One of the biggest trends in interior design is architectural salvage. Not only do architectural antiques salvaged from the past bring uniqueness, patina and history to your project, but salvaged elements are part of a booming movement fueled by millennials: reuse, reclaim and recycle. Nowhere is sustainable living and the #AntiquesAreGreen philosophy more evident than in architectural salvage. The Antiques Diva® architectural salvage buying tour clients are searching for everything from lighting to bricks to staircases to doors to bathtubs to gravestones (yes, I said gravestones! I love my job! You can’t make this stuff up!) to entire houses and villages! Europe, Asia and the US are ideal hunting grounds for reclaimed décor that delivers personality to a new home or a renovation project. More and more though we’re seeing clients requesting architectural salvage for public spaces – hotels, boutique stores, interior design showrooms, even restaurants, as today’s guest blogger Anne Holler from Demolition Depot shows us!
Architectural Salvage: Adding Spice to Restaurant Design
Who buys architectural salvage in New York? Actually, an amazing variety of people: interior decorators, DIY-ers, contractors, prop stylists, hoteliers, individualists, and architects. Those of us who work at Demolition Depot & Irreplaceable Artifacts in Manhattan, know that there’s one group of people who walk through the door with real purpose and passion: restaurant designers.
Success in the restaurant world depends on the mood and décor almost as much as the food. In fact, there are some diners who will excuse mediocre food if the setting intrigues them as much as watching a Wes Anderson movie. Savvy restaurant designers know that younger diners are an intensely visual group. Like a Wes Anderson movie, a memorable restaurant has to feed us odd details and visual surprises — often with a vintage tone.
“Adding architectural ornaments to a restaurant keeps the ambiance interesting,” says Evan Blum who has owned Demolition Depot & Irreplaceable Artifacts for over 48 years. “Old bars, antique lighting, carved marble mantels, even slightly tarnished mirrors, are items that set your interior apart from the designed-for-a-chain look. These wonderful features add personality and authenticity to your space.”
Within the downtown Ludlow Hotel is a bistro-like eatery with the cheeky name of Dirty French. Major Food Group designers chose bold brass antique chandeliers from Demolition Depot’s inventory to add patina and a mellow, relaxed lighting. For the definitive feedback, check on Yelp where diners describe the restaurant’s interior as “sexy”, ”cozy” and “Instagram worthy.”
Further uptown, there’s P.J. Clarke’s Lincoln Center where clientele are often dining before they dash off to the opera, ballet and theater across the street. The décor of this restaurant, a contemporary cousin to the 19th century P.J. Clarke’s on Third Avenue, holds a secret unbeknownst to most of the customers. The antique lighting was rescued and purchased by Demolition Depot from former live performance theaters. One chandelier is from such an establishment in Cincinnati and four lights are repurposed from the former world-famous Erlanger Theater in Philadelphia.
Choosing architectural antiques as decor can reinforce the quality of the product or service that is being offered. Jack Mazzola is the founder of Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee Shops, 6 shops in Manhattan, one in The Hamptons and another in Sag Harbor. The young entrepreneur roasts and sells his own organic coffee along with vegan baked goods. His restaurant designer, EunHea Kim, sources architectural elements – hand built church pews and Art Deco mirrors discovered in an Elks Lodge — from Demolition Depot. Antiques like these represent craftsmanship and tradition. EunHea feels strongly that their organic and natural qualities “are integral to the brand.”
More personally, Jack grew up around his father’s auto shop business and people who worked with their hands. He adds: “Bringing pieces of old New York into Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee Shops is part of sharing that story.”
Designing a restaurant? Architectural salvage just might be that secret ingredient you’re looking for.
The Demolition Depot
Learn more about Antiques Diva Architectural Salvage Tours
One of a kind architectural antiques make a statement and add authenticity to any design project. Reclaimed pieces mix with any décor to create a look that’s both modern and unique.
I hope to see you soon an Antiques Diva architectural salvage buying tour!
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