Do you find yourself standing back to appreciate straight-grain Douglas Fir, the rustic, pitted finish of old barnwood walls, or fascinatingly carved exterior and interior doors, all standing the test of time? Do you immediately have a new purpose for it, a new place or renewed desire?
Our interest in architectural salvage has flourished over time. We find ourselves fascinated with all things European, seeking out windows that grace a room with a kaleidoscope of colors and hand-forged hardware that’s akin to something from an Old World castle. These are elements of architectural salvage at their best, and sometimes worst, before being brought back to life or re-purposed. It has become a way of life, both for the goods and salvagers.
Where do we find such treasures? If you are seeking reclaimed wood for any project, Heritage Salvage in Petaluma has a vast and varied selection with resources and ideas as well. They can be found at www.heritagesalvage.com where even their website is an adventure.
From large salvage yards, to mom-and-pop shops that showcase hand-crafted artifacts, or in dusty corners of attics, barns, pastures and flea markets, this burgeoning industry provides a multitude of experiences. Choose the elemental experience of sipping wine while looking through catalogs, or go for the gritty, do-not-wear-white experience of “picking” through buried treasures that have accumulated over decades. Both experiences, and those in-between, can garner goods to be retro-fitted into modern or old structures, provide materials to fashion a headboard from a great door, or line a man-cave with instant character and ambiance that tells of true grit and cigars.
So, map out your quest, take off on the hunt, and seek what you will. If you are looking to retro-fit, be sure you always have all the necessary measurements (the blueprints might get bulky after a while) because you may find special items far from home when you least expect it. Since many architectural salvage pieces are heavy, large, unwieldy (a good workout for your abs), drive your biggest vehicle, haul a trailer – or find a good transport company to help!
Northern California is rich with resources; a good website is www.oldhouses.com.au and then find the USA Directory within. Sources like www.craigslist.com and www.calrecycle.ca.gov are also useful.
On the lighter side, antique bath and lighting fixtures, mirrors, tile, hardware and anything for home, hearth, yard and elsewhere, can typically be easily managed. Having packing materials for windows and mirrors, and boxes for sundries at your disposal is a lifesaver.
If you are a professional ‘picker’, you know the thrill of the hunt as well as the hard work involved, but the reward is sharing your wares with salvage seekers. For a bit of eye candy, inspiration and wonder, visit Bungalow Vintage in Old Fair Oaks Village, www.bungalowvintage.com. They provide a perfect example of those who leave a piece in its pure form, or change it up from something ‘old’ to something ‘new’.
Architectural pieces can add character and a timeless essence like no other. Each piece tells a story; take the challenge and see if you can discover what that is!