Modern architecture may be all about futuristic designs and nature-inspired glass structures, but the past still has a place in our homes. Whether it’s a Georgian fireplace that oozes Old World charm and coziness, or an elaborate wrought-iron stair railing salvaged from a historic home, when it comes to finding unique décor features, there is no better place to look than architectural salvage stores.
Unlike antiques that are usually old objects d’art or furniture pieces, architectural salvage encompasses a much broader range of interior décor items and home features. The goal of salvage businesses (and non-profit organizations) is to retrieve as much as possible from old buildings slated for demolition, including bathtubs, lighting fixtures, window trims, and even flooring and roofing accents. It is a slow process that requires a lot of patience and a lot of knowledge as some interior features, such as stained glass windows, for example, can be easily damaged.
Architectural salvage stores are where you’ll find literal pieces of architectural history—objects created hundreds of years ago at the helm of a particular design movement (and often in other countries) that are truly priceless. That’s why salvage places play such an important role in preservation. Sustainability is another reason why people are showing up more and more at architectural salvage stores. Reclaiming and reusing a vintage piece of décor—be it a decorative door or even construction materials such as brick and lumber—is, of course, an environmentally friendly practice.
Ready to add some historic character to your home? Head to these stores that go above and beyond to offer the most beautiful architectural salvage.
Demolition Depot, New York City, New York
Demolition Depot has two locations—one in Harlem and another in Middleton, Connecticut—where they offer an impressive and very extensive collection of fine architectural pieces. From an entire maplewood and mahogany 1950s art deco Brunswick bar to smaller items such as wrought-iron swinging gates and a stunning Louis XV-style bronze chandelier, Demolition Depot houses some of the most beautifully crafted pieces you’ll ever find.
159-161 E 126th St, New York, NY 10035
Orr-Reed Wrecking Co., Dallas, Texas
For almost 80 years, Orr-Reed Wrecking Co. has been deconstructing some of Dallas’s finest historic homes and businesses. Local designers flock to the showroom searching for salvaged one-of-a-kind architectural elements such as doors, hardwood flooring, wrought-iron fencing, and other treasures that are part of the city’s architectural heritage.
1903 Rock Island St, Dallas, TX 75207
Salvage One, Chicago
This Chicago salvage store is dedicated to preserving the city’s architectural history and offers a cool mix of items from various periods. From retro diner stools, a clamshell sink, elegant art deco pendants, and sconces, trust us—you will not be leaving Salvage One empty handed.
1840 W Hubbard Street, Chicago, IL 60622
Buffalo ReUse, Buffalo, New York
Buffalo ReUse has the most extensive inventory of salvaged items from historic structures in the city. So if you’re in the market for classic architectural gems such as vintage wood fireplace mantels, ‘70s cupboards, bathroom vanities, or antique doorknobs, head to this organization’s warehouse. Just make sure to free up an entire afternoon, as the number of fascinating items you’ll find here can be quite time-consuming to go through.
296 E Ferry St, Buffalo, NY 14208
Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage, Portland, Oregon
From salvaged wood beams to one-of-a-kind lighting fixtures, such as a massive spotlight by one of the first electric companies, the Westinghouse Electric Company, and 19th-century Arts and Crafts tiles, Portland’s Aurora Mills Architectural Salvage is a treasure trove of architectural relics. The store’s inventory represents many of the most popular and influential architectural styles, including Victorian, Tudor, Spanish Revival, Queen Ann, Italianate, and Colonial.
14971 1st St NE, Aurora, OR 97002
Columbus Architectural Salvage, Columbus, Ohio
Some of the highlights of Columbus Architectural Salvage’s current inventory include a white cast iron and porcelain pedestal sink, a large semi-circular wood-divided window salvaged from a historic home in Ohio, and a gorgeous wood Arts and Crafts fireplace mantel. The store spans 10,000 square feet of perfectly organized architectural elements and vintage artifacts salvaged from homes all over the state.
1580 Clara St, Columbus, OH 43211
Philadelphia Salvage, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Salvage houses more than 40,000 square feet of architectural treasures and unique finds. It is the city’s top residential and commercial designers’ go-to place when searching for reclaimed shelving, lighting fixtures, tiling, flooring, and building materials. The company also specializes in made-to-order pieces crafted from reclaimed lumber.
2234 W Westmoreland St, Philadelphia, PA 19140
Olde Good Things, Los Angeles, California
Hollywood’s set designers come to Olde Good Things for the superb selection of vintage architectural items, mechanical artifacts, and reclaimed wood furniture. You’ll find such unique gems as cast iron frieze from the facade of a beaux-arts building that was located next to Grand Central Station, or an entire hand-carved oak-paneled room that was once in the 54-room penthouse of a Post cereal heiress.
1800 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Architectural Salvage of San Diego, California
Founded in 1996, Architectural Salvage of San Diego is the city’s premier source for high-end reclaim pieces. They specialize in local, national, and international architectural salvage, and their inventory is updated with new items daily. Elaborate Victorian doors, thousands of doorknobs, stained-glass windows, vintage claw foot tubs, garden furniture, and accent pieces are part of the impressive inventory.
2401 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Second Chance, Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore’s Second Chance has a retail center that spans a whopping 200,000 square feet where you can find pretty much anything—whether you are looking for a small piece of furniture or an entire staircase. Their specialty is deconstructing old homes from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. to salvage as many architectural elements as possible and then sell them in the warehouse. The staff does a fantastic job of keeping the enormous space in order and organized by sections, so if you know what you’re looking for, it will be extremely easy to find.
1700 Ridgely St, Baltimore, MD 21230
Portland Architectural Salvage, Portland, Maine
This Maine store’s eclectic mix of architectural reclaims includes antique French glass windows, a vintage butcher’s block, a pair of leather-and-bronze studded doors, and a Gothic arch-stained glass window. The founder, Alice Dunn, opened the store in 1994 and, thanks to her eye for all things unique, has turned her initially small operation into a 20,000-square-foot warehouse frequented by interior designs, architects, and décor enthusiasts.
131 Preble St, Portland, ME 04101
Ricca’s Architectural Store, New Orleans, Louisiana
The staff at Ricca’s believes that 80 percent of every home slated for demolition can be preserved. So if you are the owner of a historic property, a trip here will get you everything you need to maintain your house. From chandeliers to doors, windows, cabinet and door hardware, lighting, and roof finials, Ricca’s has a myriad of architectural gems.
511 N Solomon St, New Orleans, LA 70119
Architectural Antiques of Indianapolis, Indiana
For more than 40 years, Architectural Antiques of Indianapolis has offered its customers a curated selection of beautiful architectural salvage sourced from across the Midwest. Don’t expect to find dusty antiques here—everything is cleaned, repaired, and ready to install. They specialize in unique period pieces—you really won’t find any reproductions or mass-produced items here.
5000 W 96th St, Indianapolis, IN 46268