entrance to their Industry City studio in Brooklyn.

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