County man brings back items from the past to beautify the present

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:18

    STANHOPE-Stepping into the work space of antique dealer Karl Hoffman is like stepping back into the roaring 20s, world wars and the passage of time that takes a toll on humans and their possessions alike. Furniture, phonographs and other antiques from primarily the 1800s and early 1900s patiently wait their turn to be transformed back into their original state by the seemingly magical touch of Hoffman. Hoffman, owner of Restoration by Pine Cove in Andover Township, has been an antique dealer for 12 years and has been restoring antiques for 10 years. He is proficient in woodworking, metal working, handcrafting wood and just about anything that comes his way. From repairing and restoring broken, aged lighting fixtures, stripping layer upon layer of paint to get to a beautiful wood underneath or his specialty, fully restoring wind-up phonographs, Hoffman must use his own versatility to overcome new obstacles in restoration every day. His background includes commercial art, automotive restoration, industrial management and designing production machinery. "I take pride in taking on jobs that other people won't do," he said. "I try to relate different experiences to my restoration. Everything seems to have come together." Hoffman creates pieces in his metalwork shop, does electrical repairs and even upholstery and ceramic restorations. Neglect, moisture and paint seem to be the most likely challenges facing Hoffman's restoration process. "Generations didn't have respect for (the antique) the way their ancestors did," he said, adding that changing trends over time dictated the way a piece might be painted. For example, a turn of the century oak piece would be painted in the 1920s because oak was perceived as unattractive compared to mahogany or walnut in that era according to Hoffman. The time and energy expended to restore these antiques is a passion for Hoffman. "There is history and style behind it. Antiques are an investment," he said. His reading includes technical literature and books about early manufacturers and inventors. "When you love a particular art or trade, you learn almost every day of the week." From the earliest piece he worked on, a 1624 seat made out of oak, to lamps, frames, and phonographs, Hoffman's versatility in restoration keeps unique and exciting pieces coming to him. "I pride myself in making things look right, not worked on," he said. Karl Hoffman can be reached at his studio Restoration by Pine Cove at 973-786-7601 or by E-mail at