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New local firm set to rescue and rejuvinate antique furniture for a 21st century audience

After 22 years in the automotive engineering business entrepreneur John Gutsell is celebrating his first year after finally taking the leap to follow a passion for restoring antiques and making bespoke furniture.

After many years in the automotive sector working in an office environment with all his work being based on spreadsheets, powerpoint and emails, the desire to be creative was becoming stronger and stronger.

New local firm set to rescue and rejuvinate antique furniture for a 21st century audience

After visiting an antique shop in Wotton Wawen back in 1996 he was amazed that the owner had brought back antiques from France and had two interior designers rooting around in the back of his large van, ignoring each other’s presence and placing sold stickers on items without asking the price. Immediately thinking – ‘lets give this a go’ he set out on a trip to track down the trade only antique fairs in France to avoid people with deeper pockets and get quality items at a good price.

After visiting a number of antique fairs in Belgium and France as far down as the Loire valley, he realised that a lot of the quality pieces at good prices required some fairly intensive symapthetic restoration. On returning he set about teaching himself by buying every book on the subject and totally immersing himself on the topic while also engaging the skils of a well established restorer in Bimingham to learn the dark arts of restoring antique furniture – veneering, French polishing, wood turning, cabinet making, gilding, stain and burn concealing, joint repairs and so much more.

20 years on and while restoring and selling as a sideline and after constant great reviews from those he has restored for, he has finally taken the leap to devote himself to his passion providing an excellent standard of restoration and importantly customer service. He has extended his original passion in furniture restoration into building bespoke funiture and has trained as a stained glass artist. He has had rave reviews, all visible on his google business listing and Facebook.

He has created two websites - one showcasing his restoration skills, commissions for bespoke furniture and stained glass ( the other promoting the sale of quality antique furniture ( He has further diversified and offers short courses in stained glass and restoration.

“It’s been quite a journey over the last 12 months. Hard work, unpredictable income, long hours and paying a fraction of what I was on before. On the plus side I would never have expected to be working at a local prestigious hotel, restoring a number of items for a premiership footballer, designing and building stained glass door panels or making bespoke pieces of furniture so soon.”

“What motivates me is that there are so many wonderful pieces of furniture, hundreds of years old, each made by a craftsman with love and attention many years ago. The skills and techniques of these craftsmen will be lost in time without the preservation of their work. If skillfully restored we can appreciate them as they were intended for many years to come. I get that people do not want to furnish their homes fully with antiques these days but a ‘wow’ piece that tells a story and is either practical or beautiful can set a home apart from the stock items you get in the likes of the mainstream shops”.

As a celebration of his first year John is offering a 10% discount to fellow chamber members or free delivery/collection in the Warwickshire area on restoration work / bespoke furniture. Or a free consultation on stained glass work.


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