Furniture Design/Build & Antique Restoration

Our (my friend and I) visit this morning in grey and dreary weather became much sunnier to see your work on my once-damaged desk. You really did a fantastic job and I am so grateful to you and so happy that I found you. Even my friend said in the car: “If I ever need some help for a furniture piece or advice, or even for a friend, I will certainly go to see him.” You really have put a lot of good thoughts in this work, it seems. Something like: “I have got to make this beautiful again” and you managed sure well!

The desk top is now on its other piece in my bedroom. It looks warm and tremendous.
Thank you so very much again Hendrik. It was indeed a good thing that I found you and had the feeling that you were the only one who would be able to do this repair work.

Have a good weekend and be happy that you left a likewise Dutch woman back in her apartment, being very proud of your work. I know where you are and I won’t forget your address.

With all my appreciation, Marianne

— Marianne S. (Burlington, Ontario, Canada)

We acquired a unique peanut-shaped coffee/end table that we thought would fit beautifully between 2 recently reupholstered art deco armchairs. Although the table’s design was perfect, its condition was not. There were significant issues with colour fading, a damaged edge and lifted and cracked veneers. We needed a restorer with special talents to save this piece. We are so glad that we found Hendrik at Passion for Wood.

Hendrik took the piece and provided us with a very detailed condition assessment, along with possible solutions and costs. In our emails and phone conversations, it was very apparent that we were dealing with a professional that loved our piece as much as we did.

Hendrik took time and care to do a beautiful job on our small table. He repaired and reglued mahogany veneers, blended the colour tones of the different base woods and finished the piece with multiple layers of French Polish. We are delighted with the outcome and the table now holds pride of place between our two armchairs.

If you love your furniture, you will love Hendrik’s work.

— Drew & Bett L. (Glen Williams, Ontario, Canada)

A note of sincere thanks indeed, for the 2 early morning, all day work days here at Don Mills. When we saw the great restoration work on 5 of our favourite tables, no surprise that we found 2 more tables + for your refinishing and restoration skills. Looking like new, plus very informative your instruction on waxing , and a few do’s and don’ts !!

Should any prospect need to ask first hand, we would also be pleased to talk to them on your work, care while in the home here, and your great housekeeping. Contact us first so we know that it is legit.

— Brian L. & Ann G. (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada)

My husband and I bought an antique Biedermeier style dining room suite at auction. The seats of the chairs were original but torn, and some chair joints were pretty loose. The sideboard top had been badly water damaged. Nevertheless, we loved the set because of the elegant walnut veneer-patterns that are typical of the style. We asked Hendrik to do the necessary repairs so that they would fit well with the pieces still in original condition. He did a beautiful job! The top of the side board has been gloriously French polished, and the chairs repaired with new joinery and black leather seats that look much like the originals. He was able to repair the chairs without stripping the original finish. Hendrik also touched up earlier repairs to make them look less conspicuous. We love the result, and his work was reasonably priced for work of that high quality. He has our unreserved endorsement!

— Christopher and Erica R. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Firstly, we want to say that we have no hesitation in adding our accolades to those of others already on the “Passion for Wood Testimonials”. When we first brought Hendrik our antique quarter sawn oak sideboard we were in doubt about whether it was worth the effort to restore this piece of furniture. The piece was in need of refinishing and significant structural repairs to the drawer backings and bottoms including new handmade dovetails. From the start, Hendrik understood that we did not want the final product to look new and shiny but to retain the old glow and tiger striping of the original oak. In 100 years from now someone will still be looking at and admiring this piece as much as we do. Thanks Hendrik!

— Brian K. and Coleen S. (Milton, Ontario, Canada)

Last year my wife and I decided that we wanted to purchase a jam cupboard to house our homemade jams, pickles and chutneys. After searching in vain in antique stores for an appropriate piece, we decided to investigate the possibility of having a jam cupboard built for us. We had a preliminary discussion with Hendrik to think about what it might look like and then a more focused discussion which addressed dimensions, design, materials and colour. Hendrik then came up with detailed plans for us to review. The finished product is excellent. It is handsomely made, practical in design and pleasing to the eye. We would certainly recommend Hendrik’s work with enthusiasm.

