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How To Shop For Architectural Salvage
For nearly three decades, the customers at Steve Drobinsky’s architectural salvage store consisted primarily of dyed-in-the-wool preservationists intent on restoring a period home down to its authentic 19th-century shutter dogs.
Then, in recent years, along came an entirely new breed of customer: suburbanites
lookingto replace hollow-core doors, aluminum windows, and bland cookie-cutter light fixtures in their new houses with something more solid, something with pizzazz.
“There was just this huge shift in appeal,” says Drobinsky, owner ofOhmega Salvage in Berkeley, California. The architectural salvage marketplace, once the sole province of old-house owners and a curiosity to nearly everyone else, is going mainstream in a big way. Today’s salvage and antique lumber dealers (more than 300 strong in the United States and Canada) are just as likely to sell to architects and owners of new houses as they are to those with period homes. For old-house owners, that has implications for everything from inventory to pricing as the industry responds to the demands of its newest patrons. Whether you find bargains or heavy markups when shopping for salvage depends a great deal on the era and style of your old house.