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The Art of Architectural Salvage: ReStore

Mar 22, 2013

by Jeremiah Glazer

Philadelphia’s ReStore honors the work of the craftsmen of yore by selling architectural salvage — things like windows, doors, mantels and even doorknobs. Humble as they are, these items hold a powerful history that often evokes unexpected emotions and memories in the store’s customers. For ReStore, reclaiming and repurposing these forgotten treasures preserves something valuable while giving it a second life.

110 comments

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    Love :) I think some of the greatest creations come from an items second life. This is great!

  • PaperAltar

    PaperAltar from PaperAltar said 6 years ago

    Bravo !!

  • BingoBox

    BingoBox from BingoBox said 6 years ago

    Great story! So happy that people are finding the beauty and value in old stuff.

  • scbluebird

    scbluebird from scbluebird said 6 years ago

    Right on! I love architectural salvaged items. If I lived in PA, I would definitely visit this store.

  • Parachute425

    Terry from Parachute425 said 6 years ago

    How wonderful! I would spend hours in a store such as yours. I shop at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore and will often go there before I go to the big-box store. I get something useful and the money goes to a good cause. Thank you for the video.

  • PoleStar

    Jennifer Juniper from PoleStar said 6 years ago

    I've shopped from and donated to a ReStore in Raleigh, NC. Haven't shopped hear in NoVa yet. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore shops are really awesome places to search for well made treasures for your home!

  • SquidWhaleDesigns

    Elizabeth McTear from HonestAlchemyCo said 6 years ago

    I love my city. Love seeing REstore here. There are increasingly more salvage/restoration shops going on in my town, including my friend's Philadelphia Salvage: http://www.philadelphiasalvage.com/ And so many craftspeople in my city making new things from repurposed and salvaged goods. Go Philly!

  • EdelweissPost

    Patrick from EdelweissPost said 6 years ago

    'The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.' ~ William Faulkner

  • lucentlampworks

    Brad Michael from lucentlampworks said 6 years ago

    Linda is a sweetheart! I have been and plan to go back soon! Thank you Etsy for spotlighting her and her vision! Cheers!

  • patspottery

    Pat Parker from PatsPottery said 6 years ago

    A very touching video♥ I sometimes use old wood moldings and old hardware to make impressions in my pottery. It does give a feeling of continuance.

  • jessgreenleaf

    Jess Greenleaf from GREENLEAFblueberry said 6 years ago

    Having access to a ReStore or architectural salvage place is really a great thing- often more creative solutions are born from working with used or salvaged items than new. And it's cheaper, which is very nice too!

  • H88255

    H88255 from HillarysSuperfoods said 6 years ago

    This is wonderful. I love things that have a history, it makes them so interesting!

  • Xenotees

    Xenotees from Xenotees said 6 years ago

    Awesome video!

  • mirabellamorello

    mirabellamorello from mirabellamorello said 6 years ago

    Places like this are so, so beautiful to me! There is a shop like this in Washington, DC called The Brass Knob and I was just enthralled to see all of the gorgeous old windows, doors, mantlepieces and more from beautiful old buildings in the Washington area. I completely agree with the owner of ReStore in that newer is not always more beautiful (and certainly not as durable, in many cases). And as she points out, it is an attitude which is clearly just wasteful. Why do so many people think they are are "improving" a home just because they have stripped all the history from it? There is an innate dignity in doors, windows and other beautiful objects, many of which were hand-made. I feel so strongly about this because I'm lucky enough to live in the house that my mother's father built in 1926 with his own hands. So many times, I am reminded of his fastidious attention to detail and I am grateful for it! I like to think he would like to know there are people out there, like the owner of ReStore and The Brass Knob, who appreciate what he and others did to make buildings more beautiful!

  • GisieArt

    Giselle from MyArtAndFashion said 6 years ago

    My husband and I love going to shops like yours. We love finding treasures or thinking what we could do with them. Thank you for sharing!!

  • SomeKindOfPretty

    Catheryn Dallenbach from SomeKindOfPretty said 6 years ago

    Looks great!! I love it all!