— Christopher and Erica R. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Dear Hendrik: Thank you so much for your hard work on the trestle table for our dining room. It was a wonderful experience to work with you on the design and creation of this beautiful piece of furniture. The quality of the workmanship is tremendous, and your care and attention to detail throughout the project gave us great confidence and peace of mind. Despite being a challenging product, the table was delivered on time, as promised. Your love of working with wood was evident throughout the process! We look forward to working with you again.

— Caroline & Jeff S. (Aurora, Ontario, Canada)

Hendrik has crafted two beautiful pieces for our home, a credenza with hutch and a walnut dining table. We had spotted a similar table in a furniture store but it was too large for our dining area. Hendrik worked with us to create a table that in the end was much finer than the one we had originally wanted to copy. His attention to detail and fine craftsmanship has given us a piece of outstanding quality that we treasure. For the credenza, Hendrik worked with us to match the case to our existing furniture and design sensibility and created another beautiful piece for our home. We could not be happier with his dedication, professionalism and the fine workmanship.

— Barbara G. & Richard S. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Hendrik has recreated two very special pieces of furniture for our family. The first was my great grandmother’s chest of drawers. It looked completely hopeless when we left it with Hendrik. However, the result was unbelievable. There were carvings on the dresser that we didn’t know existed because of years of neglect. Hendrik highlighted the carvings in a different stain colour – incredible! The marks and stains were gone and the dresser has been transformed. It is such a beautiful piece of furniture that we have placed it in our dining room to use as a side table. Hendrik was also able to complete some research on the dresser – when and where it was made. Our special heirloom is often a conversation piece and those in my family cannot believe that it is the same dresser. We only wish that my grandmother could see it now. It will be passed on in our family for many more generations.

The second piece of furniture was an old chair that was found in my husband’s grandfather’s attic. The back of the chair was completely broken off. We weren’t sure what Hendrik would be able to do with the chair. Again the results of his craftsmanship have exceeded our expectations. It now sits in the front foyer of our home and is the first thing you see when you enter our home. Hendrik’s attention to detail and pride in his workmanship is evident in all of his projects. I would trust him with any special antique.

Thanks so much Hendrik for giving us some of our past so that we can enjoy it in the future!

— Shona & John W. (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada)

For my wedding present I wanted a very special hand crafted table that I could enjoy in my lifetime and then pass on to my children. I needed a skilled craftsman who would respect my standards for quality and appreciate the level of detail I desired.

From the start, Hendrik was dedicated and enthusiastic about the project. Hendrik worked very hard through each phase: research, design, build, finishing and documentation. The result was an exquisite piece of furniture we are fortunate to enjoy every day. The table is a treasured piece in our home, and I am sure it will continue to be so for many generations to come. Thank you Hendrik.

— Anka S.G. (Belfountain, Ontario, Canada)

Over the past five or more years Hendrik Varju has completed several new projects for our home and my office as well as performing a major repair and addition to our antique dining room set. In fact, over 15% of the projects on his website Gallery are ours.

The title on Mr. Varju’s business card, CRAFTSMAN, says it all. I believe that his attention to detail in both the design and in the build phases of his projects are ‘second to none’. As the son of a cabinet maker and the president of an engineering business, I truly appreciate his workmanship. In addition, Hendrik Varju is as honest as the day is long. This is an exceptional combination.

— Joseph S. (Acton, Ontario, Canada)

Thank you Hendrick! I was amazed when you returned my unique dresser with the water marks, paint stain and cracking drawer fronts and damaged mirror back to me restored to a beauty that it once was. I had salvaged this dresser from going to the dump years ago, hoping some day to have it restored to the beautiful piece that it is now. Thank you.

Your expertise and skill in refinishing this piece has blessed me immensely. The ability to match with the existing color and repair the damage that was done to the top of the dresser is truly an art. You have demonstrated your love for wood to be able to take a battered old dresser and make it into a “show” piece. Restoration in the truest sense.

