Looking for Style in All the Green Places
Lately I’m a bit obsessed by home decorating with reclaimed goods like old doorknobs, ornate metal heating grates, and odd hanging crystals from a long-gone chandelier. Sure, it would make more sense if I actually had a house — at the moment, my new husband and I are squeezing into our 600 square feet, one-bedroom apartment — but one day soon we will own a home, and when that day comes, I’ll be able to spread out and complete all the projects I have going in my head.
Meanwhile, I’ve found that trolling architectural salvage yards and house-part recycling centers is a fascinating diversion. You can find some amazing ways to decorate your home in completely unique (and green) ways, but you can also find perfectly good double-hung windows, newel posts, kitchen cabinets, big pieces of wood flooring, and bathroom vanities (from this century, even!).
I’ve found a list of several of some salvage centers on the “This Old House” website, in cities like Sarasota, Buffalo, New Orleans, Portland, Seattle, Canton, and Queens, New York. Also in the comments section of that article, there are dozens of stores like these that people recommend in other cities, too. Google “architectural salvage + (name of your town)” and you’ll spend an interesting Saturday afternoon being shocked at the hardware, wood, fixtures, and tiles that get pitched during a home or business demolition.
Next time you’re tempted to buy a brand new, poorly constructed, cheaply laminated pressed/treated wood shelving unit from your local home decorating center, consider recycling mismatched but beautifully stained hardwood boards to create your own unique shelving unit.
Do you have a center near you to recommend? In my area, I’ve found Pasadena Architectural Salvage, Sante Fe Wrecking Company (in L.A.), Silverlake Architectural Salvage, and a shop called Olde Good Things which has one of its stores downtown. Now, I just need to find a house we can afford, and I can get busy!
Here are some related Green Options posts to check out: