INTERIOR DESIGNER Tania Chow The Partnership ARCHITECTURAL DESIGNER Gary Chang Edge (HK) ANTIQUES EXPERT Tsang Chi Fan Christie's Hong Kong HANDYMAN Mark Fraser CDI Professional Decorators paint specialist Paola Dindo Paola Dindo & Associates horticulturalist Richard Coumbe RC Landscape Specialists My wooden living-room floor is so uneven most of our furniture is propped up with folded cardboard under the legs to stop it from wobbling. Is there a more aesthetically pleasing method of stabilising everything? Mark Fraser replies: You could experiment with small foam pads which are virtually unnoticeable and will also save your floor from being scratched. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and thicknesses and are simple to apply. You can opt for the stick-on variety, pads with double-sided tape on one side, or the hammer-in type with a nail embedded into the foam which you hammer into the chair or table leg. Ikea sells Praktisk hammer-in styles ($15 for four; tel: 3125 0888, www.ikea.com.hk ); ParknShop stocks Home Living protective discs (21 discs in three sizes, $12.90) and Tiger 15mm felt pads ($17.90 for 12; tel: 2606 8658, www.parknshop.com ); Japan Home Centre has Rex hammer-in felt protectors ($10 for four; tel: 2873 0110, www.japanhome.com.hk ); and Reliance Stationery Centre at Hang Seng Building, 77 Des Voeux Road, Central (tel: 2522 9266), sells Germano protector pads in a variety of sizes ($15 a pack). I've been given a Chinese qin (seven-stringed zither) but it's not in good condition. The body is flaking and several strings are missing. Where can I have it repaired, and do you know of anyone who teaches the instrument? Tsang Chi Fan replies: The qin dates back as far as the Warring States period (475-221 BC) and is considered the most high-brow of musical instruments, since Confucius himself was reputed to have been an accomplished player. Occasionally a date or the name of the craftsman was carved into the interior and this increases its value. A 1485 qin was sold in Hong Kong for a record price of $1.6 million. It may be worth shining a torch through the sound holes in the underbelly to check for inscriptions. With the exception of early examples in metal, they are invariably carved from wutong wood. The surface is sealed with thin layers of lacquer to prevent it from being eaten by insects and this tends to crack with age. Restringing is straightforward if all seven tuning pegs are intact. Local qin master KC Teo does restoration and the cost depends on the extent of the damage. You may be looking at around $3,000 as restoring lacquer surfaces is time-consuming. Teo, who also teaches, can be contacted on 2895 5601 or firstname.lastname@example.org .