“The Doctors are In,” proclaims a sign in the office of the Furniture Doctors, a family-owned business recently relocated to Rathdrum from Coeur d’Alene.
The “doctors” include owners Jackie and Paul Malinauskas and their daughter, Lisa. Together, the three wood-restoration specialists have earned a stellar reputation throughout the Inland Northwest for their ability to repair, refinish, and restore furniture to complete health.
The couple says they’ve been “busy” since moving the business from their home, where they had operated for 30 years, to a commercial venture on Rathdrum’s Highway 41. They believe their reputation for excellence and the loyalty of their customers is what has helped keep their business steady. “I think our clientele would follow us to Alaska,” said Jackie.
The Furniture Doctors offer full-range rehabilitation for furniture pieces; and onsite floor, stair and cabinet restoration services. They also perform contract work. “We do a lot of moving, fire and flood-damage repair, and after construction fix-up,” Jackie said.
Although home building starts are down, she says they are still getting calls to ready houses for final inspection and have gotten some calls to repair flood damage due to recent weather related problems. They are also working on a load of fire-damaged furniture from the Lewiston area.
“One thing we don’t do is upholstery,” Paul pointed out, “but we do get a lot of calls for it.” Although they don’t offer the service themselves, The Furniture Doctors partners with others in related restoration fields in an effort to offer complete services, including upholstery, to their clients – kind of like a doctor’s clinic for home and furniture repair.
With this one-call-does-it-all concept, they offer upholstery, cabinetmaking, welding, piano, framing, tile, appliance, electronics, leather, painting, mirror and lamp fabrication or repair through their business.
Jackie founded the Furniture Doctors in 1978. With a master’s degree in industrial arts from the University of Idaho, and a love for working with wood, she specialized in wood finishing technology. She soon gained a reputation for cosmetic repairs, touch-up, and custom color matching.
A Spokane native, Jackie says she is doing “what I love,” and especially enjoys the detail work. “I enjoy tinting and shading lacquers,” she said. “I like the things other people can’t or won’t do, like matching a refinished table top to its base, or a new table leaf to an old table.”
A few years after Jackie founded the business, her husband decided to quit his job as inspector for the city of Coeur d’Alene and join his wife’s business. With a background in engineering and architecture, and a similar interest in working with wood, Paul took on the job of structural repairs, including fabrication of new pieces, re-gluing and re-veneering.
Daughter Lisa joined the family business in 1998. “Lisa grew up in the business,” said her mother, “and she loves it just like we do.” Since she began working full time, Lisa has become a master craftsman in all areas of restoration according to her parents; becoming especially skilled in the duplication of carving and the fabrication of missing pieces using an epoxy putty.
Together, the three family members form a professional wood restoration team, capable of diagnosing and prescribing treatment for wood of any age or condition. “We very seldom find something we can’t repair,” said Jackie. “Think wood, we can do it.”
To their knowledge, The Furniture Doctors were the first in the area to install a flow-over stripping system, which they found superior to the “dipping” process. Our system is “more like a shower than immersing in a tub,” said Jackie. She says the flow-over system does not peel veneer or loosen glue joints, both problems with the dipping process.
Caning is another specialty of the doctors. While they install the more traditional pre-molded caning, they also specialize in rushing and hand caning. “We’re pretty much the only ones who do it,” she said, of the time-consuming art of hand caning.
The Malinauskases feel “blessed” to have made it through the remodeling process of the building they purchased more than two years ago, and are happy to have joined the “small town, homey” feel of the Rathdrum community. They have plans to sell their Coeur d’Alene home and build on property they own north of Spirit Lake in the near future.
The Rathdrum Chamber of Commerce will be holding a Grand Opening Ceremony and Open House at The Furniture Doctors at 4 p.m. today.
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