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Why we love to buy salvage

Posted on | By Shirley Kay
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Kent, UK - The first time I visited an architectural salvage yard it took my breath away. I had fallen in love with salvage. The beautiful colour and texture of salvaged material such as reclaimed stone, wood, marble, brass or terracotta and the stunning craftsmanship of antique fireplaces, cast iron tubs and chandeliers make any salvage store an enjoyable place to explore.

People of all ages are fascinated by salvage and enjoy the discovery of past life treasures. It could be the nostalgic feeling of a childhood memory, a past life connection or simply the love of a good story a salvaged piece will bring to any home decor style. Even millennials have recently fallen in love with vintage Mid Century Modern. Antique and salvaged items tend to be made with materials and skills hard to find today. They come with ready made character and have been cherished over many years unlike the mass produced items of a more 'throw away' culture.

Although the trend towards eco lifestyle choices has encouraged greater reuse we still continue to send large amounts to landfill. Shocking facts reveal how little we are actually saving for reuse. One percent is still the average amount of reclaimed material in a UK building project. From 1835 to 1935 Britain imported more than half the entire world’s timber exports and 3,000 tonnes of which are now destroyed every working day. One hundred thousand old doors are saved by the UK architectural salvage trade every year, but more than two million are still simply thrown away. This includes irreplaceable tropical hardwoods.

There has also been an increase in fake or faux salvage. For example new wood can be made to look old with stains and even nail holes or from a polyurethane wood look alike. Labelling is key here. Consumers need to know what they are buying. Then of greater concern are the current volumes of illegally imported timber. Friends of the Earth state illegal logging is worth around thirty to one hundred billion dollars and represents ten to thirty percent of all timber traded. So if you want genuine reclaimed it is best to find a dealer you can trust to know their source. A dealer following the Salvo Code for responsible sourcing will ensure confidence for all buyers of salvaged and reclaimed items. For example a Salvo Code dealer like Ashwell's have been specialising in the reclamation of genuine tropical hardwood for over twenty years.

There is nothing like the real thing. Salvage reuse maybe a challenge to any renovator but the end result will be truly unique and can be less expensive than new. One example would be the Reclaimed Woman renovation project which showcases the benefits of innovative reuse. A salvaged organ pipe became a kitchen extractor pipe, wood from a gym floor cupboard doors, misshapen marble offcuts a bathroom floor, a vintage cistern lid made a colourful replacement for a broken one, window shutters provided beautiful insulation, postal sorting cubby holes and reclaimed doors with a past life story created the shoe wardrobe. Sara Morel, aka Reclaimed Woman specialises in ethical and sustainable fashion and home fashion. See more reclaimed inspiration at her website link below.

Salvaged materials are not just suited to period property renovations they can be used in new projects too. Reclaimed materials will blend in well or alternatively can make a design focal point. There are many examples here but two Salvo Code dealers come to mind. Retrouvius design team, led by Maria Speake, have a proven record of combining salvage and reclaimed materials and modern elements to create both stunning and practical designs. Plus a recent blog post by Abacus Stone explains one of the main benefits of using reclaimed stone in a new build project apart from care for the environment is a visual aesthetic that is hard to replicate. Read the full blog at the link below. Both Retrouvius and Abacus Stone Sales have website links on the SalvoWEB home page.

Discover your local architectural salvage or antique stores in the Salvo directory or rummage through the variety of salvage and antiques for sale on the SalvoWEB online marketplace. Images show just a few pieces currently for sale.

Reclaimed Woman: Reclaimed Renovation
Abacus Stone Sales: Benefits of using reclaimed stone on new build projects.

Story Type: Feature