Nick Emigh Saves Landfill History With Antique Furniture Restoration | 39 Under 39

Nick Emigh spends his days working in the same building his ancestors worked in four generations ago, Shady Lawn Antiques, formerly the Shady Lawn Creamery.

His family has been in the Walla Walla Valley since 1870.

Emigh is a co-owner of her family’s antique business with her parents, Dave and Jill. He’s been married to Kellie for almost nine years now and credits her support as the reason he can have the job he loves.

Emigh takes on the tasks of buying antiques, cleaning, repairing, restoring, researching, pricing and selling, but restoring antique furniture is where he spends most of his time.

“I will do whatever it takes to fix a part so that I don’t have to apologize or apologize for something wrong, and my goal is for the part to survive another 100 years,” Emigh said.

He said he felt inspired by breathing new life into pieces so that they could be reused and felt content to “save history from the landfill”.

His father taught him woodworking and they have restored furniture together for as long as he can remember.

He enjoys the challenge of finding solutions to the problems that arise when restoring broken old furniture. He said no two pieces are the same, so each piece has its own set of challenges, and he only gets one chance to get it right.

“It is a constant challenge to acquire a unique inventory of high quality antiques and to ensure that all restorations live up to our reputation,” he said.

One of the most memorable pieces he worked on sits as a centerpiece in their showroom. This is an old post office box window found in a local barn in a woodpile.

He said they had collected all the parts they could from the barn, and he used his engineering degree to sketch out a way to collect all the parts and create something new that honors the original.

During the pandemic, because his parents are in the high risk age group for coronavirus, they switched roles and he jumped in to manage the sales counter.

“The full-time buying / selling experience has given me new insight into the overall operation of the business,” said Emigh.

He couldn’t spend time in the workshop as usual.

“I gained a new level of respect for what my dad does, and he had a lot of respect for how quickly I can restore a room,” he said.

He said working with his parents on a daily basis was both rewarding and frustrating. He told his sister, “Raising parents is difficult. “

“My family history has always been important to me, and continuing to work in the same building where so many generations before me have worked inspires me every day to give the best of myself and to keep improving. business, ”Emigh said.

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