I’ve been labeled a “purist”. I frequently say my goal is restore my house, not renovate. I have mass appreciation for the craftsmanship that went into my house. The level of detail, quality of work, and character can’t be found in modern homes. Restoration, however, can be very expensive if try to buy new, old, meaning reproductions. This is why when it comes to restoring old houses you must know where you can find used treasures.
Nicole Curtis (@nicolecurtis, #rehabaddict) stresses utilizing rehab stores to find old parts. I frequent three places in Cincinnati, mostly in search for doors, but recently I have also found some very affordable trim pieces. Here are the stores I frequent most:
Building Value is an Easterseals social enterprise that salvages reusable materials for sale to the public. They are sustainability: their efforts help the environment, reduce the cost of disposal, invest in the local workforce, and give architectural gems a second life.
Months ago I bought the doors on the left for my Master laundry room and water closet. They were the right size and color, but not the right style. All of my original doors on that level are two panel. I’ve now decided to paint the doors and trim in the Master bath and was lucky enough to find a two panel door in the jam for just $50! They let me return the doors, so no extra money out of pocket. I also found some molding pieces that I used to dress up the #2 pine under my kitchen and 1st floor bath windows. I bought 27′ of this trim for just $6.81.
Another score was 12, 8′ pieces of primed 4″ baseboards. A normal DIYer would probably ignore the inside of closets, but I’m not normal. I’ll rip these pieces down to the right widths and trim out all the closets and use it as baseboard trim in the 1st linen closet, kitchen pantry, and master laundry. No reason to put the expensive stuff in those areas. Those 12 pieces cost $40. New at a big box store would have been twice that or more.
Reuse Center of Cincinnati is dedicated to taking materials headed for the dumpster and re-using them to help others build their own American Dream. Not only do they have old items, they have building grade products that are overstocked by their partner suppliers or are donated by companies and private individuals all across the Cincinnati and Lexington. I will get my hand rail from them at pennies on the dollar and when I build my garage apartment I’ll get all the tile I need for the bathroom and/or kitchen from them. On the same day I found the two panel door above (for laundry room), I found this two panel door in the jam for the Master water closet. They are pricier than Building Value, but $100 still beats the cost of a new one.
Although I have yet to find anything useful, I also frequent Habitat Restores and the Wooden Nickel Antiques. Habitat Restores are home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price. They are independently owned operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Proceeds are used to help build strength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities and around the world. Wooden Nickel buys and sells back bars, fireplace mantels, architectural salvage, stained glass, chandeliers, furniture, decorative arts and fine arts. They seem to focus on high-end pieces.
The other place I’ve had great success in finding door knobs is Ebay. Just add vintage or antique in front of any item you’re looking for and you will surely find someone selling it on Ebay. The original doors I bought didn’t have knobs and I wanted to match the existing doors (picture on left) on that floor. I came pretty darn close with these and was also able to find one side of a 6 point glass knob to replace one that was missing and a full glass knob set to put on the pantry door. I am using the same door, but it had a metal door knob. In its new location it will be next to the kitchen entry door that has a glass knob. The “not normal” me wants them to match. Knobs came with mortise lock and I paid under $100 for all.
Two none local places with websites I check frequently are Columbus Architectural Salvage, in Columbus, OH, and Black Dog Salvage, featured in another one of my favorite DIY Network shows Salvage Dawgs, located in Roanoke, VA. As with my mecca to Waco, TX I have to get to Roanoke to see the store that inspires me to upcycle. My college trunk turned bench idea came from watching their show.
I’m still shy two doors in my house, so if anyone is aware of 2-panel mission style doors (vertical, side by side panels) let me know. I need 32x80ish. I prefer unpainted, but now that I have a good stripper I will consider painted also. In the jam is bonus, not required.