Architectural Salvage Projects


A compendium of articles about using architectural salvage for old house repairs, decorating and renovation, including salvaged stone & brick, fixtures, reclaimed lumber, and other architectural elements such as corbels and fence boards.

SEE ALSO: Construction & Additions  |  Doors & Windows | Floors & Flooring Repair | Hardware Guides  | Restoration Projects Architectural Salvage Products & Services Directory

cabinet hardware

DIY Salvaged Hardware

Salvaged icebox hardware make new cabinets look like vintage equipment.

antique feather vase

A Feather Vase

This odd, abused feather vase had sat for years in the seller’s garage.

telephone niche

DIY Phone Niche

A phone niche is useful today for keys, tablet—or telephone.

1_lead photo SeptemberMorn AFTER_bjk

Painting Furniture

A self-taught artist transforms old furniture into unique, practical art, using paint.

1 or crop final Cattani_Dog_bed_collection_bjk

DIY Dog Beds

How to make your own dog beds out of old chairs.

Kitchen with reclaimed wood

Barnwood in a Cabin

An aesthetically and historically appropriate use of reclaimed wood serves a kitchen.

bench alcove

Bench with a Dual Purpose

Found beadboard covers an HVAC return, providing seating and future access.

repurposed elevator indicator light

Repurposed Elevator Indicator Lights

Industrial-chic, oversize wall sconces can be made from repurposed elevator indicator lights.


DIY Recessed Medicine Cabinet

How to make a recessed medicine cabinet with a salvaged mirror as a door.

water-meter cover stools

DIY Vintage Seating

American industrial ingenuity yields a couple of unique seating ideas.

copper frames, sash mirror

DIY Window Sash to Mirror

Copper-clad wood window sashes from an iconic building find new uses.

she shed made of windows

A She Shed of Sashes

Made up of mismatched vintage windows, this she shed is a sunny retreat.

clock table

DIY Clock-Face Table

Repurposing a vintage clock face preserves it in a way that’s, well, timeless.

DIY wine room

Building a Wine Room

An old security door—from Tiffany’s, no less—becomes an attractive entry to a wine room.

An arm, part of the center body, and embellishments have been cleaned and are ready for assembly.

Restoring Antique Lighting

Regardless of the condition, restoring antique lighting fixtures is one of the best ways to maintain your old house’s original character. Here we give you an enlightening tutorial about saving vintage fixtures: safety, cleaning, replacing missing parts, and special finishes.

Reclaimed Victorian-era encaustic tiles await a new purpose.

Repurposed Floor Tiles

An old floor of earthy geometric tiles rescued from a razed church adds soul to a period-look row-house kitchen.

ca. 1920 oak mantel

A Mantel Makeover

A vintage piece reverses an unfortunate earlier remodeling of the fireplace.

staircase made from salvage

A Unique Stair Railing Made of Repurposed Materials

Part of a prized collection of old tools becomes a very cool stair rail.

metal ceiling panels, tin ceiling panels

Framed by Tin Ceiling

Metal ceiling panels, originally used to create a tin ceiling, can be cut into “tile” strips and repurposed as decorative frames for mirrors.

removing molding

Removing Woodwork to Strip or Salvage

The task of removing woodwork without splintering the pieces—and then reassembling all of it correctly—is sobering. Here are methods developed by OHJ readers and salvagers.

antique corbels create display shelf

Editors' Picks: Architectural Salvage Projects

Five unusual projects might inspire you to head to your local architectural salvage yard!

The refinished cabinet is the centerpiece of a Greenwich Village kitchen outfitted with stainless-steel appliances.

A Unique Kitchen Island

Cleaned up and repurposed, an old French dental-tools cabinet is nifty and functional in the kitchen.

From columns and cornices to a wide variety of hardware, architectural salvage is diverse. While high-end dealers are making salvage shopping more convenient, nonprofit stores, whose proceeds typically benefit local preservation efforts, often have the best prices. Photo: Paul Rocheleau

How to Shop for Architectural Salvage

The opportunities for acquiring architectural salvage have never been better.

gingerbread porch

Finding Sophisticated Architectural Salvage

It’s trendy to repurpose five-panel doors as headboards, and to up-cycle vintage hard-shell suitcases into dog beds. For restorers, the best use of architectural salvage is to replace missing architectural details that should never have been lost in the first place.

For a more eclectic look, you can use different styles of knobs—just make sure they have at least one unifying detail.

Turn Vintage Cabinet Knobs into Hooks

Repurpose salvaged cabinet knobs by turning them into a row of handy hooks.

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