I just love architectural salvage.Â I adore oldÂ doors, windows andÂ hardware.Â Â Vintage bath fixtures andÂ fittings are always inspirational for the quality of materials and the integrity of theÂ design and craftsmanship.
On a recent trip toÂ Maine, we spotted a very small sign pointing towards a salvage yard.Â We flipped the car around and drove in to explore The Old House Parts Company in Kennebunk.
First, we had to meet the resident cat named Napoleon.Â And, what a cat!Â Â Bigger than Lulu by far, but very sweet and welcoming.Â After a proper greetingÂ and tummy rub, she let us wander the space.
A well organized salvage yard can yield so many treasures. I have been in yards where there were boxes and boxes of door knobs and after 10 minutes diggingÂ in a nasty crate, IÂ would beÂ frustrated andÂ done!Â Â Somehow I would have to find another way to secure the perfect match for an existing knob. The artistic display of possibilities here was so helpful.
For the purposes of The Perfect Bath, I wanted to share my photos of vintage bathtubs and pedestal lavs.Â As you can see, many are in poor condition.Â However, the exteriors are easy to repair.Â The interior of the tub is more difficult to bring back to its original condition. Visible rust is not a good sign as it is nearly impossible to remove.Â So, be sure to check its condition before you fall in love with the size, shape and feet.Â The same is true for a pedestal lav.Â Make sure the interior is in good condition before you fall in love with the shape. The ones in the photos are mostly cast iron from the 20’s and 30’s.
In this golden age of recycling, I can think of no better way to reuse perfectly good salvaged buildingÂ materials than in a renovation or new house.Â Some forty or more years ago Robert and I built a new house from 18th century materials spendingÂ countless hours rummaging around old barnsÂ seeking the perfect window or molding.Â Â We used old floor boards, some as wide as 20″, old doors, fireplace wall ends, bricks and nails and more. Perhaps we went to the extreme, but it was so much fun to uncover great panels under 10 layers of paint or the beautiful shape of a corner cupboard disguised in orange.
A salvage yard is like Pandora’s box.Â You never know whatÂ you will findÂ around the corner or on a shelf.Â But, there is always something to remember and save as inspiration for the next project.
To read more about my home, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article about the process Robert and I went through in recreating an 18th century home.
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