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michaelskis

Architectural bank?

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Over the past several years, several very impressive homes and buildings have been torn down. But what happened to the wood work, moldings, doors, stain glass windows, and other architectural details?

I know may other communities will have an architectural bank that will have people go in, strip a building down, and these items are stored in warehouses and such. Does Grand Rapids have one? If so, does anyone know what

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I think Pitch Wrecking may have a salvage yard over on the west side with this type of stuff. I haven't heard of a "bank" around town.

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Pitsch has one next to their yard on Richmond St.

What do they charge for stuff? Does anyone buy it?

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If not, why hasn't a few historic preservation groups come together to start one?

Architectural salvage is a fickle business. There is a fine line between something worth saving and something that is junk. Pitsch hasn't quite figured it out yet, as evidenced by their store on Richmond (I *highly* recommend stopping over at Pitsch and walking through it. It truly is a unique experience).

I suppose there are several reasons why we don't have something like that here now. One reason is the demolition trade in this area. The local demo contractors are used to cherry picking out what they want to keep. In most demolition contracts title to all demo'ed material goes directly to the contractor. Wrecking crews are the best recyclers in the area. If it will get a buck at the scrap yard, it goes in the scrap pile. Only true rubbish (non recyclable material) from a demolition goes into a landfill. Contractors do make a good portion of their money with this arrangement.

In some areas it is more common for "salvage rights" to be sold to another contractor who will go in and strip the valuable fixtures, doors, windows, etc. that would sell in a store to Joe Homeowner.

Maybe something like this would go over, maybe not. I would think that the chances of success would be better for a larger metropolitan area. If these "salvage rights" type relationships were to take place, I'm guessing you'd see the demolition contracts come in a lot higher.

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There's an architectural salvage store Evergreen Lane at 1035 Wealthy SE. I've gotten drawer pulls, doorknobs, etc... there over the years. They get different stuff in all the time - it's fun to poke around every so often.

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The Pitsch store on Richmond is cool! Walking in there is like going on a treasure hunt, you never know what you might find. It's stacked to the gills with almost anything you can think of and a lot of other stuff you never would have imagined.

They're an excellent resource for owners of older homes. Great for replacing damaged elements with similarly aged elements, rather than paying an arm and leg for something that's brand new an/or going to look out of place. I had to replace a door a while ago, found exactly what I needed complete with some textured glass to obscure the view of the neighbors back yard. The door and pane of glass were like $50.

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There's an architectural salvage store Evergreen Lane at 1035 Wealthy SE. I've gotten drawer pulls, doorknobs, etc... there over the years. They get different stuff in all the time - it's fun to poke around every so often.

Beavis, I hate to break it to you but Evergreen Lane has been gone for over a year now. He sold most of his stuff to Joel at Blue Door Antiques.

In fact the business that went in there after them, Girls With Style, is closing up now too. You're a few businesses behind. :D

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I love Architectural antique stores. If you are ever in Chicago go to Salvage One! I went there a few years back and they had an entire facade for sale (and set up in their showroom).

I think Pitsch is always very picked over. Good if you want to find an Exit sign or industrial strength security light, but I haven't found much good there that is old (the door section seems to be ok). I would imagine Pitsch sells a lot of this stuff out of state. I assembled a couple more links below. Olde Good Things always has cool stuff on their site. I don't know where i'd put the stuff but...

http://www.oldegoodthings.com/

http://www.archantiques.com/

Joe

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I think Pitch Wrecking may have a salvage yard over on the west side with this type of stuff. I haven't heard of a "bank" around town.

I've lived in towns like Austin Texas where the architectural salvage trade was established in the 1970s as a formal business, with a wholesale/retail/auction structure, by architectural historians who worked closely with architects and interior designer.

My sense of the situation here is there have been a small handful of private individuals in Grand Rapids over the past 20 years or so who've been aware of what's coming down, and managed to get inside and remove the details worth saving, especially the doors, windows, tin ceilings and so forth. They've sold some of it to the more professional architectural salvage retailers in Chicago, recycled some for use in bars and restuarants and other sites around town, and keep some of it for their own projects. What's left piles up in places that become a strain on either finances or marriages. When you come across it, they usually know the history of the stuff, which is part of the appeal.

Pitsch is only interested in the history of the stuff as an afterthought. Clyde at the cash register will tell you where he thinks stuff came from, but the details are usually sketchy. They work a wide area of Michigan, not just GR, so stuff comes in from all over but it's not carefully documented.

Ironically, the preservation of Heritage Hill in the late 1960s probably cut into the potential supply of high-end items you might have otherwise had on which to build a serious architectural salvage business. Acanthus, and the other place up the street, are maybe the closest thing you have in GR, but both those guys mostly have smallish odds and ends, lighting and hardware and pieces of tile. The big architectural salvage specialists in New York or Chicago or Los Angeles are filled with odds and ends, too, but they also have the really amazing, massive stuff, on a scale that's perfect for both warehouse lofts and suburban super-sized custom homes.

There's still a lot of stuff out there, just search "Grand Rapids" on eBay on you'll find stuff. I think there's a big one on there right now, the entire display counter and cabinets from store the was downtown.

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I wonder if decorated tin ceiling tiles are available, and how much they would cost...

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I wonder if decorated tin ceiling tiles are available, and how much they would cost...

Pitsch has had a large pile of ceiling tin, but last time I was in there it was pretty picked over, mostly pieces with rips or tears. They get about $10 for a 18-inch square, as I recall. There are other stashes of original tin around town, depending on how much you need. I know of a couple of salvaged tin ceilings that are intact, in that everything that was up on ceiling originally, including the rounded molding, the borders and the main field are all there. To their credit, the owners only want to sell it to someone planning to put it up as a whole, and so they're not willing to sell off individual squares.

Lots of antique shops sell the odd, individual tin square. They're a staple of the shabby chic decorating style. The restoration industry has also started to make reproduction tin ceilings. Lowes or Home Depot even sell the stuff now.

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The Heritage Company in downtown Kalamazoo is an architectural salvage store. It's worth the drive down from Grand Rapids.... When I lived in Kalamazoo, we went there once a week just to see what cool new stuff they had.

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The Heritage Company in downtown Kalamazoo is an architectural salvage store. It's worth the drive down from Grand Rapids.... When I lived in Kalamazoo, we went there once a week just to see what cool new stuff they had.

Materials Unlimited on Michigan Ave in Ypsi is another (so I've heard; my Washtenaw budget would not allow me to visit).

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Beavis, I hate to break it to you but Evergreen Lane has been gone for over a year now. He sold most of his stuff to Joel at Blue Door Antiques.

In fact the business that went in there after them, Girls With Style, is closing up now too. You're a few businesses behind. :D

My god - Mom always said the older you get, the faster time goes. Now that I'm 40+ it's coming true. It didn't seem that long since I'd been in there. I LOVE Joel at Blue Door. Most of my bedroom furniture came from there - purple and apple green dressers, shabby chic mirrors and french pink table chandeliers...lovely stuff.

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