  • gardenjewels

    Julie DeGroot from JewelsInTheGarden said 6 years ago

    Love this! What an incredible store! We built our own home and filled it with many upcycled pieces of days gone by. I need to take a trip to Philadelphia :)

  • LillyQueenBeads

    Sara from LillyQueenVintage said 6 years ago

    I love repourposing things!

  • KathrynPHaley

    Kate Haley from CopperSpineStudio said 6 years ago

    What a lovely video and inspiring video. I dream of owning a home one day full of well crafted items and details, a house where things are bought once and then forever cherished.

  • JillianReneDecor

    Jillian Carmine from JillianReneDecor said 6 years ago

    This is such a great story. I always find myself fascinated when I venture through the one here in Richmond.

  • SamSammie

    Sam from SamieSam said 6 years ago

    You need to open a winter location in Albuquerque. I miss my roots of Salvage 1 in Chicago. Great piece. Well done!

  • CarpetShopPrincess

    Katie Koshy from carpetshopprincess said 6 years ago

    What a lovely shop you have! I think it takes a special person to work with and/or use architectural salvage materials. You have to love the history, the pieces, and the craftsmanship, because it truly is a labor of love to restore, reuse, and repurpose these items.

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 6 years ago

    Well done!!!

  • lovelygifts

    Linda from lovelygifts said 6 years ago

    Great story!

  • dominicduroino

    Dominic Duronio from Fr8design said 6 years ago

    Great video. It's sad how many things end up in land fills.

  • mooshoopork

    mooshoo from mooshoopork said 6 years ago

    I am always drawn to architectural details... places like that I could wander in for hours! So many good bits :)

  • GoldenDaysAntiques

    Nancy from GoldenDaysAntiques said 6 years ago

    That was a beautiful and inspiring video. Bravo!

  • buhnon

    Shantel Nielson from ThePinkRaffy said 6 years ago

    I love old things!

  • slathered

    Sharon Moores from slathered said 6 years ago

    Salvage is a wonderful way to make sure unwanted pieces can find a new life instead of ending up at the dump. I live in the D.C. area and have found old plantation shutters at a salvage store called The Brass Knob that I used in my old craft show display. And Portland, Maine, has a fantastic salvage store called Portland Architectural Salvage -- I could spend hours in there. It's a dirty, messy business, but I really appreciate the people willing to spend time to preserve some architectural beauty.

  • heartseasevintage

    Heartsease Vintage from heartseasevintage said 6 years ago

    I feel the same about old things. The effort, the craftsmanship, the silent history. Lovely story and wish I could go to that shop right now.

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose said 6 years ago

    Love salvaged stuff

  • amymerry

    Amy Emery from MerryLadybug said 6 years ago

    Great piece! Wish it was closer to Oregon.

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle said 6 years ago

    Personally I love restored one of a kind things. Like a piece of art!

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle said 6 years ago

    I see restorations as art. Love it!!

  • ikabags

    IKA PARIS from ikabags said 6 years ago

    This is wonderful. I love things that have a history , how beautiful !

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 6 years ago

    Awesome!

  • Overdue

    Kiova Staley from joyridevintage said 6 years ago

    Fantastic video, I am so appreciative of everyone who takes the time and care to breath new life into beautiful objects that others would cast aside! It is one of my biggest pleasures to find a treasure in a store like this and recreate it into something useful. Consciously creating items with sustainability and respect for our limited resources in mind is so important--it is refreshing to be part of a community that "gets it". May we all spread the word and inspire others to do the same!

  • ItchinStitchin

    Amanda Wytas-Ackermann from ItchinStitchin said 6 years ago

    YES! We need more of this thinking - don't fix what isn't broken and use everything you have to it's fullest potential. We bought an old home from 1894 last fall - one of the things we loved the most is it's original wavy glass windows - we have had several people advise us to replace them with new energy efficient ones ....no thank you.

  • AntiquesPlus

    Carole from AntiquesPlus said 6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story & shop. I love it!

