How to Go Shopping for Architectural Salvage

Focus on an items condition.
Although most products offered in architectural salvage shops are utilized (there can be some brand-new stuff, like remaining building materials), you still wish to ensure that theyre functional; or, if they require some work, that its something you can do yourself (or want to pay another person to do).

How to go shopping at architectural salvage stores.
Here are a few things to remember if architectural salvage shops are brand-new to you:.
Share realistic expectations (and an open mind).
It assists to go in with some idea of what to anticipate if this is your first time shopping for architectural salvage. Of all, the inventory in these stores modifications constantly, so simply since you as soon as saw a 1950s refrigerator there doesnt imply they constantly have them in stock.

In some cases, architectural salvage stores are associated with a not-for-profit organization, like Habitat for Humanity ReStores (they also offer furnishings, appliances, and structure materials) or Building Value in Cincinnati (which is operated by Easterseals), and tend to have costs on the lower end of the spectrum.

For painted wood: Proceed with care– theres a great chance it includes at least some lead-based paint, which is a health danger.

Fortunately, theyre not necessarily extinct, thanks to architectural salvage shops. If youve never visited one in the past– or arent rather sure what they are– heres a fast guide to how to patronize one.
What are architectural salvage shops?
Architectural salvage stores sell used items and parts from business and domestic buildings that were removed either prior to demolition, or remodeling. For numerous people– whether designers, expert designers, or property owners– the primary draw is the possibility of discovering historic treasures that are no longer manufactured, and/or would be prohibitively costly to replicate today.

In an interview with Old House Journal, Bob Falk, co-author of Unbuilding: Salvaging the Architectural Treasures of Unwanted Houses, shared a number of methods for assessing a products condition:.

Everything old is brand-new when it comes to house design and decor. From patterns and colors, to furnishings and home design, a lot of the current patterns arent current at all. And while its easy to discover a new Art Deco lamp at Target, or a midcentury-modern couch online, there are some parts of older homes that just arent made any longer– like specific types of lights, windows, mantles, and other architectural information.

Photo: Susan B Sheldon (Shutterstock).

There is a vast array of architectural salvage stores, from those that are high-end and have thoroughly curated merchandise (with rates to match), to those that more carefully resemble an indoor flea market or junkyard (which are far more sensible).

For products made from wood: Are the types, patina, and end up an excellent match for your home? How weathered is the item, and do all the parts move quickly?

And while some architectural salvage shops do offer furnishings and devices, the primary focus tends to be on parts and fixtures from a home or building– believe mantlepieces, hardware for cabinetry, doors, whole windows and/or frames, sinks and other bathroom components, handrails, mounted lighting fixtures, and so on.
If you enter looking for a particular product, its completely possible that they wont have it in stock. That does not imply youre totally out of luck. Take an appearance around and keep an open mind: You never understand what you may encounter for your home that you hadnt even believed of before.

For doors and floor covering: How lots of nail holes have been pounded into the wood over the years?

Follow some shops on Instagram.
Whether youre completely brand-new to architectural salvage or a long-time fan and client, it can be helpful (and fascinating) to see what kinds of items different shops throughout the country have in stock. That remains in part because their stock tends to show the local history, including the period of the citys heyday, its primary industries, and the kinds of building products that were most commonly available in the area.

When it comes to home style and decor, everything old is new. And while its easy to discover a brand-new Art Deco light at Target, or a midcentury-modern sofa online, there are some parts of older homes that simply arent made any longer– like specific types of light fixtures, windows, mantles, and other architectural information.

See if negotiating is on the table.
Some architectural salvage shops are ready to negotiate costs with you; others arent. This is an essential piece of info that you should know prior to heading to the checkout.

If you go in looking for a particular product, its completely possible that they wont have it in stock. In some cases, shops will include that info on their site. If not, check Yelp or other evaluations to see if individuals have actually left remarks about whether or not a specific shop is ready to work out costs with clients.

Even if you do not live that in that area, and/or are able to buy this particular product, itll at least be on your radar. Plus, youll get concepts for how to use similar products that are locally offered for you (or just learn what they are).

For wood flooring: Have the floorboards been re-sanded, and if so, how many times? Are there any breaks, divides, or other indications of decomposing wood? Will the densities of older floorboards work for your area?
For everything: Check for missing pieces. According to Falk, “you can constantly find parts for the interior functions of an antique light fixture, however the decorative bits are hard to match.”.

Ask an employee if youre not sure what something is or how to use it.
For the a lot of part, the people who work in architectural salvage shops are quite enthusiastic about what they do, and are more than happy to address any questions you have– consisting of “what is this?” Even better, in addition to telling you about the original function of a piece, theyll likewise likely be able supply recommendations of non-traditional methods to use it in your home (particularly in DIY tasks).

A couple of architectural salvage Instagram accounts you may desire to follow include: Rebuilders Xchange (Cleveland), Olde Good Things (areas in New York, Los Angeles, and Scranton, PA), ReHouse (Rochester), Architectural Salvage of San Diego, Hudson Valley House Parts (Newburgh, NY), Portland Architectural Salvage (Maine), and NorEast Architectural Antiques (situated on the MA/NH border).

How do you know if a place is open to bargaining? In some cases, shops will include that details on their site. If not, check Yelp or other evaluations to see if individuals have actually left remarks about whether a particular shop wants to work out rates with consumers.
If all else stops working, ask someone who works there, saying something like “Is there any wiggle room on these costs” or “Are these prices company?” The answer may be “no,” but at least you understand.