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!
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Unique and sustainable materials are important trends in interior design. Architectural salvage and reclaimed materials allow the homeowner to curate a unique, personal aesthetic that represents who they are – and isn’t identical to their neighbor’s home. We’ve seen architects use old French doors in new construction, interior designers source vintage sinks in multiple colors to complement a scheme, and clients buy gorgeous chandeliers to hang over their dining tables. The options really are endless. Owners of older homes often look for period pieces for restoration projects while those building new houses want something that adds the warmth and patina that only antiques can provide. Loft dwellers love finding burnished pieces and industrial salvage, perhaps from an old warehouse or factory. Reclaimed and repurposed materials add character and are one-of-a-kind statement pieces.
Where to Buy Architectural Salvage in Europe and Asia
Most of our clients purchase architectural salvage and reclamation pieces for a specific project: whether that’s an interior designer sourcing pieces to be used in a client’s home design or a developer who contacts us to find materials to use in constructing homes or hotels.
And as always – we have a slew of antique dealer clients who source architectural salvage in Europe and Asia to stock their own stores for resale.
The Antiques Diva & Co has helped clients source entire frescoed ceilings, built-in libraries, Italian roof tiles, floor tiles, reclaimed wood floors, and even staircases. Whether found on tour or through our Buying Services, our Antiques Diva Guides know where to go, who to talk to about restoration, what a fair price is, and how to ship your purchases back home. Depending on the look and style you want to buy, the best countries to buy architectural salvage are England, Belgium, France, Italy, Thailand and Indonesia.
Our English Antiques Diva Buying Agent Gail McLeod believes England is ideal to buy architectural salvage reclaimed materials.
Sussex is a key county – we have key architectural suppliers in both West and East Sussex. Somerset, Warwickshire, Herefordshire and The Cotswolds including Oxfordshire are other key locations. London has some excellent sources for both decorative antiques and architectural materials. We have worked on many projects and are aware of the detailed requirements when sourcing architectural and reclaimed material and objects for a specific project rather than for resale in a showroom.
Recent projects we have sourced for include a multi £million theme park – the theme was Victorian gothic and we spent 2 weeks on the road discovering ecclesiastical and architectural salvage and garden antiques. This included ancient fragments, stone roof tiles, Gothic paneling, crown top chimney pots by the 100, original stained glass windows 30 feet high and accurate period furniture for the interior of the various buildings and chapels on the park – all this done to a flat plan with specifications. They needed a large number of aged gravestones from decommissioned churches so I made sure our sources had plenty for them to choose from when we arrived!
Another large project was the remodeling of the former LA home of a musical superstar, restoring the house to the original Spanish Colonial style for the new owner – quite a niche sector but we found the most fabulous pieces and he was thrilled. Another couple was building a wonderful estate on the Seattle shoreline and has very specific requirements – they are currently on their 2nd tour with us to finalize the artwork.
Marc Allum is one of the BBC Antiques Roadshow experts and is also a historical buildings expert. He lives in an Elizabethan house just outside Bath where they recently found Roman remains when excavating the garden. England is a treasure trove for sourcing architectural salvage and reclaimed materials!
Read more: Tips for Buying Architectural Salvage
If you need to shop for architectural salvage and reclaimed pieces but don’t have time to travel, our Antiques Diva Buying Services will work with you to source, purchase and ship pieces that meet your exact requirements.
Toma – The Antiques Diva
Dear Diva Readers,
henever a potential client inquires about taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, one of the first things I do is ask them what they are looking for. One of the most common responses I get is, “Architectural salvage.” Whether people want to resell it, use it in their own home or source it for client projects, architectural salvage remains one of the hottest categories on people’s lists.
After taking an Antiques Diva Tour in Italy, a design client wanted more information on Italian roof tiles she’d seen while shopping under the Tuscan sun. Our Diva Guide in Tuscany, Susan, definitely knows her stuff when it comes to reclaimed rural Italian architecture. Susan’s experience with antiques as well as rehabbing Italian homes and buildings makes her our go-to gal when clients have questions about architectural salvage. This particular client wanted to use antique Italian roof tiles for a building project in America. Her main concern was whether they would be able to withstand the freezing colder climates. She also wanted to know if there was only one style of tile or if she had options from which to choose.
Susan explained that the antique tiles our client had seen on tour were the curved terra-cotta ROOF tiles, which are referred to as “coppi”. However tiles can be found in various sizes. The traditional Tuscan ones are smaller, made of a more compact clay and are paired with a wider lipped flat tile known as “Tegole” to cover the roof.
The larger curved tiles which cup each other are MORE COMMONLY used in warmer areas of Italy and are made of more porous clay, which means they probably won’t stand up to extremely cold temperatures. In some regions of Italy smaller curved tiles are laid on flat tiles. There is also another tile similar in appearance… but a litter wider which means here are two different sizes of the curved tiles which are used in different parts of the roof. The larger tiles go on the ridges of the roof – though sometimes the flat tegole are used.
Each region, just as in its cuisine, has a slightly different method of laying tiles and therefore uses slightly different sizes of tile as well. It all depends upon the style of architecture in that region and the gradient of the roof changes, which is often dictated by the climate of that particular area. Another thing to take into account is the color of the tiles which varies depending on the earth elements in the region in which they were made.
Who knew there were so many elements to Italian roof tiles?! While style and color are important factors, it’s even more crucial to know whether they will hold up in certain climates. It’s also just as important to hire the right contractors who will use the proper materials and installation methods to ensure a satisfactory outcome.
If you’d like information on taking an Antiques Diva Buying Tour, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to help you source antiques for your projects large and small!
The Antiques Diva® & Co – Thanks La Dolce Diva Susan for sharing your knowledge!