  • MissingHeirloom

    Elizabeth Pickett from MissingHeirloom said 6 years ago

    My 1909 home is outfitted and furnished with items from a non profit architectural warehouse. We have done several restorations and not only purchased items from the ReStore, but also donated excess building materials back to the same!

  • 1shopaholic4u

    Tonia Anson from Shopaholic4U said 6 years ago

    I love it, thanks for sharing...

  • christineshmisteen

    CHRISTINE SHMISTEEN from TheArtOfFinerThings said 6 years ago

    kept EVERYTHING? (or practically everything) well, this is a tale of hoarding gone right.

  • mtuli

    Melody Tuli from Biggirlzz said 6 years ago

    great story!

  • GeorgieGirlLLC

    D George from GeorgieGirlLLC said 6 years ago

    Wow, I could spend the day at your salvage mill. What you say is true, true craftsman (men and women) touched those items and nothing should ever go to waste. Thank you for sharing. I took the liberty of posting this video to Pinterest.

  • FreshFromtheFlame

    FreshFromtheFlame from FreshFromtheFlame said 6 years ago

    I agree there is a spirit to these salvaged items! Great point.

  • GardenDaisiesStudio

    Katie from GardenDaisiesStudio said 6 years ago

    So very awesome. I have donated and shopped at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, but it's nothing like this one in PA. I love the old architectural finds and enjoy surrounding our home with the nostalgia of the past. Everything was handcrafted, had intricate time-period designs and was built to last. Love love this!

  • seasidecloth

    seasidecloth from seasidecloth said 6 years ago

    Salvage and re-use is good on so many levels.

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts said 6 years ago

    Wonderful video!! Love, love architectural salvage! I could go on vacation in a store like this! If those old pieces could talk, I would surely listen!

  • janicewd

    janicewd from janicewd said 6 years ago

    Treasures from the past are wonderful.

  • purposedesign

    Julie Pedersen from purposedesign said 6 years ago

    A fascinating store! When I opened my tea shop a few months ago, I used many upcycled objects to furnish the space. Of all the comments I get daily, the most are about the old doors from my basement that I turned into long trestle tables. They are both functional and lovely to look at. I hope that my tables will inspire others to make something beautiful out of something discarded. That would make me very happy.

  • miriammcgowan

    miriam from MizMiriam said 6 years ago

    wow your awesome ,love to visit your store.

  • dizhasneatstuff

    deb fearon from dizhasneatstuff said 6 years ago

    thanks for doing the good work of rescuing these old treasures. I'm rebuilding my home with all recycled items, gives it character and it's great design for a fraction of the cost new.

  • thevicagirl

    VaLon Frandsen from thevicagirl said 6 years ago

    I love the idea of ReStore. I would love to go wandering through one one of these days. Love it. Right now I settle for my local thrift store.

  • richardlithgow

    Richard Lithgow from RichardLithgow said 6 years ago

    Wooohoooo! Great job there!

  • pisthelimit

    Kristen from pisthelimit said 6 years ago

    how surprising to see this here! Linda is actually a close family friend - and her store really is something incredible. I love the intimacy of this video, it captured Linda and her shop so well. If you're in the Philadelphia area, please think of ReStore next time you have a project at home to work on!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from Crackerjackarma said 6 years ago

    terrific video ~ I have an old home with many original pieces of hardware and structural foundations. I seek out original pieces when something breaks. Once fixed I say "this should last about another hundred years"

  • shaylen303

    Shaylen Maxwell from CustomPopPortraits said 6 years ago

    Agh, reminds me of my grandmother's basement! I think I'm a reseller at restorer at heart!

  • abenakcreation

    Virpi Irene Bendandi from ABenakCreation said 6 years ago

    Beautiful -- Not only do you save money and materials, (and the earth and your environment in the process), but you can create your home a one of kind personal place full of character and charm. I wish there was a store like that in my neighbourhood!

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage said 6 years ago

    Awesome video!

  • mkasonen

    Merle Kasonen from Mekadorn said 6 years ago

    Great story and very true! Thank you for bringing this up!

