I often hear people wishing out loud for a home that is imbued with a unique stamp. Something that speaks about them, and to them. I would like to show you an example of how that has been so successfully done by a unique Memphis couple. Eric and Dawn have busy lives, with two children, and they also have a close personal relationship with an architectural salvage antique dealership in Memphis. Eric buys and sells some of his finds at South Front Antiques, at 374 S. Front Street, Memphis, TN. He has been doing this for at least the past 20 years.
I love the story of how, when he was picking up his date for his senior prom (yes, we are talking ‘high school’), he saw a side yard with Ionic columns just lying on the ground. He pulled over the car, complete with date and corsage and everything, and made a deal with the owner to buy the columns on the spot, and he picked them up the next day. I think that column is in his dining room today. Now that is character!
Architectural salvage is a niche market in the antiques world. Some people know what to do with it, and some don’t – as of yet. Eric and Dawn give you ample illustration of how to successfully incorporate some architectural salvage into your home and make it unique. Architectural salvage usually consists of parts of homes, or commercial buildings, or even bridges, that are set for demolition, but are saved, and they end up in antique stores, such as South Front Antiques.
But what to do with such unusual merchandise? Let’s see how they do it. Look at these candle holders. They were piano legs. (Who knew?) Here they are turned upside down, with pillar candles upon them. OK, we can take a hint, and thank you, E & D for the suggestion.
piano legs as candle holder
This interesting foyer assemblage is composed of an old trunk with numerous artifacts upon it. Many of the objects are finials (tops of fences, tops of newel posts, etc.) When you enter the front door, you know that you have entered a home with special character. The iron torchieres alongside an antique portrait are a special touch.
Captivate your audience with your entry foyer
Notice this fireplace mantel. Eric and Dawn’s home is a modern townhouse, but with this antique mantel carefully put in place, this living room is several notches above the average home.
Antique mantel used in modern home
Their dining room has many artifacts, including the previously mentioned Ionic column, which I love here in the corner. It makes the dining room really special.
Using antique columns in your home for accents
But, really, WHO would have thought to take a section from an old bridge and have it made into a console table? The center section of verdigris metal is the old bridge. New ends were made, and a new marble top completed the console.
It is incredibly effective, isn’t it?
Unique console table
The dining room table is made of a simple glass top held up by two sections of an old wooden column that was cut into 30” high segments. Just looking into that old column structure tells a story of the past. Need a dining table? Think architectural salvage, and there you go.
An antique column as table base
I love this last example. Here is an old door pull – Installed sideways in the powder room, it becomes a towel rack. Now that is thinking “outside the box”.
Towel Bar is former door pull
Yea, way to go, Dawn and Eric, and I hope this has been inspiring for you all. Check out some architectural salvage spots and maybe you’ll be able to put together something special for your own home – something that says “You”.