MAINTAINING THE ANTIQUES

April 04, 2002 11:00 pm
Richard Sloniker of Apple Hill Upholstery maintains the fabric on antique furniture belonging to the Hughes House. ().
Richard Sloniker of Apple Hill Upholstery maintains the fabric on antique furniture belonging to the Hughes House. ().

Richard Sloniker of Apple Hill Upholstery in Harbor was working feverishly last week to prepare three pieces of antique furniture for the April 1 spring opening of the Hughes Historic House in Sixes.

The two-story, 11-room house, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1898 by Patrick Hughes, and is known as the finest example of Eastlake Victorian architecture on the South Coast.

It is furnished and decorated to, as accurately as possible, reflect the era 1898 to 1923. It is currently open to the public 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Monday.

The pieces being refurbished by Sloniker were built between 1880 and 1910, and were being restored to as near their original appearance as possible.

The pieces are loaned to the Hughes House by the Oregon Historical Society, and representatives from that organization insisted on approving the materials and craft to be used.

The double stuffing on the settee, for example, is a skill not easily found. Correspondence from Marsha Matthews of the historical society to Lynn Smith of Friends of Cape Blanco states, The tufted work on pieces (Sloniker) has done puts my mind at ease regarding the settee.

Matthews also required detailed information on exactly what was to be done to rebuild the seat of the settee, and there is correspondence indicating the societys strong interest in just what material was to be used to cover the pieces.

I am sure that you understand that I need to be able to document (long after I am gone from here) what work has been done on any historic piece, how it was done, and why it was done, Matthews said.

The pieces were ready in time for the Saturday evening festivities prior to the opening, and comments were complimentary, officials said.

A raffle for a night at Hughes House helped pay for the refurbishing and the Slonikers donated some of the fabric.

The winning couple and the Friends of Cape Blanco are very pleased with the beautiful job Richard Sloniker did, Smith said.

Theyre beautiful, another member said, and added, That guy, Rich Sloniker, is really a classic.

Sloniker originally was taught the upholstering trade by his father-in-law. When his wifes father decided to retire, Richard and his wife, Roberta, bought the business from her father. They continued to run the business in the San Francisco Bay area for 12 years.

Over the years Sloniker learned more and more about fine upholstery techniques, appropriate fabrics and other materials, and the style of early furniture makers. He became well-known for his expertise.

They sold the business and moved to Harbor in 1990, opening the upholstery shop near their home on the property.

Because Sloniker is well-known for his skill in rebuilding and recreating antique furniture, their clients come from across the country, as far east as New York, and as far south as Louisiana. Next on his schedule are some antique chairs from Louisiana.

Clients looking for Slonikers special skills have said they dont object to the somewhat irregular hours they keep at Apple Hill Upholstery.

The Friends of Cape Blanco are ready to receive guests at the Hughes House. They issued an invitation, Please come join others at this lovely house on the bank of the Sixes River.

To visit the house, which is located four miles west of Highway 101, drive north on Highway 101 to just north of Port Orford, turn left and follow the signs to Cape Blanco State Park.