  • twitchandwhiskers

    Mei-Ling Uliasz from twitchandwhiskers said 6 years ago

    Your story really gets to the heart of why I create with vintage items. Your shop is a gorgeous treasure trove and I so appreciate you sharing your story. You're so right about salvaged items having a history and spirit. I so related to your thoughts!

  • lcarlsonjewelry

    Liesl Carlson from lcarlsonjewelry said 6 years ago

    I love vintage!! Great story, my family and I use our local ReStore whenever we can.

  • opendoorstudio

    Martha Layton Smith from opendoorstudio said 6 years ago

    i love the ReStore. I am fortunate to have 2 nearby. Several years ago I happened upon a wonderful industrial table that I used as a desk... and found a 1920's parts bin cart.. with the authentic industrial wheels that are so hot today...I have repurposed it as a bookshelf or for display at a local show, it can't be beat. Used it as the focal at the Junk Bonanza last fall with Etsy! a pretty amazing place. they have chandeliers, vintage books and some have a huge supply of furniture too... found some mid century side tables there too... who knew.! I love to send folks there who are looking to redo their homes, donating helps Habitat for Humanity... time to clean out MY garage! Thanks for the story!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    It amazes me that architectural salvage warrants being treated as news in America. Here in the UK it's just part of every day life, with salvage yards everywhere.

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    I live in a converted barn & virtually everything we used to make it into a house was salvaged, only the windows & the floorboards are new. All doors, door furniture, both bathrooms, almost all the tiles & even the slates on the roof were salvaged. I've never been in a salvage yard that's quite so neat, tidy & clean as that one though, usually they're in an old barn somewhere with much of the stuff outside & virtually none of it cleaned or restored in any way.

  • voXevangeline

    VoXevangeline from voXevangeline said 6 years ago

    I'm just across the Ben Franklin bridge and I love architectural salvage. The next time I visit jeweler's row, I'm stopping in. Xo!

  • LizaJane56

    LizaJane56 from LizaJane56 said 6 years ago

    Great idea, to restore & reuse, upcycle everything in sight! :) That's an encouraging story! More of us should follow your example!

  • fishlegs

    fishlegs from fishlegs said 6 years ago

    We love to visit this store! Years ago we found an old porch post to add to our dining room in a 1980s house. It and other vintage touches always got comments of how cool our house was. Now we have a 1904 house with it's own character, but have needed to find pieces to keep it's style. Glass doorknobs, iron shelf brackets - perfect.

  • Rhett64

    Juniper Nick Sparks from SPRKLBAERIESWNDRLUST said 6 years ago

    I love Salvage Yards and Restores! They are overflowing with an abundance of extremely useful luscious vintage pieces filled with history and character and tons of charm. I could spend all day getting lost in one finding delicious and beautiful treasures to take home with me! I am so appreciative that Salvage Stores have a huge following of like minded ones who see the importance of re-using and re-purposing perfectly good items to keep them out of land fills.

  • VintageMarketPlace

    VintageMarketPlace from VintageMarketPlace said 6 years ago

    even just storing pieces in glass jars around the house for decor is my favorite. I love old smalls in collections. Industrial chic.

  • ArlingtonStSRQ

    Sarah Nolt from MoiPochette said 6 years ago

    Heartwarming! I'm a born and die-hard junker...can't pass up things I see on the curb.

  • Fiume

    Erin O'Rourke from Aruguletta said 6 years ago

    Love this! It's no different from an antiques shop, really. These are the pieces that have character. I really like the part where she talks about the craftsmen that made these things & the quality and love with which they were made. I'm so glad places like this exist.

  • oldandboard

    oldandboard from OldandBoard said 6 years ago

    We share the same philosophy. Terrible that this stuff goes to waste at times. Great video again.

  • TaylorArts

    Christine and Marc from TaylorArts said 6 years ago

    Beautifully done. We are totally in support of this shop and others like it. My husband builds furniture from reclaimed wood and often uses old hinges, nails, and other architectural salvage items in his work. When he gets done with an old board, I paint fish or country scenes on the tail ends of the wood. Nothing goes to waste here either.

