Architectural Salvage Scotland
Recycling old building parts is far from a novel idea. In the 6th century, architect, mathematician, and city planner Anthemius incorporated 107 columns salvaged from ancient ruins to build Saint Sophia Cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey (the fourth largest cathedral in the world). In the early 20th century, architect Julia Morgan built William Randolph Hearst s mansion in San Simeon, California, incorporating entire ceilings, walls, and floors salvaged from medieval castles and churches.
Since the late 1970s, though, our growing appreciation of rescued building parts has led to a dwindling supply of salvage. As a result, prices have skyrocketed, restricting many of those one-of-a-kind treasures to the highest bidder. Luckily this active market has introduced several different salvage sources for the old-house restorer. From nonprofit organizations to reproductions, from the Web to Europe s junkyards, the venues for salvage have become as eclectic as the salvage itself.
Perhaps the biggest development in recent years has been that salvage marketplaces look more like a salon at Musee des Beaux Arts than Fred Sanford s front yard. Many dealers have shifted to predominately high-end decorative architectural antiques rather than mundane building materials and for good reason: They command higher prices. Many dealers have turned to Europe, Africa, and South America for such eye candy items. These upscale boutiques cater to old-house restorers with healthy budgets as well as lovers of antiquity. Housed in a defunct grain warehouse in San Jose, California s, historic district, Artefact Design and Salvage is such an attractive retail space it s won a national award for its good looks owner David Allen even rents the shop for parties. In 1996, Allen began selling from his front yard a host of Classical and Neoclassical garden ornaments that he had handpicked from demolition sites on the East Coast. Once his clientele started to block street traffic he knew it was time to move his operation to a larger space. Open two years, the shop has become one of the leading high-end architectural salvage shops on the West Coast.