I remember when my i bought my home in New Orleans in the Lakeview neighborhood in 2001. This was at a time when the houses were still old and the prices in this area were reasonable for a middle class family. The house had been on the market for almost a year and no offers. It was a brick ranch on a corner lot with a side yard. It was next to a very prominent high school and the homes had been built and lived in by only one family. The home that no one seemed to want was my dream home and we bought it.
The inside was dark and gloomy and there were musty old curtains, lots of worn out yellow tinted wallpaper, dark old panelled wood flooring and barely any light inside because the massive live oak that was in the front shaded the entire house. All i could see though was a gem because the bones and design of this home were golden. I remember the first day after the act of sale my A type personality couldn’t wait to get inside and start remodeling right away. I was where I wanted to be and stay for the first time in my life.
Well life takes many turns and I’ve learned you just have to roll with it. Four years later we had everything redone and the way we wanted and our floors were on order and the last step to our renovations and we were hit with 10 feet of water sitting still in our home for over 1 month because of our nice friend Katrina. Long story short, we came home began our remodeling journey again and were back in our house within one year after Katrina. I was not going to let this spoil my dream home and there is no time to waste. Even though the neighborhood was like the apocalypse that didn’t stop me.
To get to the point in my story title of architectural salvage designing, I found this second remodel more of a journey to make my home authentic. I scoured the city of New Orleans and any surrounding areas to find items to bring New Orleans classics to our new decor. Since the city’s homes had been basically raped of their belongings to scrap there was an abundance of materials for us to choose from but not many places that were open. One gem that we found was a place in Mid-City called Ricca’s Architectural Sales. From there just some of the items we purchased were glass door knobs, stained glass windows, refurbished wood mantles and shutters, an old fountain for our outside garden, lots of doorknob and hardware for cabinets and drawers, A/C vents, lots of brackets and quite a bit of wood to use on many projects inside the home. When we were done I felt like we were sharing a piece of history from the blight of other people’s turn down despaired homes. While it was sad that someone else was no longer able to pass this down to their kids in their own home, we had it in ours and it didn’t have to go to waste. These relics were now a part of our history and it is my time to share that with those of you who are thinking of using reclaimed items for your remodeled or new home. You don’t just have to live in a historic city like my beloved New Orleans, but have an open creative mind on how using these materials can give you so much pleasure in having a story behind your decor.
A few of the new places that have popped up around the city since then are listed below. I hope you make it your journey to go visit them.
Bank Architectural Antiques-1824 Felicity, NOLA
Rebuilding together-2801 Marais, NOLA
Ricca’s Architectural Sales- 511 N.Solomon, NOLA
Dop Antiques- 300 Jefferson Hwy, NOLA
Southern Arch- 3983 Tchoupitoulas-NOLA
Salvage Design- 611 Commerce, NOLA
Clayton House-1600 Collins Road, Covington
Discount Building Materials-905 N. Lee Road, Covington
Northshore Antiques and Auction House-334 N. Vermont, Covington