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Chicago business marks 30th anniversary of building heirlooms, restoring antique furniture

Thirty-seven years after emigrating from Poland to the U.S. as an 18-year-old, Stan Bernacki continually uses skills he acquired early in life to successfully operate his renovation and conservation business.

CHICAGO – The City of Chicago is home to many specialty businesses, but few businesses are as specialized as Bernacki & Associates, Inc. Founded by owner Stan Bernacki on July 4, 1988, the company’s focus is squarely centered upon the restoration and conservation of fine antique furniture, upholstery, artwork, clocks, artifacts, sculpture, frames, family heirlooms, and historic millwork.

Serving a Varied Clientelle

 Stan Bernacki

Stan Bernacki

Bernacki and his team of specialists also design and build custom furniture and interiors. His variety of clients include museums, antique and art dealers, interior designers, architects, insurance claims specialists and private collectors.

From its humble beginnings in a garage near the corners of Ogden and Grand Avenues, Bernacki & Associates quickly flourished and just four years later relocated operations to a larger and more modern facility at 424 North Oakley Boulevard in Chicago. Over 20,000 square feet of modern space comfortably accommodates ample workspace for his skilled artisans, conservators, gilders, upholsterers, framers, and wood carvers.

House Calls An Option

The Bernacki team provides house calls and will examine and complete their restoration services on-site, both locally and nationwide. All work completed by Bernacki & Associates is carefully documented and performed in accordance to the standards of the AIC Code of Ethics.

Stan Bernacki’s personal history is equally as interesting as his occupation. Nearly all his childhood hometown of Jaslo, Poland was looted and burned during World War II. He grew up listening to first-hand accounts of the magnificent architecture, artwork, sculpture and other treasures that were stolen or destroyed. Saddened by the stories of devastation, combined with his love of woodworking that was taught to him by his deaf uncle, Bernacki decided to embark on a new life and moved to Chicago at the age of 18. He arrived on December 4, 1981, just one week after Martial Law was imposed by the communist government in Poland.

Family Store to Solo Operation

Serpentine secretary before

The view of a serpentine secretary prior to refurbishing and renovation. (Submitted photos)

Bernacki’s first job as a Chicago resident was with Columbia Furniture, a family owned furniture store based in the Ukrainian Village community. Later, he continued to develop and perfect his skills working for Colby’s Furniture and Marshall Fields.

According to Bernacki, “Knowing what my family, friends and neighbors lost in WWII, I am devoted to helping restore and preserve the historical heirlooms of our client’s families. Conservation work never gets old, it becomes more interesting as I learn the unique history of each new object that I restore. My goal is to have future generations enjoy these antiques as much as the previous generations did.”

Coming to the Aid of Others

Bernacki & Associates is a member of Disaster Planning & Response Art Rescue (DPR), a

serpentine secretary

Following restoration work the same serpentine secretary appears flawless.

consortium of emergency art rescue firms. Among the firm’s credits are performing furniture restorations on pieces from the Farnsworth House (Plano, Illinois) that were damaged during the 1997 Fox River flood, and assessing and treating museum collections and interiors from the Nelda C. and H.J. Luther Stark Foundation (Orange, Texas) after Hurricane Katrina. Bernacki & Associates also provided security and emergency evacuation of art objects from the Iowa University Museum of Art during the 2008 Iowa flood.

Bernacki & Associates, Inc. is located at 424 N. Oakley Boulevard in Chicago. For more information about the firm’s services, call 312-243-5669 or visit

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