Post restoration

Post restoration. Photo courtesy of Mark Nilsson


Unique antique and collectible restoration business moves to Kilauea

July 12, 2012 — Mark Nilsson has a unique business:  restoring and repairing antiques, collectibles and items of sentimental value.  He can fix just about anything old or new, i.e., dishes, figurines, sculptures, frames, lamps, vases, etc.  This includes items made of porcelain, ceramics, pottery, wood (carved pieces or frames), some glass (opaque and frosted), stone, metal, and plastic.

Recently Mark Nilsson moved his studio from Wailua Homesteads to Kilauea. He is happy to be available to the north shore now, yet continues to serve the entire island.

Professionally trained in porcelain restoration, he has over 16 years experience mending and repairing people’s sentimental and valuable keepsakes.

Five and a half years ago he moved to Kaua’i from Denver, Colorado, where he did extensive restoration work for dealers, antique malls and maid services.

Mark Nilsson is the official restorer of the Grove Farm Museum collection.  He has restored a major portion of Grove Farm’s collection after they received a grant to have him do so.

Broken object prior to restoration by Mark Nilsson

Broken object prior to restoration by Mark Nilsson. Photo courtesy of Mark Nilsson

He continues to regularly restore Hawaiiana and collectibles for shops on island such as Yellowfish Trading Co., Bambulei, Bungalow 9, Serendipity and Island Chic.

Mark restored numerous pieces for Mel and Pauline Ventura from the historic Horner Mansion in Wailua.  Pauline Ventura was most impressed by Mark’s restoring of a porcelain lamp that had been broken for many years.  (See attached photos of before and after)

Restoration is an art that many do not understand or know is possible.  His work is not simply gluing a broken piece together.  He uses a five-stage process where he carefully and meticulously glues, fills, sands, paints, and finally glazes.  The final result is an invisible repair that in most cases is undetectable.

Practically everybody has something broken or damaged that they would like to have restored to its original condition, especially when the piece has sentimental value.  Whether the piece is chipped, broken, cracked, or even missing parts, Mark can restore it so that in most cases you would never know it was damaged.

Some people have Mark repair pieces that are family heirlooms while others have contemporary pieces with great sentimental value. Since so much of what we live with has been shipped here, he repairs many pieces that did not make the move in one piece.  For example, recently a woman brought him a beautiful pottery Quan Yin that arrived in over 100 pieces.  Magically he pieced everything together and his client was excited to have her back in her home.

Many are amazed at how Mark can restore something that they deemed impossible to fix.  One woman who had a broken antique Native American Indian pottery bowl repeatedly said, “Did you go to New Mexico and buy a new one?”  She was truly stunned that his work so completely restored her precious piece. (See attached photos of before and after)

His first jobs on island were repairing people’s keepsakes such as a set of lacquer wooden bowls that arrived here from Japan over 40 years ago broken.  The owner always hoped they could be restored, so kept them in a closet until he heard about Mark’s unique service.  He was thrilled to have these important mementos from his father returned to their original beauty.

One of the best parts of his job, Mark Nilsson says, is returning treasured items to his customers:  “Someone can break something and be heartbroken and I can fix it and they are elated.”

The products he uses are the same ones used for museums and are even used by the Queen of England’s restorers.

Mark Nilsson’s background as a fine artist utilizes his talent of mixing color and matching fine detail in his restoration business.

Mark has a passion for sustainability.  He loves that his work restores and recycles items that would otherwise be thrown away.

A woman remarked after seeing pieces Mark had repaired for her boss, “It makes me want to break something so that I can see how he would fix it!”

He intentionally keeps rates reasonable and offers free estimates.  Also, he offers a quick turn around.

Off island, people mail him items to P.O. Box 967, Kilauea, HI 96754.  Insure items and use Priority Mail.

Mark Nilsson can be reached by phone at 808.822.4644; or email him via

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