Thank you for giving me pictures of the before look. It is good to be able to show others just what shape the dresser was in, when all they see now is a beautiful piece of furniture. I hope you have a picture of the “new” look for your portfolio. Awesome!!!!

— Ruth S. (Milton, Ontario, Canada)

Our daughter needed a ten seat dining room suite which Hendrik designed and built for her. The work was of such original design and high quality that we decided to entrust the restoration of two family heirloom antique tables to him. That work was of outstanding quality and our confidence in his craftsmanship was fully justified. We wouldn’t hesitate to retain him again.

— Pat & Stuart H. (Thornhill, Ontario, Canada)

About ten years ago, our dishwasher stopped working after 20 years of virtually maintenance free service. It had been fitted with a beautifully laminated solid maple butcher block top, about one and one-half inches thick. Over the years, it became scratched through general wear and tear, which included some moisture damage. I had placed our too old to repair dishwasher at curbside for recycling but saved the solid maple top, which I had removed for refinishing for intended future use as a coffee table top. Alas, it remained stored in our basement until several years ago, when I drove to Hendrik’s workshop and asked him to refinish it.

Hendrik made me feel very welcome, and he spent a considerable amount of time with me discussing what finishing options I might wish to consider to make the butcher block into a functional coffee table top. I also asked him for his considered advice about flush mounting three Dutch Makkum hand-painted ceramic tiles as table top centre pieces. I asked Hendrik to proceed with the refinishing and tile mounting work, as we had discussed.

When I saw the finished product for the first time several weeks later, I was astounded at the transformation. Hendrik had (magically it seems) transformed a scratched, well-worn, tired looking and moisture damaged maple butcher block into a beautifully shaped and finished solid maple tabletop. Hendrik had rounded the edges around the perimeter to soften the existing sharp angular edges and with considerable skill had mounted my much loved Dutch Makkum tiles flush in the wood as centre pieces. Finally, he had applied numerous coats of finish labouriously and with great care by hand, giving the maple’s tight wood grains expressions rich in shape and colour. Over the years, it has been a great joy for us to have our butcher block coffee table as our living room centrepiece. Our coffee table’s genesis is often shared with friends and neighbours who have not heard it.

Moreover, we never fail to include in our narrative the artisan who made it all happen. Thank you Hendrik, for creating what will surely become a family heirloom.

— John V.W. (Brampton, Ontario, Canada)

Hendrik uses the finest of materials and his knowledge of the subject is second to none. We have two amazing pieces of fine custom furniture that capture the conversation of any visitors to our home. Passion, Perfection and Professional, sum up the attention to detail throughout the commissioning and building of Hendrik’s stunning furniture.

— Margaret and Andrew L. (Erin, Ontario, Canada)

Just wanted to pass a note your way to thank you for the beautiful table that you created for us. My wife and I truly appreciate the amount of thought and personal care that went into the creation of our side table. We realize the extra effort that you put into tailor making the table to our unique requirements. Your attention to detail and creativity of suggestions were very beneficial. Once again, the quality of your workmanship and the detail you place in every aspect of the process was much appreciated. We hope to do business with you again soon.

— David & Dawn B. (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada)

Your furniture display is impressive. . . . You have formidable knowledge and skill in your craft . . .

— Ben S. (Georgetown, Ontario, Canada)

I had the pleasure of working with Hendrik on a relatively small piece of woodworking, but the effort and knowledge that went into the final product was by no means “small”. Hendrik signs “craftsman” under his moniker, and this is true to the person behind “Passion for Wood”. During the time we discussed the parameters of the potential final piece, I quickly grew to know the knowledge Hendrik had in this field. Whether it related to woodworking techniques, or the properties of different types of wood, he demonstrated a unique ability to allow me, the customer, to know about what “we” were about to embark on. It was truly a learning experience. And oh, the final piece was exquisite.

— Bohdan K. (Oakville, Ontario, Canada)

. . . your website . . . is very nice, but unfortunately, is only a poor idea of how your creations look like and the amount of workmanship they incorporate. No picture could show the beauty of the wood, the finishes and the details of your furniture.

— Dragos V. (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)