For furniture needs, there are lots of choices

Posted: June 13, 2007

Frankford Avenue is to furniture what the Main Line is to plastic surgery:

You want a custom job, there's an outfit that can handle it - from Morry's Dinettes (8109 Frankford Ave.) up near Pennypack Creek, which specializes in reupholstering dinette chairs, to Pappajohn Woodworking (4355 Orchard St.), near the El in Frankford, specializing in custom hardwood millwork, cabinets, and furniture that can run to the many thousands of dollars

Summerdale Mills, next to Morry's at 8101 Frankford Ave., sells drapery and upholstery fabric to do-it-yourselfers and also builds custom-scaled sofas and chairs, sized as you like to fit odd spaces. "If you see something you like but is won't fit your space, we'll scale the frame," says manager Sharon Craig.

Gilbert's Upholstery and Antiques, under the El at 4529 Frankford Ave., is a second-generation family business that specializes in reupholstering and restoring antiques.

Gilbert Pons, the founder's son, has branched out and also restores 20th Century Modern furniture. Since he collects it, he has a good sense of what fabric makes sense for updating the great stuff you pick up at yard sales (if he doesn't beat you to it.)

In the Fishtown/Kensington neighborhood, Michael's Decorators (2214 Frankford Ave.) will work from a photograph to replicate furniture that you admire or pad out a decorator's sketch - or even a customer's vague notion-into a well-made sofa or chair.

The artist Bill Russell turns ho-hum wooden furniture into masterpieces using decorative painted finishes. Samples of Russell's colorful vinegar painting technique, as seen in Country Living magazine, can be seen against a grittier backdrop at his Fishtown work space, the Bill Russell Studio (1215 Frankford Ave.) *

- Becky Batcha

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