  • minouette

    Ele from minouette said 6 years ago

    I love the philosophy of reusing salvaged materials. We recently bought our first home and regularly visit the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to purchase salvaged materials. Less wastage plus supporting a worthy cause! As a child, I recall an art class where we wandered back alleyways seeking interesting trash for making sculptures. I recently heard about 'trash swag' - a project in Toronto to share info and map placement of salvageable furniture, wood and materials dumped at the curb, http://trashswag.com/

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 6 years ago

    I truly love when we use things which otherwise would be thrown out or discarded as junk.....Giving it new life is wonderful....

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 from breadandroses2 said 6 years ago

    Our aesthetic and way of life, too: waste not. Locally, we don't have a one-stop mercantile for architectural salvage like the Philadelphia ReStore but our Habitat for Humanity ReStore has lots of fine old and newer cast-offs that have filled many of our project needs. The old Made in the U.S.A quality of most salvage is vastly superior to what's made in China, etc., the prices are fantastic and we are so happy to support one of best self-help/service organizations around.

  • iwantpizzanow

    Kate from DrawertoDrawer said 6 years ago

    Too bad reusing and restoring things aren't second nature to us anymore! Also, I don't know why, but it seems like there are A LOT of amazingly creative and enterprising people in Philadelphia– my favourite band is from PA, the Pizza Museum is there too! I'd love to visit.

  • whiteoakroom

    jayne from whiteoakroom said 6 years ago

    Excellent....Excellent interview! I WOULD LOVE TO VISIT THAT SHOP!!! My passion~ ARCHITECTURAL SALVAGE PIECES! Simply incredible pieces!

  • redgarage

    redgarage from RedGarage said 6 years ago

    I am a professional craftsman that along with my wife have been restoring antique houses in the New York metro area for over 20 years, and when I was a kid growing up in the 60's and 70's there was only one place I knew of that dealt with salvage, it was called Stamford House Wrecking and my mom used to take me there when I was about 8, and from that moment on, I was hooked,and I have watched this industry grow and grow and it's so nice to see an article on a place like Restore that is keeping the re-claim, re-purpose philosophy going. Thanks,great story

  • pamtiestrapit

    Pam from TIESTRAPIT said 6 years ago

    I love selvage yards, my Dad used to take me there when he was looking for something to fix up. Sweet memories for me in the video thank you.

  • KitKatCabaret

    KitKatCabaret from KitKatCabaret said 6 years ago

    this is indeed a fascinating article, architecture and structure are some of the elements of an artists study field, many of my friends and family have restored older homes and furniture

  • KitKatCabaret

    KitKatCabaret from KitKatCabaret said 6 years ago

    very wonderful article my sister has the most gorgeous home that has been lovingly restored, a treasure from the 40s

  • rozannajohnson

    Rozanna Johnson from Flotsametc said 6 years ago

    This is my dream shop!

  • kittikanyo

    Kitti Kanyo from ConsciousWoman said 6 years ago

    Ooooo PARADISE :D I want to go there! :(

  • janeeroberti

    Jane E Roberti from janeeroberti said 6 years ago

    Made me cry

  • KatieMarieHorn

    Cat Horn from CatMHorn said 6 years ago

    How did I not know this place existed?!? Thank you for such a beautiful story. I grew up with the same attitude toward waste and I love to hear that people are finding ways to rescue these discarded items from the past and give them new life. I remember my Dad, who works in construction, bringing home gorgeous antique details from the houses he worked on. Once he brought home a wrought iron fireplace grill from an old Victorian that nobody wanted and he made a faux fireplace in our living room with it. This is truly awesome, I am going there as soon as I can!

  • burkettjanice

    Janice Burkett said 6 years ago

    I really enjoyed the Restore Video. So true about vintage or old things. That is one of my favorite things to do . To look and scour over older things. I am looking for old shutters to hang inside a cottage living room. Would you happen to have any old shutters?

  • HouseThatCrowBuilt

    Wendy from HouseThatCrowBuilt said 6 years ago

    I love old architectural salvage. It's always so hard to pass up at the flea markets but no room here. I would love to have a store like Restore here in my area. I always get so sad when I see an old house being torn down and I know there are so many useful things there still with a history. Somebody loved that house and everything in it once. Breaks my heart.

