Cabinetmaking in Paris has a long pedigree and although it is a dwindling art, specialists are still much in demand.
The word ébénisterie (cabinetmaking) appeared in the French dictionary for the first time in 1732, distinguishing between the professions of cabinetmaker and carpenter.
It comes from the word ébène (ebony), whose Egyptian root indicates a precious black wood. Decorative rather than functional, ebony gave its name to the profession. Originally, an ébéniste was a craftsman who worked only with ebony, the favoured luxury wood for mid-17th century Parisian cabinets.
The Ebénisterie Tapisserie at 46 rue de Verneuil, close to the offices of 56Paris Real Estate, is a little cabinetmaking workshop established in 2007. Their customers are people who have antique pieces in need of care and attention.
It’s run by Laura and Yvan who are experts in cabinetmaking skills in Paris. “A cabinetmaker’s craft mainly involves applying thin sheets of precious wood called veneer to a piece of furniture, made mostly of solid wood, to conceal its structure completely or partially,” Laura explains.
Bespoke Cabinetmaking in Paris
The essence of cabinet making is the sparing use of precious wood and careful conservation during restoration work.
“Our workshop specializes in restoration work. We’re always careful never to alter the style of an original piece of furniture. To achieve this, we try to use as far as possible existing features that we can salvage and not to over-decorate a piece.”
The Ebénisterie Tapisserie dates back to 1938. “Before 2007, we were based in a little courtyard at 13 rue de Lille,” says Laura. “We chose to move to the rue de Verneuil because it allowed us to benefit much more from passing trade. We also recently opened an upholstery workshop so that we can carry out all the restoration work on our clients’ furniture. We wanted to stay in the same neighborhood as far as possible.”
Their clients tend to be residents of the neighborhood, most of them French. Some families have used the workshop’s services for generations. “Word of mouth is our principal means of attracting customers. We work too with the many antiques dealers in the 6th and 7th arrondissements, who often call upon us,” Laura adds.
She and Yvan love the neighborhood with its refined and friendly clientele. “That’s not easy to find everywhere. Here, the neighborhood character is strong and it has a village-like ambiance that’s authentic.”
If you enjoy furnishing your Paris apartment with a few elegant and original pieces from vintage fairs and antiques outlets, their services might well come in useful. You can drop in to see us on the same occasion as we are located just down the block from this piece of French history.