C & S Refinishing and Upholstery

Master craftsman Charlie Saah started C & S Refinishing and Upholstery after learning the craft from his father. Now, his sons Christopher, Alexander and Andrew work with him in the family business. They stay true to family: six of their 15 employees are family members. From fixing a broken component to completely changing a furniture piece’s design to custom cabinetry, the team at C & S can tackle any project.

What sparked your interest in furniture refinishing?

As a kid, at 8 or 9 years old I would go with my father to the (antique restoration) shop. It was a cool shop. Upstairs was full of junk; it was a haven for a 9-year-old kid. I’d spend four or five hours on a Saturday up there. While my friends were watching cartoons, I’d be with my dad at the shop.

How does being a business affect family life?

When I got married, my wife, Suzanne, would come down here and work. She was pregnant with twins and would still be here working, so it was literally a family business. I’d be working late, and she’d bring them (the kids) by so they could see me. If we had family functions or school activities I’d leave here, go to their baseball games and come back to work.

What are some benefits of working with family?

I get to see them every day. A lot of times we have lunch together. When I walk out of here, I know the place is taken care of like I take care of it. (The business) is like my baby, its one of my kids. I’m blessed, and I’m fortunate that the kids are in business with me.

Do you have a
favorite restoration?

The little pieces that mean nothing to anyone but the customer. The rocker the little girl is sitting in (as a baby)—they have a Polaroid of her in it. She brings me the same rocker; it’s an adult-size rocker, and now she’s an adult-size person. Those 
are important.

Do you work from designs or design yourself?

We do both. We can do our own designs or follow customer’s plans or designs. Blackberry Farm has a wonderful design team, so they’ll bring us something and come up with the color scheme and fabric. We can customize furniture, change the way furniture looks with colors, design, upholstery or wood, or just bring it back to its original condition.