  • thesocialcellar

    Leah Garand from PilgrimNative said 6 years ago

    I cried the whole video. She spoke all the words I've ever wanted to when explaining to people why I like to collect and reuse old things. In some ways you learn more about the past through salvage than you do from history books. Well done guys :)

  • ArcanaAntiquities

    ArcanaAntiquities from ArcanaAntiquities said 6 years ago

    Incredible story, thank you.

  • dahlilafound

    Dahlila S. from dahlilafound said 6 years ago

    I love this! I'm even a bit weepy. The past has a story & she's saving those stories & passing them on. <3

  • LinaNstich

    Lina Rodogianni from LinaNstitch said 6 years ago

    There is a story and a soul in every old item that has lived with people and families.

  • InMaterial

    Peggy McCallum from InMaterial said 6 years ago

    You expressed the reason to salvage so well that there's nothing I can add except that I would love to spend an afternoon perusing all of your treasures. I wish your store was closer.

  • ballandchain

    Katrina Balling from ballandchain said 6 years ago

    lovely!!

  • catchaleaf

    eva andrews from catchaleaf said 6 years ago

    Love the video; it is just like a palette of colors, shapes, textures!

  • knitsbycaitlin

    Caitlin Edge from knitsbycaitlin said 6 years ago

    Amazing.

  • deniseaday

    Denise Aday from TheEmancipatedMole said 6 years ago

    Do you suppose they only honor the crafts-MEN of yore?

  • MissEmmasCloset

    Alison from MissEmmasCloset said 6 years ago

    very cool post. inspiring to say the least.

  • nowvintage

    Bobbie from nowvintage said 6 years ago

    I love hearing her talk of all of the artistic energy and practical that is saved by collecting and using these beautiful items..great post!

  • shabbyone

    Anita Spero from AnitaSperoDesign said 6 years ago

    This is my FAVORITE part of this business. Keeping it "green"...Her store looks like my basement and living room...lol Great video. I wanted everything in it! Thank you,

  • FabienneAndSoho

    Fabienne from likeBonjourBaby said 6 years ago

    ah, pity i live so far away, this shop is wonderful!

  • recycledrowhouse

    Monica Giacomucci from recycledrowhouse said 6 years ago

    We have been to Restore many times and she really does have the most beautiful pieces. Old doors that have what seems like hundreds of layers of paint, the most intricate moldings, unique glass shades. And the setting itself is beautiful - set on a residential street in an unassuming neighborhood. You almost have to search to find the store itself.

  • Sleepwellfamily

    Rachael Kozielec from SleepwellFamily said 6 years ago

    This is awesome and in drivable distance~yahoo! Not all Restores are alike, this one definitely has charm.

  • susanmack3

    Susan Mack from HappyValleyHerbs said 6 years ago

    I SO want to go there!!!

  • marysullivanpierce

    Mary Sullivan Pierce from PiercePhotography said 6 years ago

    "Reclaiming" life's artistic endeavors is a great way to preserve beauty, memories and "self." Great shop and a must-see if I ever get to PA. Bravo.

  • tamaricci

    Tamara Ricci from BeholdAllThingsNew said 6 years ago

    XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!!!! Love it!!!

  • InMaterial

    Peggy McCallum from InMaterial said 6 years ago

    I love that all of the quality items made in the past are worth something to someone. It used to be no one wanted the old, painted brass hinges or the keys that no longer have anything to unlock. I would love to go to this place.

  • ionesAttic

    Barbara from ionesAttic said 6 years ago

    well done! some of my favorite architectural salvage haunts: in Minneapolis, MN http://www.archantiques.com A huge space that has been a venue for unique wedding and events. in Rockford, IL The warehouse/retail outlet "Salvage Too" is part of an effort that gives at risk youth employment in construction and deconstruction.

  • nickydill

    Nicky Dillerstone from nickydill said 6 years ago

    this is such a beautiful place, I love to re-use and re-imagine lots of bits in my work and this is an inspiration. Great to know that there are other such magpies on a magnificent scale out there.

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