06 Sep Find your Inner Junkie
I first starting using architectural salvage back in the 1980’s because my budgets were so small I was forced to buy old stuff. That was the start of a long love affair with architectural salvage and reclamation yards that is still with me today. In those days there were rich pickings. Now you have to dig a little deeper, have imagination and be bold to make it work in your house.
Using salvaged materials can add an instant soul and warmth to a newly renovated house. It’s the flaws and imperfections in the salvage that actually adds to your interior. Its adds interest and often a good story of where something came from and how you got it home. I frequently buy salvage and then worry about where it might work and how to get it back to Brighton. There is always a way. My kids are used to my car being full of old doors, taps, broken lights, cinema seats and old tiles. But then I am obsessed.
There are a few rules to being salvage savvy. Do not use too much of it. Your house may end up looking like a salvage yard if everything is reclaimed. Mix it with new pieces so that it can be appreciated for what it is. Make sure its functional and fit for the purpose. If you buy an old metal factory unit for your kitchen island, make sure it fits your plates and that its not full of contaminating chemicals. Otherwise you will end up wanting rid of that item. At the same time do not be put off if it does not work. Its old and it may need some fixing up or adjusting. There are plenty of people out there to help. Old doors can be stripped, sinks can be re-enameled, taps can be re-plated. If you enjoy the process of hunting down these often obscure businesses to help then it just adds to the fun.
Use salvage from different periods. Some of the most interesting salvage I find is from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Too much Victorian salvage and you just end up with another (different) boring look. Mix up styles and don’t worry too much about the rules. Go to other countries in Europe. Salvage comes from buildings that have been demolished. Other European countries have different styles of architecture. For really unusual finds go on a Dutch salvage road trip or have a wander round the markets in Berlin.